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Speaking up in class is hard enough when you’re in a classroom, and it’s even harder now that we’re all trapped in our little boxes on a professor’s screen. You can’t raise your hand, and it’s pretty awkward to just turn your microphone on and start talking. 

This has been especially difficult for me during hybrid classes because my professors have not only been projecting the Google meet calls for the whole room to see, but also connecting their computer’s audio to the room’s speakers. Big yikes for a shy girl like me.

Even though I’m shy and don’t always want to speak up in class since it’s become more difficult, I care about getting the participation credit that most professors offer. I also want to connect with my class even though we’re not all in the same room, same state, or even the same country. So I’ve come up with a few tips for speaking up in virtual classes that just might work for you!

Talk to your Professor

I was having a lot of trouble with one of my classes at the beginning of the semester. It was a hybrid class and my professor was having trouble paying remote and in-person students the same level of attention. While I understood his frustration trying to teach all of us, I definitely felt like the remote students and myself weren’t getting the attention we needed which made it difficult to participate in class discussions.

Install Nod

One of my professors asked the students in my class to download an app called Nod on our computers, and it makes raising your hand in online class so much easier! When you download Nod, you’ll see a set of emojis in the top right corner of your screen– a thumbs up, clapping hands, and a person raising their hand– when you use Google meet on Chrome. When you click on one of the emojis, it will notify everyone that you’re raising your hand. I think it’s a great tool and a much easier way for students to speak without interrupting someone else.

Use the Chat

Google meet has a messaging option that can be easily used during class! This is an easy way to ask questions or respond to a classmates’ comment without interrupting anyone. This function works better if you don’t have anything too substantial to say– obviously you don’t want to send a long paragraph in the chat because that could cause an awkward pause while everyone reads what you said. Don’t use this too much, though, as some professors prefer to hear a student speak.

Go to Office Hours

If you really can’t participate in class, make sure you go to office hours! Every professor at Manhattan is required to hold office hours at a designated time or make appointments with students as needed. Going to office hours is the best way to show your professor that you care about their class. Plus, this would be a great time to talk to them about any struggles you’re having with talking in class.

I hope these tips help you! 
As always, contact me for any questions you may have about this article! I can be reached on Instagram at @jilleenbarrett or via email at jbarrett02@manhattan.edu.

Jilleen Barrett is a communication major with a minor in women's studies at Manhattan College. She is a member of various clubs, such as the school newspaper and Sigma Delta Tau. She loves running, baking, and going on bike rides around her neighborhood on Long Island. She is excited to be writing for HerCampus!
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