Learn how to take your classes online
To our Glen Echo Park students:
In response to the coronavirus outbreak and the unprecedented impact on our operations at Glen Echo Park, we are proud to present these tutorial resources that will assist you in moving from taking classes in person to doing so online.
We’ve adopted the Zoom video conferencing platform.
Bald Guy Studio in Charlottesville created this training for us.
Frequently asked questions
What our students are saying about learning online
I have now had two virtual lessons with my teacher … It was just like having her in the room with me! … I found the experience very satisfying, and I feel confident that I will be able to continue my violin studies at the highest level.
~ Sandy, WCM (Washington Conservatory of Music) student
I just wanted to say that I found this whole experience today to be extremely uplifting and hopeful. I’m very grateful to have this artistic outlet at such a difficult time, when there’s too much doom and gloom about. I’m so thankful you are doing this, and I can tell how much effort and thought is put into the process. It feels very empowering. Thank you.
~ Kim Y., Yellow Barn student
A huge thank you to WCM (Washington Conservatory of Music) for providing access to its world-class faculty via virtual lessons! . . . Online lessons are providing a bit of structure in our child’s day and something positive to focus on. . . We’re taking advantage of WCM’s flexibility and adding extra lessons at a time when everything else is shut down.
~ Sarah, parent of a WCM student
I have to tell you, I was in a deep funk until I painted my last painting. I couldn’t stay focused on anything. Painting again truly did a lot for me. Thanks for keeping the class going.
~ Liz S., Yellow Barn student
We’re moving into a whole new way of learning.
Here are the resources that’ll get you up to speed on Zoom in no time.
Update (5/29/20): Zoom has now released version 5.0, which includes AES 256-bit GCM encryption, providing increased protection for meeting data and resistance against tampering. To update to the latest version, visit https://zoom.com/download.
If you’ve registered for a class at Glen Echo Park, your instructor will send you an email invitation for the Zoom meeting. You will want to sign up for a Zoom account, if you have not done so already, in order to get the most out of your classroom experience.
To sign up for a free Zoom account:
- Visit zoom.us and click “Sign up for Free”
- On the next page, Zoom will ask you to confirm your birthday. Per Zoom’s policy, you must be at least 16 years of age to sign up for an account. If you are a parent with a child taking a class who is under 16, you must sign up for an account in your name and birthday and monitor your child while they use the account.
- On the next page, enter your email address and submit. Zoom will send a verification email to this email address for you to set a password and complete the process.
Download the Zoom app:
- For mobile: Download the Zoom app from your device’s app store.
- For desktop/laptop users: installers can be found here. (Choose “Zoom Client for Meetings.”)
- Alternatively, you can join a Zoom meeting without downloading the app. However, we highly encourage you to use the app when possible, as you will be able to access more features and have an overall better experience.
Set up your profile and default preferences:
- Note: These instructions were written for desktop users. Some settings are not accessible via the mobile app and need to be set on the desktop or in a web browser instead.
- Once you open the Zoom app and have signed in, you will see a gear icon. Click on this icon to go to Settings.
- Click “Video” in the menu. This will allow you to see a preview of what your video will look like to the instructor and participants. Be sure your webcam is selected in the dropdown box.
(Note: this preview screen is not available in the mobile app.)
Tip: It’s best practice to set the camera at eye level so that your instructor can best see and interact with you. Make adjustments and test here as necessary.
- “Touch up my appearance”: This is a neat feature that will gently soften your facial features automatically. It will subtly reduce the appearance of dark circles and shadows. We recommend leaving this checked.
(Mobile app: In Settings, go to “Meetings” and “Touch Up My Appearance.”)
- Click on “Audio” on the side menu. This will give you an opportunity to test your speakers and microphone. Just click on the test buttons. The microphone will record your voice until you press the “Recording” button to stop. It will play back the sound for you.
(Note: this test feature is not available in the mobile app settings.)
- Click on “Profile” on the side menu. Then, click the “Edit Profile” button. This will open your profile settings in your default browser in Zoom. You may need to close the Settings button in the Zoom app, if you’re on a computer, to access your browser. You may need to sign into your Zoom account in the browser.
(Mobile app: in Settings, click on your name and email address at the top.)
Here, you can change your display name and upload a profile picture. The profile picture will display in meetings in lieu of video, when your video is turned off. If no profile picture is uploaded, Zoom will show your initials by default in meetings when your camera is turned off.
Joining and participating in a meeting:
- Your instructor will send you an invitation via email to the Zoom meeting. Simply click the link inside the email to join.
