The screen that freezes, audio and video that don't work are unpleasant inconveniences that can occur during a videoconference. If on the other hand there are students or employees of a company, not only is it better to avoid these technical problems, but it is also necessary to make the session participative to keep participants' attention high. Here are some tips for conducting a videoconference successfully.
1. Use the LAN cable to avoid screen blocking
The first obvious step in conducting a video conference call is to make sure you have a stable connection. The first rule is then to avoid Wi-Fi and attach the computer directly to a LAN cable, thus reducing the chances of the screen freezing during the lesson.
2. Testing audio and video with video conferencing software
Another source of delays and complications during a videoconference is malfunctioning audio and video. The trainer and the students have to make sure that their computer allows the app used to access the camera and microphone. For those using Windows PCs, simply go to Settings > Privacy and tick the box to authorize access.
3. Put yourself in the students' shoes and ask for their feedback
It is always good to practice with the videoconferencing software or browser you want to use. Just choose a location with the right lighting and have a test session with a small group of employees or acquaintances. This small focus group will give you an opinion on the quality of the videoconference from a technical and content point of view. If the trial session is recorded, the trainer himself can put himself in the students' shoes and understand how to improve the lesson.
4. Send rules and materials before the videoconference
To ensure that students also arrive prepared for the videoconference you can send an e-mail with the technical requirements of the system, advice on how to set up audio and microphone, recommendations to be observed during the lecture and practical information on the duration of the conference, breaks, possible group work, etc.. In this preparatory phase the trainer can also decide to share materials that will be used during the lesson and ask the students to share their resources. In this way, the trainer can include user generated content in the lesson, making it more participatory.
5. Prepare a schedule before starting the online lesson
As with any live performance, it is good to have a step-by-step schedule to follow and prepare a plan B, just in case. The lesson plan includes:
- Introduction: When welcoming participants, please turn off the microphone and explain the rules for intervening;
- programme: the lesson programme is presented, with a list of topics to be covered and any breaks;
- notes: using slides, the trainer is the only one to view the notes that guide him/her during the presentation to the students;
- summary and questions: a moment to recapitulate what has been said is also a way for students to participate and to share their experience or ask questions to better understand the topics covered;
- future appointments: the trainer can conclude the videoconference by inviting students to take a test and assigning homework for the next appointment.
As far as plan B is concerned, it is always good to think about the resources to be used for videoconferencing in several formats: a text or audio document, for example, can be shared during or after the lesson with late participants or with those having connection problems. If your LMS has an integrated videoconferencing system, the best solution is to record the videoconference.
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