21 Guidelines Governing Virtual Classes For A Better Experience

There is a famous saying: “without laws, there will be disorder.” I’m sure you’ll agree
with that! For anything to function efficiently, it must have rules governing it.

Creating virtual classes can be very arduous. It involves more than providing syllabus and schedules.

If rules aren’t in place, we’ll have students who’ll disturb the class with constant
questions or a grammar cop who’ll always want to correct everyone.

Therefore, since rules should exist, what are the guidelines that should govern virtual
classes? Let’s explore them in detail!

Here Are Guidelines Governing Virtual Classes

1. Audio

Before the beginning of any class, the tutor should inform all students to mute their microphones.

This rule helps in preventing background noise.

Without this rule, you’ll likely hear a baby crying, a dog barking, or some other background noise.

In addition, the tutor should assign someone to mute anyone speaking out of turn.

2. Video

It would be best if all participants in a virtual class turn off their videos.

Although, this will largely depend on the instructor’s preference.

If any participant wants to display his video, he should meet the following requirements:

  • The background should be bright.
  • The background of the video should be distraction-free.
  • Wear less revealing attire.
  • When something distracting comes up, the video should be turned off immediately.

The tutor should assign someone to turn off any distracting video.

3. Comment Section

It’s common for virtual classes to have a platform where participants can comment, ask questions, and compare ideas.

If that section isn’t regulated, students will misuse it, making it a new Facebook or Twitter.

It would be best to create specific time intervals for comments, asking questions, and sharing ideas.

4. Prejudice Free

Since virtual classes are held online, they can serve as a learning space for people with diverse religions, cultures, and ethnicity.

For this reason, laws against derogatory statements or jokes should be in place.

Provocative comments or jokes must be avoided at all times.

We all are in some ways prejudiced, and because of this those in a virtual class should be cautious about what they say.

It’s easy to unintentionally offend someone with a different background.

An example of unintentional prejudice:

  • A tutor not involving a student in general discussions because he thought it would draw people’s attention to his disability.

Note:

Prejudice isn’t confined to religion, race, or ethnicity.

5. Don’t Give Special Treatment

In the previous guideline, I gave an example of unintentional prejudice.

From the standpoint of the tutor, he might think he’s compassionate.

But why not stop to consider how the person with the disability feels?!

It’s best not to give special treatment to any student and treat everyone equally!

Don’t assume anyone is lacking in some aspect unless you’re approached personally.

6. Don’t Tolerate Negative Words

The use of negative words isn’t tolerated in a physical class, and we should expect the same in a virtual class.

Very few would blatantly rain down insults on other students, but many do it in subtle ways.

In most cases, insults or negative words usually come in the form of subtle sarcasm.

From the surface, they often don’t sound like insults.

7. Don’t Police Spellings

Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s only natural to spell wrongly, sometimes.

No! You’ve not been assigned to correct everyone’s mistakes.

If you deem it fit to correct a fellow student, it would be best to do it privately.

Doing this prevents the person from avoidable embarrassments.

8. Be Careful When Using Exclamations

Have you ever misunderstood a message someone sent? Well, I have a lot of time.

The meaning of a written text is subject to the mind of its recipient.

It’s easy for the wrong idea to be conveyed.

One has to be careful about what he sends.

Usage of exclamation marks and Capitals could be viewed as shouting. (I’ve been told this a couple of times)

To avoid sending a wrong message, read again before sending or ask others to read if it’s not confidential.

9. Watch Your Spellings And Make Proper Use of Punctuations

Informal texting allows the use of abbreviations, but this isn’t permissible in institutional settings.

Always keep your written text professional.

Make use of punctuations when necessary and crosscheck your sentences for poor spellings.

10. Show Caution When Using Sarcasm

Humor can make a virtual class lively and appealing when used properly.

In your effort to liven up the class, try to avoid derogatory statements.

Also, don’t go too far in trying to be funny. Always stay professional.

11. Make Sure Your Information Is Factual

As an online tutor, ensure that all information you dish out is accurate.

Your uploaded credentials must be genuine; don’t pose to be what you’re not.

Make sure the content you upload on your website for tutoring is yours and not plagiarized.

If you’re going to use someone else’s content, go through the right channel and credit them.

12. Be Polite

When conversing with other students, be respectful to them just as you would when chatting with others physically.

Also, don’t feel you can speak rudely to your students because you’re the tutor.

Don’t be impolite to others just because you aren’t speaking to them physically.

13. Always Answer Questions On Time

As a tutor, you need to be alert and prepared for every class always.

This will help you attend to your students’ questions on time.

If a question is asked and you can’t provide a reliable answer, inform the student that you’ll reply later.

But, this shouldn’t become customary because it can suggest that you aren’t qualified to teach.

Moreover, irrespective of the reason for postponing the answer to a question, it would be appropriate to apologize.

A simple sentence like “I’m sorry” is heartwarming.
Always apologize, even if you have a valid reason.

It shows that you’re polite and earns you the respect of your students.

14. Proper Communication

Efforts to understand jumbled words or sentences can be exasperating.

This will prevent your students from understanding what is said.

Asides from having good content, fluency when speaking is a key to proper communication!

So, whether your message is recorded or delivered in real-time ensure you:

  • Speak fluently with an audible voice.
  • Provide videos with a clear resolution.
  • Make your videos distraction-free.

Some students will be very impolite when speaking to you; anticipate that.

If you don’t caution yourself, you may find yourself exchanging words with your students.

Learn to be positive when replying to a student. This can be difficult to achieve if you lack self-control.

If you feel you’ve been wronged by a student, discuss with the student after class.

15. Make Sure Your Information Up-to-date

The information you dish out to your students must be up to date.

No one wants outdated knowledge.
If you have any content that isn’t recent or it’s archaic, remove it.

