Classroom Engagement in Face-to-Face Environments: Cases and Tools

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Creating instructor presence in a room with 300+ students can be a challenge. However, actively engaging students in large lectures halls is possible and now innovations in technology have made it easier than before. This session will explore some technologies that enable instructors to be mobile in the classroom.


Rashad Muhammad has over 17 years of developing and delivering high quality learning and technical solutions. He received his Bachelors in Telecommunication and Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. He has been involved in several large implementation projects, facilitated workshops with community organizations, academic institutions, and was responsible for software training coordination on Michigan State University’s largest training implementation to date. As Instructional Designer with MSU’s Academic Technologies department, he spends his time researching, developing and delivering innovative technical solutions to enhance faculty courses and research projects.

Additional Authors

I received a B.S. (2001) and M.A. (2003) in Biology at Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. (2014) in Physiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine. I have been an educator since 2004, teaching large-enrollment courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Physiology, Histology and General Biology. I am currently an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University teaching large-enrollment courses in Introductory Physiology and General Biology.

Extended Abstract

According to Fred Jones, writer of Tools for Teaching, Discipline, Instruction, Motivation, “the most basic technique for managing the behavior of a group is called "working the crowd." Natural teachers instinctively work the crowd. They use proximity as an instrument of management. They know that either you work the crowd, or the crowd works you (p. 52).”

This presentation will share best practices, specifications, and pricing information for four different approaches that have been used at Michigan State University to enable instructor mobility in the classroom. These approaches vary in price range, flexibility, latency, and range. The discussion will address: advantages and disadvantages of these approaches, requirements for implementation, and questions surrounding their usage in the classroom. Additionally, the presentation will model the use these technologies in the classroom and offer the opportunity to share your own solutions and ask questions about our use cases. Participants will also receive links to videos, documentation

The concept of instructor proximity in the classroom is not a new concept. Teachers are taught how to use their voice, tone, vocal inflection, position in the classroom, and body language to communicate their investment in the learning process, thus inviting students to be more engaged in the learning process However, training on how to use technologies that can enhance their classroom communications is less common. In higher learning, instructors do not always have access to the same type of training before they have to engage with students in classroom. Furthermore, certain classroom spaces present certain challenges to engaging with students directly. Come discuss not only the solutions we’ve found, but also share what has worked in your own teaching and design.