How You Can Start Teaching Students Online

Teaching students online has become very important.

Teaching Students Online

During this period of uncertainty surrounding novel coronavirus (COVID-19), most teachers’ top priority is to be safe, prevent themselves from getting infected and at the same time continue providing support to students and parents wherever they are.


The world health organization has given a directive concerning social distancing and this has led to the closer of schools all over the world.


But thanks to the internet, teachers all over the world are teaching student using online tutoring platforms like zoom, Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp video call etc.


Best of all you can do this all from home.


The purpose of this article is to help you as a teacher to make this transition from face to face in-home tuition to one to one online tuition.


Of course, It is true that online tuition may not be suitable for every student and even some tutors as well due to technological restrictions or a student’s learning needs.


But during this time of crises, it is all the more important to learn about online tutoring and ways to connect with student without having personal contact.


Adopting online will require cooperation with the parents of the students you work with, as well as some patience while the logistics and functions of the platform are learned by both.


Although online tuition is highly recommended, because other educators around the world are also making this transition, many platforms have decided to charge for their services which you could have gotten for free.


This means that you cannot continue to use these platforms without paying.


It is in view of this that is why I recommend zoom.



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Why Zoom?

Zoom is the leader in modern video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.


Furthermore, Zoom is a more secure platform, and doesn’t allow the users to see usernames or email addresses, the more reason why most tutors are switching to zoom.



Getting Started

When teaching online, you should work in a physical space that is conducive to holding class.  To make your virtual classroom more engaging:

  • Work in a quiet room, with minimal background noise and distractions.
  • Connect a webcam to your computer so you can be visible to your students during class.
  • Use a good microphone. A noise-cancelling headset is recommended.



Get Familiar With Zoom

  1. Sign Up on the homepage. (We like to sign in with our Google account as it’s one less password to remember)


  1. You’ll then find yourself at your online account page. You can manage most of your zoom activity from here, but we’d recommend using the desktop or app to do so as it’s more user friendly and all calls are redirected to the desktop version anyway. We’d recommend starting this process before your next tuition session, maybe even practice with someone at home or a friend.


  1. To set up a meeting for your tuition click “HOST A MEETING” in the top right of the screen. Select the “With the Video On” option.


  1. You will then be prompted to download the Zoom software to run on your device.


  1. Join with your computer audio, microphone and video and the meeting has started.


  1. Select Invite+


  1. Select the Email tab and either send the invitation through the prompted email options or “Copy Invitation” and email it manually. This should include the meeting url, password, and meeting ID.


N.B. Always send the Zoom link to the parent/carer’s email address.


Tutors shouldn’t be communicating with students directly for security reasons.



Read Also: Top 5 Online Educational Resources For Parents During COVID 19



Preparing to Teach

  1. Once you’ve scheduled your Zoom meeting in Canvas, share the Zoom information and class expectations with your students.
    1. You may post an announcement in Canvas so students know when and where to meet. In your announcement, let students know what to prepare and expect to do during the Zoom class.
    2. If you don’t use Canvas, you may email your students the information.
  1. Plan and share your agenda and remote teaching guidelines so students know when and how they will participate during the session.
  2. Will they use text chat or audio to communicate? Will they submit something before or after the class? What do they have to do to prepare for the class? All this should be communicated to students before the class begins.
  3. If you want to enable breakout rooms, plan what you want students to do while they are in the small group, and how they will know when you want to call them back to the main meeting room.


Work From Home

During Class

We’ve highlighted some simple ways to make your remote classroom a vibrant and engaging learning environment.

We recommend that you let students know when the class will end and what to expect after this class.

  1. Turn on your video so students see you. It makes for a more personal remote teaching experience. Depending on your class size, you can ask students to turn on their videos as well.
  2. To record your session so that it may be posted to students later,  click the Record button on the lower right of the Zoom screen, and select Record to the Cloud. 
  3. Use the text chat or audio to discuss datasets, formulas, a video, an article, etc.
  4. Use the Share Screentool to share documents, websites, images, or slides, etc., and provide different means for representing the information.
  5. Breakout Roomsallow instructors to split a Zoom meeting into small group rooms. Instructors can choose to split students into breakout rooms automatically or manually. Instructors may enter any breakout room at any time and switch between them.  If using breakout rooms, explain what students are expected to do in the breakout room.
  1. End Meeting. Please let students leave the class meeting first. If you end the meeting, it may feel like you are pushing them out of class. Stick around until the last student leaves in case they have any final questions.


