After almost 2 years of using Zoom I realize that I must use the following strategies for online teaching:
1) Hide your own view of the camera. You don’t have to see yourself on the screen, the other participants have to.
2) Don’t stare at the camera continuously. Occasionally, look away from the camera, maybe at a 🌲 or a 🐦 outside the window. That’s why I have setup my table near a window. Ophthalmologists recommend the 20-20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes of staring at the screen, look away at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
3) Get a wireless microphone because with that you can move around the room and still be in the session or meeting. Online lectures on 1 hour and more, sitting, are not good for health. That’s the single reason I miss my classroom lectures!
Do you have any other tips/tricks to make online teaching less stressful, more meaningful for students? Please share here.
After I posted the above, I got messages from two teachers who wanted to know whether they should at all be on camera during an online lecture. “Camera shy” is something we all are in the beginning, and it can be quite challenging staring at the camera lens and speaking. One of the tricks I used initially was to keep a picture of one of my classroom sessions which showed my students (pre-covid days), just behind and above the mobile phone camera, just so that I could see that picture. It appeared that I am addressing a classroom. But the question remains – should the teacher appear at all in a video on students’ screen? I strongly feel – yes.
Even in normal conversation we tend to look into the eyes of the person we are speaking with. This also happens in a classroom where I will look into students’ eyes as that gives the student a feeling that he/she is important. In an online setting, it is all the more important that student can “see” the teacher, at least in a corner of the screen. It builds trust and bonding with students. The smile on the face of a teacher, a question asked where eyes do lot of expressing, all these do help. Teaching requires communication skills and facial expressions assist in communicating online. So maybe, in this new form of online teaching, teachers will also have to learn a few skills from TV actors!
What do you feel about this? Do share your opinion in the comment box below.