This week’s best practices for your online class meetings
By Katrine Wong, Chris Fulton, Lei Si Man, Garry Wong, and Miguel Costa
With online learning now being implemented at the University of Macau, committed teachers are holding classes online with UMMoodle and Zoom. This blog post features some of our colleagues’ tips and best practices. Let’s see what has worked well to support teaching and learning of different disciplines in an online environment.
Prof. Garry Wong (FHS)
In my experience, one way of supporting students in an online course is to arrange course resources in UMMoodle in a way that guides students through a class. For instance, in a typical class, I ask students to check-in online at the regularly scheduled time, e.g. 10:00 am, by completing an attendance activity. So, in UMMoodle, that attendance activity appears at the top of the section for the week. I will also label it “10-10:10 Attendance,” so students know when it needs to be completed.
Prof. Katrine Wong (CTLE/MLC/FAH)
This semester I teach The English Renaissance. We meet on Zoom twice a week. Share screen and chat are two functions in Zoom that very well complement our pre-class UMMoodle forum activities. The chat function in Zoom is particularly useful in my class for two reasons:
- Increased engagement — Students are more ready to work with chat interface. Even though they work individually in this set-up, they are more ready to type their views and talk about each other’s chat responses. The chat responses are visible to everyone and it facilitates peer learning and feedback.
- Increased efficiency — Students work faster! Tasks that typically take 15 minutes to finish in a physical classroom are completed within five minutes. My feeling is that our students find and utilise their ‘natural’ voice in a chat/text environment.
Dr. Lei Si Man (FED)
A couple of things I do with Zoom at the start of an online class help engage my students, build relationships and helps me take attendance. Two tips I would like to share at this time are:
- To engage students, I find that asking easy questions before class – in a Moodle discussion forum – or at the start of a Zoom meeting is essential. For example, I will check to see what students know about the main components of an online class.
- When hosting Zoom meetings, I share my screen to show students where in UMMoodle they can find course resources and activities. Also, I can share my screen in a Zoom meeting, show a dynamic QR code for attendance, and ask students to record their attendance by scanning that QR code.
Mr. Miguel Costa (FST)
My tip is to create two 40-minute Zoom meetings per class to facilitate students’ connection through UM Moodle. Two sessions can cover the regular time of a lecture and will generate two videos with file sizes small enough to be directly uploaded to UM Moodle without compressing or editing. This approach saves me time for other tasks. This is how my UMMoodle course site looks for the first week of online classes.
Dr. Chris Fulton (CTLE)
Having a steady connection to the Internet is essential for successful online Zoom meetings. It is recommended that we find a quiet place that has a strong, fast WiFi signal. For video conferences with many participants, I would advise you to connect your laptop to the Internet with a network cable. This can make your connection stable, helping your Zoom meetings run smoothly.
Another best practice is for online classes and consultations to follow the existing course schedule for this semester and post important messages and course resources on UMMoodle. This practice has been put in place by the English Language Centre, which has started supporting student learning by conducting classes online since 11 February.
Students who would like more information should pay close attention to their courses on UMMoodle. Video tutorials on how to use UMMoodle can be found at an ICTO page, A Distance Learning Quick Start Guide for Students.
Here is a list of resources to facilitate teaching online. In these resource pages, you will find different methods described, with supplementary step-by-step guides:
· CTLE: Getting Started With Online Classes
· CTLE: Five ways to make the most of UMMoodle
· CTLE: Can I conduct online classes with a basic Zoom account?
· ICTO: Quick Start to eLearning
· How To Use Zoom? 如何使用 Zoom?
For teachers and students –
ICTO Help Desk