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Inspiring tips from teachers

Get inspired by these tips from colleagues in and outside Leiden. If there are any tips about (online) education that you would like to add, feel free to send us a message.

In the spotlight

  • Ask the students to prepare the tutorials more thoroughly. For example, for the first two sessions, have them read texts in advance and submit a short note about them on Brightspace or have them think of questions in advance. These notes/questions are then discussed during the first lectures. The discussion during the lecture is immediately more in-depth, especially if several groups address similar problems.
  • Also giving group assignments in preparation (read an article per group and prepare a short presentation about it) works well to create a group feeling. One teacher remarked: 'I went through the notes that students prepared so that in the working lecture I could ask students specific questions or know which student could bring in an original insight. This way students felt seen I think and that encouraged their participation in the discussion during later lectures. This required more work on my part, but good preparation is essential for the first sessions of an online workcollege. In later sessions, I loosened the reins a bit.' 
  • Lectures went well after I got used to the knowledge clips (max. 20 min. each, always four per lecture for clarity). Most important tip as far as I am concerned: announce when you will make the lectures available, and also when you will close them again. Opening the knowledge clips for just a short period of time increases the viewing figures considerably.'
  • Try to indicate the structure of the working groups as much as possible and don't forget to take breaks (and possibly use the break for an informal chat with students)
  • Even more important than usual: try to learn students' names early and give turns. Frequently mentioned: Make sure you are "unpredictable" so students know they can take a turn at any time and address students directly - especially online students. Say that you think it's incredibly important that they always turn their cameras on (that helps).
  • A lecturer notes: "In hybrid education, always ask explicitly if the people who participate online also want to say something/ask questions, that they just have to turn on their microphone and say their say. Always take time for that, because they have to go through a moment of hesitation. If I ask a question to the group, I regularly direct it specifically to the people who are participating online. Try to switch back and forth between the people in the room and at home.'
  • Stimulate group feeling and social interaction: 'At the first lecture, I have the students introduce themselves a little more extensively, by also recounting a personal experience (from the summer). During the break, when everyone is staring at their phones again, I try to stimulate a group discussion about a current topic. At the end of the hybrid lecture, I show the students present in the lecture, who can then wave to those who are sitting at home.'
  • The Kaltura breakout rooms are often cited as an effective means of stimulating discussion and contact. One lecturer wrote, 'To stimulate mutual contact, I occasionally use the Kaltura breakout rooms. I then add the break to the break, so they can catch up with each other in small groups. This stimulates the mutual contact and group feeling.'
  • A lecturer wrote: 'For all my tutorials I indicated that I would be in the liveroom for about 15 minutes after the lecture. In this way, students who were present digitally could ask questions about assignments/dissertations more easily, and possibly also raise personal problems. This worked very well.'
  • A lecturer wrote: 'I split lectures into 3x 30 minutes and that actually worked very well. Even in the last half hour there was focus.'
  • Share sample questions in advance via Brightspace and clearly indicate how the test is structured and the number of questions.
  • Remindo is easiest to review but support is essential when using it.
  • In MS Teams you can create groups (within a workgroup). Students can use these for meetings (video conferencing) and for sharing documents.
  • Kaltura liverooms are great for workgroups (in webinar mode) and smaller lectures (in weblecture mode, good for up to 100 participants). This is the closest thing to the 'real' lecture experience. If desired, you can also record these lectures and keep them available in Brightspace. 
  • One lecturer wrote: 'I project the Kaltura Liveroom via the beamer so that everyone can also see the 'home students'. It works well to point the camera at the class during discussions. Students sitting at home can then better follow the contributions of students in the room. The sound is not always optimal, but I often repeated the questions/comments from the room for homebound students.'
  • A lecturer indicates using MS teams for consultations and conversations, and as a backup if Kaltura should fail. 
  • Tip: 'For presentations, I had my BA2 students record their story in advance, and let them access me through the video portal. This made the videos easy to show in Kaltura, without a long upload time.' 
  • Tip: keep it simple and clear. In Kaltura, there are useful tools available, such as the Breakout Room for group assignments during the workcollege and a quiz. But these tools only work for tutorials that are fully online.
  • Tip: Don't place your own camera too far in the middle, so you can't see the lecturer well, but move it back a little. Then questions from the class are easy for students to hear online. 
  • An option: 'In addition to the webcam on a tripod, I also used my own laptop (with camera), so that you can focus the camera on the group of students present and use the laptop to be visible as a teacher. You can just log into the Kaltura and only have to turn off your microphone and sound (otherwise you will hear annoying crackling and beeping).  
  • Tip: Pre-load Powerpoints into the Kaltura and don't show them by sharing your screen.
  • Tip: I have occasionally used the program 'Menti' to present questions to the whole group. Using Kahoot for some fun multiple choice questions, but it seems you can also do that through the Quiz feature in Kaltura.
  • Tip: Occasionally play a video via YouTube (and then share the link via chat for when the video in the Kaltura falters).
  • If you are holding the oral presentations of the working lecture on campus, have the students who could not attend for some reason record their presentation in advance and post it on Brightspace. Others could then view it and provide feedback. During the lecture itself you can then briefly go into it. This is also a good way of keeping the lecture itself relatively short (for those who followed the lecture on the screen).
  • It is also possible to have students present without a powerpoint or have a handout distributed in advance.
  • Have students give small presentations often, also without powerpoint and with their image in presentation mode.
  • Try to repeat information multiple times and in different ways/platforms.
  • Variety in the form of assignments helps to keep attention. Assign spokespersons / have them assign each group. Alternate by online/offline group when discussing.
  • Very short periods in breakout rooms in Kaltura (5 minutes) can help tremendously to activate students. Longer is also possible, but then you have to give yourself an active role. 
  • Students on campus can discuss in triangles (then three students can discuss with each other without moving from their seats). 
  • A suggestion for students taking hybrid education at home: give them a specific assignment while they follow the lecture at home. For example, to come up with a question or three points that they pass along to the whole group in the chat feature at the end of the lecture. 
  • One instructor wrote, "I had them collaborate in creating a bibliography (via the group libraries function in Zotero), and by having them comment on the first versions of the presentations (in pitch2peer) and on each other's introductions.
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