Creating Dynamic Learning with Zoom

Concurrent Session 2
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Brief Abstract

Recently, faculty pivoted quickly to remote learning. This required switching from teaching in physical classrooms to virtual spaces, using web-conferencing technology. Success in doing so depends on an understanding of the pedagogical underpinnings needed to engage learners in this setting. This session provides tips for creating a community of learners.


Dr. Serembus is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Graduate Nursing Program at Drexel University. During her time at Drexel, she was also faculty for the Undergraduate and Doctoral Programs as well as past Director of the MSN Program. Dr. Serembus has presented at a number of regional, national and international conferences. The focus of her publications and research is on online education. She holds an EdD in Higher Education and Leadership from Widener University in Pennsylvania, an MSN in Critical Care Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSN in nursing from La Salle University.
Dr. Dana Kemery is Director of Innovative Course Design and Technological Infusion, an Associate Clinical Professor at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions and University Online Fellow. She is certified in Adult and Pediatric Emergency Nursing and is a certified Nurse Educator. Dr. Kemery has over 25 years of clinical practice spanning psychiatric, maternal/ child, medical surgical, homecare, and emergency/ trauma nursing. She is a member of the ENA, Sigma Theta Tau International, and Alpha Epsilon Lambda. Dr. Kemery’s research interests include review and remediation strategies, online engagement, innovative faculty development environments, and understanding the struggling student perspective.

Extended Abstract

In the midst of a pandemic, faculty pivoted quickly to remote learning. This required switching from teaching in physical classrooms to virtual spaces, using web-conferencing technology such as Zoom. Success in doing so depends on an understanding of the pedagogical underpinnings needed to engage learners in this setting. Zoom is a cloud-based technology that allows the set up of virtual video and audio conferencing along with live chats, screen-sharing, and other collaborative capabilities. It is these collaborative tools that can help to make sessions engaging and robust. Web conferencing tools allow for real-time communication between faculty and students and student to student similar to those found in classroom settings. It also permits students to engage in learning with their peers and faculty simultaneously. Likewise, use of this technology builds a community of learners who construct knowledge collaboratively with one another and faculty. The Community of Inquiry Framework can be used to guide faculty in selecting teaching strategies. Using an icebreaker at the beginning of the first class is one way of fostering social presence.Icebreakers are interactive activities that help students and faculty to get acquainted. These activities can also serve to lay the groundwork for interactivity within the class.

While many faculty are familiar with the ability to share their computer screen as a means of using  presentation software, they may not be familiar with tips for using annotation tools and white boards. Additionally, faculty can use the polling capability within Zoom. This tool can be used for formative assessments helping students and faculty to recognize their level of comprehension and potential need for further instruction. Breaking the routine and regularity of remote classes is a vital way of keeping students engaged with the course. This can be accomplished by inviting a guest speaker. Students usually find listening to experts interesting as they are able to gain a different perspective on a subject. Guest speakers can impart the experience of someone who is an expert in their field while putting a personal face on potentially difficult concepts. Adding a guest can infuse excitement into a class and attract learners who may not otherwise be interested in the topic. Additionally, brief videos can be shown to highlight a topic of interest or demonstrate a skill. Videos of two to three minutes are an appropriate duration for the online setting. Faculty can ask students to  respond to questions regarding the video or create an exercise around it. Sources for videos can be found in YouTube, Vimeo, and Khan Academy.

Live discussions can be held with students in Zoom if the class size is small. And, for larger classes, consider using the breakout rooms in Zoom. Participants can be pre-assigned to groups prior to or during the session. Zoom can do this automatically or faculty can set groups manually. Group numbers are set by Zoom and time limits using a countdown timer can be set. Once the timer ends a breakout group, they are returned to the main area.  Students can not only have discussions in these rooms but they can complete case studies and other exercises and have group leaders share on their return to the main class session. Faculty are able to move to and from each group area to observe or provide feedback as needed. There are several activities that students can complete in groups. Google docs and Google slides can be developed while in groups and saved for later display. Concept maps can be created  using online tools such as Popplet, Coggle, and LucidChart. Following the class session, as students exit the Zoom room have them type their muddiest point into the chat box so that faculty can follow up during the next class meeting. The chat box of a Zoom session can be saved so that faculty have this for later review. During this presentation, faculty will enage in actively learning to use many of these tools yet most importatantly, they will understand how to use them in the furtherance of cognitive, teaching and social presence.