The virtual classroom can be a scary place especially when you manage your virtual classroom. If you are an educator, chances are you learned how to ply your trade in a room with whiteboards, desks, and humans interacting freely with each other.
But all of the sudden, the classroom went online, and a lot of those valuable skills need to be retooled. This might leave you wondering how to manage your virtual classroom.
The good news is managing an online classroom successfully isn’t impossible, it just requires a different approach. Enjoy our top tips for running your online course. See how to manage your virtual classroom.
Consider Student Time Zones
One of the great things about the growth of online education is global connectivity. Online course educators can allow students from anywhere in the world to join in (a major reason why DaDesktop allows unlimited users and students), which allows for an enriching global learning experience, and creates opportunities to find niche markets for your content anywhere.
However, this format can come with drawbacks. As an instructor, the more international students you gain, the more you will need to worry about time zones. Ensure that you use a standard time zone (like Greenwich Mean Time) when setting assignment deadlines, and communicate this with your entire class.
Also, make use of pre-recorded lectures to allow students to study and learn at their own pace. Finally, make sure that any in-class examination times are optimal for all those involved. It is unfair to subject some students to midnight test times, so find an equitable solution for your entire virtual classroom.
Establish Classroom Norms
Just like the physical classroom, your online space will need to have rules. Some of your rules might take the form of common video conferencing etiquette, like:
- All participants must stay muted unless they are speaking.
- Students must keep their cameras on. Virtual backgrounds are allowed.
- Chat functions should be used for questions and conversation about class content, not unrelated discussion
However, your classroom norms could look very different than these.
At the start of your course, create a document where students can submit ideas for norms and rules. Review this document over time, and ensure that certain rules don’t prevent some students from engaging or feeling comfortable in class.
Finally, acknowledge that the virtual setting has created a new approach to education. Norms like dress codes may have practical application in the physical classroom, but online they have little impact on student learning, and could be considered inconvenient or overbearing
Also, punishment for not following norms has little impact in the online space. Besides, as a course administrator, you should have the ability to mute or block students at will if they are being disruptive.
Inspire Students to Learn Independently
The amount of time that you spend (virtually) face-to-face with your students is usually a small percentage of their learning experience.
As we have mentioned before, “Zoom Fatigue” is a real phenomenon, and it’s best to keep your students engaged with independent or collaborative exercises instead of subjecting them to marathon video conferencing sessions.
Be deliberate about the work that you are giving your students to do outside of class. As an example, ensure that there is evaluation involved with research or process work. If your students are expected to submit a research project, make sure that you grade their performance as they find sources and develop research questions.
This is done to ensure that students don’t “drop off”, miss due dates, or run into problems that they can’t solve themselves. Independent learning still requires check-ins from an instructor, especially when students aren’t in the same physical space as you.
Use DaDesktop to set up office hours for your students, and make a habit of sending class-wide check in communications to ensure that students know they can reach out.
In the physical classroom, engagement is incentivized but often takes a back seat to keep a classroom in order, or moving through large amounts of content.
The online classroom stands this assumption on its head. Here, if you don’t keep students engaged, they are receiving very little value from the online learning experience. At the end of the day, most of the information that you are sharing with them is only a click away.
Use gamification, breakout rooms, and other group activities to implement engagement at least once a lesson. Also, ensure that students earn something for participating – whether it be in the form of grades or other rewards. These are all great ideas when you manage your virtual classrooom.
There are many options for engagement-focused tools and platforms out there, so find something that works with your virtual teaching platform to boost engagement in your classroom.
Have Confidence in Your Technology
The transition to online learning hasn’t been seamless for most people. Even those who consider themselves “tech-savvy” have probably experienced an embarrassing gaffe at some point while trying to share their screen or try out a new virtual background.
Thankfully, this isn’t something to be ashamed of.
But the most effective online teachers are those who use their virtual teaching platform to the fullest, and confidently teach without fear. So how can you build your skills to become a tech-savvy teaching star?
Practice is the first step – you should be test-driving any new features that you would like to bring into your virtual classroom. This can be done in sessions with other online teachers, as you can help each other identify potential problems and learn how they are planning on using the platform.
Another solution is to lean on the expertise of someone with experience and skills in the virtual teaching niche. This is where the DaDesktop team comes in.
When you get started with our virtual teaching platform, you gain access to our video tutorial library and remote training from our team of remote course experts. Our customers come from both fully online and blended learning environments, and are able to utilize our features to find their online learning potential.
The best part? We offer a 30-day unlimited use free trial with no credit card required. Thinking about how you can teach with ease using DaDesktop? Open your free account today!