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Where you teach from can have a fundamental impact on the experience of your remote participants. Positioning yourself so that your local class looks towards you but away from a room camera will give remote audiences the impression that they're being ignored. Stand to talk so that everyone has a visual cue as to who is speaking. Encourage students to raise hands for questions and to stand up to speak.
Remember that your remote audience is at the end of the camera, not the display they're being projected on to! Try to get into the habit of addressing the camera and make sure you have remote audiences projected on to screens either side of the camera you're using where possible.
Give all locations involved an opportunity to lead the class and have their say. This is especially important if you're leading the class from one location.
Make your VLT classes student and activity focused, keep them on task. See the section on small group teaching & learning for more ideas.
Give students a 5 or 10 minute break every hour to stretch their legs and give their eyes a rest from the VLT environment.
Having every screen and camera running for the entire class will certainly result in sensory overload and can impact on student engagement. Concentrating on multiple screens, several audio sources and switching attention between virtual and physical environments is tiring. If you don't really need a third or fourth screen, then don't use them. In fact you could always just....
You don't have to have a video link running for the entire duration of a class. It can be refreshing to mute the link audio and displays to focus on some group work centred in each of the locations. Switch everything back on and report back findings to the whole class. This can also be a useful tactic for setting up activities with an element of competition between locations.
VLT is most useful for delivering highly interactive classes which keep students on task and active. Consider limiting your classes to 2 hours as student engagement noticeably drops with lengthier classes.
Page authorised by Director National Centre for Teaching and Learning
Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016