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:

  1. Design a class session that includes a variety of activities. For example, you can include short lectures as well as breakout discussions and polls.
  2. Select a cohost (for example, a TA) to manage breakout rooms, monitor the chat, and respond to chat messages during the Zoom session.
  3. Create slides using a Teaching Studio slides template.
  4. Review our Choose Your Outfit page 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.

  • 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.
  • All Teaching Studio projects must be closely related to teaching and learning at MIT Sloan.
  • 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.
Request a Consultation

Create Your Slides

1. Download a Studio Slides Template

We designed these slide templates to adhere to Teaching Studio best practices and MIT Sloan brand guidelines. If you’re considering using a different design or format, please consult with our team for guidance.

Projector Scene Slides Template

Person icon on the right side and a presentation in the top left

In the Projector Scene, your slides appear in a window next to you. This setup looks like a classic presentation. We designed the Projector Scene Slides Template with an empty “buffer” space on the right 20% of most slides so you don’t have to worry about blocking any essential information during your presentation. Learn more about the studio scenes.

Download the Projector Scene Slides Template

Full Screen Scene Slides Template

Outline of a person in front of a slide that takes up the entire background behind them.

In the Full Screen Scene, your slides fill the entire backdrop behind you. This setup looks more like a typical video with content appearing around and alongside you during your presentation. We designed the Full Screen Scene Slides Template with an empty “buffer” space on the right 40% of most slides so you don’t have to worry about blocking any essential information during your presentation. Learn more about the studio scenes.

Download the Full Screen Scene Slides Template

2. Customize Your Slides

Once you’ve downloaded the template of your choice, you can customize it to fit your content. While the design and layout adhere to MIT Sloan’s brand standards, there’s ample room for personalization. Add your images, text, and other visuals to make the slides uniquely yours.

Prioritize Visual Content

In Multimedia Learning, Richard Mayer’s rigorously researched, evidence-based guide to multimedia instruction, the Multimedia Principle states that “People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone” (as quoted in Davis & Norman, 2016). You can optimize your video for this principle by doing the following:

  • Include images to illustrate key points.
  • Ensure that all images enhance or clarify meaning rather than being purely decorative.
  • Use simple graphs, charts, and infographics to convey data or complex ideas in a visually engaging and understandable manner.

Balance is key: the visuals should support and enhance your spoken words, not overshadow them.

Keep It Simple

Less is more when it comes to designing slides for studio presentations. As Mayer describes in Multimedia Learning, learners benefit most from streamlined content free of extraneous material (as cited in Davis & Norman, 2016). Aim for a minimalist design that helps your audience concentrate on the key takeaways.

  • Use a clean layout: Keep your slides uncluttered with ample white space to highlight the essential points.
  • Be concise with text: Limit the text to key phrases or bullet points, and maintain a large font size (at least 18pt) for easy readability.
  • Align written and spoken text: Where possible, make sure the text on your slide exactly mirrors phrases you’ll verbalize. This helps your slides support rather than compete against your verbal 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.

Choose Your Outfit

Review our Choose Your Outfit page to learn how to pick clothes that will look great on camera.

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.

The key to a successful presentation lies in thorough preparation and genuine engagement with your audience. By following these guidelines, you can convey your content effectively and also create a memorable learning experience for your viewers.

Attend Your Studio 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.

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.


Davis, G., & Norman, M. (2016). Principles of multimedia learning. Wiley University Services.