Note: Remote teaching in Zoom may feel awkward at first, but you will get more comfortable with it after practicing. Remember that students are not used to learning in this way, either. The key is to communicate expectations and center your teaching on the students– engage them in the process of teaching and learning.



After Class

As much as possible, consider what would be best for your teaching goals and your students before the class begins so you have a plan for after class.


  1. If you recorded the session to the cloud, you will receive an automated email from Zoom once the recording has processed, which will contain links to view and download your recording. Once processed, the recordings will be available in Cloud Recordings.


If some students were unable to attend the class, you may ask them to watch the recording and complete an alternative assignment so they get a similar learning opportunity as the students who attended.

Assess students based on your set learning goal. If you didn’t get to hear or assess the students during the session, provide an assessment after the session to allow students to demonstrate their learning.


Read Also: Coronavirus: Work From Home As An Online Tutor



Key Features

Now that you are ready to teach, here are key features essential for your sessions.

These features are important because they will facilitate you as a tutor in your tuition sessions.

It will also bring the resources and expertise that you have – making them far more engaging than just using the video chat.



Screensharing lets you present your own screen in real time, allowing you to go through slides, talk about a diagram, explore a web page, watch a video, and many more options.

To share your screen, click the “Share Screen” button in the centre of the window during the tuition.

Then select the window you want to share.

From here you can navigate to the tool of your choice for the lesson.

You can also send them files, if you have resources prepared that you would like them to complete. Obviously these can be emailed to the carer/parent beforehand, but you can also send files through the ‘Chat’ function. Select Chat from the menu at the bottom, then use the ‘File’ button in the chat pop-up window.

Apparently, the chat pop-up doesn’t automatically come up for the other user (i.e. the student), so you will need to inform them if you use the chat function, and prompt them to open chat on their end.

An essential option would be to share your screen whilst you go through a slide presentation on either Google Slides or Powerpoint. Zoom allows you to prepare all of your materials in advance and make them engaging in an easy-to-manage way.

N.B. All of your current open windows will be visible at this stage, please ensure private information and other content are not visible to students. 



When you screenshare you can also annotate what is on your screen! This allows you and your student to both interact with the content, write answers and brainstorm.

To annotate, hover your mouse towards the top of your screen; a bar should pop down with a range of options including annotate. You can draw or type your answers or ideas on the page as you go.

One feature that differs in Zoom from other platforms, is that annotations stay fixed in place on the screen, even if the page/content behind it scrolls.

That means any annotations stay in place, even if you change to a different window or resource while you’re screen sharing.

Therefore, we would recommend that if you are using a resource you want the student to annotate (e.g. labelling a diagram of a plant) ensure that diagram fits in the screen and doesn’t require scrolling to see all of it, then once the student has labelled/annotated it, use the ‘Save’ option in the Annotation menu to record it, then ‘Clear’ the screen before moving to your next resource/page.


Read Also: Coronavirus Education: Read this before it’s too late.



Zoom also has a very useful whiteboard tool, allowing a blank canvas for students and teachers to work on in real time.

To use the whiteboard, click the “Screen Share” button during your zoom meeting with the student and select “Whiteboard”.

From here you can type or draw questions and answers. Unfortunately there is no copy and paste format, but you can view the content in regular screen share and use the annotation format described above to work on the material.

Make sure to click save as you go along to keep copies of Q&As or any great student scribbles!



Other Resources

Teach Online with Zoom – Beginners Tutorial

How to teach online with Zoom: Complete Introduction




The coronavirus has caused widespread school closures for an unknown duration.

Teachers are scrambling to find ways to support students from afar through online learning.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this daunting task, you’re certainly not alone.

Moving your teaching from face-to-face to online in response to a global crisis is a necessary solution.

Teaching online isn’t easy but it can work and be rewarding.

Have you ever use zoom before? Share with us your experience.

Click here and download our special report for free…

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