This section provides an overview on delivering and managing your class meetings using pedagogical best practices with technologies supported by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Learning Innovation.

Holding live class meetings best approximates a classroom setting, since students can ask questions and engage in discussion and group work. Students often interact with course content on their own time, so these synchronous sessions offer a sense of belonging to a community of students. Instructors can gauge students’ understanding of the materials through activities such as polling and discussions. It is often easier to give assignment instructions or expand on difficult concepts in person. 

Review What will we do in my course? to learn how to design engaging face-to-face classes.

Consider the circumstances of your course

Your course may be fully face-to-face or fully remote. Or you may have both in-person and online audiences, in which some students are in a physical classroom and the others join by web conference. This hybrid environment is more complex than either wholly online or in-person teaching and requires classroom equipment to enable instruction and interaction between the in-person and remote students. 

If students are not on campus, host synchronous class sessions through a web conferencing tool such as Zoom to replicate the face-to-face experience. To increase engagement, live sessions should include more problem-solving and discussions than lectures. 

Do not require that students participate live. Students may face challenges due to technology, connectivity, time zones and other access issues. Therefore, any live class sessions should be recorded to be viewed by students at alternate times. (If you or your students have privacy concerns, consult the Privacy page on ScholarWorks.)

Emphasize engagement. Online discussions are as important as synchronous instruction to overcome the challenges of flexible teaching. Your course site should emphasize activities that build community among the students (review How will we communicate?) and ask engaging questions.

Holding meetings using Zoom

Zoom is the recommended tool at Duke for holding live class sessions and online office hours. Zoom supports a variety of pedagogies including active learning, lectures, discussion and group work.

Set up your environment for Zoom sessions. For optimal meetings, you and your students should have a strong internet connection, a quiet space, headphones and an external microphone. Lighting should be from the front so that you are not in shadow. While having participants use their cameras may more closely replicate the face-to-face experience, research supports making cameras optional. Allowing students to turn-off their cameras is particularly important to supporting student well-being, as they may have specific concerns about being on video. However, the single most important part of a Zoom session is audio, so turn off your camera if you have low bandwidth and prioritize having a quiet location.

Learn the basics of Zoom. There are several essential steps to learn before holding a Zoom session. These include how to get a Zoom account, how to run a meeting and the three ways to access Zoom.

> Create your Duke Zoom account
> Understand the three ways to access Zoom (video)
> Learn how to use Zoom (video) 

Add Zoom to your Sakai site. Schedule class meetings from your course site so that students can easily find the meeting links. Recordings should be set to record in the cloud and will appear in Sakai automatically.

> Add Zoom to Sakai

Turn on important settings for all Zoom meetings. Recommended steps include enabling meeting transcriptions in recordings, auto-recording class sessions, turning on chat, breakout rooms, non-verbal feedback options and implementing securing measures. For more on this see, the video Settings for Zoom Meetings, Recording and Security.

> Zoom Meetings Recommended Settings for Office Hours and Classes

Take advantage of Zoom’s active learning features. Non-verbal feedback options allow students to respond with quick signals to your questions (thumbs up/down, yes/no, etc.). Use polls to gather student input for discussions and check their knowledge. Screen sharing allows instructors and students to present content from their computers. Breakout rooms allow small groups to work on problems and discuss course content. Students can be sorted into breakout rooms or they can choose their own room (available only in Zoom 5.3.0). 

> Using breakout rooms (Zoom)
> Zoom tutorial videos that cover basic and advanced functionalities
> Building Better Breakout Sessions
> All You Need to Know About Using Zoom Breakout Rooms

Set up your Zoom office hours. Use your Personal Meeting Room for office hours, meetings with advisees or impromptu help sessions. It has a permanent URL, which you can configure and does not need to be scheduled in advance. 

> Zoom personal meeting rooms (Zoom)

Learn how to use annotation and screen capture. If you wish to record short videos, please refer to the guidelines for creating effective videos.

> Create and share a screen recording in Zoom (video)
> Recording and Editing Short Videos
> Tools and options for using screen annotations and handwriting