At a Glance
In this guide for faculty and staff, you’ll learn how to teach live online in the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio. Here are a few highlights:
- Design a class session that includes a variety of activities. For example, you might include short lectures as well as breakout discussions and polls.
- In your slides, use a large font size (at least 18pt) and engaging visuals like simple graphics and charts.
- Select a cohost (for example, a TA) to manage breakout rooms, monitor the chat, and respond to chat messages during the Zoom session.
- Follow the tips under Choose Your Outfit to pick clothes that will look great on camera.
Request a Consultation
To reserve the Teaching Studio, request a consultation with a member of the Teaching & Learning Technologies team. We’ll contact you to learn more and schedule your studio session. Here are a few important notes:
Request a Consultation
- Submit your consultation request form at least ten business days before the studio session date.
- When you fill out the form, select Teaching Studio from the first dropdown menu.
- If this is your first time using the studio and it is available, we’ll confirm your booking after you complete the required studio orientation and (for some projects) a studio consultation.
- Some projects may be eligible for instructional design support including presentation design guidance and video script reviews.
- Scheduling is contingent on both the studio’s and the Teaching & Learning Technologies team’s availability. Studio reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis with a preference for requests related to teaching and learning.
Prepare Your Presentation
Design the Session
The Teaching Studio is a unique space where you can facilitate dynamic class sessions. When you teach live online in the studio, you can stand up, move around, and see your students on a big screen. Instructors have told us that teaching in the studio feels less like joining a Zoom call and more like leading an in-person class.
Consider dividing your agenda into a series of short activities. For example, you might include any of the following:
- Give a short (up to 10-minute) lecture to introduce new concepts and set the scene for activities.
- Create a think-pair-share activity by presenting a prompt to students and engaging them in these steps:
- Think through the prompt individually.
- Pair with a partner or small group in a breakout room to discuss the prompt.
- Share their findings or takeaways with the class (verbally, using a shared document, or in the Zoom chat).
- Facilitate a “fishbowl” discussion where a few students talk about a prompt in front of the class while others take notes, prepare to summarize the conversation, or generate follow-up questions.
- Invite students to participate in a Zoom poll or a Poll Everywhere activity. (Poll Everywhere activity types include multiple choice polls, Q&As, word clouds, and more.)
Tip: Select a cohost—for example, a TA—who will monitor the chat, respond to chat messages, and manage breakout rooms during your live teaching session.
Create Your Slides
Consider these tips for designing effective studio slides:
1. Keep it simple.
The best slides for studio presentations are simple, focused, and contain very little text. When you embed a video in a Canvas assignment or quiz, the video size will be similar to a cell phone screen. Prioritize visual content like basic graphics and charts to make your slides effective at that scale.
2. Use a large font size.
Use 18pt or larger fonts in your slides. You can use even bigger font sizes in slides that you’ll use in Projector scenes (since slides in Projector scenes only occupy part of the screen).
3. Plan ahead.
Familiarize yourself with the studio’s capabilities by reviewing the Explore the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio page. Here are a few important reminders:
- Your slides will not be visible in Speaker Only and Whiteboard scenes.
- You (the presenter) will not be visible in Content Only scenes.
- In Full Screen and Screencast scenes, you will appear in front of your slides. Design those slides so you don’t block important content.
- You can think of Full Screen slides as an interactive backdrop:
Full Screen Slide Example 1: You can feature an image that covers your entire slide and move around to gesture towards different parts of it.
Full Screen Slide Example 2: You can limit content to one side of the slide so it looks like images or text are appearing next to you.
Practice Your Presentation
Practice your presentation at home and during your studio orientation. This way you can confirm the length of your presentation, get a sense of what works, and spot any desired revisions. Keep these tips in mind:
- Smile and be energetic.
- Remember to enunciate.
- Use your normal speaking voice and volume.
- Feel free to use hand gestures if they feel natural.
- Use good posture and open body language.
- Look directly at the camera lens as often as possible.
- Pretend you’re talking to a friend who’s behind the camera.
Choose Your Outfit
Wear an outfit that will look great on camera:
- Choose a garment that includes both
- a neckline or lapel where you can place the clip-on microphone;
- and a back pants pocket or belt where you can attach the microphone hardware.
- Make sure you’re camera-ready from the top of your head to your knees! (Your shoes generally will not be visible on camera.)
- Wear solid color clothing. (You may be able to wear a simple pattern if you’re wearing a jacket over it.)
- Don’t wear all white, all black, all red, the same green as the green screen, or the same color as your studio slides.
- Avoid visible labels, logos, or text; wrinkled clothes; shiny fabric; and busy patterns (like high-contrast stripes, plaids, or polka dots).
- For shoes, consider wearing flats. High heels can make it difficult to operate the studio foot pedals.
- Wear makeup if desired. Face powder can help prevent shine under the studio lights.
- Avoid jewelry or other accessories that could make noise while you’re recording.
Attend Your Studio Session
On the day of your studio session, a technician will let you into the studio. They will make sure the technology is working properly. When you’re ready to start your presentation, the technician will leave the room. They will stay nearby in case you need support during the session.
Review this checklist before your studio session:
- Notifications: Make sure to put your phone on silent and mute notifications on your laptop or iPad.
- Waiting room: The studio will already be signed into the Zoom meeting at the beginning of your session. Use the Waiting Room feature in Zoom to control when students join the meeting.
- Slide sharing: Plug an HDMI cable in the studio into your laptop to share your slides. (This is similar to how you connect your computer for classroom instruction.) You do not need to share your slides in Zoom. By default, remote participants will see you and your presentation on a single screen, as if it were being captured by a single camera.
- Zoom display name: A host should update the display name of the studio in Zoom. Otherwise, the display name will be the studio room number.
- Cohost: Before your live online session, we recommend that you select a cohost who will monitor the chat, respond to chat messages, and manage breakout rooms during your live teaching session. If you need to be able to respond to chat messages yourself, you will need to sign into the Zoom meeting on your computer. You will not be able to use your computer to simultaneously manage chat and share your slides.