Blended synchronous teaching works best if you have lots of Elves to help as it goes way beyond multitasking!

Professor Ian Johnson

But if you are like Ian (who doesn’t have any elves!) and trying to manage a class on your own with students in the classroom and others joining online, some of these ideas from the Teaching & Leadership Community of Practice group might help!

Number 1 top tip – Set up double Zoom

By this we mean log in to Zoom on more than one device.

Log into the lectern PC, share the screen in Zoom and then project that on the big in room screen. This will allow the on-campus students to view the online students while both lots of students will be able to see your content.

Then log in on another device, such as your laptop (or your phone). This enables you to see the online student view and you can use the microphone from that 2nd device to pick up the sound from the class for the online participants.

Note that you can log in to Zoom multiple times using your MQ log in details.

Tip 2 – Set Zoom up on your phone

An issue I’ve found is that in Zoom enabled classrooms such as 1CC, you need to set up the Zoom in the corner of the room, so to check the chat you need to go back to the corner which interrupts the flow of the class.

Josephine Paparo

One way to solve this is to set up Zoom up on your phone. This means you can be a bit more mobile and don’t have to go back to the teacher’s point (where the resident PC is located) to check the chat or to change what you want to display on the screen.

Tip 3 – Have a student monitor the chat

Facilitating teaching and meetings in hybrid mode is stressful and makes you feel anxious, especially trying to monitor the chat and the raising of hands by the online participants at the same time as communicating with the in-person group.

Morwenna Kirwan

Try assigning a student to be responsible for checking the chat and ask them to give you a visual sign when there’s a message.

Tip 4 – Get your students to BYOD

Suggest on-campus students bring their own device so they can collaborate with each other. Depending on how you want to run the class, you could ask students to log in to Zoom on their own device, for example, if you want them to view or participate in the chat function, collaborate using a spreadsheet/document/padlet or to be in breakout rooms with the online students.

Tip 5 – Minimise the number of tools/resources you need for the class

Plan your lesson to minimise the number of different resources and tools you need to use so you don’t have too many clicks during class.

Jasna Novak Milic

This helps to make the class run more smoothly and you are not always having to look for things while the class is on.

Tip 6 – Design the lesson for online delivery

Start by designing your class for online delivery and bring the on-campus students into that (rather than the other way around). So you are bringing the on-campus students into an online space.

Tip 7 – Provide everything in digital formats

Make sure everything is digital (resources and tools) and available online so both the online and on-campus students can get access to the same resources.

Tip 8 – Set aside a few minutes to brief your online students

Schedule a bit of extra talk time with the online students – make a conscious effort to check on them, involve them and bring the online students into the activities as you go.

Cara Dinneen

Be specific and explicit in your instructions as it’s easy for online students to miss a key word.

Tip 9 – What if your teaching space is not Zoom enabled?

Using the resident computer, a laptop and an external speaker it’s possible to set up double Zoom for a small class situation.

Another option is to book a Logitech USB ‘meet-up’ bar (microphone, webcam & speaker bar combined) which plugs in to the lectern PC. Submit a OneHelp request to book but note there is a limited number available.

Tip 10 – Observe blended synchronous teaching in action – with Jasna Novak Milic

Jasna has been teaching online and on-campus students simultaneously for many years and can be set up in less than 5 minutes using just an enhancer speaker and laptop as the only devices (in addition to what’s already in the language lab). Jasna logs into Zoom twice so she can face the students without having to have her back to either group of students. The number of tools used in any one class is limited to about 2 (favourites are H5P, for prepared resources, and OneNote for impromptu/on-the-spot notes), and this minimises the number of things to manage during the class.

Observe Jasna teaching a blended class on selected dates by registering via the Open for Observation program. Join the class on campus or online, or both, on different occasions, to experience the different delivery modes.

*Update – look out for more opportunities to observe teaching in action coming soon.

More support for blended synchronous teaching

Blended Synchronous teaching at MQ Guide – includes suggestions for small class teaching, interaction, group collaboration, group discussions, technology tactics, plus quick start setup guides for three types of room configurations at MQ.

Zoom teaching in 1CC Central Courtyard – includes how to get all the AV set up in the room, blended synchronous teaching tips and troubleshooting.

View the recording of the recent Teaching & Leadership Community of Practice meeting where the discussion focused on blended synchronous teaching.

What is the Teaching & Leadership Community of Practice?

Since its inception in November 2020, this network has grown to over 100 MQ members who meet monthly to shape how we lead learning and teaching collectively and collaboratively across the university, provide input on professional development for leaders of learning and teaching and, at the same time, learn from peers.

If you are interested in joining this group, we’d love to see you.

Questions? Contact

Banner image: Nazar Skladanyi on Shutterstock
Infographic: ‘5 steps to double Zoom’ created by Jasna Novak Milic

Posted by L&T Development

The Learning and Teaching Staff Development team works with staff across the University to ensure they are supported to facilitate quality learning for students. This includes offering professional development, contributing to curriculum and assessment design, recognising and rewarding good practice, supporting peer review of teaching, and leading scholarly reflection. Email with questions or requests.

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