As you start teaching or learning in an online college, you will also realize the many differences between remote and traditional education. Things that work well in the former may not do the same in the latter. So, here is a guide that would help you set up your virtual classroom.
What are virtual classrooms, and how do they work?
As an educator, you have most likely experimented with teaching online in the past, for instance, in educational apps, digital textbooks, and flipped classrooms. These days, most educational institutions offer online courses, and they already have the needed tools in place. Still, adapting your current lesson plans and teaching methodologies to this new means of education is something that you cannot do overnight.
First, you need to have an online video service or content delivery network that would host your virtual classroom. That is where students will view your lectures. Typically, schools have a learning management system, which already has the features that you need. However, that may not have everything that could make the students’ learning experience as engaging.
How can you set up a virtual classroom?
When setting up a virtual classroom, consider the tools and platforms that you have. Your virtual classroom will be where the synchronous (live) or asynchronous (recorded) learning will occur. Meanwhile, the students will complete the coursework through the learning management system or other ed-tech platforms.
To make the online classroom experience engaging, it helps a lot to have a high-quality webcam and microphone. Having a tripod, proper lighting, and simple background would also make the video professional-looking.
To those who are using an external video camera, use a software or hardware encoder to compress your video for it not to buffer when streaming. This will make a big difference for students who do not have a strong internet connection.
You can pre-record video lectures, which your students can access on-demand, or hold real-time classes. If you plan on doing live streams, you will need a high-quality video camera for students to see you clearly and a clip-on microphone to have the best sound quality.
If you are tech-savvy and have the equipment, you can set up multiple cameras with switching features like split-screen or picture with a picture. Switching to close-ups is particularly handy when doing lab experiments or working on math equations.
Of course, content is the king, but when the video is of low quality, even if the lecture is so good, it would be hard to capture the students’ attention. Use the right hardware and configuration to complement the content that you prepared instead of distracting them from it.