Best Practices & Tips for Instructors Using Classroom Technology

Instructors:

Learn How to Use the Teacher Workstation Technology

Presenting & Recording Lectures

  • Recording lectures is recommended for learners who would like to review course content asynchronously, and for those who missed the lecture for whatever reason, including experiencing technical issues during the scheduled class.
  • Recording videos at standard definition (480p or lower), rather than high definition can help limit bandwidth consumption for students.
  • Captioning lectures is recommended to meet students’ access needs.
  • Inform your in-person class participants in advance that you are recording and/or streaming for remote users and recommend that they keep background noise at a minimum as the microphones can be sensitive.
  • Pace, enunciation, and voice projection are all important factors when determining if remote learners can hear you. It may be useful to ask if the audio is clear for remote learners prior to beginning a lecture.

Technology Usage

  • Create consistency by minimizing the number of technologies (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Collaborate Ultra), students will need to learn to participate in the class. This way, they can focus on learning the content.
  • Stick to platforms provided by the university. Platforms like GroupMe and WhatsApp do not have university data security measures in place.
  • In addition to your camera feed, consider sharing videos (e.g., YouTube) through a link that students can watch asynchronously. While screen share features exist in most collaboration platforms, they are not intended for video sharing and can sometimes cause stuttering.
  • Limit the number of images in PowerPoint presentations and other documents to reduce the download size for remote learners.

Cameras and Microphones

  • Most platforms like Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra have indicators to let you know when your camera or microphone are turned on and include a preview window that will allow you to test them before beginning.
  • Keep an eye on these icons when you join or leave a session to make sure you know if you are being streamed or recorded.
  • The boundary microphones placed in many of VSU classrooms are always on as indicated by a blue light but are not active unless you are in a program that would utilize audio input.
  • Check to make sure the lighting, distance from the camera, and angle are correct before you begin.
  • Located on top of the instructor's all-in-one computer is a built-in, pop-up camera (press down to display). You will need to physically move the computer monitor to angle the camera to desired location.

Managing the Technology while Teaching

  • If applicable, ask a teaching assistant or student volunteers facilitate in monitoring the chat box, taking notes, answering questions both about the content and the technology,  and notifying you when someone has their digital hand raised.
  • If no assistance is available, consider whether you want to use the raise hand or chat feature during lecture as you'll need to keep a look out. Alternatively, consider having students mute their microphones but allow for them to unmute at will and at appropriate times to ask questions or make comments.
  • We recommend to clearly identify how you will communicate with learners (VSU email, BlazeVIEW mail, etc.) and list both this and technology requirements in your syllabus.