👉 What? Live sessions delivered online.

👉 Why? Having live contact time gives your learners essential contact time with both you and peers and enables you, as the educator, to deliver responsive teaching to ensure your learners’ needs are met.

👉 How?

1. Choose your tool - check out Aula's advice on how to use Zoom effectively or your institution's recommendations on third-party tools.

2. Plan your delivery -

• Have clear rules of engagement at the start - ask participants to keep their audio muted unless they’re talking. If it’s a large or unfamiliar group, ask participants to introduce themselves before they speak. Use a slide or to display expectations, as well as opening actions and instructions as people ‘arrive’

Allocate roles to students - if it’s a large group, you may want to allocate roles to minimise the risk of distraction and disengagement - for instance, a moderator to monitor the chat, or a co-ordinator to keep an eye on the time

3. Make it accessible -

Share relevant materials, including the agenda, handouts and in-lecture actions (e.g. note-taking documents, big questions and readings) in advance of the session

• Use closed captions during the session, if possible

Share the slides and recordings post-session

Learn more in the Accessible Teaching section and via Aula's advice on how to use Zoom

4. Make it effective -

Integrate visuals to show what you’re saying

Avoid text on-screen - people learn better from graphics/ visuals plus video/ narration than from visuals plus on-screen text.

5. Make it active -

Give learners something to do at all times. This is both around the session - for instance, pre- and post-session activities, and within the session. Active learning can also be leveraged via engagement prompts:

  • Example 1: Rolling Prompts - for instance, tell the class you will “cold call” them at random at different points in time to expand one on of your points.
  • Example 2: Summative Prompts - the ‘One Minute Paper’ - for instance, at the start of the lecture, tell all participants that at the end of the lecture they will complete a ‘one minute paper’ - i.e. take one minute to note down what they consider to be the most compelling and important moment in the lecture or to reference a specific moment in the workshop that mattered to them, and explain why.
  • Example 3: Summative Prompts - the ‘Big Questions’ Q&A - for instance, use chat functions to gather ‘big questions throughout the lecture for review at the end of the session. At the end of the session, select questions and encourage others to help you answer them.
  • Example 4: Active Note-Taking - for instance, provide a lecture note-taking template for learners to actively complete during and after the lecture. Draw attention to key prompt questions by including them in your slides.
  • Example 5: Polling - for instance, share polls to be taken before and during sessions to check understanding, raise engagement and maximise active learning. Plan and upload your questions in advance and - where necessary - use them to break up chunks of content.

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👉 Example:

Here is an example of a synchronous session plan which maximises impact. It does so by delivering a number of intentionally engaging, high impact practices, including

• retrieval practice

• checks for understanding

• critical thinking and analysis

Part 1: Retrieval practice - polling and re-polling (whole group, 20 mins)

• Quickfire Q&A to test core learning from the week, related to outcomes (e.g. what was covered in the video lessons and check for understanding)

• Educator delivers additional info (curveball) then re-polls

• Educator asks for volunteers to describe how and why they changed their minds

Part 2: Exploration of outputs using elaborative questioning (small breakout groups, 20 mins)

• Groups of 4 share and explore their outputs from the ‘Apply activity’ - see the Active, Social and Applied Teaching on Aula section in this space for more information on the Apply stage

• Compare and contrast and come up with a group response or select a ‘favourite’

• Group reconvenes and 3-4 groups share their outputs

• Educator leads critical analysis and exploration of outputs using elaborative questioning

Break (5 mins)

Part 3: Spaced Practice for Mastery (small group breakout groups, 35 mins)

• Groups of 5-6 tackle an Apply activity

• After 20 mins, they reconvene and 3-4 groups share their output

• Educator leads critical analysis and exploration of outputs using elaborative questioning

Part 4: Round-Up (10 mins)

• Educator rounds-up the session and week, celebrating great work (e.g. screen-share ‘star performers’’ entries on the Community)

• Educator also does a ‘five-minute assessment reflection’ during which they share summative assessment info and ask students - what have you learned to help you prepare for your assessment?

• Educator reminds learners about the office hour - final call for Q&As on the Community

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