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Active learning strategies are a must! A 50-75 minute straight lecture will not come off well. Plan specific (probably 2-3) activities that involve student interaction, with you and amongst themselves. (There are now books, blogs, and podcasts devoted to giving zoom specific ideas. A cheap one is Teaching Effectively on Zoom.) Tell everyone what you plan to do throughout the period so everyone knows what to expect. Breakout rooms are not necessary, but done well can be a plus. Make sure to ask guiding questions rather than lecturing for awhile and ending by saying, “So, whaddya think??” Whatever activities you plan, put the instructions on a slide or type them in the chat to ensure students who might have been distracted know what they’re doing. (Most of this applies to in person teaching demos too, but I think it’s all even more important on zoom because of all the distractions you have to contend with teaching in that medium.)

Regarding the chat, explicitly state norms for how students should communicate with you and each other during the period. Should they use the raise hand function, the chat, wait until called on, etc.? Same thing with norms about cameras on/off. (It’s fine to request that students have their cameras on if you explain your reasons, but probably you should not require it.)

Also, a couple obvious points: make sure your internet is strong and make sure that your contact at the hiring department knows how to make you host of the meeting.

Fwiw, when I was on a hiring committee that had zoom teaching demos, I tried to assess the finalists’ ability to teach a class independently of how adept they were at teaching a *zoom* class. I would hope others would do the same. That’s why I’ve emphasized making sure you engage in generally good teaching practices. That’s what the committee is really looking for.

Good luck!


Let's say you're given 15-20 min: does that change your advice?
Moreover, let's say you don't normally use powerpoint when you teach in the classroom. Should there be any expectation you use it because of the zoom format?


@Anon: When time is so short, I might avoid breakout rooms because the transition out and in would eat into your time. I don’t think using slides is necessary (on zoom or in person). But I would still want to see some active learning happening. A 15-20 minute straight lecture is more bearable than a 50-75 minute one. But personally I would feel uncomfortable hiring someone for a teaching position without seeing dynamic teaching, i.e, without seeing them run a discussion or classroom activity. If you’re doing a job talk, the committee will be able to assess abilities tied to lecturing. The teaching demo should show how you interact with students. If you don’t interact with them, I would not consider it a good teaching demo. (To be clear: in such a short time, asking good questions, getting students to discuss how to apply a concept/distinction or what they think of a case would all count as showing dynamic teaching for me.)

Only getting 15-20 minutes is tough, though. I hope others chime in.

Ugh, Zoom...

15-20 minutes is awkward, but I still second the need for active learning. If you're familiar with Zoom and comfortable using / have access to the poll/quiz feature, that's an easy way for students to engage low-stakes. I would personally open with a poll to get some buy-in, do some presentation, and then have an activity that invites students to share short answers to an open-ended question in the chat. I'd carve out space for students to unmute and contribute if they want but having a backup in case no one wants to.

I also agree that having written instructions is critical; make it easy for students to engage even if they weren't 100% tracking.

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