Online teaching is something that many of us have begun to embrace as teachers, trainers, and educators and there are certainly many benefits. So we’ve created a Free online teaching guide PDF for you at the bottom of this page.
Now, if you are impatient and just want to download the Free PDF immediately because have places to be and people to see, then here it is:
Just follow the link above and enjoy this freebie.
What’s in the Free Online Teaching Guide?
- Tools You Will Need to Teach an Online Training Session
- Other Useful virtual online Tools
- Tips and Advice for Teaching Online
- Free Video Lessons and Tutorials for Teachers and Trainers Who Use Virtual Teaching
- Useful Blog Posts on Online Teaching
- Finding Training Course Materials for Online Teaching
- Example of the Corporate Training Materials Suitable for Online Teaching.
Tools You Will Need to Teach a Virtual Online Training Session
In addition to a reliable computer, there are a few more things you will need to teach online.
1. Web Conferencing Platform
Are you already familiar with using Skype for making video calls to friends or family? If you are, then you have already been using what, in effect, is a web conferencing platform. Skype video in fact is very popular for people teaching 1-to-1 online.
Other web platforms include Zoom (it has become very popular in recent years) and there are other web conferencing platforms such as WebEx, Adobe Connect, and GoToMeeting.
If you are going to teach a live session online, a web conferencing platform is necessary.
Most web conferencing platforms allow you to communicate with your participants via video, audio and written chat and to screen share.
Some platforms though have additional features that will allow you to run a training session almost in the same way as a face-to-face session.
One of such features is called ‘breakout rooms’. This feature allows you to split your participants into small groups so that they can work together with only the people in that group. In this way, you will be able to facilitate small-group discussions and activities.
Another very useful tool to have is the online whiteboard with a drawing tool. This feature allows you and your participants (even when they are working in small groups) to write and draw. It is very useful for jotting ideas down and drawing diagrams such as mind maps.
There are some free online whiteboards solutions available, but it is handy to have this function as part of your web conferencing system.
Four web conferencing programs that have all these features are:
- Zoom (the most affordable of these and pretty straightforward to use)
- Webex by Cisco
- Adobe Connect
2. A Good Webcam
It is important to have a good HD webcam, so that your participants can see you clearly and be less likely to get distracted.
A very good and affordable option is the Logitech C920 webcam. This camera, which we use, gives you HD and widescreen video.
The C920 is what we use ourselves for our Freelance trainers YouTube Channel.
3. Cheap but High-Quality Microphone
You could use the microphone incorporated in your computer but the sound quality might not be great. A better option is to use a lavalier microphone (RØDE is one of the best brands on the market).
If you do not want to feel constricted by any cables as you teach, an even better option is a wireless microphone, such as the RØDE Wireless Go microphone system.
The Rode wireless microphones that you see above are what we ourselves use, for example, in this video that we made all about ‘How to market yourself as a freelance trainer or teacher’. Check out the audio quality in that video.
More Useful Online Tools
In addition to the above essential tools, there are other online tools, some of which are free to use, which can be handy to know about.
1. Files Sharing Services that Use the Cloud
These are tools that allow you to share files with other people, which are stored over the Internet (in the so-called cloud). File sharing services are particularly useful for sharing large files that are difficult to send by email. These services include, for example, Dropbox, Amazon Drive, and Google Drive.
Diigo – It is a Chrome extension that you can use to collect, bookmark, annotate, organize and share internet resources.
3. Transferring Files for Online Teaching
WeTransfer – Useful for transferring large files securely.
4. Online Boards and Whiteboards
Padlet – It is an online tool to create boards and share them. It works as a kind of online board and sticky note system. Learners can collaborate online, see the boards populate in real-time, and share the content of the boards. The boards can be populated with text, images, videos, audios, and web links.
Lino – It works in the same way as Padlet, above.
Ziteboard and Aww – These are tools that allow people to collaborate visually online as if they were writing on a real whiteboard. Ziteboard and Aww are two examples of virtual whiteboard online tools.
5. Note Taking Online
Evernote – This is an app for taking notes and organizing, archiving and sharing materials.
6. For Quizzes, Flashcards, Mind Maps and Polls
There are online tools for creating and sharing this type of content. For example, Socrative to create quizzes; GoConqr to create flowcharts, mind maps, quizzes, and more; Poll Everywhere for polls; Quizlet for flashcards; Coggle and MindMup for mind maps.
*Note: Some links in this guide may be affiliate links.
