Check Your Frame
Make sure your space is tidy and that the wall, or background, provides enough contrast for the viewer to see you clearly. Although we will be in or homes, we still have to keep up professional appearances. Not sure what will show in the frame? Take a selfie with PhotoBooth to see what viewers will see, or just turn on your camera before hosting a session to double-check what students will see.
Location, Location, Location
Chose a location in your home that does not have distractions or minimal background noise. Headsets are great for making sure you have even clear audio, both for yourself and your viewers.
Watch that Back-Lighting!
Turn your computer so that you’re side-lit or front-lit. Sitting with your back to a window or bright source of light will make everything in the foreground, which means you, dark.
Check the Sound Quality
Ambient sound can reduce the quality of your audio dramatically and impact the viewer’s ability to hear you significantly. To minimize the risk of that happening:
- Switch off all background noise - music, tv, etc will otherwise be transmitted through the microphone and interfere with your audio.
- Remind people in your vicinity that you are in a video conference and their voice and actions will be picked up by the microphone.
Begin with Clear Online Classroom Protocols
- Let students know the protocol for asking questions. Do you want them to interrupt you as you’re speaking (with a question or a raised hand) or will you have time at the end of the session for questions? Let them know.
- Go out of your way to give students an opportunity to present their views.
- Encourage students to mute their microphones and have their own course-related discussion, if applicable. Although some instructors don’t like this practice, it can help the students create a virtual group and support community.
- Small group discussion activities with a report-out time encourage students to discuss a topic and express their thoughts. Plus students get a break from passively watching if it is a presentation.
Maintain Good Eye Contact
Remember to try to keep a “face-to-face” feeling even if it is “screen-to-screen”. Look up, be engaged and try to keep students engaged. Just as in class, they should be present during your conference or lesson, not engaged in other activities, unless the lesson requires it.
VIDEO-CONFERENCING FROM HOME, IN SHORT
- Check your framing before video conferencing
- Have a tidy background
- Switch off all background audio
- Dress professionally
- Restrict possible distractions and interruptions - e.g. children, pets, visitors
- Prepare students with expectations for the session
- Move and gesture slowly and smoothly, checking that students are not experiencing lag or delays
- Maintain appropriate on-camera posture
- Speak in a strong, clear voice
- Sit with your back to a window or bright light
- Sit too far away or too close to the microphone/camera