Aha! Moments: Hybrid/Remote Teaching Tips, Fall 2020 – Week of Sept. 14

This weekly series–a continuation of the CFD summer publication and workshops–will showcase faculty discoveries, strategies, and innovations emerging from HyFlex/remote teaching.

If there is a teaching tip you would like to share, email Mary Balkun, Director of Faculty Development, at mary.balkun@shu.edu.

Week of Sept. 14

Kelly Shea, English Department

I teach fully remotely, and I’ve been pretty happy with the way the Standard Channels are working in Teams for group work. So far I haven’t assigned people to Private Channels: one member of the channel is assigned to start and end the meeting (top right corner, “Meet now”); the other members “Join”; and I can go into each channel while each group is meeting and visit (just like walking around the classroom). I’ve done this with peer review and with three-person groups working on a group Discussion Board forum.  They can also keep notes in the chat in that channel. Also, during their channel meeting, students can ask me to come into their channel if they have questions by just choosing my name on the participant list  and hitting “Request to Join.” Or they can text me or email me to come into the channel.

The meeting-starter must “End meeting for all,” and then each student must go back to the class meeting and hit “Resume” to re-join the main class period.  While they’re in the channel meetings, they appear as on “Hold” in the main meeting. You can tell when folks have returned because the microphone icon re-appears next to their names.

In order to create a Standard Channel, one needs to go into the 3-dot pull-down on the left in the main team (not in the General Channel). Choose “Add Channel”; name the channel (you can get creative, like “The Lemmings” or “English Channel” or you could just go with “Group 1” or “Group A” and so on); add a description if you wish; then choose the settings. For this purpose you’d choose “Standard – Accessible to Everyone on the Team” (rather than “Private…”) and also click on “Automatically show this channel in everyone’s channel list.”  Then click “Add.”

I have found that I having a bunch of generic channels in my Team and assigning groups each time as needed is quite convenient. The history in the channel (i.e., who was in each meeting and the chat history) is there, so I can also see who worked together before if I want to mix it up.

Grace May, Educational Studies Department

I create a weekly agenda that I pre-post to the Teams site before each class. Within it I have the following information:

Course Housekeeping

What’s due before the next class and where to locate it in Blackboard. This is really helpful for my two freshmen courses.

Groups for the Week

I create a table with the group names and the members. I highlight who the leader will be for the channel/group so that gets things started.

I include the guidelines for the work they will do that week and remind them to post it all in the OneNote Notebook attached to their channel/group.

Content for the Week

I outline the flow of our conversation for the day, pose key questions, include live links to things we will watch, and include screen shots of parts of texts I want us all to consider.

It’s been helpful. This is simple, but keeps me on track and the students always have a reference point during class and afterward.

Peter Savastano, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice Department

This tip is about furniture. Faced with having to stand for 2.5 hours in front of a podium and unable to move in order to interact with both students in the classroom and those taking the class remotely, I learned that in certain HyFlex Teams classrooms, the instructor’s chair can actually be raised so as to function like a bar stool. Hint: for those of you faced with a similar challenge and the locked knees to prove it, you will know if the instructor’s chair is adjustable to bar stool height if it has a circular foot rest at the base. Mundane, I know, but everything matters and counts these days.



Sharing Sound in a Meeting: If you are sharing a video with sound, make sure to select the “include computer sound” checkbox before sharing your content. Please note this is not available on Mac laptops yet.

Speaker Feedback and Echo: To avoid speaker feedback and echo in the classroom, all students in the classroom must mute the microphone and speakers on their laptop if they are joining the virtual meeting. Instructor microphone and speaker should not be muted unless the instructor is in a Teams HyFlex classroom with the wall panel.



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