March 29, 2020

​L​isten to the Episode:

​​Using Zoom to Take Offline Courses Online 

​Y'all, my biggest point here is that you don't have to do this.

Your on-campus course doesn't need to be live on Zoom now that there's a pandemic.

In fact, it may be better if you don't try to replicate it as closely as possible via Zoom

W​hy not? 

​It's hard to sit in front of the computer for any extended period of time and stay focused/engaged.

Your students ​aren't exactly at the peak of their ability to focus right now. 

​Some of them don't have internet at home. Trying to stream 8 hours of class via Zoom on their data plans may not be an option financially. 

Some students have kids, partners or others at home who need to use the computer and/or the internet during class time. This isn't always possible if you are using it for an extended time. Bandwidth is not great for some. Only one computer may be available. 

It is more compassionate to offer the chance for students to learn in small "chunks" at a time and place of their own choosing. 

If things can be pre-recorded and shared for students to access at their convenience, that is what I recommend.

You can always offer online office hours or short live sessions to check in.

You really don't have to hold class in the traditional way via Zoom, and you certainly don't have to do it for the precise number of hours you would have met in person. 

If you choose to use Zoom, here are some tips.

​Keep your sessions short. 30-45 minutes seems like a reasonable ​upper limit. In my experience going much longer than this in a lecture format isn't going to be successful or helpful for ​students. 

Consider doing a short lecture or lesson, and then asking students to get off Zoom to go do a related activity. You can then meet back at a specific time or r​econnect in a discussion forum.

​Always record your sessions so that students who couldn't be there can access the material later.

Tell students how to use Zoom. This includes using the mute/unmute feature, turning video on/off, and locating the chat box.

Also set ground rules about taking screenshots if people are showing their video feeds. They should get permission from everyone pictured before sharing any screenshots online.

It's nice when students share their videos feeds, but please don't require it. Some students may be taking care of relatives (children, people who are sick, etc) and may not want to share this with the rest of the class. Sharing video also requires a lot of bandwidth, and may not be possible with a slow internet connection.

Any other tips or suggestions? Please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for listening/reading.

​Have a Question or Comment?

I'd love to hear from you!

About Camille Freeman, LDN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for highly-trained herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating.

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