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Advice for teaching online


Douglas Fyfe
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Hi all

 

I'm trying to crowdsource some advice for how to teach online in this new era. While I do demonstrate Accordance software (in my spare time), I am not a technology expert by any stretch of the imagination (I often say that I know enough to break a computer but not enough to fix it). The rest of the time I am a pastor and do a bit of Hebrew tutoring and marking.

 

So with that in mind, it would be nice if I could do the following:

  1. Show my face and talk to people
  2. Show Accordance (including dialogue boxes)
  3. Show PowerPoint slides
  4. Distribute handouts

I'm pretty sure I can do the first and the last with google hangouts, and I can do the first alone with pretty much every app available, but is anyone able to point me in the right direction?

 

Hopefully any responses will be a resource to others too.

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Douglas Fyfe
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Check these two links out:

 

https://wiki.visionscreens.au.eu.org/doku.php?id=livestreaming_churches&fbclid=IwAR2lkE6zuX6ITrUNEAn4rLqqpNovvhetWnUlj7L8GcucOudAfUfO2V5ARL4

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcIFnx67ys&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2dlx2CNp2__P0GDtEm4RjYctuSIVshGf6H-Pps921lXXNwy4tmkR5DYBU

 

Of course one really simple way to do Accordance/Powerpoint presentations on screen is to give you talk with a big screen monitor in frame.

 

Otherwise you are looking into a webinar type platform.

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Thanks Mike. I do love that photo of the guy in his shorts! And yep, fb live is what we've been doing the last two weeks.

 

The question is if we move to complete remote (i.e. from home, and no camera/phone operator), then it's the webinar things I'm going to need to learn about - the switching between inputs - PC camera and monitor.

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For me the big question is why do you want to show your face?

 

Depends how much talking you are doing and not showing anything. If the majority of the time you are actually talking about stuff on your desktop, then desktop sharing of both accordance and powerpoint becomes a lot easier. For example see the webinars accordance run. 
 

you may want to master that first and then introduce switching to pc camera. 
 

certainly when i was running training sessions at work, i only ever bothered sharing my desktop. i have seen some sessions on line where people use the camera but it didnt add anything, i remember one guy wandering round making coffee.. (which triggered a strong desire in me to wander off and make one!)

Edited by ukfraser
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For ministers switching to video instead of in-person gatherings, I think it's valuable to show their faces. Social distancing means that a lot of people are lonely, so it's encouraging and comforting to maintain some level of personal connection. That may be less relevant in other contexts, but it's something to consider.

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Zoom can do what you want, and if your meetings are less than 40 minutes you can use the free version. 

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I use screenflow software - it's not live, but its a great program for screencasts, face included

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Zoom can do what you want, and if your meetings are less than 40 minutes you can use the free version. 

 

 

That might be worth trying. And only I need to pay if I want a longer meeting, yeah? Might be well worth the investment.

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That might be worth trying. And only I need to pay if I want a longer meeting, yeah? Might be well worth the investment.

You shouldn't need a paid subscription unless you need to meet for longer than 40 minutes. Lots of software does distributed meetings, but Zoom is both rock solid (well, until this week at least) and easy enough to set up that I've never failed to get someone into a meeting. 

Edited by Clint Cozier
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Thanks all for your thoughts. We've been using Zoom at church for a few meetings, so I've bought a paid subscription and I'm going to try it (for a month at least).

 

The ability to break people up into small groups and to screen share, plus to mute/unmute people at my discretion seem to be good tools which should work for a few different purposes. 

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I shutter to mention it but....a competitor has a free online meeting tool that is very easy to use, has most of Zoom's feature set and did I mention its free?  Check out the link:

Free Online Meetings

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I shutter to mention it but....a competitor has a free online meeting tool that is very easy to use, has most of Zoom's feature set and did I mention its free?  Check out the link:

 

Free Online Meetings

 

Fortunately, this is not difficult for the accordance IT department to set up if they want. I would rather personally wish that accordance remains focused on making what is already the worlds best bible software even better than offering additional external services though. In my opinion, there are so many other things higher on the prioritization queue.

 

This solution is simply an instance of the open source video conferensing tool jitsi (https://jitsi.org/) that faithlife installed on their own servers. If one have some experiences with server administration this could easily be deployed on any linux based server or even docker containers. But beware that it might need some custom configuration options to ensure security and customization. The same functionality as faithlife is offering is provided through https://meet.jit.si/, but it might be heavy load on these free servers these days as there has been a surge in demand of online video conferencing solutions. I don’t have the capacity to build a solution for accordance now, but maybe there are other people in the community here with time and skills to set up such a service for the accordance community to benefit from if the demand is there?

 

I use zoom extensively, but jitsi is the best open source alternative. I also like whereby (https://whereby.com/) for small meetings and its simplicity, but this service use a different technology through WebRTC mesh distribution that quickly becomes demanding with several users connected at the same time. Jitsi uses the WebRTC SFU technology to do video conferencing, and they even recently built in functionality to live stream to youtube. While it has less features than a service like zoom, it is definitely a great alternative. And if open source software and privacy of self hosting video conferences is a high priority, the jitsi offering is the current best offer. So jitsi is the way to go to keep the costs down!

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Thank you Helge for sharing this! The Covid-19 situation is forcing us all to rethink how we do things, and how the church can continue to thrive in a situation of near-total isolation.

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That might be worth trying. And only I need to pay if I want a longer meeting, yeah? Might be well worth the investment.

Yes - talk to me about it Doug

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