Starting a Class
Essentially, once a scheduled class has been confirmed by both tutor and student, a green button appears at the top of Spires to 'Open Classroom'.
You simply come onto the platform at the scheduled class start time and click 'Start Class' and then both you and the student can click 'Open Classroom' to meet in zoom.
Once scheduled, the classroom button will appear and display the start date and time of your next class.
Clicking on this early will inform you that the class is not ready to begin until the scheduled time, but that you can 'Test Classroom' (see below). This gives new students a chance to get familiar with the platform and zoom ahead of time. You will also see a link to this page of the guide.
This will only show if it is more than 20 minutes before the scheduled start time.
Up to 20 minutes before the scheduled start time, the button turns green and starts to flash.
Clicking on "Start Class" will start the class for both you and the student, as well as the class-timer.
It is best to make sure you are both online (you will see a green circle next to the name fo the other party to know they are online) and can message them to let them know that you are ready to start.
Finally, clicking "Open Classroom" will pop open a built-in Zoom classroom for both parties.
Testing the Classroom
You can also test the classroom at anytime on Spires by clicking on the classes tab on the navigation bar followed by 'open classroom'.
This opens a pop up that lets you open a test Zoom call that lets you configure your audio and video.
*** We highly recommend that you do this before your interview or first class ***
Zoom will be automatically downloaded if you do not have it already.
How Zoom Works
There is a fuller guide on how zoom works in the student guide, but below is a summary of the main features and settings.
Once you are in Zoom, a bar at the bottom presents you with various options.
You can turn on or off the the audio and video feeds at any point by clicking on the Mute/Unmute and Start/Stop Video icons on the left.
To adjust the audio or video settings click on the little arrows next to the microphone mute and turn off video button on the left and select the appropriate speaker, microphone, webcam etc.
The chat button allows you to send messages to the other participants within Zoom.
Share screen lets you share an entire screen, a second camera, or any open application or window in the background for other parties to see. It is a very powerful feature of online teaching, but also very heavy on your computer's resources. You might hear your fans spinning up, so turn it off when you are not using it to improve audio quality if using an in-built mic for audio. Using it sparingly will improve your device performance more generally.
Video recordings are automatically turned on in the Spires classroom. All classes are recorded and stored for 30 days. You will be notified by email when the recording is ready to be downloaded and can always find them in your class 'History'.
The final section of this main guide covers how payments work.