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Teaching in a Mask

Posted by on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 in News, Resource.

Since the university has reinstituted universal masking for the spring semester, some of us will be teaching in the classroom in a mask for the first time or the first time in a while. This presents some auditory and other challenges, but there are strategies you can use to mitigate these challenges. Here are a few strategies, drawn from more extensive resources on this topic from teaching centers at the University of Michigan, Wake Forest University, and Illinois State University.

  • Use a lavalier microphone that projects your voice within the classroom. Contact av.support@vanderbilt.edu if you need help obtaining or setting up a microphone.
  • If you don’t have a microphone, speak a little louder and a little more slowly than usual, and don’t face the chalkboard or whiteboard while talking.
  • If you use slides while teaching, your slide program (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc.) might be able to generate automatic captions in real-time.
  • Check-in regularly with your students to make sure they can hear you and hear each other. This feedback could a quick thumbs up or a short survey.
  • Protect your voice, especially if teaching multiple times a day. Give yourself regular voice breaks and drink plenty of water.
  • Create a short video introducing yourself and your course, without a mask. And hold at least some office hours on Zoom, so you can talk with students without masks.

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