Improving your online instruction


Here are some tips and tools for teaching remotely, including tips from by Richard Byrne.

Conducting online instruction

  • When presenting a lesson online, keep your webcam on as much as possible. Students are less likely to get bored if they can see your face as opposed to just your screen.
  • Elevate your webcam to eye level or higher, so students aren’t looking up your nose.
  • Ask lots of little check-in questions such as “who’s still with me?” or “what’s the answer to that last problem?”
  • Encourage students to ask questions, which they can do by writing a question into the chat. Say something like “at the 10-minute mark I’m going to pause to give everyone a chance to enter a question into the chat.”.
  • If possible, set up two computers or work with a colleague so you can experience the student’s perspective before you go live with a class. This makes it easier to troubleshoot for them.
  • If you live in a rural area where Internet connection is limited, make sure other people in your house aren’t streaming when you are teaching.

Recording instruction

  • Just like with live instruction, try to keep your face in the video. Tools like Screencastify and Screecast-o-matic let your face appear in a small box in the corner of the screen.
  • Make it short and sweet. Two 5-minute videos are more likely to be watched than one 10-minute video.
  • Keep the screen active. Rather than a simple slide presentation, add lots of transitions and animations, or split the screen to show you and the slide so something is always happening on screen. For an example of what this could look like, see
  • At the end of the video, include a call to action, such as write a response, record a response (Flipgrid is perfect for this), or complete a hands-on task. This will make it more likely that students will remember the video content.
  • Insert the video into Google Forms and have students answer questions posted below the video. You can require that the students answer correctly before proceeding with the next video. See the YouTube video, “How to Create Self-selected, Self-paced Review Resources with Google Forms.”

Top 20 free courses for teaching online

Check out “Want to teach online effectively? Here are the top 20 (FREE) online courses for teachers” by


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