If you want to offer students the flexibility of an online class while maintaining the personal connection of a face-to-face course, videoconference courses are a great solution.
Here are 7 best practices that we keep in mind when we set up our videoconference courses.
- Record all videoconferences and share the recordings with students. Recording video lectures has a number of benefits: (a) if some students miss the live videoconference due to scheduling conflicts or technical difficulties, they can always catch up on the material later. Also, (b) students can pause, rewind, and fast forward, and review the material at their own pace, at a time when they feel most able to concentrate.
- Post all recordings promptly so that students will have enough time to watch them before the relevant assignments are due.
- Start and end your conferences on time. Don’t make your lecture longer than planned, as this will aggravate students and interfere with the rest of their scheduled activities.
- Pause at several key points throughout the lecture, and ask “Does anyone have any questions?” Without these pauses, students might feel uncomfortable interrupting the conference to ask a question, since they cannot just silently raise their hand as they would in a normal classroom.
- Ensure that students have a way to get your attention during the videoconferences, other than verbally interrupting. Many videoconferencing tools such as Zoom offer a chat box where participants can type in questions, and several web conferencing tools such as GoToMeeting allow participants to virtually raise their hand during a conference.
- Call on specific students throughout the lecture and ask them questions. For example: “John, what is the atomic number of oxygen?” This will keep students on their toes, prevent them from zoning out, and help them feel a personal connection.
- Incorporate videos, Powerpoint presentations, Prezis, and diagrams into your lecture. Many videoconferencing tools will allow you to share your computer screen; you can use this feature to supplement your lectures and make them more interesting.
What best practices have you used with students in your videoconference courses?