FAQs for Mixed Mode Teaching

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    General Questions  |  Pedagogy  |  Teaching Support (TAs)  |  Technical Support
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General Questions
Q1. What is the academic arrangement of the coming semester?
A1. Refer to the academic arrangement under "Teaching and Learning" in https://covid19info.ust.hk/current-arrangements. The arrangement may change from time to time.
Q2. Do we have to wear masks when teaching?

A2. Yes, currently this is a requirement for instructors to wear a mask when teaching. Here are some tips when giving a long lecture wearing masks:

  1. Wear masks that hold the shape better
  2. May also consider wearing reusable cloth masks
  3. Prepare a few spare masks for long lectures, change to a clean mask when necessary
  4. Take more short breaks during the long lecture
  5. Make good use of the microphone to speak with less effort
Q3. How do I know how many students will show up in the coming class session?
A3. The number may vary session by session. You may consider surveying students week-by-week using Canvas Quiz to obtain students' intention for the coming class.
Q4. Who decides whether the course should adopt Mixed Mode or Mixed Mode Lite?
A4. The course instructor can decide on which mixed mode teaching approach to adopt. The course instructor may also adopt Mixed Mode and Mixed Mode Lite in the course interchangeably throughout the semester. Having said that, we recommend you communicate your plan with your students in advance so as to better manage their expectation.
Pedagogy Related
Q1. How do I get started with mixed mode teaching?
A1: You can refer to our resources page on http://cei.hkust.edu.hk/getting-started-mixed-mode
Q2. Can F2F students and online students be in the same discussion group?
A2: We recommend grouping F2F students with F2F students and online students with online students. If grouping students from both sides is unavoidable, F2F students should discuss with online students in Zoom's breakout room with their headsets on. They should also mute the microphone when they are in the main room, otherwise there will be serious audio feedback and echo during class. Please see next question, Q3.
Q3. Why can't F2F students join Zoom in the classroom? What is the downside?
A3. There will be serious audio feedback and echo when F2F students join Zoom with their microphones unmuted and/or not using headsets. It happens in most classrooms, and such disturbance will also affect online students.

As F2F students cannot speak up flexibly through their microphones due to the audio feedback, interactive/breakout activities cannot be conducted in Zoom easily. To avoid this kind of technical hiccup, we do not suggest having F2F students joining Zoom in the classroom if you plan to have interactive activities in the class.

Alternatively, the issue can be resolved by asking ALL F2F students to join Zoom with headsets and mute their microphones throughout. When F2F students would like to speak up, instructors can either circulate Mic4Me or activate the ceiling mic, so that online students can also hear clearly.

More info on Audio Feedback: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/202050538-Audio-Echo-In-A-Meeting
Q4. Can my students work in the same group throughout the semester?
A4. As students will turn up F2F or in Zoom week by week, it is hard for you to pre-assign students into groups. The collaboration is also challenging for student groups when mixing some members in the classroom and some online. Therefore, random grouping is a more flexible approach in Mixed Mode teaching.

If pre-assigning students into groups is unavoidable, we suggest instructors either schedule some sessions for student groups to work online or ask student groups to sign up every week with the whole group committed to either join F2F or online.
Q5. How do both online and F2F students do polling activities?
A5: For Mixed Mode teaching, we recommend using iPRS instead of Polling in Zoom.

Refer to https://itsc.hkust.edu.hk/services/academic-teaching-support/teaching-tools/prs/iprs for details.
Q6. How do I answer questions from online students during lecture in Mixed Mode teaching?
A6. In Mixed Mode teaching, apart from leaving messages in Chat, online students can speak up in Zoom. Questions will be piped through the classroom speakers and to be handled by the instructor in real time.

If you adopt Mixed Mode Lite, chat questions can be handled by the TA in real time, and you can also back up the chat messages and address the questions afterwards.
Q7. Do I need TA support if my class is mostly just lecturing with limited interactivity?
A7. In this case, you may consider taking the Mixed Mode Lite approach. If you have TA support, he/she can support the Chat inquiries real time in Zoom. In most lecture scenarios, it may be enough for the instructor to break between topics and check the Chat for any inquiries.
Teaching Support (TAs)
Q1. How do I ensure my TAs are trained to support my class?
A1. You should communicate with your TA about your teaching plan each week. Then, convey to your TAs your expectation clearly, so that they know how to best support you. Conducting dry-runs and having more frequent meetings with TAs throughout the semester would definitely help your TAs understand your needs.

To understand more about the role of instructor and TA in Mixed Mode, refer to the sample teaching plan.
Q2. How can my TA interact with online students - chat or audio?
A2. If the TA is going to stay with you in the same room, the TA should not join Zoom with audio to avoid audio feedback and echo. They should mainly use chat to address online students' inquiries.

More info on Audio Feedback: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/202050538-Audio-Echo-In-A-Meeting
Q3. Should I prepare at least one laptop for my TA to manage online students?
A3. Yes. The TA should have a laptop, especially when the class is conducted in Mixed Mode teaching. The TA will coordinate with online students and handle administrative tasks, such as answering in Chat, forming breakout groups, making announcements, etc. with the laptop.
Technical Support Related
Q1. How do I set-up the classroom for Mixed Mode Teaching?
A1. You can refer to Step 5 in our resources page http://cei.hkust.edu.hk/getting-started-mixed-mode
Q2. Can F2F students see the chat messages in Zoom during class?
A2. Yes. You can open the Chat window, so F2F students can see the chat messages in real time through the projector. However, you may want to consider if the chat message would distract F2F students from their learning before making it available through the projector.
Q3. Can I use my own laptop instead of using the classroom pc for mixed mode teaching?

