Since the pandemic started in the world most students and teachers had to shift their learning and teaching online. The process has been quite challenging because most of us were not ready for it and not all of us are tech gurus even though we love using technology every day.
In this post, I decided to share some of my tips to optimize your Zoom meetings and help you enjoy your online lessons. I believe you can still find the tips useful even if you are using other applications other than Zoom app. I selected Zoom app because I use it myself a lot. I believe it is one best apps for not only online meetings but for teaching students online thanks to its screen sharing and annotation tools which most other apps simply don't offer.
So if you are ready, let's go!
1) Position your camera properlyMake sure your web-camera shows your head, neck and your chest properly. Otherwise, people will be seeing your hair, forehead, neck, etc which makes the communication challenging. People should see you face to face and keep eye contact with you, otherwise, they won't want to talk to you online.
2) Avoid multi-taskingIf you are having an online lesson, concentrate on your lesson only. Don't eat, type, chat, walk or call your friends. Remember that if your teacher is serious about online lessons, then he/she will require all students to turn their cameras on and it means he/she can see everything they do during the lessons.
3) Prepare materials in advanceBefore the lessons bring all your books, copies, copybooks, pens and pencils on your desk and make them all ready. Don't stand up and bring your things during the lesson because you might waste other students' time if, for example, you are checking your homework assignments and etc.
4) Take a turn when speakingAvoid talking whenever you have an opportunity. Ask your teacher if you can talk or answer the question. Otherwise, several people can start talking at the time and this creates a mess in communication.
5) Look at the camera when speakingUsually, students look at those small screen boxes in their computer screen and that's understandable. I also do that a lot. But if you are telling something very important and want to make sure people listen to you very carefully and attentively, then look at the web-camera and talk for the best effect.
6) Convince yourself you're in the classroomFinally, tell yourself that you are in a classroom even though it is an online lesson. You would not stand up an leave without your teacher's permission in a real classroom setting, right? You wouldn't lie down on a coach and eat cookies in a real classroom, right? So why would you act like that in an online lesson? So build the right attitude and engage in serious learning.
7) Check your net, camera, mic and speakerBefore joining your online lessons please make sure that your internet, microphone and speakers or headphones are working properly. At the start of your lesson, you might want to test them with your teacher. Never do any testing during the lesson because you might annoy other students or waste their time.
8) Be online 5 before the meetingTry not to be late for the online lessons. Being late for more than 5 minutes often shows your disrespect to the other students because your teacher may delay starting the lesson if 1 or 2 students are not yet present. After all, it all may look ridiculous to be late to your online lessons. What will you say? "Sorry, I am late because of traffic jams"? C'mon!!!
9) Display your real nameMake sure your camera displays your real name. Avoid using nicknames and if you are using your parents or brother's/sister's laptop or mobile phone, make sure you change the name. Otherwise, for example, if your real name is Anvar, your camera may display Nargiza which can be a bit funny. Do you agree with me?
10) Keep your background nice and neatPay attention to your background too. Make sure you do not show an open wardrobe with clothes and socks hanging out.
11) Keep the light in the front of youMake sure you have proper lighting in your room and that light is in front of you. Otherwise, your groupmates will be seeing a dark image. As a result, it might all look spooky and weird because people won't want to communicate with someone whose face is hard to see.
12) Keep your camera onAnother golden rule is to keep your camera on all the time. People who study English or any other subjects with you online should be able to see you. And this will also give an opportunity to your teacher to check if you are focused or unfocused during the lessons.
13) Mute your mic if you are not speakingSometimes it happens that students forget to mute their microphones when suddenly a member of their family enters their room. They get annoyed and scold them. The bad thing is that the rest of the class hears everything and gets interrupted. Muting the mic is also recommended if you fear that there is some sort of background noise in your room because of active fan or air-conditioner.
14) Dress appropriatelyYes, mind the way you dress even when you meet with people online. I know you are at your own home and I am not here to dictate you what to wear and what not to wear. But proper attire shows how much you respect yourself and the others.
15) Avoid any distractionsInform all your family members that for example every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 17:00 to 18:30 you have online lessons. Please, remember that nobody must be allowed to enter your room and interrupt you. Nobody! Yes, even your own parents. Period! After all, you are trying to learn and not play online games.
16) Stay till the end of the meetingBe present till session ends and if you really have to leave the place for a minute or two, send a private message to your teacher and ask for permission. You should not stand up and leave or walk there and here even if you are at your own house.
17) Avoid being in different placesAlways sit in one and same place when you have online lessons. Learning English or any other subjects does not mean that you can be at home in your desk one lesson, on your couch in the second lesson and in the mountains in the third lesson. If you have to change your location due to some serious conditions, it is all right. But don't change your location every time you have online lessons. Don't be playful with it.
18) Sit in a chair and not on a mattressDon't sit as if you are in a tea house or on a picnic in the national park because the rest of the group members will see you and that sends a wrong message. You will have to do a lot of reading, listening and writing during online lessons, so make yourself comfortable to study not to relax.
19) Avoid moving your mobile a lotAnd not only your mobile device, try not to move or play with the items on your desk because this will create noise to the other students and they won't appreciate it. Don't move your books, copybooks there and here. Don't play with your pens, pencils and especially wires of your mobile phone device.
20) Greet your teacherWhen you join Zoom session or conference, show good manners and greet your teacher and other students if they are already online. Imagine when you open the door and enter the classroom, you would greet everybody first and then have your seat, right? That's the point.
21) Initiate some small talkTry to avoid awkward silence at all costs. Talk about something. You can talk about the weather, current news, daily life, school, work and/or family. You can also ask questions about your homework and seek some assistance from your teacher or other students.
22) Be cooperativeDon't be one of those students who create technical problems or challenges to their teacher and/or groupmates. Use your common sense and try to figure the things out yourself too. You can certainly ask your teacher for help but you should also cooperate and fix your own stuff. For the best online lessons, you normally need a laptop/mobile phone, fast and almost stable internet speed, silent room, common sense and of course self-discipline.