4 ways to improve online teaching
- On January 4, 2022
- e-learning, online course, online teaching, online training
Online teaching is on the rise for many years and COVID has given it an extra boost in the last two years. The driving force behind this phenomena is very simple: the increase in the quality, robustness and availability of internet connectivity voids the limitations previously imposed by geographic distances. The physical distance between the teacher and his students is no longer of a (significant) factor. The same evolution happens in many other industries like the shift from on premise software to cloud-based software, usually in SAS model. In this post we will review four technical aspects for improving the quality of online teaching.
The first and most important enabler for online courses is the connectivity between the teacher and the students. Teachers should make sure they have good internet connection to the part in the world from which most of the students are attending. For example, if your students are mainly in the US then select an internet service provider that its bandwidth and latency to the US is the best. The bandwidth and latency parameters should be tested during the relevant hours in which the online sessions are conducted. In addition for high availability it is also recommended to have a backup internet link in case the primary link goes down. For example: a backup internet provider, a secondary hot-spot etc.
During the online course, if the speaker hears himself/herself, this means that there is an echo problem in the call. For example, if the students hear themselves (echo) this means that the echo is generated on the teacher’s side. To eliminate the possibility of having echo, it is recommended to use headsets. If using headsets is not possible, we recommend installing a robust echo cancellation software on the teacher’s PC.
Background noise is always a nuisance. The solution must be tailored to your setup and noise you are facing. For example:
- The teacher is at home and the ambient noise is mainly non-human sounds like car horn and dogs.
- The teachers are co-located in the office and the ambient noise is mainly other teachers talking.
- The course is on music and therefore music sounds are part of the lesson and should not be cancelled since they are an important part of the call.
The phrase one size fits all is not relevant in this case. For example, the technology required to remove background human voices is completely different from the one required to remove car horn. You should select the most robust and flexible solution that can provide you with the best results for your current and future requirements.
Make sure your PC resources are not overloaded. Specifically pay attention to the load on the CPU & GPU. For example, if you are using an AI based application that require a lot of CPU/GPU resources, it might cause delays to other processes that are running on your PC including the internet connectivity. Therefore, you should make sure you use software applications that do not overload your CPU.
When you are teaching on-line courses the quality of the call is your appearance. You should try to make it as good as possible.