4.1 Getting comfortable with the online classroom
Meet our online educators Dr Pauline Rooney from TU Dublin and Richard Bolger from the Open Education Unit (OEU) in DCU. Pauline and Richard explain how to prepare and use the online classroom to support student interaction.
When starting off, many educators and students may find the class atmosphere very different than the face to face environment. The online classroom can be daunting to begin with, many educators report that their first feeling in the online class is of isolation and wonder ‘is there anyone out there?’ This chapter will offer some suggestions for online educators to help overcome the initial feelings of isolation and the technical problems you can encounter, when starting to teach online. The key to success is trying out the technology in advance of the online class. Both you and your students need to be familiar with the technology. Schedule an introductory class where you can all try out the technology.
Familiarise yourself with the online classroom technology, and its features. Ask a colleague or a friend to join a test class and make sure you can use all the features, and that they work!
Make sure your mic, camera and all other technology features you will be using are working properly, prior to every class. Gremlins do exist. Get students to check their audio, camera and chat facilities as they log in. You can add this to the welcome message in the online class.
Prepare material in advance
Upload any document or slide you plan to use. Prepare a welcoming message in advance of the class for any early attendees. Log in 10 to 15 minutes prior to the class. You can be on mute but let the students know you are there if they want to check the technology.
During the class
Remind students to turn off their mics, to avoid feedback, during the class and to use the Raise the hand feature if they want to join in. Check the chat box and the raise the hands feature regularly. You can paste a reminder onto your slides or set a timer.
Record the class
Don’t forget to record the online class. Set a reminder on your welcome page and students may also help in this regard!