Posts tagged distance learning

Online Learning Best Practices for Students

While teachers are scrambling to get remote classes up and running in the wake of coronavirus, your students are facing work-at-home challenges too. Once your staff is prepared to teach classes online, you can help your students be ready for online learning as well.

Pass on these best practices to teachers to share with their students. Use our social buttons at the end of the article to easily share these distance learning best practices for students via social or email.

Find a quiet place for online classes

Try to find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Ensure you have good lighting and wear headphones to help you focus on the online session.

Share your virtual class schedule

Speaking of quiet areas, work out a schedule with your family or roommates for class time. Young children may be home from school, and many parents are working remotely from the house too. Limit distractions as much as possible by planning your class time with everyone at home.

You may be sharing internet bandwidth as well. Let your housemates know when you need to attend class online. Ask others to limit streaming apps and large downloads while you’re attending class. It’s a tough ask while we’re all working and studying from home — we know!

Test your system

When you’re invited to an online session, the email usually includes a link to test your computer, tablet, or phone to ensure the video conferencing solution will work. Don’t forget to check your device the day before class, so you’ll have time to address any technical issues. It’s helpful to ensure you can log on to sessions using a mobile data connection, in case your Internet service is slow or interrupted.

Also, most video conferencing systems have chat and Q&A options. Ask your class leader ahead of time which option to use to submit questions and comments. Look for more information from your school or watch instructional videos like this one from Zoom.

Also, if you use any online accessibility tools for visual or hearing impairments, test that those work with your online class platform too. Ask your teacher to set up a test session if needed.

Complete assignments and download materials before class

Get familiar with the material and complete any assigned reading so you can follow along during the lesson and ask questions. Let your teacher know if you had any issues accessing materials.

Mute your cell phone during class

Turn off your ringer and vibrate function to avoid the temptation to pick up your mobile phone. Remember to pause all text and app notifications to limit distractions. Better yet, turn your phone off unless you’re using it to attend class.

Mute the mic on your device

Mute your device microphone when not speaking during a video conferencing class. Muting the mic will limit the noise others will hear. Make sure you know how to mute your microphone before class begins.

Remember it’s a real class

Keep in mind this is a real class, and you will be graded. Pay attention to the lectures, and do your assignments. Finally, deadlines are still deadlines. Complete your work on time and respect your fellow students’ and educators’ time during online classes.

Check out these additional Top Tips For Student Success in Online Courses shared by Nova Southeastern University.

The AVI-SPL team is ready to help you

We hope your students put these online learning best practices to effective use. The AVI-SPL team is here to help if you need assistance setting up your distance learning technology. Contact us now or call your local AVI-SPL office.

Online Learning Best Practices for Educators

At AVI-SPL, we understand that the coronavirus outbreak is stressing your online learning systems, administrators, educators, and students. The educational system changed in a heartbeat. We’re here to help you fulfill your goal of delivering quality education to all students in these uncertain times.

Some educators may teach occasional online classes, while others are completely unfamiliar with teaching remotely. You can help make the transition to full-time remote teaching and learning easier by sharing our online learning best practices with your teachers. You’ll find our social share buttons at the end of the article.

Get to know your distance learning tech

It’s helpful to do a trial session before you deliver a live online class. Your organization may use a Learning Management System (LMS) or video conferencing platform to provide virtual classes. To get to know your system, rehearse a short session and record it. That way, you’ll be familiar with the tools you’ll need to deliver your class.

Test how to switch from the camera to sharing tools like screen sharing and interactive whiteboards. Here are some resources to get started with common platforms:

Get comfortable teaching higher ed classes online

If you’re new to teaching online classes, take time to get comfortable in front of the camera. Rehearse a short session and record it. Watching the recording can help you gauge the best distance to stand from the camera. Aim to get a “medium close-up” shot that shows you from the waist up.

You’ll also be able to tell if you have adequate lighting. You may need to move around the room, close shades, or bring an extra lamp into the space. Avoid standing in front of windows with bright light behind you, or you’ll show up in silhouette. If you’re at home, be mindful of what’s showing in the video behind you. Move any personal items such as family photos that you prefer not to share.

Consider that the camera represents your remote students. Make occasional eye contact with your students by looking at the camera while you’re speaking.

Keep remote college students engaged with video

Keep remote students engaged by breaking up distance learning sessions by sharing video. If your organization does not have enough video to use, check into free resources.  In response to coronavirus, TEDEd has launched TEDx@home, a daily newsletter that offers lessons for all ages, including university-level lessons with video. TedEd also provides online videos grouped into themes, like this video package on visualizing data.

Don’t forget YouTube can be a video resource too. A few channels with educational content to check out include National Geographic and NASA.

