I teach several online and traditional CIT Developer courses. When the campus closed, I decided to run my two traditional classes (CIT218 and CIT228) “live” in Zoom at our regular class meeting times. I also moved all my office hours to online hours in Zoom.
In CIT228, Advanced Relational Databases, we started using Zoom in January because so many students were out sick and still wanted to attend class. At the beginning of class, I’d send out Zoom invites and students could attend remotely if needed. I also recorded the lecture and lab instructions which I posted in the course after class. When campus closed, it was an easy transition to use Zoom because students were familiar with the program and knew what to expect.
In CIT218, Web Applications, I have videos embedded into the course because it is taught both online and on-campus. Even though the course is set up for online, I knew that many of the traditional students preferred a set meeting time, so I decided to have live lectures and live computer labs at our normal class time.
In both classes, the remote class runs pretty much the same way the regular class did. I have online office hours before class which many students attend to get help or to chit chat. As students enter class, I try to greet each one and I open the participant and chat windows so I can keep track of what is going on. At the beginning of class, I give them an overview of what we are covering, and I take attendance.
While covering material, I normally combine verbal understanding checks with an observation of non-verbal facial cues. When teaching remotely, I do more verbal understanding checks because most students have their video cameras turned off. Almost all the students communicate with mics (which are turned off until they want to talk). During labs when people are working, they tend to use the chat more. If anyone has a problem with an assignment, they share their screen and we fix the problem. (That has been a great bonus for students because they can learn from each other and they get more exposure to problem solving!)
Overall, the synchronous remote class has been a positive experience for me and for the students. On a personal level, it has given students the opportunity to interact with each other, share information, and share experiences (especially during our office hour chats). On a professional level, it has given students experience using conferencing software similar to what they will be using in industry and it has given them much more exposure to problem solving techniques because they not only learn how to solve their own problems, but they see how to solve other problems as well.