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Teacher stories: Experiences of hybrid teaching

Documentation from Lunch 'n' Learn November 3, 2021

Published Nov 20, 2021

Hybrid teaching comes with challenges and possibilities. A panel consisting of teachers, pedagogical staff, and technicians gathered to talk about their parts of hybrid teaching and give a short introduction to different types of rooms at KTH where hybrid is possible in various formats. Here is the documentation (videos, in Swedish, and links) from the Lunch 'n' Learn webinar on experiences of hybrid teaching.

Table of contents for the video (presentation) 

Please note that the videos are in Swedish. 

Here is a list of links that serve as a table of contents for the recording. Click on the link for the part you want to watch. When you get to KTH Play, click on the play button, and the video will start in the right place. All links lead to KTH Play.

  01:09 Definition of hybrid teaching

01:47 Introduction of the WVS team

02:53 Tasks and goals for the WVS team

04:30 Conditions for hybrid in KTH premises

05:08 Classrooms

05:51 Lecture halls

07:54 Hybrid rooms

08:45 Room standards

Presentation (Hybrid teaching is defined)

During the webinar "Teacher stories: Experiences of hybrid teaching", "hybrid teaching" means teaching where students get to take part in their education through learning activities given digitally at a distance, physically and physically on campus. It can either be asynchronous at different times or synchronous at the same time. For a teacher, asynchronous hybrid teaching can mean that the teacher offers students learning activities in a course both digitally, at a distance and in the classroom.

Tech for hybrid in KTH's rooms

During the webinar, the group for web meeting, video and streaming (WVS) presented their mission and how they have made hybrid teaching in the different room types available at KTH. There are three types of rooms at KTH: classrooms, lecture halls and hybrid rooms. In the classrooms, there is a document camera. There are document cameras and a wireless microphone in the lecture halls, and in some lecture halls, there are also video conference or recording systems. In hybrid rooms, there is no need for a microphone. Instead, there is a microphone in the ceiling. All the rooms are continuously updated, and the current standard implies that everyone connects using their computer since teachers know their computers very well. The ambition is also that there shall be hybrid rooms in all buildings.

Table of contents for the video (panel discussion)

The panel

Helena Lennholm, teacher, teaches at the program "Civilingenjör och lärare" at KTH. Helena works a lot with hybrid courses with around 30 students. Helena primarily works in classrooms.

Bo Karlsson, teacher, teaches at the program "Industriell ekonomi" at KTH. Bo works with live-streamed lectures in courses with around 150 students and primarily in lecture halls.

Per Holmgren, media pedagog at KTH. Primarily works with video production at KTH.

Gottfried Gemzell, digital pedagog at KTH, experiences with hybrid since 2006. Formarly worked at Berghs, Handelshögskolan and at KTH Learning lab.

Håkan Westlund, IT- och AV-technician at KTH. Håkan works a lot with the installation of the hardware required to meet the needs of hybrid teaching.

After the introductions, a panel discussion took place with the participants.

(Moderator: Ulrika Nykvist)

Please note that the videos are in Swedish.

11:04 Start of the panel discussion

11:27 The panel's experience of hybrid teaching

16:00 Perception of hybrid teaching

17:37 Is hybrid teaching the future?

20:28 Challenges in establishing a new normal

22:30 Preparations for planning a course and its disposition

24:12 Promote the communication and presence between, and for, on-site and distance students

29:28 The students' option between on-site and distance

31:07 Learning activities

34:26 Work with group projects for a smaller class in a hybrid room, Helen's example

37:56 The teachers on guest lecturers

39:55 Gottfried on guest lecturers

40:41 The cool thing about hybrid

41:20 End with a summary on topics going forward

The panel's hybrid experience

The panel's experiences of hybrid are summarized in the following three points.

Fun and demanding with hybrid

Screenshot of the panel members during discussion in Zoom
The panel (and moderator)

The transition and change to hybrid are described by the panel as both fun and demanding. At KTH, the hybrid situation means that the teachers bring their computers. That means there is quite a bit of tech to move between the office and the classroom or lecture hall and can mean work setting up.

Despite the demanding aspects, the panel sees hybrid as the future, a future that is already here. Some courses see better student results in their distant or hybrid courses, others worse. The learning environment is highly complex, and signals on lowered results, lower motivation and drop-outs need to be taken seriously and evaluated from all aspects of the learning environment.

Let the pedagogy drive the implementation of digital enhancements

Hybrid can mean a lot of advantages and possibilities when it comes to course development, especially when pedagogical advancement drives the change and when there is time to see where the course responsible can make a digital improvement. A transition to hybrid is often a process where it is good to let it take time looking at the course and add the digital enhancements where they fit. The fast transition due to the pandemic caused a focus on the technical aspects rather than the pedagogical. The panel saw the quick and required change to hybrid teaching that KTH and other higher education institutions and schools had to do as problematic when driven by the pandemic rather than pedagogy.

Hybrid and streamed lectures as an option

For some in the panel, hybrid or streamed lectures is for the students to have an option. Bo has some courses with the concept of being given on-site, but students also can connect from a distance if they are not feeling well. The option has made it so that it is not apparent how many students will be on-site, and with smaller groups, it can sometimes be as few as two people. To Bo, with many lectures in his extensive course, it doesn't matter how few people come to the hall; It is still more fun to be with just a few on-site than alone with the computer in the office.

The new normal and the panel's tips to get there

The establishment of the new normal, with development of course disposition, has its challenges. Here are the panel's tips:

Make conscious choices to involve on-site and distance students equivalently

Per, a media pedagog, shares tips and ideas to involve students on-site and on a distance equivalently. According to him, the teacher must make the introduction of the disposition together in the group. As an example, go through the tech, the agenda for the course, and every day's agenda, together. Per also highlights the importance of publishing all the course material online to increase the equal situation between students so that the material is available wherever the students are. For synchronous hybrid teaching, it is also a good idea to think about how you are visible in the frame and make sure that a part of the body is visible to give students access to body language and non-verbal communication. That both on-site and distance students get to start and end at the same time is also essential. Students at a distance should get the opportunity to be included in the pre-talk, recess and post-discussions.

Involve the students

Helena, a teacher, gives a tip to work a lot with the students and involve them in the process since they can also support technical bits. Bring your experience and learning from total distance teaching, where activation, digital response systems, group work, and discussions are essential components. Helena uses "exit tickets" after each class to get the students involved in the course development.

Teachers Bo and Helena share two different types of group work situations, where Bo decided to have the reporting with vert many groups either on-site or fully on distance. Helena has tested to hold the group reportings with the students in a hybrid room. The reporting distance students were spotlighted in Zoom and projected on the screens in the room, and reporting on-site students were at the front of the class and screen shared using Zoom and broadcasted by the room camera.

A challenge has been to find a space to step into different breakout rooms in Zoom during group discussions when there are students in the room. At moments like that, Helena wishes she had access to a little "hub", a nook to talk in, to the students.

Guest lecturers can bring in the magic of the world from a distance

One of the strengths of hybrid is the possibility to invite guest lecturers from the entire world. Gottfried, a digital pedagog, highlights how they worked with hybrid at Handelshögskolan to give the same course to multiple classes in several countries simultaneously. When hybrid works the best, we get the intensity of the classroom with the presence and then a window to the world where there is also a lot of energy coming in, he says. A guest lecturer can then bring some of the magic outside into the classroom from a distance.

Issues to discuss further

Questions to bring to a future webinar can be to talk more about the tech and the students. How we group, inform, involve, and what benefits the students get. How we handle different student groups, what we do when things don't work, and how it looks when we step into a room before a hybrid situation.

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