The winter weather and flu season creates a whirlwind of issues for both students and faculty. Classes can be canceled or students need to stay home due to illness or quarantine. Luckily, we have the option to host classes online and no one needs to fall behind. It can be stressful to host a class with in-person students and remote students simultaneously, but it can be done with a little consideration and preparation.
Things to Prepare ahead of time:
- Course Materials – Every student should have access to the course materials. Depending on your access to Carmen, you can post your course materials on there by uploading the files or folder to ‘Files’ and adding those items to a module along with any extra links. If you do not have access to Carmen, you can use the cloud service, Box, to store your course materials and provide the links to students via email.
- Classroom Equipment – Make sure you know which equipment is available in your classroom and how to use it. You can contact the EHE IT Help Desk for technical help and contact Paul Abbott, the Classroom Technology Supervisor, for help with learning more about your classroom equipment and capabilities.
- Send out the CarmenZoom Link – Make sure all students have access to the CarmenZoom link.
Make a Plan for the Session:
After learning about your classroom’s capabilities, you should have a plan for how to run the session.
- Easy – Share a CarmenZoom meeting with your remote students and put it up on a projector for in-person students. You can share your powerpoint with everyone at the same time and not have to juggle different setups or rely on remote students to follow along on their own. This shows the remote students they are being included.
- Medium – If you need students to see you and a powerpoint or just see you during a lecture, then you need a webcam. This is a little difficult because it limits movement and you have to direct your attention to both remote and in-person students.
- Hard – Live stream yourself going through the lecture without restriction to movement. This will require a classroom equipped with livestream cameras or setting up a laptop webcam at a distance. To do this, you have to make sure the remote students have access to the powerpoint in case the text is too small to see during the live stream. Keeping accessibility standards in mind is very important with this setup as it may be easily overlooked.
Things to Consider During Class:
- Student Privacy – When everyone is on the same CarmenZoom meeting, students have the ability to send direct messages that cannot be read by other students. This means they can send embarrassing questions or messages with private content directly to the instructor. If you have the CarmenZoom meeting up on a projector, let the remote students know their messages, including direct messages, will be visible to everyone in the classroom. Also, tell them to email you any private information.
- Student Video Feed – It can be incredibly awkward for a student to join class remotely and have their camera on for the whole session especially if the CarmenZoom meeting is up on a projector. It can also be distracting for in-person students depending on what’s going on the remote student’s background. Allowing students to keep their camera off in this situation can help.
- The Student’s Existence – Even if you only have 1 or 2 remote students, they are still part of the class and need to feel included, so pay attention to the chat and acknowledge raised hands on CarmenCarmenZoom. You can even call on them to participate the same as you would for any in-person student. The goal is to provide the same level of inclusion and educational experience as everyone physically in the room with you.