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Hello everyone,

When I begin my sessions I always make sure to explain to people how to use the particular software we are using, such as how to open chat in Zoom and so on. I feel it's important to explain this at the beginning.

I had some feedback from a colleague recently that perhaps I was spending too much time on this and it wasn't very engaging for people who already know how to do these things.

I wonder about the experiences and recommendations of this community?

Thank you in advance,

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  • Hi Bettie,

    With my virtual classes - I perform what I call "my tech check". In reality, it's also making sure everyone understands the platform we are using without explanation (my audience is mostly adults who are pretty familiar with some form of technology prior to the class).

    My tech checks are something as simple as me posting a question on the screen and asking participants to use their chat boxes to respond to the question. If I need audio responses - I ask them to unmute themselves and give a group response on the count of three or I go down the participant's list one at a time. Simple things to do but easy and fun things to ensure they know how to use the technology for engagement. The audio check has actually helped identify anyone who cannot participate with audio, so I keep a chat window open to watch for their responses. 

    Either way, I try not to spend more than 5 minutes on the tech check and make it applicable to the topic they will be learning about.

    Best of luck,



    • Hi Michelle,

      Love the tech check, we do that too on our Virtual Classroom Facilitator Training modules. I think your five minutes is a really good amount of time. I did a tech check session a while back where we spent about 10 minutes on the basic intro tools and the feedback we had is that it was too long!

      Hope Michelle's example helps you Bettie!

      • Hello Jo,

        Yes, a wonderful response. Thank you. I also think your technical check session is a good idea to incorporate in some of my courses.

        Thank you,


    • Hello Michelle,

      Thank you so much for your detailed response. I think the concept of more interaction and less explanation is what I shall trial.

      Best wishes,


  • HI Bettie - I stole an idea from a colleague which works well as a warmer and a tech check.... To see if everyone can use their annotate tool bar I invite them to colour in a picture on the screen (flowers/houses - anything)  - or draw their own and get others to colour in. As they are doing this we can sort out any glitches. Everyone loves it, it tests the tech, warms people up, gets a conversation going... Win win!

    • Hi Cath,

      that's a great idea to start using annotation tools! I always teach participants new to the tool how to annotate right at the beginning - or shortly before we do so for the first time. My usual way is to use the whiteboard and ask them to draw a picture of the weather at their location. You could also ask what they see when looking out of their window and then draw the scene. 

      Now I'm going to "steal" that coloring idea from you ;).

      Best regards,


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