By Sally Cunningham and Alisha Winter
Incorporating online learning into the traditional classroom brought forth numerous challenges and opportunities. Through our work as students-as-partners, we were able to help navigate these uncertainties and discover paths through the untread territory. Each week we share examples of common perceived challenges and how we collaborated with instructors as OLTCs to design for delight.
Tackling Hybrid Teaching
Many of the professors we encountered throughout the first summer of implementing the OLTC program shared common concerns for the introduction of hybrid classes (with both online and in-person components) at Bishop’s. Hybrid classes provided a unique challenge for us as we wanted to make sure that the learning experience would be both equitable and enjoyable for the students in the classroom as well as for the online students.
One history professor had an especially unique situation for the Fall semester with a class of over 60 students that were evenly split between online and in-person participation. This professor wished to replicate the immersive experience their classes had previously provided – only now using a hybrid modality. They wondered how they could manage and engage their online students during synchronous class meetings, and how to teach in an equitable way for all their students.
After taking time to get to know him as a Student Working Group, we booked another meeting with the professor and discussed what would not only suit their teaching style, but what tools they felt most comfortable learning and implementing in their class. Some tools they chose to implement were: Perusall, an external tool that allowed for students to collectively read and annotate documents and artifacts, which mirrored their engaging pre-pandemic in class activities where students could mark up a document together.
They also utilized a student moderator during synchronous class times to help monitor the Teams Chat during synchronous calls. A different student would volunteer each week to keep an eye on the chat for essential questions or discussion points the professor may have missed during their lesson delivery. This was initially intended as a support for the professor, but also became a way to maintain an equitable experience for those who could not attend in person. This professor was always eager to learn how to use technology to accommodate their students, and successfully implemented many of the OLTC recommendations seamlessly into their course.