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How to teach online

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How to teach online: Would you like to organize an online course to disseminate your knowledge on a certain topic? Bravo, you had a really good idea! Know that there are various platforms you can rely on, which can be used precisely to hold lessons at a distance: if you are interested in this (and I think so!), In this tutorial I will be able to illustrate how some of them work. .

But it doesn’t stop there! In addition to explaining how to take lessons online with some of the main conference call platforms on the square, in the course of this guide I will also provide you with some practical “tips” on how to carry out a good remote lesson that – I hope – you will appreciate and find useful. to achieve your goal.

So, are you ready to get started? Yup? Fantastic! Strength and courage: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, implement the instructions I will give you. There is nothing left for me to do, but wish you happy reading and wish you a big good luck for everything!

Index

How to take an online class on Classroom

I begin this discussion on how online lessons work by talking to you about Classroom , the Google platform for online teaching that greatly facilitates the exchange of documents and information between teachers and students, as well as communication between them.

Before seeing how to use this platform from mobile and computer, I remind you that to use it you need to log in with a Google account. As for teachers who work with an educational institution, however, I remind you that the school must be enrolled in G Suite for Education.

Smartphone e tablet

If you want to act as a smartphone and tablet , using the Google Classroom app , install and start it on your Android or iOS / iPadOS device . Then press the Start button and, when requested, log in with the credentials of your Google account or the one associated with G Suite for Edication (if you are a teacher associated with a school).

Once logged in, tap the (+) button at the top right and, to create your first course, select the Create course item from the opened menu. Subsequently, fill out the form displayed on the screen, indicating in the appropriate fields the name of the course , the section , the room , the subject , etc. and presses the Create button (top right). Once the course has been created, press the wheel icon (top right) and, in the screen that opens, take note of the course code : you will need to communicate it to your students so that they can take part in it.

By tapping on the text field Share with the course (if you do not see it, select the Stream tab located at the bottom left), you can write a message to be fixed in the bulletin board: after typing it, possibly attach a file to it using the icon of the paperclip (top right) and, when you are ready to do so, tap on the paper airplane icon at the top right to publish it.

One of the main functions of Classroom is the one related to assigning tasks and verifications. To proceed with the creation of this type of content, press the Course Work button located at the bottom center, tap the (+) button at the bottom right and decide the type of content you want to create (eg Assignment ). Then fill out the form that appeared on the screen, providing the title , description , points , deadline , topic , etc. and publish the type of content you have chosen to create by clicking on the paper airplane icon located at the top right.

To invite your students to take part in a course, tap the People button (bottom right), press the + icon (on the right of the Students item ) and provide the email addresses of the students to invite . Then select the Invite item (top right), in order to forward the invitation.

For more information on how to use Google Classroom, please consult the guide that I have dedicated entirely to the topic: it will come in handy.

pc

Classroom PC

If you find it more convenient to use the PC version of Classroom, go to its main page , click on the Go to Classroom button and log in to your teacher-enabled Google account or log in with the G Suite for Education account you have been provided by the school you work for.

After logging in, click on the Continue button , click on the (+) button at the top right, select the Create course item , check the box I have read and understood the above warning and I declare that Don’t use Classroom at a school with students (if you don’t have a G Suite for Education account and use Classroom on your own) and click the Continue button .

Now, fill in the form that is shown on the screen providing the name of the course , section , subject , etc. and press the Create button . On the main page of the newly created course, you will find the course code indicated immediately after the name of the course (at the top): by communicating it to your students, they will be able to access more easily. If you want, you can also customize the page’s theme and cover photo by clicking on the Select theme and Upload photo links located on the right.

To publish content in the course, you can act from the Stream tab , selected by default. Click on the link Share something with the course and write the message you want to post on the bulletin board. Subsequently, decide whether to make it visible to all students or only to some of them (using the menu on the right) and possibly insert an attachment by clicking on the Add button . When you are ready to do so, then click on the Publish button , to publish everything.

