10 Tips to Prepare for an Esri Instructor-Led Online Class

08-30-2021 09:46 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Esri’s online classroom offers real-time instructor-led training in the cloud. You can attend these classes from the convenience of your office, home, or any quiet location with a high-speed Internet connection. All Esri instructors are certified subject matter experts in the topics they teach, and they are passionate about ArcGIS education.  

Whether or not you’ve attended an instructor-led online class before, it is always helpful to confirm you have completed the necessary pre-work so that you are fully prepared when the class starts.  

If you are eagerly awaiting to attend one of Esri’s instructor-led online classes, here’s a list of ten tips to help you get ready. Follow these best practices and you will be well on your way to having an excellent learning experience.  


1. Log into your ArcGIS Account 

You will need to have an ArcGIS account to attend your upcoming instructor-led online class. Don't have an ArcGIS account? It's free and easy to create one here 

Once you receive an email confirming your class registration, go to your My Schedule page on Esri Academy and sign in using your ArcGIS account. If you have multiple accounts, be sure to sign in with the one that has the same email address used to register for the class.  

If the class is still not there after you have double checked your email, click the red and white “Missing an Event?” button in the upper right-hand corner on your My Schedule page. Follow the prompts provided and enter your attendee ID, which can be found in your pre-class email(s). 

If you are still unable to see your class, please email your name, attendee ID, ArcGIS account username, and upcoming class information to OnlineClassroom@esri.com for assistance. 


2. Confirm your Class Information  

Navigate to My Schedule to view important details for your upcoming class. Become familiar with this space because this is where you will find everything you need for class—system requirements, course materials, login information, and more.  


3. Double Check the Time Zone 

As you navigate to My Schedule and find your class, pay special attention to the time zone. We offer classes on Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern time, so be sure you know what you signed up for—it may not be the same time zone you are currently in.  


4. Run the Connection Tests 

It is essential to verify that your computer and network settings will support seamless access to the online classroom. You can find the connection test information under My Schedule. Be sure to run the tests on the same machine and network you plan to utilize during the course. If your connection tests are unsuccessful, contact OnlineClassroom@esri.com right away so that our team can help you troubleshoot the issue.  


5. Download Course Materials in Advance 

Your course materials will be available to download from your My Schedule page three days prior to the class start date. Downloading the materials in advance saves time during the morning of class and it gives you an opportunity to review the content that the course will cover. You may also download the course data that will be used in the course exercises. By downloading the data, you have the option to repeat exercises after class for further practice to reinforce what you learned.  


6. Read the Pre-Class Emails 

You will receive emails from both your instructor and the Esri Training team prior to class. Read the information in these emails carefully to make sure you are adequately prepared. Oftentimes, instructors ask questions in their pre-class emails, so please reply to them with your answers. They want to better understand your desired learning outcomes and identify how they can best cater the class to your needs. 


7. Use Two Screens if Possible 

During course exercises, you will follow step-by-step instructions and work with ArcGIS software at the same time. While it is possible to toggle back-and forth and utilize one screen for this process, it is much easier to use two. If you don’t have a second monitor, you can use a tablet, smartphone, or even print the exercise materials in advance. 


8. Minimize Distractions and Extra Sounds 

During class, you will converse with the instructor and other students, so we strongly recommend you use a headset with a microphone. Attend class from a quiet environment with limited background noise so you can fully concentrate and avoid unintentionally disrupting other students. 


9. Log into Class Early  

Even if your pre-class connection tests were successful, joining class on the first day is occasionally a challenge. For example, updates may have been installed on your computer or the IT department may have made changes that impact your network. That’s why this tip is so important.  

Thirty minutes before class is scheduled to begin, navigate to My Schedule, click the Attend Class tab, and then follow the steps listed to connect to Zoom, the online classroom environment. Logging in early allows you ample time to get set up with Zoom and troubleshoot in case you have issues connecting.  

Once you’re connected to the online classroom, the instructor will provide information on how to connect to the virtual machine you will use in class. The virtual machine is where the Esri software is hosted for use to complete course exercises. 

The sooner everyone gets connected, the sooner class starts, and you can get on your way to learning new ArcGIS skills. 


10. Come Prepared to Participate 

Last, but certainly not least, instructor-led online classes are collaborative. The instructors encourage participation, and they genuinely want you to ask questions—it makes the experience better for everyone. Be ready to actively listen, share your feedback, work through hands-on exercises, and ultimately, have fun!  


Your instructor will be with you every step of the way during class, and they are excited to teach you. Get ready for an incredible learning experience!  


To further prepare for your upcoming class, watch this short video created by one of our instructors. 

About the Author
Katie Smith was born in the beautiful state of Minnesota and now resides in sunny Southern California. She is on the Esri Training Team and desires to help people learn about the fascinating world of GIS.