Designing Effective Virtual Classrooms

Image of someone using virtual reality devices in a learning environment.

Virtual classrooms, also known as online learning, are all the rage these days.

With the increasing popularity of online education, virtual classrooms have become a hotbed for creative design ideas. This EDU Blog will explore different strategies for designing effective virtual classrooms.

How Do You Set Up a Virtual Classroom?

At first, you should arm yourself with the knowledge that designing an effective virtual classroom is a dynamic task and rely on two factors — technology and social-emotional learning (SEL).

Using Technology

Basically, virtual classroom technology has two main components: One is the software that creates the virtual classroom. The other is the hardware that students and educators use to access the classroom.

  • Choose a virtual classroom platform: You should select a platform that is easy to access and understand for your all students.

  • Create an account and set up your virtual classroom: Each platform has its own set of instructions, so make sure to follow them carefully.

  • Select the best hardware and internet connection: You’ll need it to avoid constantly repeating something your students missed due to a bad sound quality!

  • Test your equipment: Test your microphone, camera, and an internet connection to make sure everything is working properly.

Invite participants: Send out the link or the meeting ID to the students or participants you want to join your virtual classroom.

Social Emotional Learning in Virtual Classrooms

Now that you handled all that technical rigmarole, you set up your virtual classroom, and you’re ready to start teaching. In that case, these social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies will help you ensure virtual learners make the most out of your class time since people with strong social-emotional skills are better positioned for success.

  • Virtual classroom rules: Spell out your virtual learning rules clearly from the outset. Use simple language to define your virtual classroom boundaries and expectations.

  • Virtual classroom games: Use gamification and game mechanics to keep learners active and engaged. Consumer economics students, for instance, may test different outcomes through web-based gaming simulations while building their financial literacy skills.

  • Get Ready: Create a clear agenda, prepare materials and activities, and practice your presentation.

  • Focus on interactivity: Be sure to encourage participation and interaction. Ask questions, and use breakout rooms, polls, and other interactive features to keep all students engaged. 

  • Nurture conflict: Conflict may not always be bad. The use of passive activities and asynchronous discussions can reduce or even ignore conflict in the online classroom. The reality of conflict and classroom management in the online environment makes this discussion critical, relevant, and relevant for today’s online classrooms.

The key to running an effective virtual classroom is to avoid the temptation of taking over the course, as you would in a traditional classroom. Keep in mind, in a virtual classroom, the instructor plays the role of facilitator and discrete assessor.

What makes good virtual classrooms?

Educators who wish to design a good virtual class must take steps to:

Make the virtual classroom experience feel real: Ensure every student is given adequate training in virtual classrooms before the coursework begins. Newly enrolled students should be thoroughly educated about the virtual classroom, lesson guidelines, and expectations. Because this will further increase the feeling that you are physically in the classroom.

Be transparent and collaborative: Collaboration on projects and assignments is a common practice, which should be supported among virtual learners. For example, an instructor can design a creative writing course that requires students to write about an event from six different viewpoints as part of a collaborative experiment. The students can then review each other’s writing samples.

Keep feedback loops tight: Provide opportunities for students to ask questions and receive feedback in real time. You can also nurture a sense of community and belonging when you continuously evaluate and adjust the virtual classroom based on student feedback. 

Embrace new ideas: Be intentional about discussing new ideas and fostering an inclusive learning environment. Set the pace for creative expression by using a variety of assessment methods to evaluate student understanding.

Provide opportunities for personal and professional growth: Remember, the world of technology is constantly evolving. School administrators should make provisions for educators to be supported with technical training and quarterly seminars to aid in personal and professional growth.

online class over laptop on Massive Open Online Course

How is virtual learning different from physical classrooms?

As with a physical classroom, virtual learning instructors offer their students a variety of options when it comes to assignments and projects. This encourages creativity by bringing new ideas into the learning environment. Virtual learning deviates from the curriculum-centered approach of the traditional classroom to a student-centered approach. The students involved are successful learners in both cases.

The key difference is that in virtual learning, the educator has progressively become a learning facilitator and prompter, a resource developer, a class participant, and a discrete assessor. In contrast to the role required in an authoritative, lecture-heavy teaching method, where the student is mostly a passive recipient of knowledge, while the educatorr acts as a dispenser.

What is the Best Virtual Classroom Software?

Virtual classroom software is designed to provide instructors and students with a virtual platform for hosting classes and interacting remotely. Virtual classroom software helps instructors personalize learning. Further improves efficiency by modernizing administrative tasks like attendance monitoring and grade tracking. 

In 2023, these are some of the best virtual classroom software:

Google Classroom: An industry giant, this learning management system (LMS) is easily accessible. Moreover offers interconnection with other Google products such as Slides and Spreadsheets.

Moodle LMS:  This free, open-source software has been available in over 100 languages since 2005. It has earned a reputation for accessibility among 300 million users.

GoTo Meeting: This online webinar solution is accessible from both desktop and mobile. For this reason, it is an excellent choice for large classrooms.

CANVAS: Canvas LMS is a flexible platform with a special design that accommodates educational institutions of all sizes and types. Whether kindergarten or company training, there are numerous tools to support your virtual learning environment.

When choosing a virtual classroom software, it’s important to check the cost requirements to install the system. Most efficient virtual classroom software share common features like chat, interactive whiteboards, session recording, breakout rooms, file sharing, streaming media, and screen sharing. Instructors should also check out all the features offered. It should also take care to make sure the software is compatible with your current hardware.

Internationally, during this education revolution, it boils down to an educator’s role at every stage of the teaching event, from a live session to a meaningful virtual journey. Designing effective virtual classrooms comes down to carefully planning, organizing, and managing the virtual environment. Canvas LMS is a flexible platform with a special design that accommodates educational institutions of all sizes and types. Do not forget to subscribe to EDU Passport to get more content on educational topics. 

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