Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

Good Practices for Remote Learning

Preparing for an optimal Zoom experience

  • Start computer 30 minutes before class to do the following:
  • Close other programs that use your web camera
    • For example:
      • Skype for Business
      • Adobe Connect
  • Close any programs you will not be using for class so that only critical programs are running
  • Connect to a wired internet connection if you can especially if your family is home and using the internet
    • If you can, request that others limit their use of streaming services (i.e. Netflix), while you are participating in class. This could dramatically improve your experience
  • Manage your learning environment:
    • What’s in the background of your camera view?
    • Is it noisy in your area?
    • Are there other people / distractions in the area?
  • 15 minutes before class: Start Zoom and connect to the class session
  • Verify camera is on
  • Test microphone – make sure to be muted when you connect to Zoom
  • Test speakers

Technology Setup Recommendation

Using multiple monitors will allow you to see the speaker on one screen and the faculty content on the other screen. Alternatively, you could use the 2nd monitor to take notes or review course content.

Run internet speed test to verify computer is connected to the internet: We strongly suggest a minimum of 10mbps of upload and download speed. If you’re on a network with someone streaming Netflix while you are connected to class, your videoconference quality will likely decline. Try to limit others’ use of bandwidth if possible.

Good Practices

  • Ensure your audio is muted after you join so conversations / background noise does not disrupt the session
  • Keep your microphone muted at all times unless you have been called upon by the professor to ask or answer a question or you are in a breakout room meeting with your virtual team
  • Ensure your camera is turned on and remains on at all times during class sessions even if you step away from your computer for a short time. Video is crucial for building trust and engagement in virtual communications
  • Frame yourself in the camera shot so you can be seen clearly and fully from shoulders to the top of your head, at a minimum
  • Ensure the microphone is close to you so you can be heard when speaking
  • Ensure the room is well lit but with minimal light directly behind you as that can make it difficult to see your face. Position yourself so that most of the light is in front of you (behind your monitor or computer screen). If there’s a window behind you, shut the blinds or curtains
  • Remember that when you are connected you are visible to everyone
  • Multitask as little as possible
  • Ensure you have a space that does not have background “traffic”. Moving figures, animals, children, etc. can be distracting to the professor and other participants
  • When setting up your remote class area, think about your background. Generally simple or “bland” backgrounds are ideal as they don’t cause distractions
  • Remember that the professor and other students will constantly see you on camera. Ensure you dress the part. Even though you are a remote learner, proceed as if you were heading to an actual classroom
  • No exercising
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Camera must be focused on you, not a background or object
  • Try to use a good quality camera and headset instead of your computer’s built-in devices. Zoom works with built-in cameras and microphones but the quality is sharper with higher quality hardware
  • Test your video and audio before the class session at
  • Be aware of noise around you. Do not attend the session in a noisy location like a Starbucks. This will make it difficult for you to hear as well as everyone else in the session if you come off mute
  • Look at the camera when speaking. This will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact. Frame yourself so that you can be seen. Adjust your camera angle if it is too low or high. Your camera should be at eye level

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Run to confirm your upload/download speed
  • If the numbers are low:
    • Ensure no one is streaming video or gaming consoles wherever you are
    • Reboot your wireless router? (This would need to be done prior to class considering it might take 10 minutes before it is up and running again)
    • Reboot your Modem? (This would need to be done prior to class considering it might take 10 minutes before it is up and running again)
  • Use headphones; even better is a set of headphones with a built-in microphone