Concurrent Classroom – Planning for the Unplanned
Running a class session simultaneously online and in the classroom has become common, over the past two years, but not popular. Knowing a few tricks and being prepared with the right tools can make this easier on both you and your students and we’d like to share some tools to help. First, let’s clarify what we mean by teaching in a Hybrid or Concurrent Classroom.
What’s the difference?
Hybrid teaching is a specific teaching modality. Here at Ohio State, a hybrid course is one that is pre-planned and designed to offer 25% – 74% of its content online and the rest is in person through consistently scheduled face-to-face sessions throughout the semester. A concurrent classroom, on the other hand, means that you are teaching simultaneously in person and online. So, when speaking of the emergency measures we take to help students who cannot attend in person, we’re really talking about running a concurrent classroom.
Taking the stress down a notch
You may have found that teaching in a concurrent classroom raises your stress levels considerably – there’s just so much to be aware of and be ready for! You are not alone. Surveys of teachers and instructors around the country reflect that it can be cumbersome and difficult to manage. But other surveys point to the benefits of concurrent classrooms. They allow students to attend class who might have otherwise missed that information.
Though many of us had our first contact with this modality in the last couple of years, concurrent classrooms go back decades as institutions have sought ways to make programs and courses accessible to a wider range of students and encourage attendance in emergency situations. The difference in stress level is in the planning. Courses created specifically for this modality include activities that suit the needs of both online and face-to-face students. In the last couple of years, this strategy has been deployed as an emergency measure, so planning has not really been possible.
Planning for the unplanned
Even as we struggle to balance the pros and cons of concurrent classrooms, for now, this is where we are. In an effort to help make your life less complicated, we have assembled the resources below to help you to develop some strategies – planning for the unplanned. By making a plan, much like mapping an escape route for fire drills, you take the guesswork and decision fatigue out of unexpected concurrent classroom situations which can reduce stress and get you where you need to go more easily.
Putting into Practice: The Concurrent Classroom
Organize your “Classroom”
Your instruction may be taking place in-person, in a classroom on campus, but your online “classroom” can still play a key role in your face-to-face class. Using Carmen as a hub to organize your class content is an efficient way to share announcements, store and manage lecture recordings, slides, and notes, and provide students with resources for review and study or missed classroom instruction. If a student needs to access the course remotely, a well-organized Carmen hub can be helpful to the student and reduce instructor workload. Below are some additional suggestions to consider if the need arises for a concurrent classroom.
- Simulcast your lecture. Project your Zoom lecture in the classroom.
- Be thoughtful of the remote students’ comfort level with being “on camera” when facing a classroom of other students.
- Be sure to monitor the chat. It helps to ask an in-person student to assist.
- Explore classroom technology. If available in your room, consider:
- Broadcasting the classroom whiteboard/blackboard
- Sharing content using the document camera
- Using in-room microphones to share instructor/student voices
- Share recordings. Record and post lectures on a regular schedule (i.e., by 5pm on class day) in a designated location in your Carmen course. Include annotated slides/lecture notes.
- Use pre-recorded lectures divided into shorter segments. Post lectures in Carmen to be viewed prior to class time. Recent research, (Notel et al.), shows improvement in student learning when using pre-recorded short lectures.
Emergency Tool Kit for the Concurrent Classroom
Use interactive tools:
- Top Hat, a student response web-based system, can be used by in-person and remote students to view lecture material, and respond to discussion prompts and polling
- Zoom polling allows for real-time student feedback and can be used with both groups simultaneously. Polling can be used to break up a lecture and check understanding. This works best when poll questions are prepared ahead of time.
- Zoom break-out rooms can be used with groups of remote students to duplicate in-person small group discussion. Requiring a specific deliverable helps keep the focus on topic.
- Collaborative documents using Office 365 can be created allowing all students to work together in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Use Carmen assessment tools:
- Quizzes offer a versatile assessment tool in Carmen that can be used concurrently by online students and in-person students in the classroom on their own devices. Quizzes can be set with specific opening and closing dates and times. A variety of question types, settings, and options to customize are available.
- Assignments in Carmen allow for the online submission of a variety of document types as well as audio and video submissions.
Navigating the combined in-person/remote classroom can be challenging, but it can also be an opportunity for innovation. Selecting adaptable activities and tools to use in your instruction can minimize disruptions and reduce stress when faced with changing conditions.