Welcome to part 2 of our 2-part blog post on providing online students with one-on-one attention within online training software. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, part 1 is here. This week we explore the do’s and don’ts when providing assistance within online training software.

Pay constant attention to students’ screens, scanning for activity and potential issues. If appropriate, view an individual student’s screen in Live View to see how that student is doing. If you notice the student is doing well, use Private Chat to send positive reinforcement. Provide personalized guidance if you notice a student is struggling.

DO use an assistant instructor if you are teaching a course for the first time, are new to online training, if the course topics are complex or if the course has a very large number of students. An assistant instructor is usually suggested once an online classroom reaches 18-20 students. An assistant instructor enables the primary instructor to focus on delivering the course content, while the assistant instructor can focus on student engagement and troubleshooting technical issues.

DO provide students with parameters on when it is appropriate to ask questions in Private Chat/Public Chat, use the Help Queue, or set an emoticon.

Private Chat is preferable when a student does not feel comfortable asking a question in front of the entire class. Public Chat is mostly used during a lecture to ask questions about the subject covered and allows the entire class to learn from questions asked. This is useful in highlighting a question that is relevant to all students.

Help Queue is typically used for more prolonged and complex help requests that happen when a student is working on lab exercises.

Students can use emoticons to get an instructor’s attention, such as “raising their hands” to ask verbal questions, or to let instructors know that they are moving too fast or slow.

DO NOT let student questions or help requests go unanswered for a long period of time. At a minimum, respond to students immediately so they know when to expect a response. If necessary, schedule a post-class session with students to go through questions individually.

DO NOT take complicated or tangential questions in the middle of the course. These questions can derail your course plan, often resulting in running out of time for the remainder of the course topics. A good feature to use for these situations is the Follow Up List.

DO NOT mention the names of student who have asked private questions that would like to answer publicly so all students can have a learning moment. Some students feel uncomfortable when they are identified with their question. While it is okay to share a question that is applicable to the entire classroom, do not mention a student’s name.