What are the best practices for running a video meeting?

Using cameras

In general, if all your students have high speed internet connections, ask them to turn on their cameras . However, if anyone experiences choppy audio or video you may want to ask everyone to try turning their video off.

Making eye contact

When you look at the camera when you’re speaking – not the screen – it appears to other participants that you’re making eye contact.

Muting the mic

Ask students to mute their mics when they aren’t speaking. If you are using Zoom, you as Host can Mute All participants at once.

Class interactions

Explain at the beginning of class how you expect students to interact e.g. wait to be called on, unmute themselves when they want to jump in, expect that you will cold call on them, etc.


Many if not most video conferencing products include a text/chat feature. Establish norms around the text chatting feature prior to meeting or at the start of a meeting. Some instructors find the chat function useful as a different way of encouraging interaction. Chat can also be helpful for bringing in more voices especially those who are not native English speakers.

Different mindset

Keep in mind that teaching online requires a different mindset. As you lecture you won’t be able to glance around the classroom to see people’s reactions or take questions. Think actively about how you will manage this norm.

Using names

When you call on people, use their name. For example, “Mary, what do you think about…?” This helps create a connection which is especially important during this time of social distancing.

Planning ahead

Let students know what video conferencing product you intend to use, and then remind them to take a quick tour of it and test their devices in advance of the first session that requires it.

Being patient and kind

Expect challenges but also be open to unexpected opportunities that may occur with this format.

Taking a temperature check

Consider taking a few minutes at the beginning or end of class to see how students are doing generally. It is a stressful time.

Inadvertently Dropping Out of Meeting

Remind students to jot down the meeting invitation number and phone number in case they get disconnected or need to switch to audio-only.