Synchronous on-line teaching

Please leave your tips about how to do “live” on-line teaching as comments below.

From Joe Pater:

Here are some general thoughts about videoconferencing to get us started. In my experience, relatively free discussion (as opposed to a lecture) is best done with every participant in front of their own screen. The problem with multi-modal discussions is that the people participating in-person have interactional cues that the people on-line do not, no matter how good the camera and microphone are that are capturing the in-person conversation. I had bad experiences trying to participate in faculty meetings from a distance, even with good technology, and have had good experiences using Zoom with one mic and screen per person for virtual grant meetings, including one with about 25 participants who were divided into breakout groups – it went off without a hitch.

If you are trying to capture an in-person group discussion, don’t use the laptop mic and camera – they are intended for close quarters. Get yourself a webcam made for this and use its built-in mic or some other external one. I have had good experiences with a Logitech model of which this is an update.

Zoom is far better than any alternative I’ve tried (UMass has a license: A plug-in ethernet connection is a good idea if possible, but not usually necessary. Turning off video can help an unstable connection for a participant that doesn’t need to be seen. Here’s a lot of helpful info on Zoom (see also “How to hide your messy room for a Zoom video conference“):

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