Publish content to Classroom

Among the most important functions of Classroom is the one that allows you to assign assignments and tests to students . To use it, click on the Course Work tab , then press the (+) Create button ( top left) and select the type of work to assign to your students (eg Assignment , Quiz assignment , Question , Material , etc. ).

Subsequently, fill in the open form and provide all the details of the test (e.g. title , instructions , validity points , expiration , etc.). Once the test has been created, click on the Assign / Ask button (top right), so as to assign the task, or press the (▾) located next to the button in question, to program it or save it as a draft.

Publish content on Classroom PC

To invite students to take part in the course, click on the People tab (top right), click on the little man icon with the + (corresponding to the word Students ) and provide the email addresses of the students to invite to the appropriate text field. Then send the invitation by clicking on the Invite item (bottom right in the opened box), and that’s it.

For more information and details on how to use Google Classroom, I refer you to reading the guide that I have dedicated entirely to the subject. I’m sure it will come in handy.

How to take lessons online with Skype

Now let’s see how to make a video lesson with Skype , the Microsoft home application through which it is possible to start videoconferences with a maximum number of 50 participants.

Smartphone e tablet

Skype

If your intention is to do a video lesson with Skype using your smartphone and tablet , you need to download the Skype app on your Android or iOS / iPadOS device and log in to your Microsoft account. Then tap on the Chat or Calls item, in the menu at the bottom, press the camera icon and, in the Meeting screen , press the Continue button .

At this point, indicate the name of the videoconference you are creating (eg Video lesson n. X of course y ) using the text field What this meeting is about and press the Copy link button , in order to copy the videoconference link and send it “manually” to all students who will have to take part. Otherwise, select the Share item and send the link in question via messaging app (eg WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, etc.), email or other means.

Regardless of the choice made, when you are ready to start the video lesson, tap the Start call button , make sure that the levers next to the camera and microphone icons are moved to ON (otherwise move them yourself, so as to activate the camera and microphone of the device in use), press the Start call button again and you’re done.

Once the video lesson has started, if you deem it appropriate, you can share the screen with your students using the Share screen button at the bottom right and record the lesson using the Start recording button located at the bottom left.

For more information on how to make a video conference with Skype and how to use Skype, I refer you to the in-depth readings that I have just linked to you.

pc

Skype PC

If you want to use Skype from your PC , however, know that you have two possibilities: use the Web version of the service (running on Chrome and Edge even without registration, through the use of guest accounts that can be used for 24 hours) or use the classic desktop client of Skype . For this tutorial I have chosen to use the latter, as I think it is more suitable for the operation you need to carry out, so download it on your computer, if you have not already done so, following what was said in my in-depth analysis dedicated to the topic.

After starting Skype and logging into your Microsoft account, select the Chat or Calls tab , click on the Meeting button on the left sidebar and define the purpose of the meeting (eg Video lesson n. X of course y ), by writing it in the text field located under the heading What this meeting is about .

Subsequently, you must send the link to the students who will take part in the video lesson: you can do so by selecting the Copy link options to copy it to the clipboard of the computer and maybe paste it in a group chat or forward it via email using the E-mail , Mail button. Outlook and Gmail .

To start the video lesson, then click on the Start call button and move the levers located in correspondence with the camera and microphone symbols to ON , so as to activate the webcam and the computer microphone. Finally, confirm the operation by clicking the Start Call button again .

During the video lesson, if the need arises, you can share the screen with your students using the Share screen option located at the bottom right and record the video call using the Start recording button located at the bottom left.

To learn more, I leave you to my guides on how to make a video conference with Skype and how to use Skype. These readings will surely be useful to you.

How to make online lessons with Zoom

Another useful platform for creating video lessons is Zoom , which allows you to start 40-minute video conferences with 100 participants for free. To break down the time limit imposed in the free version of Zoom, you need to subscribe to one of the available subscription plans, starting from 13.99 euros / month .

Smartphone e tablet

Zoom mobile

To use Zoom on smartphones and tablets , after installing and starting the official app of the official service for Android or iOS / iPadOS , press the Sign Up item located at the bottom left and register using a valid email address using the instructions you see at screen (in case of difficulty, you can help you like the directions I gave you in this other guide).