Ensure online lessons are accessible

Students with impaired vision or hearing may have tools that make working online easier for them. You can also help by designing online class materials that are accessible to everyone.

  • Verify that attendees can hear the sound in any videos that you play online. If closed captions are available, turn them on.
  • If you’re using PowerPoint slides, use the accessibility checker under the Review menu on the ribbon.
  • Provide handouts in formats that are compatible with screen readers. Microsoft Word files with text should not be a problem. Machines can read PDFs if they are created with accessibility in mind. Adobe offers a tool to create PDFs and verify accessibility.

Connect with students before, during, and after class

To help your students stay connected and prepared for class, send out session topics the week prior. Include information on how to log on to class sessions. Ensure students know where and how to get class materials like downloads and videos. Provide passwords to access materials if needed.

For live classes, remind students how to submit questions during the conference.  Take time to answer your students to help keep them engaged with your online class. During the class, have an assistant or student volunteer keep an eye on chat and Q&A windows if possible. That way, you can focus on delivering the lecture without missing any questions.

After class, follow up with an email asking for feedback on the session. Ask if everyone was able to connect to the video conference and follow along. Since students can’t see you in person, hold virtual office hours too. Try a tool like Calendly to allow students to make their own appointments during available time slots.

We hope your teachers find these distance learning best practices useful in delivering quality online education. Also, if you need to build or upgrade your online learning technology, your organization may qualify to shop for solutions using our national procurement contacts. Watch the video for more info.

AVI-SPL is here to help

If you have questions, we’re here to help. For assistance with upgrading up your distance learning technology, contact us now or call your local AVI-SPL office.

Connecting Students and Lowering Costs With VTC

A story in the October issue of THE Journal focused on education in rural schools, with a look at schools on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Kodiak Island is approximately 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, separated from the mainland by the Shelikof Strait. Seven out of the 15 schools are accessible only by air or boat. Each school has two teachers. During my tenure with SMART, I recall one of our education consultants, Jaimie Ashton,  telling the story about flying in a two-seater airplane to get to one of these schools for a professional development session, and having to sleep in the school’s locker facility!

No matter where they are, all children in the United States should have equal access to a quality education, and the Kodiak Island district is using distance learning technology through video conferencing (VTC) to reach that goal.  According to the October 2011 issue of THE Journal, “The use of distance learning technology has turned around once-struggling schools by not only enabling students to learn from better-qualified instructors, but also by expanding the breadth of content that can be offered.” Students are able to take Pre-Calculus,  participate in science labs in grades 3 through 8, Advanced Comp, Literature and Music.

AVI-SPL has the solutions to support distance learning through VTC for not only rural districts, but all districts that need to provide specialized classes to meet federal requirements. For example most, schools cannot afford to employ a highly qualified teacher for a limited number of students who need to take AP Calculus, Mandarin languages, or other specialized courses.  However, VTC can bring together several students throughout the district (or region, nation or world!) with one teacher!

Enhance your classroom education with distance learning technology implemented and supported by AVI-SPL. Speak to one of our experts at 1-800-282-6733 or send an email to sales@avispl.com, and we’ll show you how we can improve your learning environment.

The Power of Video-Based Communications

Distance LearningE-learning tools that facilitate synchronous and asynchronous access to information have opened the classroom to a world of dynamic instruction and learning. In “The Power of Video-Based Communications,” you’ll discover that blended learning – combining face-to-face instruction with on-demand access to information – has been shown to exceed the results of the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. The success of blended learning approaches provide a compelling reason for schools to equip their classrooms with the latest video-based technologies. Click here to download this tech briefing paper. »

Transform Your Classroom

AVI-SPL designs, installs and supports dynamic classroom environments that support video-based technologies like distance learning. Give us a call at 800-282-6733 or fill out our brief needs analysis form and one of our experts will quickly be in touch.

FAU Goes Green: Transforming Higher Ed Presentation Technology with LEED

Based in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) College of Engineering & Computer Science is committed to sustainability. The college’s 97,000 square foot structure, opened in 2010, infuses the university’s “green” principles, and leads the way as the first academic building in the State of Florida designed and built to LEED Platinum standards.

“In working with AVI-SPL, we initially chose the building’s technology because we were striving for the USGBC LEED platinum level certification,” says Brenda Coto, managing director of technology and innovation, FAU. “What we ultimately found is that we were able to change the way that professors teach, as well as change the way students are learning.” Technology integrated by AVI-SPL includes Tandberg video conferencing, Crestron DigitalMedia, the SMART Sympodium, Mitsubishi LaserVue’s for energy savings and more.

Interested in Upgrading Your School?

Contact an AVI-SPL representative by calling 800-282-6733, or click here to request a quote!