Virtual Classroom Good Practice Guide for Moderators
General good practice guide for anyone who is moderating or hosting a virtual classroom
Things to consider before you get started
- Will you monitor the chat for questions and respond in real-time?
- Will you dedicate time to a Q&A?
- Will you use breakout rooms for small-group discussions?
- Do you want all attendees to have full access to all features the entire time?
- What will you do if attendees have technical issues?
- Will you record the session for delegates who can’t attend?
Accessing the virtual room
- Use a hard-wired (Ethernet) connection, if available. If not available, use a Wifi connection. If using Wifi, try to be as close to the router as possible.
- Close other programs. Close all programs and streaming services on your computer except for the app you are using for your session.
- Keep your browser current. Only use up-to-date Internet browsers. Find out how to do so here.
- Use a headset. Cut down on the background noise by using a headset.
- Use a computer for managing the session (if possible) to ensure you are accessing the full functionality of the platform. Web based software can sometimes have limited functionality when in mobile view.
- Choose a feature-rich modern platform for your virtual session. An ideal one would support easy access, screen share, integration of different learning assets, polling, hand raising, breakout areas, and so on.
- Provide an audio dial-in option. Video conferencing relies on a strong internet connection that may not always be available.
Preparing for the session
- Give yourself time to learn what you can and can't do in the session.
- Test the software and the instructions for attendees. You may want to practice with moderators or co-presenters for the session.
- Send attendees event details and instructions for joining the session. Include any additional information about how the session will be moderated or where to get help with the software.
- If your session has been advertised on public forums or social media platforms be aware of the risks and discuss with moderators how unwanted behaviour in the session should be dealt with. You may find our Session Security Tips relevant.
Managing your virtual session
- Join the session early.
- Show a welcome slide in the lead up to starting the session especially if attendees can join the session early.
- Clearly outline how the session will be structured, tools available to the attendees in the session and any moderation or support available in the session.
- Use a moderator or co-instructor if the group is large, the topic is complex, or if you are new to the online classroom or teaching a new topic for the first time. Moderators can help guide the conversation, allowing the other participants to focus on the content.
- Choose a platform that allows you to easily control session features. For medium to large sessions, you may want to limit the functionality available to attendees to help coordinate their input. For instance, you may want to disable attendee voice/video input until discussion or Q&A section.
- Have another area to hold complicated or tangential questions for later.
- For highly interactive sessions, set specific guidelines indicating how to ‘step away’ from the room when you or attendees have to leave the computer or change focus momentarily.
Managing files and resources
- Keep animations to a minimum as they can be tricky during the online presentation.
- Background information should be provided beforehand.
- You may want to record your session so attendees who experience technical issues can review the recording for the section(s) they missed. Please see Virtual Classroom Policy for more information about guidance for recording sessions.
Engaging your audience
- Introduce yourself. Don't assume everyone automatically recognises your voice. State your name the first few times you speak.
- Make eye contact. If you are sharing video, look at the camera and not the session. It may feel weird, but it shows you are engaged in the session. If you need to multi-task during the session, shut your video off to avoid looking distracted.
- Mute yourself when not speaking. Nothing is more distracting than background noise. For example, typing or a private conversation. It can also give the impression that you aren't paying attention.
- Be professional. You may be joining the session from somewhere private, but you are not alone. Participate. Don't talk over someone. Raise your hand if there is no opening to speak. Type questions and feedback in the chat.
- Include feedback features in your session that allows attendees to contribute to the session. Use open polls, status options, chat boxes, breakout areas, and similar features to make the session interactive and engaging.
- Keep the pace moving and the discussions on topic to avoid information overload.
Supported tools: summary grid
A supported tools summary grid comparing Collaborate, MS Teams, Zoom and Skype for Business can be found on the following university webpage: Online Meeting and Events Supported Tools
Blackboard Help. Session Best Practices. Available online:
Best Practices for Delivering Virtual Classroom Training. Available online: https://www.learningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=3159
Teaching Practices for Your Virtual Classroom. Available online: https://edservices.wiley.com/teaching-practice-for-virtual-classrooms/
24 Virtual Training Best Practices To Follow When Shifting To Remote Learning. Available online: https://elearningindustry.com/virtual-training-best-practices-for-remote-learning
If you require further assistance: