Revitalizing In-Person Sessions With Online Tools and Techniques

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Teaching innovation for in-person and online delivery happens on divergent tracks. To build support for online teaching opportunities and grow as instructors, this session will offer practical ideas and tools for translating online pedagogy and techniques into stronger classroom teaching: that’s the forgotten half of innovative synergy in teaching.


Matthew Phillips teaches courses in business law and ethics across the Business School's undergraduate and graduate programs. He leverages a passion for innovative teaching and experience as a tax and estate planning lawyer to engage students with the practical intersections of law and business, but also emphasizes the underlying principles that will shape managers' interaction with law and ethical decision-making throughout their careers. Matthew serves as director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, which focuses on the connections of business and capitalism to a humane and just society.

Extended Abstract

Online teaching development and experience offers a range of opportunities to create better in-class experiences in in-person classes. We spend a lot of time and attention on translation of in-person techniques into online education, but beyond a vague notion of “flipping the classroom,” we don’t talk much about how online teaching pedagogy and techniques can strengthen the in-class experience of students. As a secondary benefit, when online experience strengthens in-person learning outcomes and satisfaction, there’s an important new opportunity to garner support for professional development, technology, and other resources that will support every kind of student interaction.

This session will suggest strategy and specific tools and techniques for five kinds of translation from the best of online education practice back into the in-person classroom, with emphasis on student learning outcomes, student experience, and practical, easy-to-implement suggestions.

  • Testing: Online testing technologies are part of almost every learning management system (LMS), but isn’t utilized in most in-person classrooms. We’ll talk about the advantages of online (out-of-class) testing and some of the unique opportunities and challenges when using this technique for an in-person course.

  • Course Organization: The popular “module” format of online course organization can offer major advantages for in-person classes, especially when teachers change the core unit of course organization from class periods to unifying ideas or themes. We’ll discuss the format and content of modules structured for in-person teaching.

  • Student engagement and communication: Targeted and individualized communication is a critical part of building engagement and connection into an online course, but it’s not as if connections between students and faculty are automatic during in-person classes. A range of tools make this easy and convey significant investment by faculty members.

  • Class Participation: Participation is typically incentivized and measured in rigid, objective ways in online courses. With the right setup, measuring class participation in-person can be similarly objective, creating a helpful set of incentives. We’ll talk about approaches and specific, low-cost tools for doing this.

  • Course Materials: Many online instructors, especially in higher level courses, move away from traditional textbook models. In some cases, this means adopting an electronic and/or open-source text. The cost and (lack of) flexibility of most textbooks pose increasing problems for in-person teaching too. We’ll talk about approaches to sharing readings with students without having to reinvent the wheel or risk IP violations.

The goal is not to make all teaching into (or even ‘similar to’) online teaching, but rather to capture some efficiencies and advantages from online teaching to make in-person teaching more focused on learning outcomes and student satisfaction.

The advantages for instructors and students should be obvious, but this is also a critical institutional strategy, because it helps to justify training and development that will enable success in online learning by creating an addition (and often more highly valued) arena for those skills to pay off.