I initially thought Zoom Remote desktop would work well for this. What I found in practice was that:
- It dropped out when the internet was even slightly poor on my end or the learners, kicking both of us out of the meeting
- For some learners (I was on Mac, they - on Windows), I could only use the mouse and not type into their text file that I was trying to edit.
- Breakout rooms should be used as a last resort, as it means learners miss out and are unable to catch up with the rest of the class (because the code inevitable disappears beyond view in a code-along if you’ve been gone for more than a minute, IF you as the instructor are trying to have a font size that’s readable on an iPad or single laptop screen).
Instead of that, when I ran training online, I asked learners to screenshot their code and resulting error messages and paste them into a shared, class-wide google doc. Then helpers could provide them with suggestions of what to type (in the google doc), and we’d iterate until the problem was solved (or not. In the case of one learner who had a very broken ubuntu installation (apt-get did not work!) we ended up requesting they switch to Windows in order to be able to install core R packages like the tidyverse).
Overall, the latter worked quite well, and is what I plan to try working with in the future.