Tech Myths About Online Teaching & Learning

Author: Katie Rose

Teaching & Learning Online

With the rush to move classes online, please be aware of the following "myths" about technology that seem to be prevalent.

Myth 1:  My home network can't handle online teaching and learning

Truth:  Most home networks can - but you need to test first

While the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) cannot guarantee the quality of your home network, many internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast, AT&T, and Charter, have published that they are increasing speeds at no cost, offering free service to those with financial difficulties, and scaling their services which will help ensure that eLearning happens smoothly for everyone.  Please check with your local ISP for details.

The OIT recommends that you test any activities you will be doing to teach or learn online before your first class so that you can verify that your home network is stable and has enough speed to support your needs.

Myth 2: Zoom can't handle large classes or groups

Truth:  Zoom is designed to scale to large groups   

Each Notre Dame license for Zoom allows you to host up to 300 participants.  For the best results, follow the best practices for teaching with Zoom.  In addition, the OIT has confirmed with Zoom that the company will continue to scale its service to meet the increased demand.  If you need to host a group larger than 300, please email the OIT Help Desk to request the use of a special license.

Myth 3:  Zoom won't work from a home network

Truth:  Zoom network requirements are well below the minimum speed of most home networks

While the OIT cannot guarantee the quality of your home network, many internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast, AT&T, and Charter, have published that they are increasing speeds at no cost, offering free service to those with financial difficulties, and scaling their services which will help ensure that eLearning happens smoothly for everyone.  Please check with your local ISP for details.

Zoom has also re-verified that their network requirements are well below the minimum speed of most ISPs. 

For those techies out there, Zoom gallery view and/or 720p HD video only needs 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (upload/download).  

Myth 4:  Zoom can't handle the increased traffic

Truth:  Zoom verified that the company will scale its service to meet increased demand

The OIT has confirmed with Zoom that the company will continue to scale its service to meet the increased demand, and the OIT will continue to monitor the quality of Zoom.  Zoom designed its service to scale with use, and they are dedicated to meeting the needs of Notre Dame and other Universities.

Myth 5:  I need someone to run my Zoom meeting for me

Truth:  Most people feel comfortable managing their own Zoom meetings

Even though you may feel nervous about managing your own Zoom meeting, most people find it easy once they do a couple of practice sessions.  Review the article How to Keep Teaching Online with Zoom to get you going and to understand best practices.  Please note: TAs can be helpful in managing online teaching.  The Notre Dame Instructional Continuity page has information about utilizing TAs.

Myth 6:  I can't teach asynchronously because the University told me I have to teach during my regularly scheduled class time

Truth:  It's ok to teach asynchronously -- if you follow the guiding principles on the Notre Dame Instructional Continuity page

Asynchronous teaching means that you post resources and assignments and students complete the work anytime before a deadline you set.  The University is requiring that if you plan to teach synchronously, you and your students meet together in a live session at your regularly scheduled class time.  For more details and guiding principles, please visit the Notre Dame Instructional Continuity page.

Myth 7:  I don't need to practice using my online teaching technology before class

Truth:  Practice and test your online teaching plan for the best experience

ND Learning, the departmental IT teams, and the OIT strongly recommend that you practice and test your plan for teaching online at least a couple of times before teaching students.  This will ensure that your class goes smoothly and that you know what to expect.

Myth 8:  Since I'm a student, I don't need to worry about using Zoom or other technology -- it'll just work

Truth:  Students need to plan for online classes just as much as faculty do

Just like faculty need to make sure they follow best practices for classes in Zoom, students need to follow guidelines for being good participants on Zoom.  

Questions

The best place to go to start getting questions answered is the Notre Dame Instructional Continuity page.  If you still have questions after that, you can reach out ND Learning, your departmental IT teams, or the OIT Help Desk.  Each team will help make sure that you get the right answer to your questions as quickly as possible.