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learning via a computer

We’ve gathered some top tips which we hope will see you through the first days of teaching from home or a remote location.

Getting ready to use video conference tools as a classroom on limited bandwidth connections.

  • Turn off your computer’s cloud back-up service such as Box Sync or Google Drive Sync.
  • Turn off any software automatic updates. They eat bandwidth. Save software updates for overnight or the weekend.
  • Turn off your mobile phone’s wireless connection & other devices in your house that will suck your bandwidth dry.
  • Ask others in the house to not use the internet during video conference meetings.
  • Limit the number of browser tabs. Lots of web pages like to automatically and periodically “phone home” creating extra traffic.
  • Close as much desktop software as possible during video conferencing for the same reason as limiting the number of browser tabs.
  • If you share a screen, share the smallest screen available. Less pixels to render across the network.
  • If using my camera in a video chat, make sure the room lighting is steady and use a plain wall in the background. Movement and lighting changes force more pixel value changes to be calculated and sent across the network. Trust me on this one. I’ve seen it happen more than once where the sun streaming through a window keeps peeking in and out behind clouds and the video gets all blurry and choppy.
  • Use a headset with a microphone, if possible, to reduce background noise and to hear other participants better.
  • Where possible use a wired over a wireless connection when using video & audio. The connection quality is significantly higher.
  • Be understanding/empathetic that there is a lag between your spoken words, and the students/other hearing it.
  • Be understanding/empathetic that students’ home situations are not the same as a classroom. Background noise, children, etc. Many faculty and students are new to virtual classrooms.
  • Consider your video conferencing technology’s “mute” functions. Take some time to learn what options are available.

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