A3. You are still required to start the Zoom Meeting by the classroom PC, as it is connected with the equipment for Mixed Mode teaching, such as

  1. Mic4Me system for capturing the instructor's audio into Zoom,
  2. Ceiling mic for capturing F2F students' audio into Zoom,
  3. Visualizer for projecting written work or simple demonstration through Zoom, and
  4. RVC feed for showing the wide classroom environment to Zoom

To teach with your laptop, start the Zoom Meeting with the classroom PC first and join the Zoom Meeting with your laptop as co-host.

Although you can sign into both your laptop and the classroom PC with your ITSC account concurrently, you are recommended to apply for a project account for your laptop to ensure all Zoom features are fully functional. You can apply for the ITSC project account here, it will be available to you one day after the application.

The classroom PC should show your laptop screen through the Zoom window, F2F students can then view it through the projectors. Meanwhile, teach with the Mic4Me/Ceiling mic, which are connected to the classroom PC.

To avoid terrible audio feedback, you should mute both the speaker and the microphone of your laptop while teaching.

You are recommended to perform a dry run in the classroom, especially to test the capability of piping the audio/video input to online students through Zoom.

Q4. What are whiteboard options for mixed mode teaching with a lot of writing/drawing?
A4. You may consider projecting your hand-written workings through the visualizer or you can request for RVC feed from MTPC to capture the classroom whiteboard. MTPC's operator controls the RVC camera to follow the instructor and writing on the whiteboard.

Please see the next question, Q5 if you want to use an iPad.
Q5. How do I annotate teaching materials using iPad when conducting Mixed Mode teaching?

A5. To annotate teaching materials with the iPad, start the Zoom Meeting with the classroom PC first and join the Zoom Meeting with the iPad as co-host.

Although you can sign into both the iPad and the classroom PC with your ITSC account concurrently, you are recommended to apply for a project account for the iPad to ensure all Zoom features are fully functional. You can apply for the ITSC project account here, it will be available to you one day after the application.

Here are the steps to set up the iPad for the Zoom Meeting:

  • Start the Zoom Meeting using the classroom PC
  • Open the Zoom app in your iPad, join the meeting with the project account
  • Do not join audio in your iPad to avoid terrible feedback noise

In Zoom, select "No Audio" when prompting to join audio

The "Join Audio" icon should appear, indicating the iPad does not join audio

If the iPad joined the audio, tap "More", and select "Disconnect Audio"

  • In the classroom PC, assign the iPad as the co-host
  • In the iPad, tap 'Share content', 'Screen' and select 'Start broadcast'

  • Switch to the app with your teaching materials in the iPad

The classroom PC should show the iPad screen through the Zoom window, F2F students can then view it through the projectors. Meanwhile, teach with the Mic4Me/Ceiling mic, which are connected to the classroom PC.

In case of switching the video (i.e. your talking head), you can switch between the webcam of the classroom PC and the iPad front camera using the "Spotlight video" feature in Zoom.

We recommend using iPad Pro with Apple Pen to get the accuracy and smoothness for teaching, especially for mathematics, chemical formulae, etc.

Q6. How would not using a microphone or Mic4Me affect online students?
A6. If you stand close enough to the webcam, you can still select the webcam as the alternative to capture your audio input. However, using Mic4Me would bring a more consistent audio quality to online students in case you need to walk away from the webcam during class.
Q7. How can online students hear F2F students during class?
A7: Most of the classrooms are equipped with ceiling mic, you can capture F2F students' audio by turning on the ceiling mic through the control panel in the classroom.

For classrooms without ceiling mic, you may capture F2F students' audio through an extra Mic4Me device. As the Mic4Me supply is very limited, we recommend instructors only borrow extra Mic4Me for conducting interactive activities, such as in-class discussion and student presentations.

For other classrooms with wired mic, typically they are small classrooms, online students can hear F2F students through the webcam on the classroom PC. We recommend using the wired mic to help amplify the audio level through the speaker for the webcam to capture.
Q8. Can RVC capture two projector screens throughout my lecture? (PowerPoint and iPad annotation)
A8. Not all projected screens can be captured clearly through RVC at the same time. Please specify your requirements when you requesting for RVC feed service from MTPC. To effectively project your writing to online and F2F students, we recommend using the visualizer in the classroom.
Q9. Webcam vs RVC feed, can online students choose which video source to watch in Zoom?

A9. Online students cannot choose the video source. In addition to the instructor's share screen, there are two Zoom video display options the instructor can choose to show online students:

  • Choose Webcam to show talking head when teaching in front of the podium
  • Choose RVC Feed to show the wide classroom environment when instructor is walking around or using the whiteboard. Note: Please book RVC Feed through MTPC
Q10. How do I enlarge the text size of the chat messages in Zoom?

A10. You can enlarge the text under the Zoom app > Settings > Accessibility > Chat Display Size

updated on 24-08-2021 16:36