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Mitigate Internet connection issues

Both instructors and students will occasionally face issues with poor Internet. This is one of the most frustrating and also one of the trickiest problems with online teaching. There are really two approaches--try to improve everyone's Internet, and try to design your class to mitigate the disadvantages. Since Internet will never be 100% reliable, it's best to take a combination of both approaches. 

During a meeting: when you don't have much time to react

  1. Try turning off your video; this may allow you to stay on the call.
  2. Close other applications on your computer that might be taking up bandwidth.  
  3. You can also join via phone. Call into the meeting using the information on the invitation (mute your computer speaker) or from within a meeting, click the audio -> Switch to Phone Audio. From there, you can call in or have Zoom call you. 
  4. Move to a different part of your house. Homes can have dead zones. Try moving nearer to your wireless router. 

Poor Internet is one of the reasons why it's important to set classroom policies that allow students to turn off their videos. 

Before a Meeting: improve your Internet

You might find that the wifi that normally works well is cramping up when multiple family members are using it for Zoom calls. 

Stanford UIT's "Common Fixes for Home Internet Issues" offers advice including links to check your connection speeds and more information about connecting with an ethernet. You can also reach out to unit administrators to see if any additional assistance is available in your unit. 

Students may be able to get additional financial help with internet. See Lathrop Learning Hub's Get Help With Home Internet Access

Plan your class for the realities of online teaching

While there are definitely steps you can take to improve your Internet, there is never going to be a perfect solution. Online classes that mix synchronous and asynchronous activities and show flexibility and compassion (to yourself, to your students) are going to be the most successful. 

Think about backups--can you post slides online in advance, so that students can follow even if your Internet doesn't work? Can you make your synchronous sessions shorter, to minimize bandwidth? Could you plan a backup Slack channel to communicate and have a discussion? 

Learning more about mixing synchronous and asynchronous teaching and setting equitable classroom policies

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