Tips for Teaching Via the Webcam

It is important to realize that you and your students are in this together.  To be yourself and to engage your students in the spirit of service, integrity, respect and compassion– USF’s core values– is to take ownership and responsibility of your learning in this non-traditional environment of distance learning.  Here are some tips that we hope are of service to you.

    • Be who you are without apology.
    • Own the fear of speaking into a webcam.  It’s your fear, not anybody else’s.  It is perhaps useful to know that radio broadcasters are trained that no matter how scared you are, how you feel, or how hard a day you may be having, it’s not the listener’s fault.  Just proceed.
    • Remember why you are doing this, and own that goal.  Simply keeping the goal in mind may give you enough “oomph” to carry on.
    • Obviously, prepare what you’re going to present.
    • In being who you are, remember that you are a subject matter expert.  Rely on your expertise, and given sufficient preparation, speak from the heart.
    • Clearly, the nature of online learning is that viewers can consume only so much video at one time.  Break up your lessons into chunks.
      • The first chunk can be your video delivery introducing what’s to come, with a verbal advanced organizer.
      • Follow that up, immediately afterward, with an activity.
        • If you’re live online, take a break in the meeting and allow the students to work offline for a while.
        • If you want to break your class up into groups, you can.  Your webconferencing tool has that capability– you need to learn how it works.  We can help you with that. Consult the comparison chart for what our conferencing solutions have to offer.
        • If you’re recording a video to be watched at the student’s place and time…. On-demand in other words.
          • Record your video and put it in the module within a content page.
          • Then add a discussion or an assignment.
          • Allow for reflection, or even a debrief discussion.
          • Recycle your steps for the next chunk of knowledge.
    • Sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve made a mistake and need to stop webcasting.  Most mistakes though can be corrected just as they are in class.  Just recover and restate what you mean to say.  Don’t stop the recording.  Remember, you are not live-streaming or recording for CBS.  You are live streaming or recording for teaching.  Mistakes are okay.
    • Try speaking at two thirds normal speed.  This method really is helpful to train your speech to follow your organized thoughts.  Your brain can outrun your mouth.  Speaking at two thirds normal speed puts your mind and speech on the same page.
    • Remember that this may be a new and awkward experience for your student, too!  Know that your visual presence goes a long way in engaging students.  It really matters!
    • If you do need to edit your video, you’ll need to know the tools for doing so.  Editing is beyond the scope of this presentation.

Edited by Glen Gummess, Ed.D., May 3, 2022

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