Hybrid Update #5: Start of Teaching

This is the final update before the start of teaching on Monday and I want to focus on three important areas: re-visit the key facts about Hybrid Teaching, share the most up-to-date guidance on using Capture & Stream, and finally, talk you through the support framework that will be in place to support you teaching from next week. As usual, I hope this post finds you well and please reach out if you have any questions about the information below.

Key Facts about Hybrid Teaching (re-visited)

Apologies if you know all this, but there has been a lot of information flying around in a short space of time, so want to be sure everyone is on the same page.

Hybrid Teaching Project

  • The Hybrid Teaching Project has been tasked with rapidly developing the university’s flexible teaching capability, giving us the ability to offer teachers and students a variety of engagement options for different circumstances.
  • Specifically for 21/22, the project is focused on providing an ability for teaching sessions to be run with both in-person and online students joining simultaneously, with a reasonable equality of interaction and engagement options.
  • The project will morph into a new ‘Flexible Teaching Service’ tasked with continuing to develop our flexible teaching capabilities and capitalise on the hard learned lessons of the pandemic. This service will sit along side existing digital services for education.

Hybrid Teaching Rooms

  • Fifty teaching rooms have been upgraded to the intermediary Capture & Stream, ready for the start of teaching on Monday.
  • These fifty rooms will be further upgraded to the much more capable Dual Mode standard over the coming semester (upgraded without interfering with day-to-day teaching).
  • You can find out which centrally managed rooms are on the list of fifty here.

Hybrid Teaching Modes

  • ‘Capture & Stream’ and ‘Dual Mode’ are the two teaching modes being supported this semester.
  • Capture & Stream is an intermediary ‘hybrid-lite’ solution that offers a reasonable level of engagement for online students using a USB microphone and USB camera, connected to the lectern PC using Blackboard Collaborate. Capture & Stream has been installed in all 50 rooms for the start of teaching.
  • Dual Mode is a significant leap forward in capability, with specialist equipment and end-to-end service design. This mode will become available in the fifty rooms across the semester. More information on this mode is coming soon.

Non-Hybrid Rooms (out of scope)

  • Outside of the fifty hybrid rooms, the teaching facilities remain the same as they were before the lockdown began.
  • By default, these regular teaching rooms will not be able to support recording, stream or any other form of hybrid teaching.
  • Timetabling has accommodated all requests for hybrid teaching facilities received through the normal process. However, we are aware that things are never simple and so we have distributed mobile kits to schools.
  • Mobile Capture & Stream kits have been issued to schools to allow a level of flexibility. Staff can borrow these kits to be used in regular teaching spaces, offices or other facilities following the same Capture & Stream instructions (see below). Ask your school digital champions or school office for details about these kits.

Capture & Stream Guides

Hot off the press – you can now access out Capture & Stream guides in two flavours: quick and definitive. Please share these with any colleagues who might not have seen this post.

Quick Guide

This quick guide is being posted to each of the 50 hybrid rooms but you can save and/or print your own copy:

Definitive Guide

If you want more detail then you can read through Capture & Stream: The definitive guide on our new digital campus resource pages.

Help for You

Getting help when you need will be key to providing our student a good experience in the coming weeks. That’s why the Hybrid team, End User Services (UoDIT) and CTIL have developed a support framework to ensure you can access this help when you need.

  • All hybrid rooms will have a troubleshooting guide on the wall, talking you through what to do if something goes wrong (see below). The first thing it has is some basic self-help tips for resolving common issues.
  • If you are unable to fix a problem yourself, you will be able to dial *1 on the room phone. This will get you through to EuS, who will then be able to talk you through the problem and discuss the best route to resolution.
  • CTIL is plugged into the support system so EuS will be able to refer any specialist software issues to them, e.g. use of Collaborate.
  • EuS already have a limited number of staff allocated for in-room support who will be available depending on demand. Additionally, we employing 2.0 FTE of support ‘runners’ who are trained up and will be on-call to go to rooms as required. EuS operators are able to contact these resources and direct them to you should it be required.
  • These in-room resources will inevitably be limited by demand and location so please be patient with us if we’re unable to get to you. We anticipate most issues will be resolvable remotely.
  • With the best will in the world, some issue will not be possible to solve within a reasonable space of time. It is the responsibility of the lecturer to decide, based on advice from the support staff, when the time spend trying to resolve an issue is untenable.
  • It is also the lecturer’s responsibility to decide what course of action is appropriate e.g. reschedule the session, move to online only etc. Obviously such a situation where this becomes necessary is difficult to pre-judge, but we strongly suggest you think about how you would handle a situation, for example, where the only participants are completely unable to join the session and no technical resolution can be achieved in good time.

Troubleshooting Guide

These guides are posted in all 50 teaching rooms but can be saved/printed out for your own use:

Good luck

In an ideal world we would have had 12 months to prepare for this, but we have all achieved a lot in the time we have had, whether it’s been absorbing the information and adapting your teaching plans, or getting the rooms allocated and timetabled at an incredibly challenging time. I don’t expect it will all go perfectly, but I do expect that we will be able to deliver an excellent experience to our students, whether on campus or on the other side of the world. We will continue to learn and develop this service with your help in the coming year.

I wish you all the best of luck in this new academic year and will simply finish by saying: I hope to see you on campus soon 😃

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