The great experiment of remote teaching and learning may be starting to fade into our collective rearview mirrors, but many of the tech tools that you spent countless hours learning and deploying are still useful as we head back to in-person classes this week. For instance, many of the tools you leveraged last year to increase social interaction might come in handy as you seek to meet students whose faces will largely be covered by masks. If you are looking for a way to see your students’ entire faces as you get to know them, try out some of the tech tips below!
Set up a FlipGrid Discussion Thread
FlipGrid is a powerful online discussion tool that allows your students to hold rigorous, video-based discussions. Students can easily create short video responses to discussion prompts using their computers or mobile devices and can then respond to one another. Because FlipGrid is video-based, it can foster more natural and casual discussion than an exclusively text-based discussion forum.
This semester, consider setting up an Introductory FlipGrid activity for your class. Students can record a 2-5 minute video introduction outside of class without their masks on, allowing you to “meet” your students more fully. This also has the added benefit of allowing your students to see their classmates’ faces so that they can better connect with their peers both in and outside of the classroom. You can see an example of a FlipGrid discussion from the student’s perspective (and even test-drive the tool!) here.
Use the Moodle Forum with Video Attachments
If you are an avid user of the Moodle discussion forum, you can incorporate the native video recording feature into your existing Moodle Forums. Students simply need to click the “Record Video” button in the formatting bar of the forum’s text editor. They can directly embed videos up to about 2 minutes in length in their posts, and students can then respond to each other. Once again, you and your students will have the opportunity to see everyone’s full faces using this method.
Utilize Moodle’s Roster Report
Each student has a photo in Moodle, and you can access all of those photos in one place – the Moodle Roster Report. This report will provide you with the names and faces of your students and even has a built-in “Learning Mode” that allows you to quiz yourself on student names. Many instructors even choose to print out this list as a “cheat sheet” using “Print Mode”. For more information about accessing the Roster Report, check out Diane Creede’s Engage post.
After a year of remote and hybrid teaching and learning, we have all developed a deep appreciation of the power of social connection. This year, as we return to in-person classes, you can continue to utilize tech tools to engage with your students, even as you interact with them in masks. If you would like support in setting up one of these activities for your students, reach out to the Research Support & Curricular Technology (email@example.com) team today!