Classroom Management in a Large Online Classroom – Tips for Managing 20+ Students

Classroom management in large online classrooms does sound scary and impossible, right? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Having 50 students in a brick and mortar classroom is terrifying, but what happens when you have 50 students in an online, virtual classroom? These classroom management tips can be used in any 20+ student classroom, but I currently have around 50 people present in every class.

online classroom management free conference call group call
A screenshot from my online IELTS reading lesson with 50 students and a student making a joke 😀

You organized your online course and your classroom, and now what?

Steps for classroom management in your large online classroom

  • Don’t panic;
  • Create video tutorials on your course/steps/how to use the app;
  • Send a reminder 1 hour before the lesson that the lesson will start;
  • Offer rewards in the form of digital badges and letter of recommendations;
  • Find classroom moderators among your students and rotate them;
  • Do an audio/video check as soon as you join the lesson;
  • Wait no more than 5 minutes in the beginning;
  • Leave 10 minutes in the end for Q & A;
  • Motivate students to respond to each others’ questions, especially if those questions are technical or if you already repeated this multiple times;
  • Use the screen sharing option and interactive presentations & tasks to engage them.
  • Voilà! You survived the lesson!

Let’s manage that large online classroom!

Don’t panic

The first step is probably the hardest, so try not to panic. You are an educator and you can have a large online lesson just as you have a lesson in the brick and mortar classroom.

Create video tutorials on your course/steps/how to use the life lesson app

Record your screen with any app you want – just search for screen recording apps in Google. I use Bandicam, which is definitely the best screen recording tool, but I also have the paid version of the program. Click on the link to test out the free version. Explain how to use and install the app in less than 2 minutes and give clear instructions. You can also do a mute tutorial – teenagers and adults will have no problem understanding it.

Here is a tutorial for my students on how to join our platform with my instructions:

Here is a ‘mute’ tutorial which only shows the steps visually. This tutorial is for the live lesson app installation.

Send a reminder 1 hour before the lesson start

You may ask why? This is a must because plenty of students just forget to join. They are spending a lot of time on their phones so they will definitely see the email.

Use MailerLite, add your students to the service (it’s free for a low number of emails), use a template and send out the invite. Simple as that. Here is an example – an email I sent to my IELTS students 2 days ago. Always include video tutorials for joining in the email, as well as the topic of the lesson. CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE LIVE EMAIL LINK.

online classroom management mailer lite lesson invitation

Offer rewards in the form of digital badges and letter of recommendations

Every student who completes more than 30 lessons gets a digital badge they can put in their CV. My IELTS students are adults and adolescents so they appreciate this offer. It will do wonders with children too. We also have the lesson summary project where I publish their lesson summaries, so students who do not have the time to watch the recording can read an article.

An example badge for our student

You can create a badge for free on Accredible and design in in minutes.

online classroom management digital badges accredible
Badge designing in Accredible

Find classroom moderators among your students and rotate them

When there are 50 students in your online class, chances are that you will have 50 questions. There are always students who know more than other, especially with the technical things, so let them be lesson moderators and answer to basic things you are forced to repeat every lesson. Rotate the moderators so that more people get a chance to help. This way you will not be interrupted constantly and you will promote their 21st-century skills.

Do an audio/video check as soon as you join the lesson

Ask students if they can hear you/see your screen as soon as you enter. This way you will eliminate the possibility that you have technical problems and you will know that all the possible problems are happening on the student side. Let the student moderators help other students.

Wait no more than 5 minutes in the beginning

Your students need to understand that even an online classroom is a classroom and they need to be on time. Do not do follow-ups for students who join later, let other students do it in the chatbox and promote their writing skills.

Leave 10 minutes in the end for Q & A

If you start answering all of the questions your students post during the lesson, the whole lesson with turn into a Q & A session. Please try to bear in mind – teaching online is a classroom – exactly like your offline classroom. The students cannot interrupt and ask questions all the time, right?

Motivate students to respond to each others’ questions, especially if those questions are technical or if you already repeated this multiple times

This one is pretty self-explanatory. There is nothing more I can say – every teacher understands the frustration. Always ask other students to explain, repeat, and do a follow-up. Here is a screenshot where other students help one student turn off the camera. Most of the students use their phones and wi-fi, so the connection can get really bad with so many students present.

online classroom management free conference call

Use the screen sharing option and interactive presentations & tasks to engage them

The only two things you need here are Canva, Genial.ly or PowerPoint templates. You will definitely need to use some pdfs and presentations in your life lessons. Here are my favorite template websites:

Slide Carnival – PowerPoint templates

Slides Mania – PowerPoint templates

Canva – A free, online designing tool which offers a lot of fonts, cliparts, and templates

Geniall.y – The most intearactive presentation tool ever with hundeds on templates – gamifying, options, board games, esape rooms, plans, infographics, and so on.

To finish off, here is one of my presentations I created in Genial.ly for a professional development workshop, just so that you have a feeling of how interactive your presentation can be.

Voilà! You succeded in the online classroom management!

Congratulations! It may seem hard in the beginning, but if you are a teacher, you will find a way to transform your classroom quickly. A classroom is a classroom, no matter where is it located.

online classroom management

If you want to have some more ideas on how to organize your own online classroom, read these posts.

If you are interested in finding students online and teaching them individually, read these posts.

How have you organized your large online classroom? What advice do you have when it comes to online classroom management? Share it in the comments, I would love to hear your opinion!

Alice Glass

About Alice Glass

Alice is a 27 years old preschool teacher (Pre-K) with a B.Ed. She is currently enrolled in her Master studies, with a double major, one of them being English teaching methodology. She is also an online ESL teacher and blog writer for British Council. Last but not least, she is a mother of a very energetic toddler.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
0