- You can also join a meeting from the Zoom desktop app. From the app home screen:
- Click “Join”
- Enter the meeting ID (or paste in the meeting hyperlink)
- Enter your preferred display name
- Uncheck “Do not connect to audio”
- Uncheck “Turn off my video”
- Click “Join.”
- You can join the meeting at any time before the meeting begins. Instructors will typically arrive 5-10 minutes early, but if the instructor has not yet arrived, you may be placed into a waiting room until they do (if the instructor has set one up), or a box may appear asking you to wait until the host starts the meeting. There will also be a “Test Computer Audio” button to give you a chance to test your microphone and speakers.
- Views: There are two main views in Zoom — Gallery and Speaker. This button is found in the upper right hand corner.
- Speaker is the default video layout. It will switch the large video window between who is speaking. If it is a one-on-one meeting, it will display your video at the top, and the other participant’s video below.
- Gallery: When using Gallery View, you will be able to see up to 49 participants at a time, and will have an arrow to scroll through the remaining participants.
- The following buttons will appear at the bottom of your screen. (At times, this menu can disappear. To make it reappear, move your cursor towards the bottom of the screen (desktop) or tap on your screen (mobile).)
- Mute/Unmute button: These will mute and unmute your microphone. We recommend putting yourself on Mute unless you are speaking.
- Start/Stop Video: These turn your video on and off to other participants. We recommend leaving video turned on, as it provides more of a personable feel to the meeting.
- Chat: Participants have the ability to chat in Zoom through typed messages (much like an instant messaging client). This is a great option to communicate with your instructor if you have a question and do not wish to interrupt a presentation, for example, or if your audio is not working.
Click the “Chat” button to view or send a message to participants. You can choose to send the chat to everyone, or to select participants.
(Mobile: tap “More,” then “Chat.”)
Tip: You will know if you have an unread message if there is a number next to the Chat button at the bottom of the screen. (This works much like Facebook Messenger.)
Tip: In the desktop app, you can save your chats before ending the meeting. To do so, open the Chat window, then click on the “…” button near the bottom. Choose “Save Chat.” Note a link will display to allow you to see the chat in the folder in which it’s now saved as a .txt file. (Note: this feature is not available in the mobile app.)
- Reactions: You can react to the instructor and participants by clicking Reactions, then choosing either the clapping emoji, or a thumbs up. The reaction will show briefly on the screen (about 10 seconds).
(Mobile: Tap “More” and the reaction options will appear. Note that this feature is only available when your video is turned on.)
- Leave meeting: Use this to leave the meeting. Others will no longer be able to see or hear you.
Best practices for students
- Arrival: Arrive to your class a few minutes early. This gives you a chance to make sure your audio and video are working properly, and it also allows the instructor to start the class on time.
- Good audio is crucial. Studies have shown that a good quality video accompanied with poor audio will diminish user experience and cause participants to leave a session. Having good audio is especially important when you’re taking an interactive class that requires you to speak. It’s okay to use your computer’s built-in mic or the one on your phone, but do a test recording without and with earbuds that have a mic on one of the strands and you’ll hear a remarkable difference. Without the earbuds, your voice can sound tinny or boomy. You can also wear wireless earbuds or a headset connected by Bluetooth for the best quality audio if you will be standing up or moving around during your class.
- Lighting: Natural light is great to use, but do not sit with your back to a window during daylight hours. Instead, to get the best light, face the window with your camera facing you.
- Turn off your mobile/computer notifications. Out of consideration for the instructor and other participants, please silence your phone during your meetings, and turn off computer notifications as well, if you’re using a computer.
- If you’re using a Mac, click on the button at the top right hand corner of your home screen and choose “Do Not Disturb.” (This feature also exists on iPhones: swipe up and tap the crescent moon button.)
- If you’re using a PC with Windows 10, go to your computer Settings and in “Notifications and Actions,” turn Notifications off.
- Position your camera at eye level. This looks much more personable, and we avoid the dreaded “up the nose” shot this way!
- Mute your microphone: After introducing yourself and making sure your instructor can hear you, we recommend muting your microphone during the meeting, unless you are speaking. This will minimize the risk of audio feedback and disruptions.
- Optimize your computer to avoid interruptions. We recommend closing all other open programs while using Zoom. Avoiding having your computer multitask minimizes the chance of it freezing up or slowing down your video feed.
If others in the meeting are telling you that your video is experiencing interruptions and delays, and it is not necessary for you to have your video on, you can turn your video off by clicking “Stop Video.” This will speed up your audio.
- We understand that the community of learning together is important to students, and to maintain that in the online world, there are many options to stay connected with each other.
- In addition to tools like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Slack, Zoom also has a chat feature within the app that functions as instant messaging. Consider adding your classmates to your Contacts tab in the Zoom app to be able to message them under the Chat tab.