Hybrid and Remote Learning Support

 

Hybrid Courses

MSU’s Academic Programs Catalog notes that a hybrid course must provide at least 50% of its instruction online. The technology installed in these classrooms should be applied to meet your intended learning outcomes and to encourage active learning. A hybrid course ideally combines the socializing opportunities of the classroom with the digital possibilities of the online environment, to create a symbiotic set of active learning activities.

The percentage of in-person instruction in a hybrid course should be driven by learning outcomes and how instructors can best meet them. For more detailed information, please review the course modalities document.

 

What is a university hybrid technology classroom and where are they across campus?

University hybrid technology classrooms are classrooms that are optimized with technology that assists in courses that have both online and in-person parts (hybrid courses). These classrooms are equipped with integrated, HD cameras that can pan, tilt, and zoom to meet a variety of needs. They also have a microphone and element integrated into the tech cart and room audio system. These updated classrooms are located throughout campus in the below list. Instructors wishing to utilize the hybrid technology carts in university classrooms for remote teaching may request a room and the recurring times through the Office of the Registrar. Requests should be submitted as an “event” request and not as a class scheduling. Should you need assistance, please contact Karen Tindall at: tindall@msu.edu.

 

Hybrid Resources

The ASPIRE (Asynchronous Program for Instructional Readiness) workshop

This workshop was created to help you better prepare to teach online. ASPIRE is entirely self-paced and will guide you through the process to develop an online version of your course. Since there is no one way to develop an online course or teach online, our goal is to help you make informed choices based on your own particular needs and contexts. Please enroll in ASPIRE if you haven’t done so.

The 2021 Blended Teaching Workshop

The Blended Teaching Workshop was created to help you prepare to teach a blended or hybrid course. It is entirely asynchronous and self-paced and is focused on how you can make the most of in-person contact time and an online environment. We will help you focus your blended or hybrid course on the student experience and your learning objectives in order to best help your students reach their goals. Our goal for you is to help you make informed choices based on your context. Self-enrollment for 2021 Blended Teaching Workshop

Additional Information

Here is a detailed hybrid tech cart overview: Using University Hybrid Technology Classrooms at MSU.

Here you will find additional resources, including video and documentation, for using the hybrid tech carts.

We have also created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document about the university hybrid technology classrooms, and will be frequently updated based on evolving questions and feedback.

If you would like a one-on-one consultation on course design or academic technologies, please submit a service request to the MSU Help Desk and ask for the Instructional Technology & Development team

 

What to know about accessibility

MSU is committed to providing an inclusive learning environment that promotes success for all students. New services around closed captioning and course accessibility are being rolled out this fall to support teaching and learning efforts. Captioning instructional video is a necessity and has shown to be a tool of student success. MSU IT has hired student employees to help provide accurate closed captioning on instructional media that is 20 minutes or less. For more information about the student CrowdSourcing Closed Captioning program visit Webaccess.

A tool in D2L called Spartan Ally, supports faculty in creating more accessible classroom experiences, which advances MSU’s inclusive learning initiatives, promotes the campus digital accessibility strategy, and improves access to course materials delivered through our D2L BrightSpace learning management system. Spartan Ally is automatically activated for faculty and instructors in each of their D2L courses. We encourage you to investigate and identify steps for continuing to improve the accessibility of your D2L courses. A great place to start is with your course syllabi, or other frequently used course materials. A guiding principle for you to consider is “Progress, not perfection” as you get started.

 

Zoom Best Practices

Due to security and privacy concerns using Zoom to host synchronous classes, please refer to this guide for best practices. This will ensure that you are doing everything you can to create a safe and effective space for you and your students. This list is intended to strike a balance between privacy, security, and classroom management. When hosting a virtual meeting, it is incumbent upon the organizer to ensure a safe and productive place for those participating.

 

Moderating the Meeting

  1. Passwords are on by default for all MSU Zoom meetings.
    • Do not post these passwords on public websites or social media. Also note, that if you share your meeting room link with the password embedded on public websites or social media, unwanted individuals could still get in. In this case, enabling the waiting room serves as a second layer of security in that you (or a moderator) can admit only those you wish to allow to participate.
    • Check your participant list during the meeting.
  2. When necessary, talk about confidential data, but do not directly share it. Your connection is only encrypted between you and the service provider.
  3. If security concerns exist, consider:
  4. Enable Virtual Backgrounds
  5. The moderator’s role is to help maintain control of the virtual room by interjecting as needed.
  6. Be patient with individuals serving this role as they may need to adjust talking points during pauses and transitions, guide discussions, remind speakers to repeat questions from attendees before answering them, and/or call on people who are quiet throughout the meeting to be sure everyone has an opportunity to voice their thoughts.
  7. Consider installing the Zoom plugin for Microsoft Outlook. This allows for a more convenient way to schedule Zoom meetings via your email.
  8. Try to keep your meetings under one hour if possible. If your meeting is going to be longer than an hour, please consider taking a short break so that everyone can stretch or take a moment to focus back in on the call.
  9. Consider captioning options, if available. If you have difficulty hearing or members of your group do, consider incorporating closed captioning to enhance the experience and make it easier to keep up with the conversation. In some applications, captioning can also provide a record of the meeting, so it’s easier to pay attention without taking as many notes.
  10. To report poor behavior or abuse during an online meeting, send concerns to the MSU IT Service Desk at ithelp@msu.edu.

