• Maciej Workiewicz

More fun with online teaching

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Some of us are back to online teaching (or dual-mode) and perhaps want to make it more entertaining for ourselves and our students. There are several ways to accomplish it, but here is one that allows you to take greater control over what students see in their Zoom video feed. Manycam [have no stake in the company and paid full for my license] is one of several products [OBS is another] that allows user to create a virtual camera and choose what to show in it. Here a big shout-out to Hart Posen from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who alerted me to this software! It has lots of options, too many to mention here, but my favorite functionalities are:

  • you can share your screen or presentation without actually having to share the screen in Zoom - you don't have to switch between sharing screen and your video

  • Your video feed can still be visible when sharing the slides

  • display a clock, timer, or stopwatch

  • add lower third to your video or school logo!

  • Very nice implementation of virtual backgrounds

I would start with at least two setups - one is your regular view, where you can add your name and title (like on the image below). The second one is a slide where you share your presentation on the right and place your camera feed and other information on the left. Here is where the standard 4:3 slide size works much better. If you are using wide slides, you can embed your camera feed in the right upper or lower corner. Just make sure it won't obstruct the content.

One extra setting is for breaks. I use a countdown clock to show participants when does the break end. There are many other creative solutions and I am sure you will have lots of fun with it. It can break the monotony of Zoom sessions very nicely.

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