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Proper "Netiquette" for Video Conferencing

This article is part of a larger series on Remote Teaching Resources

For a comparison of Google Meet, Zoom, and Canvas, please read this article.

In the same way in-person classes and meetings require proper etiquette for attendance, order & productivity, virtual meetings require their own "netiquette" to help optimize everyone's experience.  Whether you're a teacher, student, or committee member, encouraging everyone in your meetings to follow these guidelines will increase the quality of everyone's experience.

Audio

Audio is the most important part of video conferencing.  You can talk without seeing someone's video, but you can't talk even if your camera is working.  Follow these steps to optimize your audio.

1. Wear headphones or earbuds.  This is the best way to avoid unwanted feedback & echoes.

2. If you're not using headphones or earbuds, especially with groups of people, make sure to use a speakerphone designed for echo cancelling, like a Logitech BCC950 or a Jabra USB Speakerphone.  While laptop & tablet speakers usually work fine, they can cause feedback & echoes in some environments.

3. Host your meetings in as quiet a place as possible, and mute your microphone when possible, especially in large groups.  Many programs, like Zoom & Google Hangouts Meet, will prioritize video layouts based on audio, so background noises like passing cars or keyboard typing can change others' views.

Camera & Lighting View

1. Make sure your lighting is behind the camera, not in front of it.  Having bright light sources like lamps or windows directly in your camera view (see figure 1) will darken your face and degrade the quality of your video.  Having a light source behind your camera shining on to your face (see figure 2) will increase your video quality.

Bad_Lighting.png          

Figure 1: An example of poor lighting. Bright light directly in the camera will degrade image quality.

 

Good_Lighting.png

Figure 2: An example of good lighting. Bright light on your face but not in your camera will increase image quality.

2. Compose your camera view.  Removing clutter from your background makes your video feed less of a distraction for others.

Thinking About Text Chat & Dialogue

Not being in the same room can make it challenging to determine order & how to handle dialogue.  This is a very personal preference choice depending on how you want to run your class or meeting.  Smaller groups may not encounter any issues; larger groups may want to create a queue by virtually "raising their hand" in the chat or some similar method.

 

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