A digital response to COVID-19 has been the explosion in online classes. Many restaurants are doing live cooking broadcasts while promoting their delivery services, gyms are hosting virtual training sessions, and of course, school is now being taught in a digital classroom.
Teaching a class via video is of course very different than teaching in person, but with some quick hacks and a little adaptation, your lesson can be just as engaging.
Prepare your environment
Let your background set the tone and pace of your lesson. Yes, we don't want too many distractions but at the same time, we want your setting to look inviting and in line with what it is that you are teaching. Let natural light be your best friend and always try to stand facing a window and never with your back towards it. Use props to create an environment (books, artwork, fresh fruit or inspirational pieces to help audiences feel comfort in what it is you are teaching) It often helps to raise your laptop or webcam up high enough that it's at least eye level, if not slightly above that.
When I create my videos, I use the same setting so that the viewers know what to expect and utilise props such as cushions, candles and books to help create a friendly and inviting environment. How can you create an environment that is a good representation of what you will be teaching?
Now more than ever, people want a routine and a structure, so setting up what is "normal" and what can be "expected" in your classes, helps the viewer to feel a sense of familiarity. Just as you are getting used to teaching virtually, so are the students, so help guide them and understand how they can get the most out of the classes you teach. As a teacher, you still need to be able to "read" the classroom even in the digital world, so set aside time for breaks and Q & A's, and be prepared to adjust and adapt your classes depending on what the students need from you that day.
When I coach online, I always have a plan but allow for various outcomes depending on the types of questions that will be asked or what is taking place in media that day. The norms that I do put in place help ground the lesson and keep me anchored as a teacher, even when the rest of the class seems a little chaotic that day.
Mix It Up
Once you have a structure in place and your students are incorporating best practices, then you can think about mixing it up. Try new exercises out, encourage students to interact with each other as well as you. Maybe it's break out sessions with a virtual white board, team games or challenges they can do outside of class. Mixing it up will allow you to keep your teaching style fresh and exciting, instead of getting dull and predictable.
I take part in a variety of webinars, online classes and courses to help me understand what keeps me engaged as a student? What works, what doesn't? To be relevant, you have to remain relevant and on top of what is happening around you. Don't loose sight of how the world is shaping around you. Adapt, adjust and always be prepared to pivot. Doesn't matter if you are teaching dance, cooking, engineering or politics; you still have to be engaging.
Go Beyond Presenting. Become engaging.
How something is being taught is just as important as what is being important. Teaching in the digital world takes practice but so does learning so the good news is, we are all in this together. Take time out of your schedule to work on your on camera presence. Your "teaching style" will differentiate you from all the other online teachers and help your lesson be one that makes an impact.
To learn more about how to present on camera, check out @lucyjnorris whereby I post daily tips and sign up for my online course