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!
- 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 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!