Enabling Online Delivery

Since we’ve all been in Zoom meetings, Teams video calls, and a few other platforms, we may as well ensure everyone is up to speed on how to work the video delivery.  From a teaching perspective, there a three design specifications to consider

  1. Bandwidth determines audio and video quality. The less work a Zoom conference needs to do in terms of relaying the audio and video, the better it gets for everyone.  This is why the ANU  Vice Chancellor forums start with video off, and microphone muted for all participants.  To that end, best practice out of UK and EU recommends students in full class environments have their video off, and either raise a hand via the software, or switch video on ask questions.
  2. Low bandwidth teaching is important. https://www.iddblog.org/videoconferencing-alternatives-how-low-bandwidth-teaching-will-save-us-all/ – we all read faster than we watch, and given Facebook, Twitter, email and letters, we’re all conversant with the idea that words carry conversations.  Encourage your students to use the LMS Forum for conversations and engagement outside of video sessions.
  3. Real time, synchronous education delivery is an interactive opportunity that comes at a high cost to student and staff.  Performing live, real time and to a camera is an exhausting task, and as a high energy output event, should be used for the best return.  Interactivity, small group via break out rooms, and group reports to the main class should be prioritised over monologues and lectures that could be pre-recorded.  Use the presence of the students as the opportunity to engage with cohort creation, and give the students a voice within the class, and across the class groups. 
  4. Recording live seminars allows for asynchronous access, resolving time zone issues, CBE self-scheduled and unscheduled timetable clashes. Plus, if you have an ‘exemplar’ tutorial that works through an problem solving, exercises or other materials for the week, you can record that to make available to support student recaps and access.  Tutorial recordings can be made time sensitive (eg expire after a week), and it’s recommended that you ask participants of the tutorial if they are comfortable with being recorded, and allow them to switch classes if they are not happy with being an exemplar discussion class.

Video Conference (Real Time Video Teaching)

Delivering a live classroom event over Zoom is one of the more ubiquitous events from the Emergency Remote Teaching.  Zoom has been the platform of choice, for the functionality options including chat, waiting rooms, break out rooms and recording. ANU has a Zoom client set up allowing us to host standard sessions (https://services.ANU.edu.au/information-technology/software-systems/ANU-zoom-client).

If you need a webinar, I have access to host webinars for the RSM for Semester 2, 2020. Webinars allow for a more controlled way to arrange for guest speakers and can host a much larger number of students.  They are less interactive insofar as participants can’t interact with each other, so use sparingly and not as a replacement for an interactive forum.  However, with multiple guest attendees, they can provide a panel discussion for the classroom, particularly if you wanted to use a teaching team discussion around assessment feedback.

Microsoft Teams

For those who like a comprehensive integration in their outlook on life, there’s Microsoft Teams, which links between SharePoint, OneDrive, and everything else in the Office365 suite.  It can handle voice and video, act as a phone bank, take voice mails (complete with transcripts), and generally plays a

Alternative Options:

There are alternate video platforms available to the world. Jitsi is an alternate video conference client that can be run in browser (https://meet.jit.si/) as an alternative to Zoom or Teams. It’s unsupported by ANU, but that’s okay, it’s an alternative you can make available to your students if they want a different platform to communicate in groups.

Delivery (alternate): Jitsi – https://jitsi.org/
Video conference mode: https://meet.jit.si/