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Learn how to setup your online class

Apr 21 2020


Do you want to stream your class from the comfort of your home? Or maybe you are forced to do it due to the lock down? I will discuss what hardware you will need to look and sound your best, but let's start with the software part.

If you offer one-to-one classes, or classes to a small group of people, any video-conferencing software will work well. The good news is, the best ones are free: ZoomSkype, or Hangouts. I particularly recommend Zoom for its ease-of-use, wide adoption, multi-platform compatibility, and reliability. The free version lets you video-chat with up to 250 participants. And if you don't want someone uninvited to join the class, don't hesitate to setup a password and share it only with your students.
  
If you want to offer your class to the entire world, you will have to use streaming platforms such as TwitchYouTube Live, or Facebook Live. Contrary to the video solutions mentioned before, the streaming platforms will not let your students engage with you via video or voice. However, they will be able to participate via a written chat box and it is up to you to respond or not. The other advantage of streaming platforms is the possibility to monetize your class in different fashion, either through direct donation, or through subscription. When your watchers subscribe to your channel and pay a monthly fee, they will not see advertisements from the platform when watching your stream. Here's a simple guide from Tom's Guide to start streaming on Twitch.

To look best, and sound best, I suggest you to stay away from your embedded mic and webcam of your laptop, and instead invest into a standalone webcam and a standalone mic. Logitech probably offers the best value for money when it comes to webcam, and I personally like the Logitech C920, Logitech C922, Logitech BRIO or Logitech StreamCam, which is optimized for streaming. Make sure your face is well lit for a professional look. If you need extra light, you will find affordable solutions on Amazon, tailored for streamers, starting at $20. For standalone microphones, many streamers use models from Blue and Shure , and more particularly the $130 Blue Yeti or the $400 Shure SM7B. 

I hope it helps and happy teaching!

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