Now that you have been in and out of a few sessions and are comfortable with the software, the next step is to create an optimum space from which to teach. Things to consider are:
- A comfortable chair and desk with ample space for your keyboard and mouse as well as your notes for class.
- A good sized computer monitor, or possibly 2, to have more real-estate. You can teach online with a laptop and a smaller monitor, but save that for when get more experience and when you are travelling.
- Set up the room so the light is on your face vs. behind you. Whether it’s a desk lamp or an exterior window, orient yourself and your camera to prevent the halo effect on your video image.
- Think about what is behind you and in your camera view. Is there anything that you don’t want to be shown to your students.
- Make sure there is minimal background noise. Newer microphones and audio systems are getting better about filtering that out.
- Prevent physical distractions by closing the door and putting up some type of “Teaching Online, Do Not Disturb” sign.
- Turn off phone ringers; desk and cell phones
- Quick access to a clock so you can easily tell when class should be over.
- If you are planning on doing screen sharing, think about what is on your desktop, including your desktop background, any icons or open applications which should not be shown to your students. Don’t forget about your desktop notifications for new emails, chat messages, etc.
- Bottle of water, tissues and other personal items with which to take care of yourself.
- Develop a physical checklist of things to do before each session such as:
- Hang your “Do Not Disturb” sign
- Turn off your phone ringers
- Use the restroom
- Turn on the recording, if you record your class sessions
- Other checklist items will emerge as you begin this process
Set up your space, make a sign to put on your door and find a good place for your checklist.
What is most important for you in your optimum space? Some might say a large or multiple monitors, for others its ample desk space for your notes. Please leave a comment about what you could not live without in your optimal space.
In the next article I will be talking about how to modify your teaching material to switch to teaching online.