Strategies for hosting live (synchronous) lectures

f synchronous sessions will aid in student learning and you’ve ruled out asynchronous options for good reasons, schedule your synchronous sessions in consultation with your class. Communicate an alternate and equivalent plan for those students who will not be able to attend.

If you do plan to host a live lecture, be sure to record it so that students who can't attend can watch it later.

Tips for hosting a live lecture

  • Plan beforehand. Let students know when the synchronous sessions will take place and how to log in. Upload your slides before the session starts. Have your notes on hand. If you’re going to use the whiteboard feature, practice ahead of time.

  • Have a timeline in mind so you don’t run out of time. Start and end on time.

  • Clarify your expectations for students (e.g engage respectfully, avoid posting links to extraneous resources, and so on).
  • Break your lecture into topic chunks so it’s easier for students to digest the information. Consider providing time between chunks for questions (via chat or Q&A), or for assessing learning (via polling).
  • Let students know how you’re going to handle questions, based on the size of your class and the number of TAs you have available to assist. You can allow students to use the mic, put thier "hand up" or type them via the Chat. Options include:
    • addressing questions during your lecture. If the class is large, you can ask your TA(s) to monitor the Chat;
    • responding to questions after the sessionAsk students to post questions to Discussions in LEARN.
  • If you choose to record yourself, be sure to look at your web camera occasionally to create a sense of connection with your students.
  • For  larger groups of students you may want to mute all mics automatically to avoid unnecessary noise. For smaller groups, you may simply want to remind students to mute their microphone at the very start of your session.
  • If you are using slides, "less is more". Remember, you are not displaying this in a large lecture hall. Students may be connecting with devices with varying screen sizes so small details on slides may be difficult to read. Post a lecture title slide (course name, lecture title, your name) so students who arrive early into the virtual classroom know they are in the right place.
  • Have a back-up plan. If the technology doesn’t work for some reason, don’t panic. Let students know that you will record the full lecture later and post it to the course website.
  • Post critical information (e.g., websites you may be referring to) in a chat window or in Announcements in LEARN after the lecture.
  • Post an announcement in LEARN when the recording is available.

Iowa State University has developed Best Practices for Live WebEx Classes resourse.