Meeting Behind the Seen: Synchronous Teaching without Virtual Meeting Fatigue

Meg Upchurch


Videoconferencing platforms provide opportunities for synchronous teaching and interaction between classmates but they come with disadvantages including video fatigue. Moreover, presenters using videoconferencing programs may feel as if they are lecturing into a void. In an online class on Behavioral Pharmacology, we used Google Meet essentially as a conference call in the background while the class “met” within a Google Doc that everyone could edit. This format permitted both oral and written discussions and gave the students easy access to links posted within the Google Doc directing them to pictures, videos, web pages, and separate Google Meet addresses for small group discussions. For both the instructor and the students, class interaction and engagement were enhanced by the students’ ability to add notes and comments to the common Google Doc. We used this technique for a synchronous online class but it could be adapted to hybrid or asynchronous teaching.