Tips and Advice for Teaching Online
1. Practice using the tools you will use for teaching online before the session, until you feel completely confident with those tools. This will ensure the smooth running of the session.
2. Share the meeting ID only with people you want to attend the class, to avoid intruders joining in.
3. Stop others from sharing their screens (specifically grant permission to your participants during the session only for any activities that might require them to share their screen). This is to prevent any gate crashers sharing unwanted materials.
4. Set the virtual classroom up (in the settings) such that students join a waiting room until the session starts.
5. Encourage participants to join ten minutes early.
6. Look at the camera, not the screen when teaching online.
7. Test everything before you start the lesson (audio, video, any software you use and make sure that the Internet connection is strong enough). Testing the day before is even better so that you have enough time to find solutions as needed.
8. Send participants any information related to the course beforehand, in preparation for the session.
9. Ensure that the lighting in the room is good so your participants can see you well.
10. Check that the background behind you is tidy and there is nothing there that you don’t want participants to see.
11. Choose a quiet location.
12. Mute all participants by default to avoid background noise when you are presenting. They can then click an icon to “raise their hand” when they want to speak. Unmute microphones when needed. You can of course unmute everyone when it is a class discussion or Q&A session.
For any further suggestions or advice about how to teach online, you can also check the online teaching page on our website.
Videos for Online Teaching Tips
We add videos to our YouTube channel every Thursday and two videos we recently added to the ‘Online Teaching Playlist’ are below:
Useful Blog Posts on Online Teaching
Finding Training Course Materials for Online Teaching
Depending on the subject/s you are teaching online, you might be able to buy pre-designed training course materials or you might have to create them yourself.
If you are involved, for example, with teaching English online (i.e. TEFOL and TEFL) then some great resources are:
- ESL Partyland – many great teaching materials for teaching English
- ThoughtCo = more great TEFL resources
- Dave’s ESL – a popular site for many years for TEFL teachers
Teaching Business and Corporate Topics (that can be taught online)
If you are looking for corporate training materials then we have a number of packages and you can see the full list here. These all have notes included for teaching the courses online:
The ‘trainer’s notes’ file includes explanations on how to run each activity and, at the bottom of each activity explanation (before the explanation for the following slide starts), you will find suggestions on how to run each activity online.
See below an example from the trainer’s notes of one of our course materials.
You will also find the same explanation as part of the notes under each PowerPoint slide and you will need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the notes to see the suggestion on how to use an activity online.
See below an example from one of our course materials slides.
Example of the Corporate Training Materials
Our courses are designed to be trainer-led and you have the option to deliver them in person, in a traditional classroom, or to deliver them online using a web conferencing tool, such as Zoom or Adobe Connect.
All the materials in our courses can be used to teach online as well as in person. You can show the PowerPoint slides to your participants through your chosen web conferencing software and you can send any handouts to your participants via email or via a file-sharing service, such as Dropbox, Amazon Drive or Google Drive.
6 Teaching from Home Tips
1. Preparation is Key
Especially if you are new to teaching online, prepare a few weeks in advance so that you are more than well prepared.
There can be a learning curve in respect of getting used to the online tools and different ways in which students interact online.
Have the lessons well-prepared and you can then focus your attention on the technological learning curve.
2. Schedule student follow ups
It is a good idea to have a follow-up style check-in time when students can ask questions, This replaces the chance that students would have offline to ask the teacher questions after a lesson or in between lessons.
So in essence, having an open session where you are available online for say 1 hour a week where students can drop in can be useful (for non-private matters).
You can of course also communicate by email for any 1-to-1 discussions and meetings that need to take place.
3. Have a dedicated work area at home
It is a very good idea to create a comfortable, quiet and well-lit room for teaching from.
The room should be one in which you feel comfortable.
Make sure though that you are at a desk or solid table so that you can sit upright and look professional.
4. Make sure the classes are interactive
It is much harder to keep students’ attention when you are teaching online versus offline.
Make use of interactive tools such as online polls, virtual whiteboards and breakout rooms.
5. Communicate clearly
Communications skills can be even more essential than ever, when teaching online.
Communicate clearly before the lesson (i.e. by email) the schedule for the lesson and make sure that students are sure of things such as assignment deadlines.
Not all students will necessarily be in the same time-zone when teaching online, do not forget, so times should be very clear, i.e., if local times.
6. Flexibility can help
It can take time for some students to get used to studying and learning online and so patience is key.
Be understanding, for example, if a student joins the class late. It might be because they have problems connecting.
Dr Paul Symonds
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