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Experimenting with “hybrid” working methods?

Are you currently preparing for education for the academic year 2020-2021 and would you like to tinker with new teaching methods on campus? The Teaching & Learning Lab (TLL) recently started using two camera / sound bar systems that make it possible to teach students, some of whom are physically present and some online.

After a period of working and teaching online at home, many employees are looking forward to coming to the campus to teach. Distance education has reduced focus on experimentation on the physical campus. Nevertheless, especially in the context of the new 1.5-meter society, it is important to gain experience with scenarios that have not yet been researched. For example, in the discussions about the scenarios currently being devised within the University, the term hybrid education or multilocation learning often comes to the fore. But what is hybrid education and how do you approach it as a teacher? And where can you try this out?

About the camera / sound bar systems

interactive whiteboard TLLRecently, the TLL has two cameras that enable lecturers to experiment with an educational form in which some students are physically present on campus and others are present online. Two interactive whiteboards have been expanded with a camera and soundbar system with automatic zoom function and precise microphones. The teacher connects the camera to the laptop via a USB connection, and connecting the laptop to the interactive whiteboard allows contact and sharing a presentation with remote students.

The system is compatible with various communication platforms such as MS Teams, Starleaf or Skype for Business, so that teachers can choose the platform through which they want to meet the students. This extension facilitates remote contact with students during a working group. Due to the 120 degrees viewing angle of the camera and the accurate built-in microphone, the teacher also has room to move within the room and is easily understood.

What can it be used for?

For example, as a teacher you could use this setup in a situation where students in the TLL perform an active work form and interact with each other, while online students simultaneously work on a replacement assignment via a platform such as Teams. As a teacher you can organize plenary moments to answer questions or give brief feedback on the progress of the assignments. The lecturer can use the interactive whiteboard to share a presentation with explanations to both students on campus and online.

You could also think of a situation where students on location and online, via an online platform such as Teams, collaborate on an active online work form, in which you build in moments in which you jointly brainstorm about the assignment. The TLL has the Nureva interactive brainstorming wall that can be accessed both physically and online via a device.

Where can I register?

Because this form of education is still in its infancy, the TLL is looking for teachers who are willing to take on the challenge of an experiment with a hybrid form of education. So if you have ideas for hybrid education that you would like to try out in the TLL, please send an email to teachinglearninglab@uu.nl

Author: Laurien Jansen (Utrecht University)
Translation: Mark Uwland (Freudenthal Institute)