In the past 3 months, Malaysia was under Movement Control Order (MCO). This is our version of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 disease. During this time, lots of education organisations started to look towards delivering courses online, be it via Zoom or Google Classroom.
I have the fortune to be able to deliver online accounting tuition via Zoom and I’d like to share some tips to having a effective online tuition session.
1) Make sure you have eyes contact with your students
I think that having eye contact is important. I will ask my students to turn on their video camera (and I turned on mine, of course) and over the course of my two hours lecture, I will engage each students by name and addressing them in person to get them to answer questions. That human to human contact, despite via Zoom, made them more attentive and it also make the whole session more relaxing.
In this case, I use two devices in my teaching. A laptop to do video conferencing and eye contact with the students and an iPad to present and write my workings and calculations.
2) Use digital pencil and whiteboard on your workings
Accounting, like maths, have a lot of workings and calculations. I usually design my slides such that my questions are on the left side and I will use Apple Pencil (and iPad) to write the long accounting workings on the right side of the slide. When there are not enough space, I will switch to Microsoft Whiteboard and do my workings there. This way, students can see each step of the calculations and I can explain each steps in detail.
3) Send questions in advance, and send recap of key points after
While I do engage students during the tuition, I find that if I don‘t give them some questions in advance, all they do during the session are looking at me doing the calculations. That’s not going to make them remember the lesson. I will usually send them some questions a day or two before the tuition so that they can attempt them and then we will go through the questions during the online tuition.
After the tuition, I will do screenshot of key concepts and slides (maybe 2-3 slides) and WhatsApp them as a recap for the, to refer to before bed.
4) Don’t forget to give 5-8 minutes break
I personally think that one hour is not enough for an effective accounting tuition. My tuition is a two hour session. it is slightly longer than what others in the market are offering but I feel that to be able to engage students and complete the accounting questions online, it is best if we have ample time. But yet, I remind myself that these are Form 4 and Form 5 students and sometimes they are shy to inform me they needed to take a break. I will set a timer and ensure I give them 5-8 minutes of break for nature’s call or just to stretch out.
5) Use the right tool for the job
Having the right tool for the job is important. When I first tested online tools, I went with Google Meet. It’s free and it’s Google, so I thought it would serve me well. Unfortunately, iPad is my main tool for lecturing and Google Meet did not work as smoothly as I like on the iPad. When I switched to Zoom, the difference was night and day. Zoom is smooth and stable on the iPad.
The other tool is my digital pencil. I first started using an old Adonit Jot Pro that my husband owned as my digital pen and it was not very responsive and my writings on the iPad turned out to be illegible. They were very hard to read and they looked like “cakar ayam”. Later, I invested in an Apple Pencil and it made things so much better and nicer for my students and I. Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Whiteboard are the two app I used the most in my lecturing. I’m not into technology and I’m glad to have guidance from friends on the choice of tool.
I hope these 5 tips will help any teachers who are also looking to do online class during or after the MCO. There are definitely good and bad points for conducting an online class but if one has to do it, one has to do it with our best ability.