Best practices for videoconferences
Many of you may be familiar with these, but it's likely that your students aren't. You can help bring them up to speed by mentioning some of these at the beginning of the first few videoconference classes.
- Mute your microphone when you're not speaking, to limit background noise and reduce echoes.
- Use headphones if you have them, for the same reason.
- Stay with the meeting. Don't go off doing other things on your computer, looking at your phone, etc. That's just as rude in a virtual meeting as it would be in person, and more obvious.
- Check to see if anyone needs accommodations. Participants might need different accommodations in a virtual meeting than they would face to face.
- Share presentations ahead of time, so people can take notes on what you say rather than trying to copy down your slides.
- Describe images if you have anybody present either with visual impairments or without a video feed. Even the folks who can see your image may benefit from hearing what you think is important in it.
- Take questions both verbally and from the chat. It really is harder to get a word in edgewise in a videoconference.
- Explicitly state how students can contribute during the meeting. Some may not realize the chat function is even there until you mention it.
- Make sure any resources or URL's mentioned are shared with the class. Taking down a long and involved URL is just too error-prone.
Which system should I use?
Moodle has no built-in solution for video conferencing (virtual classroom). Moodle does, however, integrate with two such solutions that we have access to: Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom. (You can, of course, use another solution such as Facebook Live if you wish, but I can't help you much with that.)
In general, which solution to use is governed by the following questions:
- Will my meeting fit within 40 minutes?
- Do I need a feature that Hangouts Meet doesn't have but Zoom
does? These are:
- Shared whiteboard
- Ability to record your meeting (normally: from March 3-July 1, 2020, Google is offering this feature for free)
If your answer to either question is
yes, I recommend
you use Zoom. Otherwise, you should use Hangouts Meet.