Several virtual technologies were introduced in the recent past and were highly focused on creating a live and immersive experience for users from any remote location. Users could digitally meet their friends and relatives and share their experiences through any devices that could connect to the Internet. Similarly, offices could function without any interruptions thanks to video conferencing tools, another major application of virtual technology. Virtualization has found its way into several industries and this includes one of the most important fields of all time – education.
With the entire education system being shifted to the online mode, the term ‘virtual classroom’ is often being heard in recent times. A virtual classroom is a simulated environment that uses virtual learning to create a wonderful learning experience.
In this post, we will be understanding what is a virtual classroom and how to create a virtual classroom for your online classes.
What is a virtual classroom?
A virtual classroom is simply an online learning environment that facilitates live interactions between the learners and tutors while participating in the learning activities. Most of the time, these interactions happen through videoconferencing. In a virtual classroom, a teacher moderates the entire learning process and supports peer to peer discussion and group activities. Most of the virtual classrooms have a videoconferencing tool, an online whiteboard for working, and an instant messaging tool to share messages and files. Or you could always use an LMS like Learnyst that offers all these features in a single tool.
Virtual classrooms have created a major impact in the field of education and have been a boon to the teachers and students in a variety of forms. Let us understand ‘how’ in the next section.
How does a virtual classroom help in online training?
1. Better accessibility
Accessibility is simpler and more flexible. Students can join a live course in a virtual classroom from any part of the world with just a smartphone and an Internet connection. Also, virtual classrooms facilitate offline classes where the teacher and the student do not have to meet in real-time. Teachers have to just upload the recording of their classes and the student can access the video whenever they want.
The need for a physical environment and the equipment are eliminated in a virtual classroom. The teacher and the students also do not have to travel to the physical classes. All these reduce the cost incurred for both teachers and the students without compromising on the quality of education offered.
3. Wider Reach
When you conduct an online class, students from every corner of the world can access your courses without any restrictions. Virtual classrooms have helped in bringing together people from different parts of the world to widen their knowledge.
Let us now understand how to build a virtual classroom in your online academy.
Steps to create a virtual Classroom
Step 1: Assess the resources you already have
Assess the needs of your students and the resources you have in your hand. For example, if you have just a handful of students it doesn’t make sense to invest in an expensive whiteboard or a high-end videoconferencing tool. Pick only those tools and resources that you deem necessary for conducting a virtual classroom session.
Step 2: Have a clear estimate of the development cost and effort
Always remember, adding new technology to an existing legacy process always takes a considerable time to develop. The development time includes everything from brainstorming ideas to actual implementation. The entire cost incurred during the development stage also needs to be accounted for. To know the actual investment cost, make a complete list of the hardware and software needed and the corresponding time to procure them. A fully functional virtual classroom tends to have a VR device, whiteboard, videoconferencing tool, and an instant messaging tool.
Step 3: Plan the Virtual Classroom
Plan how will you enable the students to get access to all the course materials without any disruptions. You also need to plan how you will be able to control the flow of information. Find out the different ways in which you can enhance the quality of interaction between you and the students. Remember no technology is perfect and even running a virtual classroom can be plagued with issues. Devise strategies to counter these issues when they arise.
Step 4: Design the Classroom
With all the planning done, it is time for some action. Start with building your own website. The website of your course needs to be designed in a way that is user-friendly and is maintenance-free. The best way to create a good website both in terms of aesthetics and functionality is to hire a web designer and complete the task, however, it might add to your cost. The website should be hosted on a fast and reliable server.
Step 5: Create and upload contents
The next step is to upload the course material to your website. Convert all the documents in HTML format before uploading. This might be challenging if you are not adept at HTML. Add appropriate images, animations, and videos between the textual content wherever necessary. Edit videos and do a soundcheck to detect any unwanted noise before uploading so that your students can have a noise-free session.
Step 6: Enable multiple channels for communication
Here is an important thumb rule you need to follow while building a virtual classroom – there should be a provision to facilitate a free flow of communication between the teacher and the students. Provide a chatbox in your classes so that students who cannot clear their queries during the class can type-in their doubts and the tutors can clarify them after the class. Peer-to-peer communication can be enabled through a multi-window system which increases the interaction in the class.
Step 7: Implement Assessments
The virtual classroom should have processes for assessing student performance at regular intervals. Conduct online tests and assignments and have a facility to submit them online. The virtual classroom should also be able to give the correct test result as soon as the test is submitted. Also have separate mechanisms to detect cheating and malpractices.
Step 8: Maintain and update
Frequent maintenance checks and updates are necessary to keep the classroom functioning smoothly. Have backups for your data so that you can retrieve them in case of any failure. Or use cloud storage to automatically backup data regularly. With the cloud, the stored data is not only secure but also does not require any external storage devices.
How Learnyst helps to create a Virtual Classroom?
By now you would have realized that creating a virtual classroom is no easy task. Tasks like building a website, creating content, converting it into a suitable format, and uploading them to the website take time and adds to the cost. On top of it, ensuring the security of your content and conducting the classes seamlessly is again not simple. This is where you might need the help of an expert like Learnyst.
Learnyst is a state of the art Learning Management System that not only helps in creating and running a virtual classroom but also helps you to market your classes. We help you build your own website and mobile app and also take care of the security of your content. All your content is DRM encrypted which makes it safe from any potential hackers.
Now that you have a good idea about how to create a virtual classroom, it is time to try your hands on creating one. Join Learnyst today and create your own virtual classroom in no time and enjoy a seamless teaching experience.
At Learnyst, we help you with the entire process of course creation to marketing, creating your own branded online academy.