We have learned a lot over the past five months of holding virtual classes, and we want to share our tips with you!
Set the stage for a fun, safe environment
When your class starts, let your students know that it’s perfectly fine to have messy houses, have interruptions from family members, have cats walk across keyboards. Professionalism as we once knew it doesn’t exist during a pandemic, and your students should feel comfortable in your class.
Sitting on your computer in a virtual class for eight hours is difficult. Having a dull instructor can make it insufferable. Keep your (and your students’) energy up by standing for stretch breaks, making everyone laugh, etc. The more engaged you are, the more engaged your students will be.
Starting class with a fun, upbeat playlist is another way to set the stage for a fun class. Playing music during breaks also keeps the energy up and encourages spontaneous dance parties!
Hold scavenger hunts
We like to use breaks to hold mini scavenger hunts, asking students to come back to the computer with “something purple” or “someone they love.” It’s another way to get students to connect to their classmates virtually, and it’s been a fun way to meet human and furry family members!
Use Zoom backgrounds
Something as simple as Zoom backgrounds can engage students in a fun way virtually. We have trainers who change their backgrounds and wait for students to notice, and we’ve even had Zoom background wars occur!
Ask people to change their names on Zoom
One good thing about our Virtual Classes is that our students can join from all parts of the country, and even from around the world! Asking students to change their name in the beginning of class to include location opens the door for conversations and connections.
Use Gallery View
The next best thing to standing in front of an in-person class is having Zoom’s gallery view. You can
Use Zoom Breakout Rooms
This is Braintrust’s number one positive feedback comment in our post-class surveys.
Embed your videos
We all know how finicky the Internet can be. Taking the few extra moments before class to embed videos into your Powerpoint will make for a seamless experience for you and your students.
Use a facilitator
Have. a facilitator with you in class to let students out of the waiting room, put students into breakout rooms, manage the virtual tools you’ll use, answer technical questions, and address any issues that pop up.
Limit the number of tools used
Virtual classes can be stressful to navigate for students. Don’t further overwhelm them with a number of different tools and websites to visit. We like to use MURAL in our classes.
Use two monitors
Having your presentation on one monitor and Zoom’s gallery view on another
Have backups for everything
Anything can go wrong in a virtual class. Make sure your students all have offline access to their work, give a copy of your presentation to your facilitator, and be prepared to quickly drive to a parking lot with Wifi (it’s happened to us before!).
Remember, we’re all in this together. The more fun you have, the happier your students will be!