Managing a Large Online Class Is No JOKE !

Here are Five Tips to run them smoothly

COVID-19 has not left any part untouched. As an example, while online classes were a distant option till a few months ago, they have become an absolute necessity now. This has taken most teachers by surprise as they were unprepared to handle the nuances of dealing with technology in front of a camera and delivering lectures to a computer screen. All our teaching methods have been shaken to the core.

Handling a batch of more than five to ten students online has become a herculean task for most teachers and institutes. From our experience over the last three years, of running batch sizes from 2 students to 250, we have a few tips to share. Here we list down five must-do things that teachers and institutes can add to their routine to keep their classes going smoothly.

  1. Keep your classroom entry protected by a door: One of the most irritating thing that can happen to an online session is when unknown participants join your class or discussion. The term zoom bombing became very popular when several reports surfaced where mischievous students or malicious users joined someone else’s online sessions.

How am I supposed to have a door online?- you might ask. Well, the key is to fix your student list and make sure only those students join your class.

Online classroom softwares such as Zoom, Teams etc provide meeting links and a ‘door’ mechanism to allow students to join in. Share those meeting links only with students you want to allow and use the waiting room mechanism to allow known participants.

For small classes where students are punctual this could work well but when class sizes of 50 or 100 have to be handled it is impractical for teacher to keep clicking to allow students in. In those scenarios, professional services such as could be used to run classes smoothly. Such services provide an online ID card to each student and remove the need for link sharing or checking who is joining – it is all automatically handled.  

2. Keep your classroom protected by four walls : When we send our kids to school or a coaching centre we are relaxed that they are safe from other inside the school or coaching centre boundary walls. Further only students, parent, teachers or guards with an entry to the premises know where the classrooms are and where a child might be.

In the online world, when we publish our classroom or meeting links on public whatsapp groups, we are letting the whole world know that we are going to be meeting at a given time on a given address and often the key to the classroom (i.e. the password) is also publicly announced.

Would we ever do that in practice inviting anyone to come an disturb or provide a threat to the safety of our kids?

Again, some classroom softwares such as Teams allow a student to login to their account to know when and where a class that student is enrolled in is happening. Service such as make such features available to everyone under their free plan. No need to share links and only enrolled students can join, even if a mischievous student shares the link. Kids are in safe hands.

3. Manage your calendar better: In a school or coaching centre setting, someone from admin staff does the scheduling of classes, classrooms and teacher allocation. But when we are working with popular online meeting softwares, teachers are struggling to prepare their schedule on a notepad create meeting links for all classes and then remembering to send those links to the right whatsapp or email groups at the right time. This is just too much to handle in addition to the already high teaching workload and home workload in this pandemic. There has got to be a better way and thankfully there is. Teachers on are comfortably scheduling classes for an entire month, week or just the next class with automated notification going to enrolled students. The calendar of upcoming and past classes help you know when you are busy during the week and can plan your time accordingly. And yes, time saved by not having to create new links for every meeting, remembering to send those and actually sending and noting against a specific class is all best spent in meeting students or with family

4. Recruit a supporting staff for handling tech issues and payments: You might laugh at me for suggesting this. Well, it is not that difficult. You are great at teaching and can manage basics of computer operations but do you want to take time out from teaching to help the student resolve wifi issues or login challenges while teaching. Probably not !  When you take a paid plan, for as low as Rs 60/- to Rs. 100/- per student per month, along with all the facilities mentioned above (and more), gets you a support staff just as you would have in your own school or coaching centre. Now your 250 student has helped just a click away to know why they are unable to join a class or listen to audio when everyone else can. If not for anything else, the peace of mind makes you more productive and active throughout the day knowing very well that your students are taken care of.

Similarly, instead of keeping track of payments by checking bank account transactions or paytm entries against every student from every batch and sending repeated reminders to parents, get someone else to do this essential activity for you. Achimo service has payment gateway connected to every course on the site such that students get alerted few days before their next payment is due. For those students who are not careless enough to handle their responsibilities on time, the service blocks them from the next class when the fees is overdue, saving you the embarrassment of calling parents to remind about the fees.

5. Get rid of attendance: Gone are the days when first 10 min of a 45 min class were spend in taking attendance. Those 10 min spent every day for a subject for 5 days a week and for 10 months can add up to 2000 minutes wasted in the academic year just for one subject alone ! This time is better spent on answering student queries or completing the syllabus or even getting to know your students better. Let the system take care of it while you focus on teaching.

So to face all these problems head on. If you wish to streamline your added technology workload, take the help of a trusted partner by signing up for the free plan today by connecting with us on WhatsApp here

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