10 Tips for Setting Up a Successful,
Synchronous Web Conference1. Restart your computer. A tech guy once told me ‘it’s like erasing the board. You want to start each session with a ‘clean slate.’ Restarting your computer knocks out any kinks in the system.
2. Use a USB headset. It gets rid of echoes and background noise. Can you use a non-USB headset? Sure. But then you’ll have echoes and background noise.
3. Shut off all downloads and programs that you aren’t using in your session.
Make sure other computers used in the house also aren’t involved in heavy downloads during your session. If you’re internet is really rocky, shut off all other computers from the internet.
4. Upgrade your bandwidth to the highest you can afford. This will involve spending some time on the phone with your phone and internet companies. Annoying, but vital.
5. Use wired, instead of wireless, whenever possible. You will have a much better connection.
a) Lighting. Use bright lights next to you (but out of sight of the camera), not overhead lights.
b) Background Noise: get rid of barking dogs, noisy fans and loud ringtones. Silence your phones, ask your kids to keep quiet. This is a class and should be treated as such!7. Use different browsers. For example, if Chrome has problems, use Firefox. You’re not married to your browser. It’s ok to change.
Browsers: Explorer, Firefox, Chrome,
8. Get a Testing Partner:
a) Platforms and Links: Always test your platform and links before class WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Among your peers, please find a testing partner, or consult if you have access to a local tech person in your school, shul or community. Any voki, scribblar, voicethread or other tool that you plan on using in your class should be tested ahead of time.
b) ideas: Bounce ideas off of a testing partner or practice an activity and gather feedback. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, or to bounce ideas off of! Smadar@jetsisrael.com9. Setting up your ‘classroom’: Just like you (sometimes) get to school early to do your photocopying, or set up your Smartboard or bulletin board, log on to your platform early - at least 30 min before your session! Set up your PPT, links, whiteboards, and whatever else you need.
Keep a list of the links you plan on using in your class open on a Word or Google Doc as backup.Some benefits of setting up your online classroom is that a) you (probably) don’t share it with too many people, or perhaps anyone at all! b) you can set up your room way ahead of time if you know that will coming in at the last minute. Can a class be successful without previous set up time and lots of planning? Probably. But save that card for emergencies. They will happen!
10. Saving Resources. Chances are, you are investing lots of time into preparing your lessons. Multi-media needs to be saved and bookmarked as well as word documents in files and folders. Where do you save videos, clips, commercials, etc, that you use during your lessons? There are a few suggestions out there. Do what works for you.
- Create a Delicious or Diigo Account (online social bookmarking)
- Save educational and favorite videos on YouTube playlists.
- Create a wiki and save them all there. JETS will be creating a wiki for us to stay in touch and we will certainly have a RESOURCES page.
- Check the Online Teaching Haiku and add your own resources to the Tech Toolkit block.
- save them in a Google Doc or Spreadsheet
FOR ELLUMINATE USERS ONLY: Do before using an Elluminate session: Clearing Java:
A tech support person at Blackboard Collaborate Elluminate recommends that this action be done before beginning a session to avoid getting thrown out of a webinar.
To clear the Java cache, you will need to select Start > Control Panel. Change the 'View By' option to 'Small Icons'. Double click the Java icon, this will bring up the Java Control Panel. Select Settings under Temporary Internet Files, then select Delete Files. Make sure all the boxes are checked, and select OK. Restart your computer.
GOOD LUCK!!! YOU WILL BE GREAT!