Once registration is complete, tap the orange New Meeting button at the top left, move the switch located near the Video On item to ON and press the Start a Meeting button . In case you haven’t done so yet, remember to grant Zoom permission to access the camera and microphone of your device.

Subsequently, to invite your students to the video lesson, tap the Participants button (if you do not see it, tap an “empty” point on the screen) and, in the opened menu, press the Invite button located at the bottom. Then choose one of the invitation methods among those available (eg Gmail , Outlook , etc.) or copy the conference link via the Copy URL button , and send it using a messaging app or another method that suits you. To accept conference participants, tap the Admit button that appears on the screen.

Once the conference has started, if necessary, you can activate or deactivate your microphone using the Mute / Unmute button (bottom left) and activate or deactivate the camera using the Stop Video / Start Video button (bottom left). To share the screen, images and other content, however, you can use the Share button (below). To close the conference, then, you can press on the End item (finally confirming the operation with the words End Meeting ).

For more information on how to use Zoom, instead, I suggest you take a look at the instructions contained in the tutorial I just linked to you.

pc

Zoom

To use Zoom on PC , after installing and starting its official client for Windows / macOS , click on the Sign In button , click on the Sign Up Free button and register with your email (if you encounter problems, read the instructions that you I gave in this other guide, to solve them).

After registering and logging into your Zoom account, click on the Continue button , click on the orange New Meeting button located at the top left and grant the software access to the webcam and microphone of your PC, if you have not already done so . Afterward, click the Join With Computer Audio button .

Now that the videoconference has actually started, you can send your students the link to it so they can take part in the lesson. Press, therefore, on the Participants button (below) and, in the window that appears on the right, click on the Invite button and on the Email tab (top right), so as to send the invitation via email or, if you prefer, click on the Copy URL button located at the bottom left and send the link by an alternative method (for example a messaging platform).

When your students enter the room you have created, remember to click on the Admit button located in correspondence with their name (in the Participants window located on the right), so as to let them enter. This operation must be done for all students who want to enter.

Once the conference has started, you can use the buttons located at the bottom to activate / deactivate the microphone ( Mute / Unmute ), activate / deactivate the webcam ( Stop Video / Start Video ) and share the screen ( Share ). At the end of the lesson, to close the videoconference, click on the End item and confirm the operation by clicking on the End Meeting for All button in the opened box.

Know that Zoom is also available in a Web version, working only on Chrome (by connecting to its main page ), and as a free add-on for Chrome and Firefox browsers . More info here.

Tips for taking an online lesson

Online lessons

I conclude this article with some practical tips to make an online lesson that is effective and pleasant to follow. I am sure that by applying them you will be able to bring out the best in your students.

  • Define a lineup of the video lesson – this will be useful to avoid wandering unnecessarily and to help your students follow the thread of the conversation. If you are straightforward in your explanations, they will appreciate you more. In the lineup, also enter any questions, breaks and potential “dead” times (perhaps due to your or your students’ technical problems).
  • Prepare the location – if your background is cluttered or unsuitable for the activity you are doing, this could distract the participants of the video class. Therefore, try to find a corner of the house or office that does not distract your students: the ideal would be to have a wall of a neutral color or, in the absence of it, a sheet of uniform and soft color, which you can find in the gift shops or online stores, such as Amazon.
  • Buy the right equipment – having a good webcam and a performing microphone will allow you to have good video and audio quality, which is essential for the success of your video lesson. If you don’t have a good webcam and microphone, know that you can buy these devices (even at affordable prices) in electronics stores and online (e.g. on Amazon).
  • Look after your appearance – this will affect not only how your students think about you, but how you present your content as well. By taking care of your appearance, dressing and styling as if you were going to give a “live” lesson, you will have more confidence in yourself and this will positively affect the way you present the contents.
  • Take into account any technical problems – prepare a “plan B” should there be any technical hitches, perhaps by preparing an emergency connection (for example by using your mobile operator’s data plan in tethering) if the fixed connection should fail.