Don’t forget the importance of an introduction
Provide students with a short introduction (or better yet, a step-by-step manual) on how to use the virtual training software, particularly how to engage with the instructor. Students who feel comfortable with the online training platform will be more likely to engage during the class.
When giving students instructions, be sure the directions are verbal and visual. Also include screen captures (in presentation format) to show students exactly how to use the virtual training tools.
A good checklist of items to review with students at the start of every course includes:
- How to check you have good connectivity to the classroom and the remote lab: ReadyTech’s Pre-Check Tool
- When and how to use private and public chat.
- How to access the course materials.
- How to use breakout groups if used during class.
- Back up contact information for the instructor in case the conference/audio in the classroom fails.
- Share the assistant instructor’s contact information (if applicable)
- Share ReadyTech’s 24/7/365 live support line
Practice makes perfect
Prior to “going live” with your online course, perform a dry run (preferably with an audience) of your entire course using the online training software.
As you practice, take note of unnecessary applications/tools and other possible distractions within the course. Provide this list to your Curriculum Developers so they can remove these distracting applications/tools from your virtual training lab.
For example, do students need access to Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox? Do you need to give students access to the entire Microsoft Office Suite—or just Microsoft Excel? Removing any unnecessary distractions will improve your teaching success.
Recruit the help of an assistant instructor
If your online class has more than 15 students, it can be very helpful to recruit the support of an assistant instructor. An assistant instructor will in particular come in handy when students start their hands-on labs and require help using the software. The assistant will also help increasing the amount of time that the lead instructor can focus on providing actual class instruction. For example, the assistant can reply to incoming chat messages and deal with unforeseen situations such as a student not being able to join the conference or did not receive the course materials.
Think of it this way: when you have a class with 20 students, every minute you spend helping a student with something not directly related to the curriculum, is one minute you are not providing valuable instructions to 19 other students.
With the aid of an assistant, the primary instructor can focus on meeting the course’s learning objectives and teach more effectively.