Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hybrid Learning Happening

I took part in my first hybrid lecture at The Australian National University, for computing students yesterday. This went okay with 10 students in the room, and 70 online. It was a bit tricky with four presenters, three in the room and one remote, for two hours. A further complication was that the resolution of the laptop used for Zoom was too high to connect to the room projector. You would think a stack of computer people would be able to sort that out, but by the time we realized what the problem was it was too late to change the setup. So we had one slide show for people in the room using the built in computer and the same slides on the laptop for those on Zoom. 

The Zoom meeting format was used, rather than a webinar. There was only one instance of an open microphone disturbing the presentation, and the students policed that themselves with someone asked everyone to "mute you mic" in the chat forum. One of the staff monitored the audio quality and the chat questions, via another laptop. Students were invited to ask questions live by audio and that worked fine.

One problem was that because the students in the room were not watching the Zoom session, they could see the remote presenter's slides, but not the presenter. So in that way the remote students had a better experience than those in the room.

The Zoom session was left open after the presentations for further student questions, while other staff handled questions in the room. There were mostly of the "can I still enroll, get into a tutorial group, resister for a project" type.

This was my first hybrid presentation for some time and I had forgotten how stressful it is, but how rewarding it is to be in a room with students and colleagues. Added to the stress of talking to a very bright and demanding audience, is added the complication of making sure you remain in the field of view of the camera, and ensure the slides are working for two audiences. It worked okay, but I still provided students with a recorded video version in advance, in case something went wrong live.

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