Always muted? Here’s how to participate more during your online classes

Photo of computer with zoom open alongside a notebook and a water bottle
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I’m willing to bet that at least one of your online professors has encouraged — or demanded — that you and your fellow students participate. It’s far easier, however, to turn your camera off and barely pay attention in class. That’s why earning your participation points will require some concrete actions. Here are some strategies that might help you actually start participating during online class.

Keep your camera on

The easiest way to keep yourself from goofing off during class is to keep your camera on. Just knowing that you’re being watched can encourage you to pay attention and stop multitasking. This is the first step toward possibly participating. It also means you can’t hide when the professor asks a question. In short, it’ll make you feel a bit more as if the professor is staring directly at you, which should be good motivation to speak up.

Set alarms

Sometimes, it’s good to have a reminder that you can’t simply ignore. A blaring alarm might be just the thing. Just have the alarm display a message to remind you to participate, and set it for about halfway through the class. That way, you’ll be reminded of your participation goals in the midst of class. Just make sure the alarm doesn’t accidentally go off while you are participating!

Say the first thing that comes to mind

It can be intimidating to answer a professor’s question. There’s some embarrassment that comes along with getting it wrong. If you want to participate, though, you’ll have to get over that fear of embarrassment. One way to do that is to just raise your hand and say the first answer that comes to your mind. It might not be correct, but at least it is something. It’s also an answer you don’t have much stake in because you came up with it in seconds. But, if you happen to be right, you’ll feel like a genius. 

Take the lead in breakout rooms

Nothing is worse than a completely silent breakout room. The easiest way to up your participation is to take charge in the breakout room. By doing this, you might be able to get others to participate, as well as get plenty of participation yourself. It’s also a bit less nerve-wracking to speak in front of only a couple of your peers. Back in the main session, if your professor calls on your room to ask what you talked about, you’ll have something to share that you’ve already practiced.

Now you have plenty of ways to help yourself participate in class. We at the Clog support you on your journey toward full participation points!

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .