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Zoom’s Tips For Educators in Remote Learning Environments
February 2, 2016 by Priscilla Barolo

Educators around the world are beginning to do their jobs in front of the camera. Particularly in computer science and business courses, a much larger amount of students are beginning to enroll in remote learning programs that give them the ability to learn in a much more flexible manner than they would in traditional settings. Twice as many students are now enrolled in distance learning degree programs, a testament to the extent at which this technology is beginning to influence the ecosystem of educational institutions.

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A good example of innovative remote learning and collaboration would be the case of Mount Holyoke College, where in-person and virtual students learn together. With Zoom, it is easier to do more with less when it comes to educating students and establishing cooperation with dispersed groups. What we need to do now is perfect the way in which educators perform their work in an environment where students may be thousands of miles away without frustrating anyone on either side. For this reason, we felt it is important to compile a guide that teaches you how to teach through Zoom.

Click Mute

Some course lessons aren’t dialogues. And when they are, the period may be short-lived. If you’re lecturing, make use of the “Mute upon entry” option in your meetings. That way student chatter or typing is kept silent. Students can begin a dialogue with you by using Chat or Q/A (in webinar), or just unmute themselves when they have a question.

Video Breakout Rooms

Sometimes it’s best to break up those lectures with small group work. For that, turn to our Video Breakout Rooms. Manually or automatically divide your students into small virtual groups where they can work together. As the host, the professor can bounce between groups, checking in and answering questions. Bring everyone back to the main class session with the click of a button.

Begin with Banter

Students like to talk among themselves. It’s been a natural part of their education since they were children. A little bit of small talk before the class session actually helps them “center” themselves, preparing them for a more focused lecture. Encourage this by chatting with them before transitioning to the lecture.

Send Out Course Materials

If you’re working with an outline, send a PDF to each student before class. If you have actual hand-outs, distribute them prior to holding your session. Doing these things in the middle of the session delays the class and can be disorienting to students. If the students see the document ahead of time, when you screen share it, they will be familiar with it and ready to learn.

Start with Housekeeping

While you’re reminding the class to show up on time, get their homework in, etc, start your first couple sessions with a few Zoom reminders. For example, point out the mute video and audio buttons, chat, and other key features. And tell them they will have the best experience on a hard wired Internet line and in a quiet environment.

Practice Makes Perfect!

As with everything else, you’re usually not at your best the first time you do a virtual course. As long as you keep these principles in mind, however, you will improve with time to become a very competent performer in the art of remote learning courses. You’re not alone. Because the proportion of students who learn remotely is increasing, new professors are joining the platoon every day. Once you’ve perfected this art, it’s time to start training others to do the same!

Haven’t tried Zoom yet? Give it a shot with a one-on-one demo with a Zoom product specialist!