Tips for Planning and Facilitating Classes and Meetings in VIUOnline Rooms

Tips for Planning an Online Class or a Virtual Meeting

  1. Schedule your class/meeting to start without host present. In that way people can join earlier and be there on time for when you arrive. Click here to learn more about enabling Join Before Host in your Zoom Settings.
  2. Prior to your class/meeting (a day before) do a tech check. Ensure you have a good headset (speakers and microphone) and, preferably, wired connectivity. If on wireless, turn off all your background applications that may be using additional bandwidth.
  3. Email participants prior to the class or meeting with information about privacy components (e.g., log in with only first name, no photographs etc.) and audio/speaker tips. If they are using video, give them some tips on lighting (lots of bright light on face), location (in a spot that is private, free from loud or distracting noises) and set up of computer (able to see face – not ceiling). Ask participants to close other applications that might steal bandwidth from the session and result in poorer quality audio and video. Tell participants they have control over turning on video and muting audio and if they are going to leave the session or type on the computer. Schedule a practice connection session before your class or meeting to give participants time to connect.


Tips for Facilitating an Online Class or Virtual Meeting

  1. Before beginning the session, share a screen that has a welcome message and instructions. In this way participants will have something to look at, know they are in the correct location etc.
  2. Before launching into the class or meeting, do an informal check of connectivity of all your participants. As they come online ask them to speak, check that they can hear you and others and know where the controls are for muting audio and turning off video.
  3. Provide an agenda for participants to know what is going to happen and approximately with what time frames. This is especially important to do in a fully online class or virtual meeting, so people have an idea how the session will progress, when there will be time to ask questions, when you are taking a break or allowing participants to share their work.
  4. Begin with introductions. Make a list of all participants and call out each person’s name and ask them to say a few welcoming words. If they are having trouble turning on their microphone (after being muted), you, as moderator can turn it on for them. Ensure they turn off their microphone/mute after they have spoken. This will help set a standard of what people do when talking and how you will manage the class or meeting. It also allows you to hear the volume and voice of everyone to make any necessary adjustments.
  5. Let your participants know how you’ll be running the class/meeting. For example: Are you using the chat feature to have back-channel conversations? Will you have anyone checking the chat while the session in going on? Are you using the ‘hand up’ feature to let people speak? Are you or someone else watching for hands or indications people want to speak? Are you taking notes offline? Are you recording the session? Dedicate a small amount of time at the beginning of your session to deal with these ‘housekeeping items’ so your participants know how to respond.
  6. Stop at various times throughout your class or meeting and let people ask any questions, catch up on any note taking or just take a break from listening.
  7. Watch the time. End earlier than expected to allow for questions, wrap up and end the meeting on time. Click on “End Meeting for All” to close the meeting off.