Online Classes 2021 Begins

It was a longer-than-usual break thanks to the powers that be figuring things out during the pandemic. Ultimately, the new semester began today. This is the second semester I am teaching my course online fully. Perhaps it was because I had been prepared for this, based on the previous semester’s grind, but it did seem as if the first day went by without much of a chore.

In other words, today did not impart any significant deal of stress upon me.

Day 1 - FTK3

FTK3 in the morning

The Process

Hardware

As I said, I teach online. First and foremost, the laptop should be ready to roll. Additionally, my phone is set up on a tripod behind the laptop. There is a desk microphone beside the laptop away from the camera’s field of view. I wear a pair of earphones so I am able to hear the students without any feed back. The external speakers are disconnected from the laptop. The audio line from the phone is split into two: the mic feed to the phone comes from the desk microphone, and the phone audio gets piped to the earphones.

Google Meet

I activate a browser, start a Google Meet and copy paste the meeting code to Google Keep (or WhatsApp) so I would be able to access the Meet from my phone. When I am logged into the Meet with two instances of the same account on both the laptop and the phone, I ensure that only the phone’s camera and mic feed are active. The laptop feeds are muted.

The reason for this is because the laptop’s mic has a malfunction that makes it also transmit an unending series of loud beeps. I have tried troubleshooting and in the end I believe it is a hardware issue.

Day 1 - MEKA2

MEKA2 in the evening

I use the phone for camera and mic, but I use the laptop browser to present my slides and documents to the students.

OBS Studio

Also, I turn OBS Studio on to record my session. This is to ensure students who are unable to log onto the internet for any reason can watch my recording later. I will not be that teacher who lets technology divide the class into those who can afford unlimited land line based connectivity and those who cannot. If they are able to watch the video and do the synchronous meeting activity, I consider them as having attended the cl

The Process

Hardware

As I said, I teach online. First and foremost, the laptop should be ready to roll. Additionally, my phone is set up on a tripod behind the laptop. There is a desk microphone beside the laptop away from the camera’s field of view. I wear a pair of earphones so I am able to hear the students without any feed back. The external speakers are disconnected from the laptop. The audio line from the phone is split into two: the mic feed to the phone comes from the desk microphone, and the phone audio gets piped to the earphones.

Google Meet

I activate a browser, start a Google Meet and copy paste the meeting code to Google Keep (or WhatsApp) so I would be able to access the Meet from my phone. When I am logged into the Meet with two instances of the same account on both the laptop and the phone, I ensure that only the phone’s camera and mic feed are active. The laptop feeds are muted.

The reason for this is because the laptop’s mic has a malfunction that makes it also transmit an unending series of loud beeps. I have tried troubleshooting and in the end I believe it is a hardware issue.

Google Classroom

Besides Google Meet, another browser tab displays the class’ Google Classroom page. After that, I ensure that OBS Studio is picking up both browser feeds in their own Scenes. One should always test that the Scenes and Transitions work without a hitch by doing a test recording.

Also, I test the audio, channelled from me to the desk mic to the phone to Google Meet on the phone and then the Meet on the laptop. If I speak and the levels fluctuate, we should be ready to go.

I call in the students into the Meet via our WhatsApp text chat channel. Then I let them know I will be recording.

When the recording starts, so too does my desperate stand-up comedy act…

Posted in Teaching and tagged , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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