Laura Hollinshead, Learning Technologist-Curriculum Development
Here are some tips gathered from academic staff across the University for delivering live teaching activities. These approaches can be used where sessions are run through Blackboard Collaborate or meetings in Microsoft Teams.
Before the session
- Plan in virtual ‘coffee mornings’ for your students to help maintain informal engagement with you and each other.
- Don’t try and run the session as a normal lecture, consider offering pre-recorded content in advance so the online face-to-face time is more interactive.
During the session
- Consider having some audio playing whilst participants are joining a session. This can help them to check they can hear sound through their device and their audio is setup correctly.
- Set etiquette expectations with students early, for example let them know to keep their mics muted unless they are speaking.
- Set an activity for them to start as soon as they arrive, this can help with engaging students whilst they wait for others to arrive. It doesn’t have to be learning related but could be an informal task to encourage students to engage with each other (e.g. what did you have for breakfast today? Write this in the Padlet board and share pictures if you have them).
- Take regular pauses in sessions to ensure students have understood content, and to collate and answer any questions which may have been asked in the chat.
- Think about how you can use other tools within a live session to create interactivity for students (e.g. using Poll Everywhere or Padlet).
- Think about how you can facilitate group work in a session (e.g. breakout rooms in Collaborate, channels in MS Teams) – this can help students feel less isolated when they are studying remotely. As with on campus activities, provide a clear idea of how long each activity should take to help them come back to the whole group in a timely way.
- Consider allocating or asking for a leader in each group to help gather the group answer and make sure they keep on time with tasks.
After the session
- To help those students unable to attend the session live, consider recording a short summary of the key learning points. This will help them to catch-up without having to sit through a recording which can sometimes be lengthy and hard to piece together when it is interactive.
- Provide a space for students to carry out any follow-up learning where they can interact with each other (e.g. discussion area, MS Teams, Padlet) – this will help to continue and extend the collaborative learning outside of the live environment.