Schools are going online more often these days, and not just to make up for lost time during a world crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Educators and school managers alike are being asked to become creative with their teaching methods, which has led to the creation of the “online classroom” using applications such as Zoom, Skype, and Google hangouts.
When you are creating your online classroom there are some etiquette tips you should remember. Start by ensuring that the instant messaging or chat feature of your screen sharing or video calling application is turned off, so students cannot distract one another during the lesson. You could also have a strict policy of removing disruptive students from the online lesson, as you would in a physical classroom. And you should allow for a question and answer time after the teaching period.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, below we give some top tips for online classroom etiquette.
Clamp Down On Chatting
While it is useful to have a chat feature or IM feature on an application such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype, it can become distracting if your learners are constantly chatting to one another rather than paying attention to the lesson. You can remedy this by turning off the chat function during the lesson and turning it on once the lesson has ended. This way, you will have their full attention and can open up the floor for question and answer time. However, if there are questions that should be kept private, allow those students to use the chat function to message you directly.
Keep Names Simple
Your students may want to use their online nickname as their username for a group lesson or call, but this can become confusing if you are not sure who is who. Your students should use the names they use in the classroom to dispel any confusion, and you should also keep your name as you would during lessons. If parents will be helping their children during lessons, be sure they also have easy-to-remember usernames for the group. Students with the same name should use their name and surname as usernames.
Remember To Be Respectful
One important aspect of online learning that both teachers and students must remember is to be respectful. The classroom location may have changed but the attitude and values should not. Keep in mind the feelings and beliefs of those around you before you make a comment, and your students should remember this respect too. You can use some time to go over the rules before a lesson starts or create fun content that highlights respect and cooperation for your online class.
If you, as the teacher, will be the only one speaking during the lesson, or will be speaking for the majority of the lesson, you should ask your students to mute their microphones unless it is absolutely necessary for them to speak. This will stop the distraction of outside noises, such as dogs barking and children crying, and will allow your students to focus. For smaller children, allow them to use their microphones if they have questions but it is best to mute them for the entire lesson. Muting microphones might sound a bit strict, but limiting distractions can ensure a smooth lesson.
Allow Time Flexibility
Being on time for lessons is easy when students are in a physical school, but with online learning you should allow for certain flexibility, especially if parents are in attendance too. Some students might have slower internet and may only be online once their video chatting platform has connected, while others might have to wait for the home computer to be free before they can use it. You can send out mailers with different time slots for daily lessons so that each person can take part whenever they have the time.
Look At Your Language
In a physical classroom, it is easier for students to understand the meaning behind your words, but when communicating via email or even WhatsApp, a sentence can easily be misunderstood as being mean or sarcastic. Try to keep your language simple and clear so there can be no misunderstandings from those who will be reading it. Avoid using emoticons in official communication, as this can come across as unprofessional.
Embrace Online Learning
With the world changing and becoming so uncertain, it is important that you implement new rules and regulations. Start by limiting chatting during lessons, keeping usernames simple and easy to remember, and always maintaining respect among learners and educators. You should also allow for some time flexibility based on learners’ needs.
If you would like to implement online learning or need a website redesign for your school, speak to the Edumedia team today to find out more.