Tips for using remote meeting programs

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Hello Iowa ACRL,

I reached out to Dan Gall, the University of Iowa's Distance Education Librarian, for tips or advice as courses and other activities move online. Here are some tips from Dan:

  • Use your webcam judiciously. It's good to have it on to start, to help establish a connection with the people you are working with, but you can turn it off when screensharing or doing other things. Too many things on the screen makes it hard to focus.
  • SLOW. DOWN. Remote users may have trouble tracking your mouse or following along onscreen, so speak extra clearly and make sure your actions are obvious.
  • Check to make sure that everyone understands. You can use a poll, chat, or just ask for a video thumbs up.
  • Beware of audio feedback. (Headset/mic > computer speakers and webcam mic). Remote users may also accidentally cause feedback issues.
  • Most online meeting platforms have an ability to mute users while hosting. Dan usually explains why he is muting somebody, in this case. If you are hosting, you may be able to set participants to automatically be muted when they enter the meeting, so they can enable video/audio when they are ready.
  • If you are presenting to a larger group, having someone else track the chat will allow you to focus on the presentation.
  • Cameras don't often handle checks or other busy prints well. Solid-colored tops are recommended. On the other hand, the bottom half of your body most likely won't be visible, so if you're wearing comfy PJ pants, nobody will be any the wiser!
  • Dan also recommends checking out ACRL's Distance Learning Section for general distance-learning information, but the resources there may not be as relevant given the current situation. https://acrl.ala.org/DLS/resources-publications/
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