You can meet with online students through Zoom video. Some institutions provide Zoom accounts to their faculty as part of their IT infrastructure. If an account is not provided by your school, you can create a free Zoom account.
Zoom meetings are a great way to build teaching presence and social presence. Through live video, students can see you, trust you, and become secure. Positive student-teacher relationships are particularly valuable online, where it is difficult to connect. Similarly, video meetings let you get to know your students. This connection will help you stay motivated throughout your teaching.
Although live video calls might not be standard in your online course, live meetings can be offered as an option to support students. And Zoom calls can be recorded, with captions added for diverse learners.
For a helpful array of tools that will support your online Zoom meetings, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/docs/en-us/covid19.html.
Zoom provides features to help you connect with students in a secure and effective way. Visit this link to learn about recent updates.
As an educator, you might be concerned about security, privacy, and managing the Zoom room. Each of these areas is covered in an educator guide. This guide explains how to use the “waiting room.” How to lock access. How to mute and remove participants, and more! Click this link to access the educator guide.
How Do You Prepare for Online Office Hours?
Some preparation for office hours will make them more successful. First, advertise your availability. Then, tell students how to access the platform. Next, explain what students can anticipate, such as the waiting room and using their video during the call. Lastly, dress professionally and ensure that you can be on camera a few minutes before the call.
What Do Your Students Need to Know?
Virtual office hours are more useful when they are scheduled at a time when students are more likely to attend. You might be most successful by choosing the same day/time each week. Or, you can schedule the hours on-demand, using a scheduling app like Setmore or Doodle.
What Platforms Might You Use?
Most learning management systems (LMS) like Canva, Blackboard, and D2L have an integrated conferencing platform. If one is provided by your institution, this could be your best option. If not, consider Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Go to Meeting. Some desirable features include waiting rooms, whiteboards, screen sharing, password protection, and recording.
For more tips about hosting virtual office hours when teaching online, listen to today’s podcast.