Virtual classrooms can be an effective, alternative to traditional classroom training or tutoring, but they require the same strategizing and planning as any other technique. Virtual classrooms via Google Hangouts, WebEx, Adobe Connect, etc have become very popular for teachers, tutors and educators. The benefits of virtual classrooms include
- Having the same class dynamics (group activities, online exams, raising hands feature) as a traditional classroom
- Avoiding the costs, hassles and time commitments associated with travel
- Relatively easier to manage a larger group of students through polling, survey and exams to get instant feedback
To use virtual classroom successfully, tutors and educators alike must strategize, plan and use specific skills. Let's look at the first three tips for becoming a virtual classrooms superstar:
1. Having a goal for a virtual classroom implementation
There are many platforms that you can use for virtual classroom, but before you choose and implement a specific platform, think through and answer the following questions:
- What are my reasons of using virtual classroom?
- Will virtual classrooms replace traditional classroom tutoring or training?
- What learning results are expected?
- Do my students understand why virtual classrooms are being used?
2. Setting student expectations
Virtual classrooms is not just a bunch of slides and someone talking through it. When students don't understand of what virtual classroom is and what it isn't, they'll likely think it's a passive learning experience such as a webinar. See Figure 1 below to find out the differences between webinar and virtual classroom. Therefore, it is important to communicate the learning objectives and material to be covered to your students in advance.
Figure 1: Differences between webinar (passive learning) and virtual classroom
3. Setting an appropriate virtual classroom learning environment
Every student should have his or her own computer and phone line to join the virtual classroom. This allows the student to focus on the screen and participate in any virtual activities such as breakout rooms , survey or exams. It is our job to help the student anticipate and manage potential distractions during the virtual session.
Hope these three pointers help. I'll be sharing three more tips tomorrow, so stay tuned! Feel free to leave comments, share, or +1. Thanks.