DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for Five tools to deliver stunning online presentations and courses
AWS Community Builders

Five tools to deliver stunning online presentations and courses

Mariano Calandra
Mariano works in Claranet where he daily helps companies succeed using cloud and microservices. He's also an AWS Authorized Instructor and AWS Community Builder.
Originally published at marianocalandra.Medium ・4 min read

In the early days of 2020, when Coronavirus starts hitting the world of businesses, the first job activities that have been stopped was the so-called workplace learning. According to a study by McKinsey:

As of early March 2020, roughly one-half of in-person programs through June 30, 2020, have been postponed or canceled in North America; in parts of Asia and Europe, the figure is closer to 100 percent.

A terrible loss of knowledge.

Luckily the industry recovered quickly through remote training and applications like Zoom and Teams have been essential tools in our daily job.

Unluckily, good public speaking skills are no longer sufficient. Today, to bring out these skills you also need the right tools or your presentations will lose their effectiveness, no matter your elocution.

In this article, I have put together five fundamental tools that you must have if you want to deliver stunning online courses and presentations.

1. Microphone

The Blue Yeti Nano micrphone

If you are using your laptop microphone in your courses, chances are that your audio doesn’t sound really enjoyable to the students. So the first step is to buy a decent microphone, like:

The first is a desktop microphone (but can be mounted on a stand); the other one is a lavalier microphone with a handy clip to fix it on your shirt.

What’s the best? It depends on your presentation style: if you tend to move easily, Rode is fine, otherwise, Nano sounds slightly better.

ProTip #1: To have the best possible result you should be able to calibrate your mic on your voice. This video explains thoroughly how to set Blue Yeti using a well-known free tool called VoiceMeter.

2. Drawing tablet

The XP-PEN Artist 12 PRO

In a real class, usually, you have a whiteboard or a flipchart where you can draw a sketch. Now you are alone, and if slides aren’t enough, you are in big troubles.

A drawing tablet can be considered the remote version of a flipchart. There are various types to choose from. The XP-PEN Artist 12 PRO, for instance, has a good value for money.

ProTip #2: Use your tablet to enrich slides with extra contents (do not overdo it), or open a site like Ziteboard to draw something from scratch.

3. Webcam or DSLR camera

The Logitech Brio wecam

A study published in Cognitive Science decyphers how gestures improve the effectiveness of teaching. For this, of course, you will need a good webcam like Logitech Brio.

ProTip #3: Logitech Brio has a wide-angle lens, so it can better capture your gesture.

If you have a greater budget consider a DSLR camera like Canon M200 with Elgato CamLink to have a stunning quality.

4. Lights

Natural light is great, but if you are streaming late at night or have poor quality lights in your room then this could be a problem.

A streaming setup with Elgato Key Light<br>

In this case, a classic lamp may not be useful as it would create strong shadows on the face, and therefore a set of soft-dimmable lights such as the Elgato Key Light set may be better.

5. Presenter

If during your class you are sitting at a desk, having your computer handy, you could skip this tool. On the contrary, if you like to deliver your presentation standing then a presenter, like the Logitech Spotlight, is mandatory.

It works as a normal presenter (next slide, previous slide,…) but, as a plus, it allows you to darken your screen, casting a spot of light just on the point of the discussion.

An example of the spotlight effect

The spot can be driven through hand movement and, if you are a traditionalist, can be replaced with a classic laser pointer effect.

A great boon for online presentation!

ProTip #4: The spotlight effect is fancy and cool but sometimes the thing that you want to highlight is bigger (or much smaller) than the spot of light; this will give an awkward sensation and, for this reason, the virtual laser effect could be a better choice.

Conclusions

Tools hardly change the matter of things. A good trainer will be a good trainer even in a virtual classroom; a bad trainer will be a bad trainer even with better gears.

Nevertheless, even the best trainer will lose part of effectiveness by moving from a real to a virtual class. The tips in this article are just an attempt to reduce this gap.

Hope that helps. If you like this story and want to support click here and buy me a coffee.

Take care and never stop teaching.

And learning!

Note: Commissions may be earned from some of the links above.

Cover photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

Discussion (0)