How to Enhance Live Classes
Having returned to their hometowns, students are in various time zones, so attending live classes may be extremely stressful as they struggle with time differences and finding a quiet place to work. Some of my friends who live in other countries have to wake up in the middle of the night to attend a live class that is taking place in a U.S. time zone.
To accommodate everyone, perhaps instructors could take a poll and find out which time zones their students are in. A recording of the class might be offered as an option for students who are having difficulty attending live classes.
It’s also difficult to focus when students are playing with the funny background options on Zoom or are surrounded by background noise. If professors can learn how to mute disruptive students and disable virtual backgrounds by next semester, this will greatly improve our learning experience.
However, it is not just students who are having issues. Professors who are used to using dry erase boards in classrooms are struggling to find ways to write when they teach live classes. One of my professors also has a hard time getting feedback to questions asked during her lectures because students are hesitant to speak up while on their computers. I have struggled with this myself — it’s more nerve-wracking to speak up during my online classes than if I were in a traditional classroom setting.
I think professors can help students feel more comfortable by encouraging participation from all students. For example, calling on students to answer questions rather than taking volunteers. I often feel nervous about speaking up when there are one or two classmates who answer all of the questions, so this option would alleviate that issue. Professors could also make students more comfortable by asking them to verbally confirm their attendance for each class. Even if a students simply states “present” it ensures all students say something, and that likely would take away some of the fear that comes from speaking up.
To Succeed in Remote Learning, Hard Work Pays Off
The main observation I have made about the shift to remote learning is this: How much effort a student puts into learning is reflected in their interactions with their professors. Their perseverance and patience shines through when it comes to learning how to use new technologies.
I am extremely grateful for the technology that allows us to further our education even while campus is closed. Although nothing will ever replace the traditional classroom experience, staff and faculty members will continue to search for the best technologies for online teaching.