Team projects in dual-mode
During team projects, in one of my courses, I tried as much as I could to form teams containing in-person students as well as remote students (rather than group the remote students together).
In my other course, I use team-based learning and set up fixed teams for the entirety of the semester. Thus, through the weeks, the teams took turns experimenting dual-mode teamwork, depending on the situation of each member.
For dual-mode team work to be possible in class, I ask in-person students to bring headphones. The team discussions are much less chaotic when everyone is wearing headphones!
Creating a positive class climate
To create a nice class dynamic, I take special care of my communication with the students.
I want my students to feel my openness towards them, whether they be attending in person or remotely. I take the time to chit chat with them. I ask them how they are doing. I ask the remote students about their experience. I ask the in-person students what they think about having some remote students in the class. In short, I gauge the mood of the class. It is then easier for the students to come see me if they have a question or a concern!
Following a suggestion of one of my colleagues, I like to let my students answer the questions that are asked by their peers. When questions about the content are asked (in the chat or orally, in person or online), the students answer them. This allows to increase the interactions during the class, but also to check if, in general, the students understand the concepts or not. I jump in for a correction, if needed. It becomes a bit of a game for them: some try to ask trick questions to their friends. It is fun, but also very useful!
Being there for in-person students as much as remote students
I want to make sure to be there for the students who are in class with me as much as for the ones attending remotely.
At the beginning of each class, I write on the board (or ask a student to write on the board) the name of all the students who are attending remotely. It allows me to call on them easily even if they are not in front of me.
I see the remote students on the screens installed on the walls of the class, but their names are a bit too small for me to read them properly. At the beginning of the semester, before I have learned the name of every student by heart, the list of names allows me to interact with those I cannot point at physically. The list also allows the students in the classroom to call on their colleagues easily!
Active learning: a winning approach in dual-mode teaching
I focus on active learning and flipped classroom. I find both of those approaches to be very effective for dual-mode teaching. Effectively, it seems to me that the online students need to be even more active than the students in class to remain focused. It is too easy for remote students to start doing something else!
When I ask students to do a case study or when they work in teams, they are in action. They are focused and productive, no matter if they are attending the class in person or remotely.
For the exams, I go for an open-book formula. The students complete a digital version of the exam, whether they are in class or at home. They can consult all the resources that they want. Thus, neither the in-person or the remote students have an advantage over the others, since they all complete the exam in the same conditions.
This works very well with collaborative exams as well, which I have described in another real life story. I organized dual-mode collaborative exams in the course where I put in place a team-based learning approach.
Other types of evaluation also work well for dual-mode assessment:
- oral presentations
- video recordings
- text analysis, synthesis
A formula to repeat
This semester (winter 2022), the course that I give was not especially compatible with dual-mode teaching: it is a class related with students’ end of studies project. However, when I will have the opportunity, I plan to give dual-mode classes again.
Obviously, the first time that I tried this approach, I had to spend some additional time preparing my lessons. Now that I am used to dual-mode teaching, I know that the course preparation will be faster and easier next time!
And you, have you tried dual-mode teaching during the last few semesters? Share your experience in the comment section below!