We’ve all been trained on classroom etiquette for years. We know we have to wait our turn and raise our hand to speak, we know to be quiet when others are talking and we know how to conduct ourselves in a public setting. So, how does one take what they know about in-person classroom etiquette and transfer that to the virtual classroom setting? Well, after having a few classes over video chat already, here are a few tips I’ve gathered from my own experience.

Test your wifi connection– You want to make sure you are able to connect to the virtual classroom format.

Make sure you test your mic and camera at least 5 minutes before the video chat– It doesn’t take long and it prepares you for your class. You don’t want to be messing with your mic and camera after class starts.

Find a quiet place– It’s hard to focus when there’s too much background noise. Try to find a quiet spot where you can focus while you’re in class. Use earphones to help you better block out the noise.

Mute your microphone when you’re not using it– You might not notice any small noises you’re making or even small noises in the background, but your microphone may pick it up. Remember to mute your microphone when you’re not talking.

Pay attention just like you would in class– Without being in a physical classroom, it’s easy to become distracted by, for example, using your phone. Try to put your phone away for the duration of the class and focus just like you would if you were physically in class.

Don’t talk over the other person, use a “raise your hand” feature or the chat feature– I really like the “raise your hand” feature because that way, the instructor knows you have something to say and you also don’t risk interrupting one of your classmates. Another great feature is the chat feature. Using the chat feature is another way you can pose your question or comment without interrupting others.

Work in a “professional” setting, if possible– Try to find a desk or table. While staying in bed is great, try to set up your learning space to at least imitate a classroom even when you’re not in the classroom.

While I will admit that my first video chat classroom was strange, it’s important to remember that by practicing social isolation, we can get back to normalcy soon. We can also start looking forward to the next school year and we can better appreciate having a physical classroom setting!

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