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Thanks to the lockdown, my sensei is planning to move all our classes online. We are aware that some things are not possible online (e.g. contact moves etc.). However, fine tuning kata and kihon might be possible with proper instruction.

Doing this live is hard since the sensei cannot handle the large number of students that come so we're thinking of doing it asynchronously with recorded videos and having people respond with recorded videos of their own and occasional live classes. I wanted to know if anyone here has experience doing this and what platforms/tools they'd recommend.

Here are my specific problems

  1. We're planning to use recorded videos and would like to keep them private rather than put them on a public site like Youtube. I want to know if anyone has done this and if so, what platforms worked for them.
  2. We'd also like to have a smaller set of live classes where the sensei can evaluate individual students. Zoom is what we're planning to use here but if there are people with other experiences, it would be useful.
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    I know it's being a bit picky, but could you revise your question to specifically ask what needs to be done (or avoided) to make a successful online class? As it is, the phrasing of this feels like you're asking for opinions. – Macaco Branco Jun 1 at 12:21
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    I think this edit makes the opinion problem worse. Now the question is basically about technology tool recommendations, which change quickly relative to martial arts. Anyone can come and leave spam for their video tools and it would be a valid answer. – mattm Jun 1 at 15:54
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    This question is fixable. It could be about running a class synchronously or asynchronously. It could be about what video features are necessary to run a class online. But the current state is too open-ended (what are other people's experiences). – mattm Jun 1 at 16:00
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    As I see it, there are currently at least three parts to this question. 1. How do you transfer video files? 2. What video conferencing tool do you use? 3. How do you run an online class? First, these should be separate questions already. The tool you use to transfer video files has no direct relation on video conferencing. Second, there is no direct relation of 1 and 2 to martial arts. How are your concerns different from looking for a standard technology tool? Third, technology recommendations are notoriously short-lived. Pricing and features change quickly. Zoom, for example, just changed... – mattm Jun 2 at 12:10
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    their security features again this week. The way to ask a more durable question would be to ask about features. A better question could be, "What features does a video conferencing tool need to run an online martial arts class?". The answers to that question will be more useful to future users than knowing what video conferencing tools happened to exist when you asked the question. – mattm Jun 2 at 12:14
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My instructor has been running classes using Zoom since the lockdown began in the UK (late March 2020). The classes haven't been that large (no more than 20 people per session) and have been successful.

Obviously, they aren't as good as a real class (he can only see our upper-body, most of the time), but it does help keep things ticking over. The main problems we have had are sound related; initially, my instructor was hard to hear until he used a bluetooth headset. Equally, if everyone is unmuted and talks at the same time, it is difficult to hear important things. The meeting host has the ability to mute everyone, which is handy.

If you're worried about the class sizes, you could always split them into several classes. In normal circumstances, we have separate classes for juniors and adults; no reason why this should be the case for online classes, too.

Your asynchronous idea has merit, though I wouldn't use it for everything. If a student has a specific question, they could take a video and submit it for review; otherwise, your sensei may become equally overloaded watching hours of student videos!

Zoom has worked quite well for us, though any well-known video conferencing tool should be equally capable. I'm also involved in Scouting in the UK and several groups are running online scouting using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex, for instance.

To me, it looks like you and your instructor already have the right ideas and thoughts about online training; try something, get feedback, change something, try again. Repeat until normal training resumes!

Good luck!

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