Educator Survival Guide for Online College Education
Online education allows educators to reach students around the world, but the technology that allows this flexibility cannot be taken for granted. All of this can and will fail at some point, and the onus is on teachers to have the technological know-how to solve these short-term problems.
Below are seven tips on how to troubleshoot common technical issues found in online education:
1. The need for speed
If a website refuses to load or you can’t log into your class, stay calm and don’t panic. The most likely culprit is a slow internet connection. Most web conferencing applications will require at least five megabits / second (mbit / s) of upload and download speeds to function at their optimal settings, and you can use for free speed test tools to check the quality of your connection. To fix a bad internet connection, you can try resetting your modem or router, restarting your computer, and turning off other internet-connected devices in your household. Keep in mind that the available bandwidth varies depending on the time of day – ideally, you want to test this the week before the semester starts in the same time slot as your first scheduled class.
2. Browser compatibility
Before making online learning activities and assessment tasks available to your students, take the time to test these resources. using different the Internet browsers. Each Learning Management System (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will have different requirements, and being able to recommend the most compatible Internet browser to your students at the start of the semester will save everyone a lot of money. time.
3. Call for reinforcements
For those of us who work from home, there might not be a quick fix to our poor internet connection, and having a high data mobile plan with your phone carrier is a vital backup option. If you suddenly drop out of your online class due to an unstable internet connection, the possibility of attached Where hotspot connecting your cell phone to your computer on a cellular basis can save you enough time to fend for yourself until the end of the session.
4. Location, location, location
Choosing the right location to position your webcam and microphone will have a direct impact on how your students look and sound online. While it doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production, a little effort in this space goes a long way. Position your computer so that the brightest light source in the room (such as a window or desk lamp) is in front of you, slightly to one side of your face, and just out of reach. This should give the webcam enough light for students to see you onscreen, rather than a grainy figure in the dark.
5. Is this thing on?
The basics of good sound quality remain the same regardless of what equipment you have access to. Get as close to your microphone as possible, wear headphones to minimize audio feedback or interference, and choose a location with minimal background noise. The best location may very well be a small bedroom (or a large wardrobe!), As the surrounding clothing and blankets will help to dampen echoes and audio reverberations. If your microphone doesn’t work the same day, you can still try to join the meeting with your computer and phone at the same time. You can then use your computer’s webcam as usual and select your phone’s microphone as the backup audio source.
6. Have a “plan B”
Online learning can seem isolating, so it’s important to allow time for open dialogue between your students. Provide students with worksheets or sample issues to work on collaboratively using live chat, interactive quizzes and Discussion forums can foster peer-to-peer interactions and promote active learning. Many of these web applications can run on your phone or tablet and serve as the default âplan Bâ if your main computer crashes during a lesson. This can save you enough time to troubleshoot the technology behind the scenes.
7. Asynchronous delivery
Work commitments, on-call duties, time zone differences, and digital poverty in households can all prevent students from attending your classes live. Instructors who are adept at asynchronous delivery can engage these students through high quality online resources, which also serve as a safety mechanism in the event of technology failure during a live lesson. Make sure your students have no shortage of resources for online learning – provide in advance the slides, worksheets or multimedia that will be used in each class. Make live recordings of all your lessons and save those videos to the cloud as well as to your own computer. Screen recording videos are quick and easy to make using OBS, and you can trim the start and end of each video using free software to any platform. Once you have finalized the change, compression video files will allow you to download faster and easier for your students. You can track the number of views for each video to monitor their effects on learning as your students progress through the semester.
Online learning has quickly become the default learning experience in higher education, and teachers must evolve and adapt with the technology of our classrooms. Hope the above tips and tricks will help you survive until your next semester online.
Jack Wang is Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland. He was named University Professor of the Year at the 2020 Australian Awards for University Education.