Live online access to in-person class meetings
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Instructors teaching courses that include in-person class meetings this fall can choose to offer live online access to in-person class meetings as needed for students who are self-isolating for COVID-related reasons.
Options for live access
Internal laptop camera and microphone
Every Winona State University instructor participating in the eWarrior Digital Life and Learning Program has a laptop with a high-quality, internal camera and microphone. The internal microphone will capture high fidelity audio out to about 5 to 6 feet directly in front of the open screen. The internal camera will capture whatever is in its field of view.
Internal laptop camera and external microphone
A wired or wireless microphone connected to your laptop will allow more freedom of movement while you teach. TLT has several mic options from which to choose.
External camera and microphone
TLT supports several external camera and microphone options for streaming various types of classroom activities. This includes solutions for lecture-style and seminar-style courses. To learn more, consult this wiki article.
Video conferencing room
Some Winona State University classrooms have built-in cameras and microphones. Check the availability and capacity of these rooms and contact the Warrior Hub to request a classroom change (firstname.lastname@example.org) if desired.
Before deciding to offer a live, online option, think carefully about the quality of the experience for your remote students. While online access to live class meetings may be possible technically, it may not be effective pedagogically, disadvantaging your remote students through no fault of their own. Consider all your options for supporting your remote students and choose the approach that best fits your class. Stay connected with your online students to ensure they remain on track and make adjustments as needed. The quality of online participation in live classroom meetings depends on several factors:
Nature of the classroom activity
If you spend class time engaged in multiple, small group discussions or activities involving movement, it may be difficult for remote students to participate. Class meetings dedicated to lecture-style presentations or seminar-style discussions, during which a single camera is trained on a stationary instructor or group, are much better candidates for live streaming, as long as remote students can ask questions and participate in the discussion. If you are teaching a course with highly-interactive classroom activities, and need to support a remote student, contact TLT (email@example.com) to explore some options.
Quality of classroom audio and video
The quality of the audio and video coming out of your classroom will be higher when engaged in lecture-style or seminar-style meetings. If you tend to move around while you teach, the audio quality for remote students may be affected negatively. Stationary and worn microphones may not pick up questions asked by students at the back of the classroom. Unless the room is equipped with multiple, built-in cameras and microphones, instructors will be limited to one camera, and one microphone either internal to their laptop or external, placed on a desk or tripod somewhere in the room.
As with any online meeting, the quality of the experience will be affected by the speed and reliability of the student's connection to the Internet. Winona State University supports the use of Zoom for online meetings and the bandwidth requirements are relatively low. Remote students should be able to connect successfully using their laptop, tablet, or phone with a strong cellular connection or better.
Level of engagement in classroom activities
There is a tendency for remote students to feel distant, disconnected, and disengaged if they are not able to participate in the session actively. If your remote students are watching a presentation for the duration of the live meeting, then recording it and allowing them to watch it online at their convenience may be a better option. If you intersperse discussion, Q&A, and other interactive activities in your lecture, then live online participation can be more engaging and meaningful than watching a recording. Consider methods for adding interactivity to your recorded lectures and be especially careful about including classroom activities in which remote students cannot participate. Be sure to give them something active to do while they are waiting for the in-person students to finish.
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