Teaching Online with Collaborate A Moderator s Guide

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1 Teaching Online with Collaborate A Moderator s Guide What is Collaborate? Collaborate is a web conferencing platform which enables its users to communicate and collaborate in a synchronous online environment. The platform s support for a range of learning and teaching methods and the potential to assign roles with differing degrees of control makes it an ideal facility for educational activities such as lectures, tutorials, workshops and conference presentations. The platform works across many devices and incorporates a range of tools and facilities, such as: audio-visual conferencing (live audio and video streams between participants) a whiteboard synchronous chat polls and quizzes computer application sharing playback of audio-visual files file transfer breakout rooms web browser sharing session recording This guide aims to provide an introduction to the Collaborate interface and a brief overview of some of the considerations you might wish to make in advance of teaching a class online. The Centre for Learning Technology advises that you book an appointment to discuss your aims and training requirements in detail prior to facilitating an online session. Planning for teaching online Although teaching online can present different issues to a more formal, face-to-face environment, it s important to remember that many facets of good practice in a traditional setting can also be applied in this context. As such, making tweaks to an existing teaching plan which exploit the tools and facilities available in the online platform will often prove successful. Although CLT are on hand to support you in your approach to teaching online, the following represent some of the things you may want to consider when planning your session(s). Technical understanding The technology involved in teaching online should always come second to your pedagogic approach, but technical confidence will help you to achieve your aims. Have you familiarised yourself with the tools available? Are you confident to use the ones you like best? Seek training and support for everyone involved in teaching or moderating the session Ensure that you have the correct additional equipment available, e.g. a headset and webcam, and that you ve tested them prior to your first session Navigate to the first time users section of the Collaborate support portal:

2 Participant engagement Maintaining participant engagement can be tricky when you can t see or hear your students, so it s important to think about how you ll ensure that they re concentrating. How will you provide opportunities for interaction within the session? Short quizzes, polls, and surveys employed throughout the session can be used to test and provide an instant overview of students opinions and understanding of content Question activities conducted via audio-visual streams or in the Chat panel can promote deeper discussion Media resources displayed in the main window can help to enrich content Group tasks facilitated using breakout rooms can elicit multiple perspectives on the material delivered. Session planning and design It s a good idea to plan the structure of your session in full, as prompting methods which work well when teaching face-to-face may cause confusion when used in an online environment. Clearly define your session s aims and learning outcomes Segregate content into carefully timed stages which incorporate the activities you ll use to promote participant engagement, e.g. pre-sessional technical support, introductory ice-breaker, mini-lecture, discussion, activity, conclusion and questions Prepare all session material, e.g. PowerPoint presentation, files to be shared, web links, etc. Identify what support will be available for participants prior to and during the session and make this available in good time. Will there be an opportunity for students to test their technical setup before the first class? What resources will be available after the session? Will the session be recorded for repeated use? Ground rules It s sensible to define and share a clear set of guidelines in terms of how you and your students should communicate with each other when using the platform. Doing so will minimise confusion and promote a more positive experience of learning and teaching online. Consider how many students you ll be teaching as this will affect the number of questions you re able to answer. Will further moderators be required? Are questions allowed during a lecture segment or should they be kept for the close of a topic or the session itself? How should students indicate that they have a question? This can be achieved using the Raise hand button, via the Chat panel, or by speaking using the audio-visual stream Will students, by default, be restricted from using the audio-visual streams, whiteboard, and so on? Will these be made available at an appropriate time?

3 The Collaborate Interface 1. Audio-visual panel 2. Participants panel 3. Chat panel 4 4. Whiteboard 5. Tools palette 6. Whiteboard button 7. Application Sharing button 8. Web Tour button 9 9. Load Content button 10. Record button 10

4 4 1. Audio-visual panel. Streaming video appears in this area, in addition to the enable Talk and Video buttons, volume controls, and audio setup wizard Participants panel. This area lists each participant in the session. Moderators are listed first and highlighted in bold text, with the remainder of student participants. 3. Chat panel. This area enables users to participate in text-based discussion. The Room tab represents the main room, while the Moderators tab is for moderator discussion. Participants can open a private chat window (visible to moderators) by double-clicking another user s name in the Participants panel Options menu(s). These menus allow users in a moderator role to control global options for a host of functions related to the menu on which they are situated, such as the number of simultaneous speakers, permissions for use of the whiteboard and visibility of event messages Tools palette. Moderators and participants can annotate whiteboard slides by way of the freehand drawing, shape, line, text and image tools in the palette. Moderators can control participants access to these tools. 6. Permissions. The Permissions icons indicate whether users are able to perform a certain function. They are, from left to right, audio, video, chat, whiteboard, application sharing, web tour. These can be controlled at a global level (above the list of names) or on a per user basis (in line with each user s name) by moderator participants Show emotion button. This button is used to deliver feedback to a session facilitator. Choices made will disappear after a short period of time. 8. Step away from the session button. This button can be clicked to indicate that a user has had to temporarily leave a session. 9. Raise hand button. A user can click this button to indicate that they have a question or require further clarification on a point made. 10. Respond to poll button. Depending on the poll type selected, users can select their response using this button.

5 Practical tips Deliver the session from a place in which you are comfortable and free from disturbances Ensure that the session is open at least 30 minutes before the intended start time and publicise the fact that it will be. This will give participants the opportunity to join the session, complete the audio setup wizard and familiarise themselves with the interface Create a user profile with a recent photograph of yourself. This will be displayed in the Audio and Video and and Participants windows Utilise an introductory slide at the start of your presentation, giving your name, the title of the session, information on how to access the audio setup wizard, etc. Make a note of any problems, difficult sections, technical issues, which may arise immediately after the session. Create a short evaluation survey and add the link to the final slide of your presentation (if using one.) For more information about Collaborate or any other matter relating to learning technology, please contact the Centre for Learning Technology at

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