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Tips and tricks for a great zoom class

By KirstyS 30 Nov 2020

Although we may be getting tired of talking to a computer rather than a human, we must not let out manners slip up in our online classes (even though wearing PJs to lectures can be appealing).

Here, I've put together a list of small things we can do on our calls to have the correct etiquette. 

1. Be prepared and informed

My number 1 tip is to check your college emails regularly and be in tune with your timetable so you know when you need to be online. This will mean you can turn up to each meeting on time with everything you need to prepare. 

If you need to use the bathroom or answer your front door during a call, then, of course, you can. However, you never know what you’ll miss in the meeting, so I try to join my calls prepared so I don't need to step away from the computer too often. 

Make sure that you use the toilet before the meeting. Treat it like a long car ride. You can also keep a bottle of water with you, so you stay hydrated and keen to learn!

If you need to bring anything along to the meeting, make sure the documents are printed or open on your computer before you join the call. There's nothing worse than being put on the spot and the document won't load. If you are going to be sharing your screen, make sure you close anything you don't want to share. 

2. Get your lighting right

When you’re on a call, make sure that you're sat in a well-lit space. I would recommend facing a window or a lamp.

Being able to see everyone probably will help you feel as though you are sitting face to face with your classmates. 

3. Don't eat - if you do go on mute

Try your best not to eat during the call! It’s understandable that we all get super busy and do not have time to have a lunch break. However, try your best to not whip out a massive sandwich and distract the meeting. It’s more difficult to pay attention when you’re eating lunch.

If you do need to have a snack, just turn your camera off and make sure you’re on mute.

4. Have a note pad ready

Have a pen and pad at the ready. It’s quicker to take notes by hand rather than typing and it means you can doodle! Taking notes will help you remember, keep your mind active and give your eyes a rest from the screen.

It will also mean that you don’t have to share your screen space with a digital a note pad or other documents meaning you can just focus on the meeting. 

5. Stay off your phone

It could be considered rude to be checking your phone when someone else is talking on the call. So, why not put your phone away in a draw for the meeting? You can always check on your Instagram later 😉

6. Put your hand up (virtually)

There is a little hand button at the bottom or top of the screen. You can use this when you have a question! Pressing the button will signify to the host that you want to speak.

This will mean no one awkwardly starts interrupting each other during the meeting. 

7. Ask permission before recording

You must ask permission to record any video calls – this includes lectures!

If you think the session should be recorded, you can message the organiser before the meeting or simply ask in the chat bar.

8. Be patient

The dreaded internet lag, technical issues and the lack of body language cues can make it more difficult to understand your teachers online. If you don't catch something it is okay to ask for your teacher to clarify something during or after the meeting. 

Remember, it works both ways and people may not understand you as well. To avoid misunderstandings, be clear with what you say and be ready to explain further if someone doesn’t understand.

Avoid offensive language or images and give a warning if you intend to use anything unusual that might be sensitive. Be kind to each other and try to be as inclusive as possible.

Remember, we are all new to this so thank each other for contributions and thank tutors for their efforts. Help by being a positive influence on your calls, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Hope this helps- happy video calling. 😊

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KirstyS is a BA Fine Art Student at Chelsea, who loves absurd films, cheese and dogs.
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