Creating Dynamic Learning with Zoom
Concurrent Session 2
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.
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.