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Since the start of the semester in September, my university has been offering only online-only teaching, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

As the COVID-19 situation in our local region has been improving, the university is now switching to mixed-mode teaching, i.e., some students will continue to attend classes online, while students can apply to attend classes in person.

Teaching classes in person is something I am used to — I would walk around, ask students to answer questions, etc.

I have also gotten the hang of teaching classes online — I would show my slides by sharing my screen, I would read the chat, check if students have raised their hands and have questions, give students online poll questions, etc.

I feel quite confused about how to teach efficiently using mixed-mode teaching, because half of the students could be online, while the other half are in class.

  • If I were to walk around and talk to the students in class using a microphone and amplifier, the microphone on my computer could pick up what I am saying, but the webcam will not be able to track me.
  • Right now I am considering just being present in the classroom, and teaching online as if there were no face-to-face students in class, while asking the face-to-face students to watch me on their phones or computers. Maybe I could interact with the face-to-face students during the lecture breaks?

What are your suggestions for effective mixed-mode teaching?

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Have you considered using a Swivl, we have used them on our ITE programme to support teacher observations. The camera follows your movement around the classroom while you wear a mic on a lanyard which is connected via Bluetooth. This would support the online learners you have in feeling more engaged? You could also prepare some flipped resources on a pallet or something similar so the group f2f and online could collaborate.

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Don't do it (unless it is a pure lecture already)

This is not to say that it is impossible, but still...

If you simply giving a lecture, or other unidirectional teaching, there is probably a better experience for the physical attendees, so you should offer it. Have some way of preferably real-time communication with the distant people. Even better, have someone else besides you monitor that and communicate questions and remarks to you as appropriate.

However, a pure lecture is (typically and most of the time) not an effective way of teaching. You want to have the students thinking and talking, preferably with each other, and also with you. In a physical context talking with some neighbours is fine and in Zoom and other electronic alternatives you have breakout rooms and similar solutions. If you want to both at the same time, the overhead is much greater and the electronic participants have the default issue that you don't really know what is going on there.

I would recommend instead going full digital and using the benefits of whichever platform you have in use for that. It might be slightly worse for those who could be present otherwise, but it will be much better for those who would be using digital means anyway.

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  • The OP may not have this option. University rules may prevent it. The university should consider it, of course.
    – Buffy
    Mar 25 at 12:52

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