When using Skype for live video lessons, you need to complete the following steps to make sure you are ready to rock:
Download Skype for your computer.
Go to Skype.com and download the appropriate version of Skype for your computer. You can also use Skype on a variety of mobile devices with the same account information that you set up for your computer version. Having Skype on your mobile device can be very handy and can keep you from missing a lesson when you’re on the road. However, try to use a laptop or desktop computer as your default Skype machine so you have the screen size and volume necessary to have a good lesson. Your instructor will most likely share files and website links during your lessons; utilizing these resources will be difficult on a mobile device.
Create and sign in to your account.
When you install Skype on your computer, you will be prompted to create an account. Do so and sign in to Skype. Look around and get familiar with the layout. Skype can be used for voice-only calls as well as video calls. Find the controls for video calls. Also, figure out how to open the chat box while in a video call. This will be important during your lesson; your instructor will use this box to make notes regarding the lesson, send files, and share links.
Check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions for downloading and setting up Skype.
Test your computer’s webcam and microphone for functionality.
The easiest way to use Skype is with your computer’s built-in webcam and microphone. Once you are logged in to Skype, find the link for Skype Test Call. Click the link and test your sound. You may not be able to test your webcam until you make your first real Skype video call.
An important warning about technology and live video lessons: Make sure to test your equipment BEFORE the first lesson. Like the day before, not ten minutes before. One of the biggest things that could cause Skype lesson disaster is untested or unreliable equipment. If your equipment is not reliable (namely your computer and internet service), you’ll waste half of your lesson time fighting with technology.
Get your instructor’s Skype username and add him/her to contacts.
You’ll need to add your instructor to your contacts and make a request to connect. Do this ahead of time.
Do a test call with your instructor before the lesson.
This is CRUCIAL. Do not wait until your first lesson to try and connect with your instructor via Skype, or be prepared that your first lesson will be used mainly to test and troubleshoot your computer setup. If things go well, you’ll be finished with this step in less than 5 minutes and ready to rock your first Skype lesson.
Choose a good space for your Skype lesson.
Find a space that is comfortable and distraction-free for your lesson. This should be a space where you can be loud, talk freely, and not be worried by constant interruptions. You should also have good internet access in this space; if you’re using a wireless connection, be sure to stay close enough to the router that your connection is strong.
Keep your family in the loop (and out of your lesson!)
If you live at home with your family, make sure they know when your lesson occurs and ask them to respect your time.