Q. What are best practices for hosting or attending online meetings and classes?
Synchronous online meetings with can reveal the personal and professional expressions of an individual. This applies to a professor as well as members in their class. There are usually two categories of professionalism in hosting and attending video conference meetings, technical and logistical aspects, as summarized below:
Launch the meeting on time and provide your undivided attention. For instructors, a detailed word document with necessary links and steps of the class will be very helpful during a synchronous class meeting.
Clean your desk
Don’t have anything between you and the camera. Minimize the potential for distraction for your participants.
Aim your camera
Check your camera angle. Ideally, it should be coming from the middle of the screen. Don’t sit too close or your head will appear much too large. Look at the camera when you speak. Don’t put the camera to your side.
Prepare your background
If you have a sunny window directly behind you, close the drapes so you aren’t in silhouette. Think about what is visible behind your head and make adjustments to reduce distractions to your participants.
Mute yourself when not speaking but do use verbal cues
When videoconferencing with many sites, start your comment by saying your name and location (for example, "This is John at Harrisonburg.”) Doing so helps the video equipment switch to your site and also helps other sites identify who is speaking before the video monitor catches up.
Convey clean audio messages
Wear a headset or a pair of earbuds with a mic to eliminate echo. When your microphone is on, be careful with side conversations and do not rustle papers or make tapping sounds near the microphone. Any sounds you make will be heard by the other sites and can be distracting.
Communicate with realistic expectations of technology
Direct your questions to a specific site, and preferably a specific individual. Expect a few extra seconds of delay in getting an answer because of the technology and distance involved (at minimum, un-muting the microphone).
See more about Webex on the Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU.