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Open Letter To Our Professors: Zoom Do’s And Don’ts

Whether next semester ends up being online or not, we all have a lot of Zoom meetings ahead of us before all this is over. So here’s some tips for professors, from students, to make the online learning experience as palatable as possible!

 Do:

  • If you’re using a headphone mic, make sure it’s fully plugged in and test to make sure we can hear it.
  • Institute a 5 to 10-minute period before class to talk with students who log in early. This is a great opportunity to check up on students or answer their questions about the material.
  • Respond to questions in the chat! It can be intimidating asking a question in front of 100+ people, so we really appreciate you paying close attention to the chat.
  • Unless there’s an emergency, silence your cell and disconnect your home phone so you don’t have to interrupt class to answer it.
  • Give us a house tour. Everyone is thinking it but is too afraid to say it.
  • Upload presentations or notes before class so that we can follow along with the lecture.
  • Enunciate and write clearly. It is harder to hear over Zoom, and if you have bad handwriting, please just type into a screen-shared document. It’s extremely frustrating when you can’t understand the professor, especially when you don’t have a neighbor to ask.
  • As soon as possible, establish the degree of decorum you expect of us: Do our cameras or mics have to be on? Do you expect us to be at a desk? Is there a dress code? Can we eat?
  • Having an asynchronous aspect of class is really helpful. One of our math professors recorded short 20-minute YouTube videos of theory that we could watch before class. One of our literature seminars introduced discussion posts. This helps keep students engaged with a learning element outside of Zoom.
  • Have a laugh! Encourage everyone to set fun/themed backgrounds and vote on which one is the best. Let students show and tell with their pets. Wear a stupid hat or outfit to class. Life is bleak right now, but Zoom class doesn’t have to be.

Don’t:

  • Don’t just talk for 75 minutes. Pictures and lecture slides really help keep our focus.
  • Please respect our time and don’t go more than 5-10 minutes over, unless there are special circumstances or you’ve previously discussed extending classtime.
  • Discussion posts are generally not helpful. They don’t make us feel more engaged with the class, they just feel like extra work.
  • Breakout rooms can help keep people engaged, but keep them small (about 4-7 people), and make sure that we go into them with enough material and clearly available questions to discuss. Otherwise, nobody talks or the conversation trails off very quickly.
  • Do not apologize if your cat walks onscreen. Introduce us formally to the cat. Tell us the cat’s name. There is nothing we want to see more than your cat.
  • Sometimes, just turning on Zoom and plowing through your class as if it’s in-person doesn’t work. Try different stuff. Ask your students what they prefer. It’s worth it to experiment for a few classes so you can nail the rest of the semester.

Do you agree with these tips? Got any to add? Help out your profs and leave a comment below!

Image via Pixabay

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2 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I like how discussion posts are in both the the do’s and the dont’s lists

  • Professor Judith Russell says:

    @Professor Judith Russell TRULY GREAT TIPS BWOG 🦁❤️🦁❤️🎈

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