 

Preparing for the Meeting

  1. Make sure you have a strong Internet connection.
  2. Consider the use of a headset for better audio quality.
  3. Make sure you have proper lighting.
  4. Position yourself in the center of the webcam.
  5. Keep your background professional and distraction-free.
  6. Dress appropriately for your meetings. While we may be working in an online environment, it is still important to wear appropriate attire when in a meeting.
  7. Come prepared. A Zoom meeting is like any other meeting. It is still important to prepare as you would in-person.

 

During the Meeting

  1. Mute your mic as soon as you join a call and whenever you are not speaking.
  2. If your audio is spotty, consider turning your video off if it is enabled.
  3. Use your spacebar to unmute your microphone when you want to talk in Zoom.
    • Click your profile, then click settings
    • Click the audio tab
    • Check the option “Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute yourself.”
  4. Maintain eye contact with the webcam.
  5. Turn your video off if you are doing something that may distract other people on your call.
  6. Keep movement to a minimum.
  7. Avoid eating.
  8. Be courteous and considerate of those attending.
  9. Act and talk as you would at work.
  10. Try not to multi-task.
  11. Take advantage of the chat feature to ask a question when someone else is speaking.
  12. Raise your hand in the camera, use “raise hand” features or send a message using the chat or other messaging tool (Teams, Zoom, etc.) to indicate you would like to speak.

 

Additional Resources from Zoom

These Zoom links have been curated in the order of most important. Below we provide a walkthrough.

Enable Waiting Rooms

Require Meeting Passwords

Keep Your Personal Meeting ID Private

Allow Authenticated Participants Only

Mute Participants Upon Entry Default

Mute Participants During Meeting

Disable Participant Screen Sharing

Disable Participant-to-Participant Chat (Or Disable the Chat Altogether)

Disable File Transfer

Hide Telephone Numbers

Enable Virtual Backgrounds

Policy on Recording Classes

 

Video Conference Policies

It is challenging for remote and online learners to stay connected, leading to social isolation and increased stress in some instances. For reasons of equity and respect for privacy, students will not generally be required to turn on their webcams during online classes.

There are sound pedagogical reasons to ask students to turn on cameras for specific purposes. Faculty should consider whether asking students to turn on their webcam is necessary to accomplish a learning objective and explain to students why they would like for them to leave on their video feed, but must allow the student to make the final decision to do so based on their circumstances without penalties of any kind.

In short, the default would be for students’ webcams to be allowed to be off, with certain learning goals and instructional practices making it justifiable for the professor to ask students to turn on their webcams if they are willing and able after providing an explanation to the students of why. The only exception to this would be during assessment activities that require the use of a webcam.

 

Background

The use of webcams in live online meetings can add to the educational experience in many ways. Some of these include:

  • Students working in groups
  • Building community
  • Showing physical evidence or materials
  • Proof of attendance
  • Classes that focus on communication skills, performance, or physical movement

Students may wish to not use or be unable to use their video feeds because:

  • Their internet speed cannot support the use of streaming video. Bandwidth problems are real for many students regardless of their location
  • They may have privacy concerns (e.g. roommates, children, or other family members in the background)
  • Students may wish to keep their webcams off because leaving them on may reveal their exact geographical location or other unique identifying information to the rest of the class
  • They may have a visually busy environment or otherwise distracting background that could detract from others’ ability to attend to class content
  • They may have personal or environmental concerns that make sharing their likeness or their personal spaces problematic. Not all computers can replace backgrounds with virtual backdrops that would alleviate these concerns
  • They may have a disability where the video feed will decrease their success in the course
  • Students may not have a webcam on their computer. This item has not been a component of the university required laptop/desktop description.

Faculty members should be aware of the privacy, hardware, software, disability, and equity concerns and require the use of webcams or video feeds only when the educational value of requiring video supersedes those concerns. In such instances, there may still be students whose specific disabilities preclude the use of webcams. The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities will work to assist students who have gone through the proper accommodation request process and for whom the use of webcams is not possible.

 

Decisions to make about webcams

Instructional
Assessment

 

Relevant MSU Documents and Policies

Restrictions on instructors requiring students to turn on their webcams is supported by MSU’s Student Rights and Responsibilities, Article 2.II.B 8 (The student has a right to protection against improper disclosure of his/her education records and personal information such as values, beliefs, organizational affiliations, and health) and Article 2.III.B 10 (The student and the faculty share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships based on mutual trust and civility).

Related to requiring the use of webcams is the proper use of video recordings of the synchronous sessions and how to deal with these files in light of the Family Educational Records Protections Act (FERPA). MSU’s Office of General Council recently put together this guide.

 

The MSU Policy Library

The MSU Policy Library is the official location for policies and regulations approved by the university’s Board of Trustees, the President, and Executive Officers. This resource provides convenient access to university-wide policies, by-laws, and ordinances as well as academic and administrative procedures, practices, handbooks, and guidelines that govern the university’s many programs and services. It is the responsibility of all individuals affiliated with the university to identify and familiarize themselves with all applicable university policies.