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Undoubtedly, the Fall 2020 semester will be one for the record books. Many faculty will rely heavily on Zoom to host synchronous class sessions and office hours in an effort to connect with students.

As you prepare for these Zoom sessions, the Office of eLearning has gathered the following tips and tricks:

  • Mute all participants upon entry. By muting students when they enter your Zoom room, you reduce disruptive, noisy feedback from other students.
  • Silence your cell phone or any other device that may be near you. Nothing disrupts the flow of a meeting or class session more than a blaring ringtone.
  • For your first session, set aside time to familiarize your students with Zoom.
    • Ensure they can connect their audio and video (if necessary)
    • Discuss online and Zoom etiquette and expectations (e.g., muting microphones when not speaking, silencing cell phones and other devices to keep distractions to a minimum, etc.) Revisit these points throughout the semester as needed.
  • Look at the camera to create eye contact with your students. This helps generate a sense of personal connection. While we are on the topic of visuals, check out these 5 simple tips to maximize your visual presentation in Zoom.
  • Promote interaction with your students. Give them the opportunity to ask questions (either verbally or in the chat), encourage the use of reactions in Zoom, allow them to share their screens when giving presentations.
  • Develop a habit of checking Zoom chat periodically for students’ questions and comments.
  • Use breakout rooms to foster small group discussion and activities. Breakout rooms are a great way to help you manage discussions in classes with large enrollment or to provide time to work in groups on a class project.
  • Embrace the pause. Give students some time periodically to digest the information and discussion occurring in the synchronous session and allow them time to ask questions and provide their thoughts on the topic at hand.

Want some additional tips? Inside Higher Ed recently posted an article with some additional tips from a fellow faculty member. The tips in the article help foster a greater sense of community and connection in the virtual learning space.