The University of Iowa

Online Workshops

About the Online Classroom

 

Overview

Online workshops in the Festival are synchronous—that is, when the workshop is scheduled to meet, you’re live with your instructor and the other members of your group. Get some coffee, a comfy chair, and be prepared to engage with your fellow writers! You need to be present for workshops in the Festival, so you’ll want to make sure the date and time fit your schedule.

 

Canvas and Zoom

Workshops in the Festival take place on Canvas. This is the online gathering place you’ll go to when you enroll in your workshop and each time your workshop meets. We strongly encourage you to bookmark the URL for your workshop when you enroll so you don’t have to hunt for it when workshop meets. Instructors will share course materials with you (e.g., readings, assignments, etc.) via your Canvas classroom.

Zoom is an audio and visual web conferencing program. Your Canvas classroom links to Zoom and the live workshop experience.

 

Tech Requirements

In order to use Zoom effectively, you will need:

  • Headphones and a microphone
  • A webcam or built-in camera on your computer
  • A reliable internet connection with a bandwidth of about 1.5Mpbs (up and down)

If you have questions about operating systems, browser compatibility, or other technical concerns, Zoom's system requirements are here: https://support.zoom.us/

If you'd like to see if your internet connection is up to snuff, you can do that here: https://fast.com/

 

Using Zoom

A quick walkthrough of the process:

  • In your workshop, you'll be given a link to a “Zoom meeting.”
  • When the class is about to start, click the link.
  • You may be prompted to download Zoom, and if so go ahead and do that.
  • You might also be prompted to test your mic and camera, and you can go ahead and do that too!
  • You will be let into a “waiting room,” where you will only see your own camera feed.
  • Then, when the instructor is ready, they will admit you to the class itself.

Some tips:

  • Testing your mic and camera before class is a good idea! If you're not sure if it's going to work, both Zoom and your computer itself should have some diagnostics to help you find out.
  • It's okay to mute your mic! If you want to eat those pretzels, or your dog decides to bark at the delivery guy, you can just mute your mic for a minute until you would like to talk again.
  • Headphones, if available, help a lot. The sound from your speakers can get picked up by your mic, causing an echo. Wearing headphones can make all the difference. (If headphones aren't an option, see above tip on muting).

 

Have more questions? Zoom has put together a tutorial here: https://support.zoom.us/

 

Technical Difficulties?

Contact the Festival office at iswfestival@uiowa.edu or phone 319-335-4160. We will do our best to help.