Distance Learning Through Zoom

NYU Abu Dhabi students and faculty share best practices for distance learning through the Zoom application

Since our campus transitioned to remote learning, our students and faculty have been compiling a list of Zoom best practices for distance learning. Different class settings require different tools, so as a class or a group, determine what works best for a particular virtual setting.

Best Practices for Zoom Discussions

1. Consider switching your camera on — you may be more attentive, and it helps to see your classmates in action too. Try using the Zoom gallery view to see all your classmates instead of just the speaker view.

2. Take a walk between classes if possible. If streaming class to your mobile phone is possible, try walking while you’re in class or have pre-recorded material to listen to. Stand up for every other class especially if you have back to back schedules.

3. For synchronous classes scheduled in another time zone, try to plan for regular naps. 

Attending class in a different time zone? Try to schedule for regular naps between classes.

4. Suggest that your professor uses break out rooms as a way to facilitate discussion so even students who are usually quiet in class have a chance to speak up.

5. Use the chat function to send links, approximate a whiteboard, or to ask questions.

6. Ask the professor for written instructions or expectations for class discussion in the chat board. 

7. Muting your microphone helps avoid background noise but makes it hard to interject or raise your hand (both in person and using the Zoom hand-raise) to ask questions. Suggest the class holds regular intervals where questions or discussion can be held.

8. Try the virtual backgrounds on different days to add a fun element to class and keep your views interesting. 

9. Get dressed and get out of your bed. Comfortable clothes are good but attempting Zoom in bed with your pyjamas makes it tempting to nod off.

Getting dressed and not lying in bed can help productivity.

10. Put your phone away unless it’s what you’re using to Zoom into class.

11. Use Zoom outside of classroom settings to study with your peers or do trial runs for presentations. 

12. Host group events to maintain your sense of learning in the community. Find small groups to view and discuss asynchronous content through Zoom chat or using the Netflix Party function.

Five Ways to Become An Effective Online Learner

1. Prioritize your mental health.

2. Keep organized — make a revised schedule for the remainder of the semester.

3. Be an active participant.

4. Stay connected with professors and classmates through office hours and informal study groups.

5. Have an open mind to the experience of online learning.