16. Be Careful Of The Materials You Want To Upload

Both students and tutors should adhere to this standard.

Content that isn’t related to the class shouldn’t be sent to the class group chat.

These unrelated contents include religious videos, invites, and pamphlets.

Others are obscene jokes, pornographic content, and anything that can cause disputes.

Also, don’t upload contents that require enormous bytes to download.

If you feel the material is a must-have, provide a link to where they can find the material.

17. Encourage Your Students To Participate

A virtual class is a platform designed for learning.

All students will understand better if they are involved in class quizzes and group projects.

Some students may shy away from contributing because they lack confidence in their abilities or for some other personal reasons.

Whichever the case is, try encouraging them to participate.

Some might respond quickly to your entreaties, while others might require more time and patience.

18. No Flaming

Students should be careful when critiquing one another; it’s all too easy for constructive criticism to turn into a flame war.

With that in mind, it’ll be best to set up rules that’ll guide against flaming.

Constructive criticism is good, but it should be devoid of harsh words and tones.

19. Assignments Should Be Presented In The Right Format

There should be instructions governing the submission of assignments or class works in a virtual class.

The instructions should include:

  • The font and font size to use.
  • Line and paragraph spacing.
  • File formats: word, Docx, pdf.

Also, persuade them to submit their assignments on or before the fixed time.

20. Read Before You Reply

Before responding to a statement or a question posed, read through again to make sense of it.

Reading through will help you discover if someone else has answered the posed question.

It will further save you from repeating what has already been said and it shows that you’ve been paying attention.

Also, be careful with the kind of content you share. Whatever your share, even though it’s confined to a private chat platform, can swiftly become public.

21. There Should Be Repercussions

Students should be disciplined if they fail to follow any of the guidelines.
However, they shouldn’t always be punished every time they err.

Remember, no one is perfect.
But, students who have a reputation for disregarding protocols should face the repercussions.

If the student continues on the wayward part without a hint of remorse, he should be kicked out of the virtual class temporarily or permanently.

Also, the gravity of an offense determines if a student should be punished.
Laws have no weight when there are no punishments for breaking them.

Tutors should be discreet when deciding which punishment is appropriate.

Excellent Ways To Capture Students’ Attention In A Virtual Class

As an online tutor, you may find it very challenging to capture the attention of your students.

This is a problem that many online tutors face. So, don’t feel you’re incapable or alone.

You should understand that teaching virtually and physically are two different things.

They’re somehow similar because they revolve around dispensing knowledge, but the conditions in which they are dispensed differ.

Don’t be too anxious. I’ve got your back! Written below are some ways to capture the attention of students in a virtual class.

1. Arousing Introduction

How you introduce your topic matters. You should begin your class with a captivating statement.

Tips:

  • Be prepared for the class.
  • Begin with a statement or questions that will capture your student’s attention.
  • The statement you begin with must be related to the topic of interest.
  • Help your virtual students see the importance of the topic or why they need to concentrate.

2. Sustaining Interests

Beginning with a captivating question is only the first step to gaining your student’s attention.

You have to sustain that attention.

Tips:

  • Be natural when speaking; don’t let your students think you’re just reading from a textbook.
  • Make jokes at intervals, be humorous, and don’t be too stiff.
  • Maintain contact with the camera, don’t look away.

3. Converse With Your Students

Let questions assist you, don’t do the talking alone.

Ask your student questions that’ll highlight the points.

Questions work best when you’re teaching your students in real-time.

But even if the video is pre-recorded it can still be effective.

Tips:

  • When teaching in real-time, ask multiple questions that will lead your students to the points in the topic and help them think.
  • Your questions could also be rhetorical.

4. Your Information Must Be Up-to-date

This is very important. We live in a digital age where there’s easy access to information.

No matter how lazy a student is, he or she will at least do some research on the topic of interest.

Imagine what’ll happen if your students find out your information is outdated.

Tips:

  • Make sure you’re well prepared.
  • Always back your statements with facts.
  • Your referenced material must be in the context of the topic of interest.

5. Engage In Practical Classes

Most tutors focus on theories alone, and even their practical classes are hard to understand.

I once attended an online class where the tutor gave us a project to work on without examples or aids to guide us.

I mean we’re entirely new to the concept; you can guess how that project turned out.

Tips:

  • Always emphasize the concepts you want your students to grasp.
  • When you bring up a theoretical concept, don’t forget to give examples of its practical application.
  • Before giving your student’s project work, show them an example of what they’ll be doing.
  • Guide your students during the practical process; don’t leave them to figure it out on their own.
  • Avoid the urge to spew too much information

6. Make Use Of Videos or Pictorial Aids

This approach will help your students remember what they have been taught and also retain their interest.

Pictorial aids are very vital in explaining challenging concepts.

Make use of charts or diagrams when explaining.

These charts must contain vital concepts.
Your video or pictures should be of proper resolution.

The video sound should be audible.
Include rhetorical questions in the video or chart.

7. Practice

Make use of all the tips given. Try applying them in each virtual class you hold.

You can’t learn everything at a stretch. So, it’ll be best to try different points and work on them for each session.

Remember, it’s not about gaining attention; it’s about sustaining it.

Conclusion

The guidelines listed above exist to aid virtual learning.

Without rules, there will be a disorder.
Remember, learning is best possible in an ordered setting.

Okay, I’m taking you back to where we started.

As a tutor, don’t be afraid to discipline a student who constantly errs.

Students’ actions can affect your class negatively or positively.

Tutors should strive to improve their teaching methods. This will help them to be more efficient.

Also, if you are a student in a virtual class, I implore you to abide by the guidelines listed and those guidelines your tutor sets.

Well, there you go! I hope you find it helpful.

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