Best Practices for Synchronous Teaching

Sound & Video Quality (Remote Teaching)

  • To achieve the best sound quality an external microphone is recommended. If possible be in a quiet area away from extraneous noise and distractions.
  • For best video results, make sure that you are in a well lit room and frame yourself in the middle of the screen.
  • If you are not using a virtual background, try to ensure that your space is professional and free of distractions. Ensure that you are comfortable sharing and inviting students into your space.

Sound & Video Quality (In person teaching)

Chat Tool

  • The chat tool can be another way to offer an opportunity for students to engage in the synchronous session, especially for students who may not be comfortable speaking out in the large class. They may not be comfortable due to their current surroundings or feel comfortable speaking in front of others.
  • You should let the students know the guidelines, etiquette, expectations and purpose of the use of the chat tool during the synchronous session.
  • You may want to disable private conversations between students if you feel it is too distracting for students having side conversations.

Breakout Rooms

  • Provide opportunities for students to connect and network with other students and to have more in depth and meaningful discussions and reflection on synchronous content. 
  • Allows students who do not want to speak out in the large class an opportunity to express themselves and have their voice/opinion be heard in the smaller, intimate group.

Provide Instructions on how you want students to ask questions

  • Let your students know how you want them to communicate with you and other students during the synchronous session.

Limit use of Polling Feature

  • At this time (Summer 2021), the polling feature for Zoom is not fully compatible with screen readers as well as other accessibility challenges. If you must use the polling feature, make sure you ensure that all students are given the opportunity to participate using an alternate means.

Allow Renaming

  • Allow students to rename themselves to their preferred name. Students may either not want to use their formal name or their name maybe deprecated. 
  • If you are recording the session, it is important that you let students know you are going to be recording and let students protect themselves by renaming themselves before you start the recording.

Raise Hand to speak

  • Raise hand feature can be used to help or organize your synchronous session so students take turns or can be called on before speaking. Zoom is not intended for people to be speaking at the same time.

Identify yourself before speaking

  • If you are allowing students to speak during the large class lecture, ask students to say their name to identify themselves before speaking. It is difficult if not impossible to scroll through the list of participants to find out who is speaking or recognize someone's voice in large classes.  
  • This also is a good way for other students to get to know other students and to personalize the interactions between students.

Share presentation content

  • If at all possible, share your lecture slides and other lecture content before the synchronous session. This will allow students to review the material as part of their preparation for the session. 
  • This will also allow students to follow along during the session and for those who wish to use an alternate means to consume the content such as a printed hardcopy or if screensharing fails the students could still follow around with an audio lesson.

Record the meeting

  • You may wish to record your synchronous session for students to review and also for students who are unable to attend the session. 
  • Before recording the session, make sure you remind students each time that you are going to be recording.
  • Give students time to turn off their camera or rename themselves if they wish to protect their identity before you record.             
  • Remote Teaching: It is important also to consider students may be physically located in different time zones and may not be able to attend synchronously.
  • Face to Face Teaching: Considerations for accommodations for students unable to attend for legit reasons.