Follow Up Friday

February 19, 2021

This week: Zoom Tips, posts you may have missed, and upcoming events

Cartoon image of a laptop with a 12 person video conference on the screen.Make eye contact with your learners – even over Zoom

Inspired by a recent discussion of Zoom best practices from the folks behind TED talks, here’s one tip for enhancing your Zoom lectures: make eye contact with your learners. When lecturing or giving instructions to your class, make an effort to look at your camera, rather than solely at your screen display. This can be a challenge! We want to look at our students or participants while we teach, just as we would in a face to face context, but we can’t get the “eye contact” dynamic over Zoom (or any other video conferencing tool) without looking into the camera directly. Doing this will help engage your learners a bit more, as they will get the sense you are interested, energetic, and “looking” at them.

Of course, this is not really practicable for an entire class session – you have to look around at your learners to get a sense of how they’re doing, or to see if someone has a question. Plus, it would be a shame to miss any dogs that wander into someone’s camera range. So experiment to find a range of “eye contact time” that seems comfortable for you. Perhaps you might aim for time, such as a 4:1 ratio; four minutes making eye contact, 1 minute looking around your display. Perhaps you go paragraph by paragraph in your lecture notes, alternating making eye contact with looking at your display. Find what works best for you, just as you might in a face to face class. Your learners will appreciate your effort!

Posts you may have missed:

What’s coming up?

Quick Hits: Canvas: Question Groups vs. Question Banks (Thursday, Feb 25 at 12:30 – 1:00 pm)

Clemson Online Home – Where Tech and Teaching Meet

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