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Running hybrid sessions: advice from academics

This autumn has seen more hybrid teaching at Bristol: sessions where different students need to attend the same session online and on campus simultaneously. These sessions can be very demanding to plan and to run. At our recent ‘Reflections on hybrid teaching workshop’, staff shared their advice on how to make them work well for all involved. Here are some of the highlights…

Encourage participation

  • Set your expectations for both groups very clearly.
  • Expect online students to need more prompting, it is easy for them to feel left out and less inclined to participate
  • “I’ve found in smaller groups – sending a private question to each student in collaborate to encourage questions worked to make students feel more comfortable/confident”
  • Have a chat wrangler if you can – someone in the session tasked with looking at the online contribution, replying, and voicing their questions within the class – “the TA is worth her weight in gold.”
  • Consider opening other channels, not just the chat. For example, one academic recommended encouraging students to email during the session.

Use tools that work for both online and in-class

  • Padlet (https://www.bristol.ac.uk/digital-education/tools/padlet/) was recommended by a number of staff as an easy way for all students to contribute see each other’s contributions. “Having seminar group specific Padlets for hybrid seminars and coordinating small group tasks via Padlet during the session has worked well to bring the face to face and online students together so it does not feel as if one side is missing out. ”
  • Have some wholly online sessions where all students have the same experience and have a chance to connect.
  • “”I’ve found Calendly (https://calendly.com/) great to mix online and face-to-face office hours / supervision appointments for students.  Students can select whether they want to see you online or in person and automatically sets up a teams meeting for online”

Finally, setting up in the room can be time-consuming – with some staff reporting they need a full 10 minutes. Allow yourself as much time as you can, and be mindful that your colleagues may struggle when sessions overrun!

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