Here are tips for live streaming your class sessions. They may be especially useful if you’re new to remote teaching and/or streaming, or if you’ve very recently moved your class to remote.

In general, we recommend Zoom for your virtual classroom. It has a white board, screen sharing, and other functions for real-time meetings. If you’re worried streaming from off campus won’t work for you, consider our suggestions for accommodating unique classroom setups.

Some students may not have adequate technology or Internet access to meet regularly via Zoom. Let your students know that if they can’t attend live, they can watch a recording later and email comments. We recommend planning optional synchronous sessions with regular office hours held via Zoom, email, phone, or whatever mode works best for students.

Suggested Practices

Run a practice meeting.

  • Practice using the Zoom controls. Take a look at this Zoom Cheat Sheet for a quick reference.
  • Check whether you’re clearly visible within your camera’s field of view.
  • Avoid sitting with your back to a strong light source, such as a window. If possible, place lighting in front of you and above/behind the computer screen.
  • Check your meeting plan and try any tools and resources you plan to use in the session.

Then, at the start of your first session with students, make sure everyone can hear and see you.

Set expectations for remote participation.

Let students know your expectations about:

  • Whether to chat their comments/questions or chime in verbally.
  • Using the “Raise Hand” button in the “Participants” section to alert you to a question.
  • Chatting with peers during a session.
  • Keeping their audio and video muted until it’s time to talk — along with why and when you would use your ability to mute or unmute them.

Give specific instructions for using Zoom tools.

For example:

  • “I will present some slides. Please wait until I ask for questions before speaking.”
  • “If you have a question, use the ‘raise hand’ button so everyone can get their questions answered.”
  • “Following my comments, we will discuss the course material for today. If you have a comment, please make a note in chat so we can give you the floor.”
  • “Please mute your microphone when not speaking — and mute your microphone and video whenever you are away from the computer.”

Communicate the session’s goals.

Post the goals and/or outline of the session so students can stay on track.

  • Begin each session by briefly going over the agenda. You can do this by screen sharing a document or slide on your desktop.
  • Consider giving a quick Zoom Poll at the beginning of the session to gauge how students are doing or to ask a few low-risk questions about the topic of the day.

Structure your presentations.

  • If you plan to give a presentation, build in plenty of time for students to ask questions or respond.
  • Prepare students during an initial orientation or introductions. For example, during introductions students can practice muting, unmuting and using the “raise hand” function.

Wrap up your session.

As you might in a campus classroom, summarize the key points of the session and prepare students for what to do before the next session, leaving time for questions. We strongly recommend including this information in writing. It will assist remote students and save you time in answering questions.

Suggestions for Engaging Students

Consider polling.

Before the session, you might create a quick Google Form survey and send it to students via email with up to three questions about students’ experiences relevant to the topic, or their reaction to a portion of the reading. For example:

  • “What daily transportation challenges most impact you?”
  • “What do your readings suggest are the three most important research areas in transportation and supply logistics?”
  • “What supply logistic management issues do you see as most relevant to the Covid-19 situation?”

During the session, you can use Zoom Polling.

Incorporate students’ responses.

Students are often very interested in and learn much from how others respond. You can summarize, either in writing or verbally, what you learned from student polls. If possible, you might incorporate students’ responses as you move through related topics in the session.

If possible, share visuals.

Slides, websites, graphics or brief videos can illustrate and underscore the goals of your session, and can provide a springboard for discussion with students. Whenever possible, give students access to the files you’ll use during your remote session so they can review and reference as needed. You can share these before the session — or during, using Zoom’s Screen Share feature.

Try to keep it active.

You can engage students during live remote sessions by involving them in:

  • Testing or applying ideas
  • Generating examples
  • Reflecting on course activities

OAI’s Active Remote Learning Kit has more strategies for involving students in live streaming sessions.

Pro Tips

We’re all learning to work remotely. OAI staff have developed some tips to ease common challenges in streaming from home.

  • If you can, use a wired connection (not Wi-Fi) to your modem or router. If you can’t, set up your workspace close to it.
  • Ask others in your location to take a break from Internet use, or at least from Internet gaming, to ease the system load during your session.
  • Restart your computer before the session. This will clear the memory and help the computer run Zoom more efficiently.
  • Do a test session to try your camera, microphone, and any features you want to use.
  • If you experience glitches during the session, ask yourself, “How much will this impact class?” Little things may not be worth the worry.
  • “Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?” It’s surprising how often refreshing the page/stopping and restarting the screenshare/leaving and re-entering the meeting will fix things.
  • “Have you tried unplugging and plugging it back in?” Likewise, you can often clear up an errant headphone connection or video signal by reseating the cable!

If glitches happen…

You and your students are embarking on a new experience together, and they will be forgiving. Develop a backup plan just in case things go awry. For example, you could:

  • Temporarily phone into your class until you restart your computer and get back on Wi-Fi.
  • Move to a backup discussion tool if something in Zoom does not work.

Student feedback data shows that audio is key to student understanding and participation. Audio backup is a must.

Most of all, be kind to yourself! Your first face-to-face teaching session probably wasn’t perfect either.