1. Consider the length of the class.
For online classes we recommend frequent 1 or 1.5 hour classes. This is optimal for conversational and speaking activities. Much longer than this it can be hard to stay focused.
2. Choose the right platform.
We recommend the following:
#1. Zoom – Free, unlimited 1-1 meetings (40 min. limit on group meetings), you can record your class, connection is very good, and you can invite people without them having to make an account.
#2. Hangouts - Free, unlimited 1-1 and group meetings, connection is very good, and you can invite people without them having to make an account.
#3. Skype – Free, unlimited 1-1 and group meetings, connection is often not very good, and people must make an account and give you their user name in order to start a call.
#4. Facetime or WhatsApp call – Lack screen sharing.
3. Make sure you’re prepared.
a.Check your internet speed:https://www.speedtest.net/ Minimum bandwidth is 600kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down).
b.Find a quiet place and eliminate interruptions.
c.Use headphones and test your microphone beforehand.
d.Sign on on time.
4. Be patient & ask for clarification.
With online calls we sometimes have to change how we speak to avoid interrupting the other person. Plus the lack of visual cues can make listening comprehension more difficult. If you don’t understand, make sure to ask your teacher for clarification.
5. Come to class prepared.
Your teacher may assign pre-class work such as watching a video, reading an article, or submitting a writing assignment so that you can use the class time to discuss. Online classes are best used for conversation and speaking activities, so any reading or viewing is really best done beforehand. Make sure to do your homework so that you can get the most out of your class time with your teacher.
6. Ask your teacher to send you the notes.
With online classes I strongly recommend that teachers have a Doc open while sharing their screen so that he or she can use it as a white board and quickly make notes. This also allows the teacher to clarify if you don’t hear or understand something. Finally, at the end of the class you can ask your teacher to send you this document so you have notes from the class.
7. Connect with your teacher.
In this time of social isolation, many of us are missing human connection. Use your class as an opportunity to connect with your teacher and speak about your feelings during this time. Give your teacher feedback on your class and tell them what you’d like to focus on in future classes.