Guide to hybrid teaching and learning: tools, resources and support

Colleagues can now access a new guide to support taught student education this academic session.

A new guide to hybrid teaching and learning explains all the tools, resources and support available to staff and students

Lecture capture July 2019

As the start of teaching approaches, we want to ensure staff and students have everything they need to make a successful transition to hybrid teaching and learning.

The guide combines communications about the University’s principles on student education delivery, approved tools and the support available to direct you to the information and assistance you need.

What tools should we be using as virtual classrooms?

As stated in the Student Education Delivery Principles, Minerva remains the University’s virtual learning environment and the ‘way in’ to everything related to student education.

We will be providing three virtual classrooms to support taught student education this academic session. 

  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – This is the University’s preferred virtual classroom, as it’s available directly within Minerva and provides good functionality to support a range of interactive, synchronous teaching activities. The functionality will be continually enhanced throughout the year. There are known intermittent issues with connectivity for students in China, which may or may not affect the student experience. Therefore, where there are large cohorts of students residing in China on the module, the optins below may be preferable. 
  • Microsoft Class Teams – This is a new functionality, which will hopefully be ready for the start of term. Teaching staff will have the option to provide access to a ‘Class Team’, which has staff/student enrolments that automatically, and continually, mirror the Minerva enrolments. Teaching staff will need to decide whether to activate the Class Team for their module. If the module’s Class Team is activated, Microsoft Teams meetings can be used as a virtual classroom via the Class Team. MS Teams meetings have good functionality to support a range of interactive, synchronous teaching activities, and new features are being added all of the time (e.g. breakout rooms). Microsoft Teams is accessible, stable and robust in China. A policy for use of Class Teams has been agreed – this will apply when Class Teams is used for learning and teaching.
  • Zoom – We are currently implementing an enterprise licence for Zoom for one year only, which will be ready for the start of the new term. This decision has been made acknowledging the issues with Collaborate Ultra in China and the challenges that may exist with moving to MS Class Teams rapidly. Therefore, where staff feel that Zoom can provide a high-quality student experience (particularly for cohorts primarily in China), Zoom can be used. The solution will be integrated via single sign-on (log-in authentication), which will improve the security of Zoom sessions. Zoom has good functionality for a range of interactive, synchronous teaching activities. Note that use of Zoom is for one year only, and will not be permitted after August 2021, whereby use of Collaborate Ultra and MS Teams will be the only two permitted virtual classrooms for use in student education. Instructions for accessing the Enterprise version of Zoom will be issued before the start of term. Please do not contact the IT Service Desk to request this in the meantime. 

See the guidance on the Digital Practice website for further information about virtual classrooms.

In light of the options available to colleagues, it’s imperative that teaching staff (module leaders and individual teachers on modules) are clear with students about which tool will be used, and that clear instructions/links/guidance are provided to students, to ensure they can access and use the chosen virtual classroom easily. Programme leaders should ensure there’s consistency in the student experience in terms of which virtual classrooms are used across modules.  

Engagement monitoring for online activities to identify students at risk due to no or low participation will utilise reports derived from Minerva data. Reporting and follow-up action will be supported by the Student Education Service (SES), and further information will follow shortly. This will be supplemented with guidance on monitoring face-to-face activities. 

Accessing teaching software ‘on demand’

Staff and students have been using the Virtual Windows Desktop (VWD) during the summer to access their M: and N: drives together with web services that are normally accessible on campus.

Later this month, the new academic VWD will be launched. This will give students and teaching staff access to a wide range of teaching software through AppsAnywhere, an app store that streams applications on-demand.

The available software has been prioritised based on information from the Directors of Student Education, and more titles will be added during the coming weeks.

What support is available to staff?

Staff can access a range of advice, support and resources to support them in the delivery of hybrid learning.

Remote support for delivery in virtual classrooms

If you think you need more support, particularly with the transition to the new way of working, the Digital Education Service is offering remote support (buddy support) for online teaching. You can now request an experienced member of staff/student (to support as a buddy) to connect remotely and ensure the smooth running of your sessions in the first semester. Complete the enquiry form to request this support.

Peer-to-peer support and sharing best practice

The TIPS (Teaching, Innovation and Practice in Student Education) Community is a growing group of colleagues from across the University working as a community of practice to support each other and share information, tips, tricks and learning about student education. Our current focus is on challenges and opportunities of teaching this academic year, in particular getting to grips with the Student Centred Active Learning Approach (SCALA). You can join the TIPS community through Teams. 

What support is available to students?

If students are unsure how to get started or need additional support to improve their skills in teaching and learning tools, an easy one-page guide has been created. Feel free to share this with your students. Further guidance for students will be made available via the For Students website by Friday 25 September.

Read the IT induction guidance for information on all learning and teaching software and tools. See the SCALA pages on the Digital Practice website for guidance on content delivery.

Posted in: