Forget about Pagecall - Using videoconferencing tools

boy in gray shirt using black laptop computer
Photo by Thomas Park / Unsplash

If you’ve tried setting up a team for your company, you understand the challenge of assembling a skilled group of talents. Hiring the right server and front-end developers to create a custom virtual education system can be a daunting task.

Here’s a way to bypass that.

Let us share tips on how to use existing video conferencing solutions like Zoom to set up your educational service:

Choose an educational topic that can be explained through voice

Video conferencing solutions provide high-quality video and audio for free, usually up to 40 minutes. Using these solutions, you can carry on a conversation as if they are in front of you.

Don't choose topics that need explaining of complex topics like math or science. It's not easy to explain even the simplest geometry or algebra problem through voice alone. It's best to choose a topic that can be delivered through voice alone, like language-speaking classes or other topics where visual aids are not essential.

You can also share screen, but remember, students can always access recorded lectures where instructors talk about topics in the textbook via VOD (MooC) cheaply at their convenience whenever they want. So, if all the teacher is doing is simply sharing their screen during a synchronous lesson, students might question the need for real-time sessions.

Choose your whiteboard wisely

If you plan to use free whiteboard services alongside video conferencing, make sure to share the whiteboard access link with your students and guide them on how to enter the whiteboard. Being a free solution, there's no way to guarantee there won't be an interruption in the network or a malfunction of the application, but we will just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Some free whiteboard services also may not fully support tablet devices, so check their compatibility in advance. It would be a shame to get your students on the whiteboard and have the teacher provide subpar annotation because they are trying to write something complex using a mouse on their desktop; the students would lose interest quickly and not sign up for another session.

If you are using a service that supports tablets, ensure that it doesn't drain the tablet's battery too quickly or cause excessive heating during long lessons. Running a videoconference while writing continuously using an input device is like making the tablet work nonstop. Lessons usually run for 30 minutes or longer, and sometimes even 90 minutes, so every minute of battery counts.

Manage recording and playback

Business meetings can be sensitive about recording, but in educational services, many prefer classes to be recorded.

Part of the reason is for the students to review the lesson, but it is also helpful for the administrators of the service to have the recordings handy to address various quality control issues and complaints, such as ensuring that teachers are conducting classes correctly and that students' attitudes are not problematic.

Fortunately, most video conferencing solutions allow recording. Make sure to ask the participating teachers to press the record button before the class. If, for whatever reason, they forget to do so, all the content from that lesson will be lost. After the class, guide them to submit the replay link for documentation so that the administrators have a way to verify the class took place in case of any issues.

Also, if you've used a free whiteboard service, remind students to capture the teacher's notes or problem-solving during the class so they can review them later. If not captured, all the class notes will disappear.

Managing class data

You will need to keep track of whether students logged in on time, whether teachers adhered to the scheduled class time, how actively students participated during the class, what homework was assigned after the class, and the feedback provided by the teacher related to the class.

After the class, it would be good to guide the teachers to fill out a Google Form or something similar. If you can send notifications to parents based on that information, customer satisfaction is likely to improve.

Do be careful when calculating teacher invoices. If the number of classes or hours recorded in the spreadsheet is missing or incorrect, it could lead to serious issues.

Managing textbooks

Have you prepared the materials to be used in class in advance in an appropriate digital file format? Have you sent each teacher the files for students and classes in advance via email or messenger? Of course, to send files like this, you must own the copyright to the teaching materials. Also keep in mind that if you circulate the files this way, your teaching material files could be vulnerable to endless replication on the web.

Some free whiteboard services may not allow the upload of PDF files. To avoid any issues, you should convert them all to image files in advance. This way, teachers won't be confused when a material is suddenly not uploaded during class.

Do you also use MP3 audio files for language classes? This adds a bit of complexity, but it can be overcome. The teacher can play the audio on their computer and conduct the class with students through screen sharing. Occasionally, if they want to explain grammar or vocabulary, they can temporarily turn off screen sharing and provide explanations on the whiteboard service, then turn on screen sharing again when audio playback is needed.

There! You are now all set to start your educational service. Is this starting to feel like more uncertainties and added administrative burden than you had imagined?

You are in luck.

Next, we will tell you how Pagecall can help simplify your journey to starting an online educational service.