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Virtual Class Prep

On this page you will find helpful instructional videos and information to aid in your virtual classroom experience. This information will help you to initially setting up your ZOOM account, set your profile and other helpful tips to enhance your online classroom skills. If you currently do not have ZOOM already installed you can use the link provided below for desktop applications and mobile applications

ZOOM download link for desktop and mobile:

During an Online Class Session

  • Log in early

  • Your camera must be on during class.

  • Your name must be in the on screen ZOOM name holder. 

    Make sure you have your email and password associated with your zoom account handy for easy login. Have the link to your classes meeting space saved somewhere easy to retrieve and plan to log in at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. This is particularly important for your first meeting and for any subsequent meetings where you plan to log in from a new location or with a new device. Allow time for troubleshooting should it become difficult to connect. This also allows you to meet, greet and share with your fellow students before class begins. During your class your camera must be on for the entire duration of your class, this counts towards your attendance and class participation. Please have you name in the name holder in the bottom left hand corner of your ZOOM screen, this will allow your instructor to identify students by name.

  • Adjust your settings.

    Take a moment to make sure that you've muted your microphone and camera. Depending on how each session is set up, you may need to do this every time, or it may be the default when you log in. You can also use the web conferencing platform's tools to test your mic and video before the session gets started to ensure you are ready when the class begins.

  • Avoid interruptions and distractions.

    It can be all too easy to wander off, physically or mentally from an online meeting. Stay focused on the session by avoiding things like eating, checking your email, or working on household tasks when you are logged in. If you wouldn't do it in your physical classroom, avoid doing it online, too. Be an active participant in these live sessions.

  • When using your camera.

    Every student is required to have their camera on for attendance and class participation during the live session. Find a good location within your house, and consider who will be around during your online class. (i.e. children, etc.)

​​After an Online Class Session

  • How did it go?

    As you log out of each session, take just a few minutes to assess what worked and what didn't. Identify ways in which you might make the next session even better. This could happen in a number of ways from being more prepared for the topic of discussion to improving your internet connection more on that below. Remember that there is a learning curve to online classes and both you and your instructors are developing skills as you go.

  • Improve your internet connection.

    Web conferencing systems require a lot of bandwidth to run smoothly, but there are a few things you can try if you already know you're dealing with slow speeds. First, coordinate with roommates or family to let them know when and for how long you need to be in a live session. Limiting other streaming efforts (e.g., music, movies, gaming) that may be going on during this time will help improve your experience. Check with your internet service provider to see what options you may have for increasing your speeds, even temporarily, while your courses are online.

  • Set up your profile.

    Will you be using the same system again and possibly for the rest of the semester? You may be able to set up your own account profile with details such as changing how your name appears and adding a photo. These can be small, but helpful ways to connect with your instructor and classmates online.

Overall, it is important to give yourself, and your instructors, some time to figure out how this is all going to work. Many of your instructors will explore ways to lead live meetings more effectively through different types of activities and interactions. You should explore the possibilities and provide feedback when you can to help improve the process.

As you finish your Fall semester courses online, your instructors and the Institute are thinking about the future. What will your Spring and Fall classes be like? Predictions vary, but many anticipate a gradual transition back to the classroom, perhaps through an experience that includes both online and classroom requirements.

In the meantime, you can expect virtual learning to continue through courses that include online meetings, as well other strategies beyond live video. While we don't know now what will happen, or how long the current switch from class to online learning will last, we can all get a little better at connecting at a distance.

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