When I first started teaching online 7 weeks ago, my biggest obstacle was sound quality. I found while teaching my voice would drop out or my music would warp and often I could only have one or the other, either my voice wasn't clear or my music wouldn't play. I did a lot of searching online and a lot of advice was pointing to investing in a fancy mic and/or a sound mixer, I kept hunting and playing and eventually I found some things that worked for me without having to spend a penny. I ran a workshop, facilitated by Dancebase, on teaching dance in an online world and it seemed there was an interest in having this information readily available so I'm creating some videos and blog posts on useful things for teaching online.
Tip 1 - Disable 'background noise surppress' Tool
The first tip is to do with Zooms default settings. Zoom is very well designed for the online meetings it was made for, a clever feature it includes is to suppress background noise. As soon as we head away from our device into our home studio we are becoming that background noise Zoom is trying to suppress. So we need to disable this wonderfully useful setting that is very much not made for us!
- Open the Zoom app on your device, click on the settings wheel in the top right corner.
- Click on the 'Audio' tab, open up the advanced settings
- Select option to 'Show in-meeting option to 'enable original sound' from microphone'. Disable both suppression of persistent and intermittent background noise.
Tip 2 - Screen share your sound
I know some people have been playing there music through speakers in their own space and then having that come through the mic along with your voice. It seems to work well for people with a dedicated mic but it wasn't working so well for me so I use the Zoom share screen feature. This way the music will come out of each individuals device as if they were playing it them selves.
- Once your meeting is running, click on the green 'share screen' icon.
- Go into the advanced settings and select 'Music or Computer Sound only' then click share at the bottom of the window.
- It will be written across the top of the meeting screen for both you and other people in the class when you are screen sharing.
Tip 3 - Know where your mic is
Check where the mic is on your device. Make sure you don't cover it up while you're building your makeshift tripod to keep your device up while you bounce about. Make sure it's clean and ready to hear what you've got to say.
Tip 4 - Speaking
Seems pretty self explanatory but worth mentioning. Even though your in your little space and everyone else is in theirs, you still need to project and speak clearly. I'd also suggest speaking a little slower so that your or your students signal drops out for a second they'll still keep up with what's going on.
Tip 5 - Wireless Headphones
You might find you or someone in your house has a set of wireless headphones you can use for your classes. Having your mic attached to your ear is pretty handy, it will keep your voice consistent as you move around and turn away from the camera. Only downside is you might feel a bit like Britney but maybe that's a plus for some of you?
Hopefully you found something useful in there, if you have any questions please let me know. Enjoy your online teaching!