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  • Plan to record your session. This is beneficial for students, so they can check back if they want to clarify something.
  • Arrive in the virtual space (the Zoom room or scheduled Microsoft Team meeting) a few minutes early. It is important to test all video and audio connections. Encourage students to arrive early for the same reason.
  • Be mindful of the need to safeguard privacy of in your online classroom. To ensure privacy and prevent unwanted intrusions into your class, enable the use the default password protection option in Zoom's settings. Enable the advanced Zoom setting so that only you can share your screen. Password protections are on by default and it is recommend that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining.
  • Consider asking a colleague or TA to act as moderator. Work with them to ensure that they know the plan for the session and the level of assistance that you will need. The moderator can be especially valuable in helping with moderating ‘backchannel discussions’ using the software discussion functions, or assisting in case of technical difficulties.
  • Make expectations explicit by preparing and sharing a brief outline or plan of the class with students in advance, and start the session by reminding students of the plan. This is helpful as it allows students to stay on track by providing them with an overview of the session.
  • Especially in an online environment, stick as far as possible to the outline class plan. This will help the students stay on task.
  • Be aware that online learning takes more time. Because of the remote setting and lack of direct contact between students and teacher, students will need to devote more time to their studies. Adjust their load accordingly.
  • Maintain eye contact with students. This is useful for connecting with the students and establishing presence. Look directly into the camera to ensure eye contact with remote students.
  • Allow time for regular feedback through questioning. Checking for understanding is harder than in a regular class as the students are remote. In addition, allow them sufficient time to respond and to signal when they feel lost, as they will be multitasking: they will be focusing not only on the class content, but also on handling the technology and compensating for not being face-to-face with other students and the teacher.
  • Consider making use of breakout groups to change pace and use a variety of different learning experiences, switching from large to small groups, and providing opportunities for individual work. Zoom has ‘breakout rooms’ (see how-to video) and Teams has ‘channels’ that can be created for small-group discussion and sharing. This has the potential of increased critical dialogue and reflection, where students work on their own, share their ideas, and report back to the larger group.
  • Where appropriate allow and encourage collaborative writing using shared documents and screen sharing. Both Zoom and Teams allow participants to share part or all of their screens. Teams is very useful for working collaboratively on documents, e.g. in for peer feedback.
  • Use the chat function. This ‘backchannel’ can be very useful in allowing for questions to be raised and answers provided, and these can be saved as a record of the session for further follow up as needed.
  • Require self-identification. It is not always possible to see who is speaking, especially if the class is large.
  • Use microphone awareness. To minimize distraction, switch all microphones off by default, except the speaker’s.
  • Speak as you would in a face-to-face class. Reduce environmental noise by closing windows and doors, muting cell phones, turning off computer alert sounds, and asking students to turn off their microphones.
  • Allow for a potential 2–3 second transmission delay. While this is prone to occur when delivering a presentation, or sharing images, files, or video, it can also happen with audio. Pause after the end of your comments and allow time for students to respond before continuing to the next discussion.
  • Routinely check with students for coherence. It is best not to assume that remote students are able to see and hear everyone and everything.