In plenty of time for your first online seminar
Some essential things that need to be in place before the first online seminar can go ahead. You must check that you have all the equipment you need, and potentially source whatever you may be missing. You also need to prepare your computer for use with Zoom.
Do you have the equipment you need to conduct an online seminar properly?
You can use all of HVL’s standard computers for online teaching. If you want to use another computer, laptop or desktop, you should get in touch with the IT department.
You should use a webcam with a USB connection. If you don’t have one of these, get in touch with the IT department.
Laptops often have built-in webcams. Even if your laptop does have a built-in webcam, we would recommend that you use a free-standing camera for online teaching – both for your online seminars and the resource lectures. The reason behind this is that free-standing webcams allow more flexibility, and often provide a higher-quality image.
Headsets and microphones
It is incredibly important that the quality of sound is high while you are teaching. You therefore need to ensure that you are using a good microphone.
We recommend the use of a headset that has a microphone. If you require a headset for your office, get in touch with the IT department.
The sound produced through built-in microphones that usually come with cameras or PCs is often poor quality and can cause echoes for other participants in the online room. These kinds of microphones should not be used.
You can use one of HVL’s standard screens when conducting your online teaching sessions.
If you want to use another screen, for example a laptop screen, we recommend that you use a 13 inch sized screen at a minimum. This is to ensure good enough readability.
Experience has shown that it is often favourable to use two screens. This makes it easier to share content from one screen while also having an overview of the communication going on in the online room. Do you only have one screen available in your office? Get in touch with IT Help and they can get that sorted for you.
To ensure a stable picture and good sound quality, it is important that you have a stable internet connection.
The internet connection on HVL’s own Campus works well.
If you are teaching from other locations, you must ensure that you have a good enough internet connection. The connection must have a low degree of latency (<50Ms). You must have a minimum download speed of 5Mbps, and 0.5Mbps upload speed.
We recommend that you do not hold your online seminars over a wireless internet connection. Instead, we recommend that you use a wired internet connection directly connected between your computer and router.
We recommend that you use the browsers Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, as these are compatible with Zoom.
Microsoft Internet Explorer is not compatible with Zoom, and is therefore not recommended.
You must ensure that you have the latest version of the browser installed. Check your browser here.
If you need to install or update your internet browser on the computers connected to the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, you will need to visit the Software Centre. You can find the Software Centre in the Start menu.
Prepare your computer – first time using Zoom
When you have all the necessary equipment in place, you can get started on preparing your computer for use with Zoom.
If you have a HVL PC, Zoom will already be installed. Check if you have the app installed by searching for it in the search bar at the bottom left of the menu line. If you can’t find Zoom on your PC, you can install it via the Software Centre. You should only need to do this once.
Test that your sound and picture are both working well
Poor quality sound and picture on your own equipment can disturb the students’ experience of the session, and weaken the benefits of the teaching you’re providing. You must therefore test the sound and picture quality in order to assure that all the technical aspects are working sufficiently.
Start every teaching session with the option ‘Test Speaker and Microphone’ before entering the Zoom room. If you do experience issues with the sound after the session has begun, you can find this same option by clicking on the little arrow just beside the sound icon. By clicking on that, you can also choose the correct microphone and speaker, as well as test and adjust the sound.
It can be difficult to detect poor sound quality from the microphone and speakers when you’re the only participant in a room. This is especially relevant in regard to the sound echoing. We therefore recommend that, before conducting your first session via Zoom – and after you’ve corrected any potential problems – you organise an online meeting with a colleague who is familiar with Zoom, such that you can check the sound and image quality together.
Information for the students
As the Course Coordinator of an online course, you must ensure that your students have all the information they need before the course commences. You must let them know where they can find all the information. So that everyone has a positive experience of their first online seminar, it is crucial that the technical elements are working well for all participants. If you are a part-time tutor, or start your teaching block after the students have already begun their online seminars, much of this will have already been sorted.
The students require information regarding what equipment they will need, how they can prepare their computers for use with Zoom, where and how they can log into Zoom, and how they can actively participate in an online seminar.