Hybrid Teaching

Hybrid teaching is the synchronous teaching with participants in physical presence and participants connected online. This is described in the new versions of annexes 12, 13 and 18 or annex II to the framework examination regulations of Leuphana University (§2(2)):

Hybrid courses are courses in which a system is used in which both the teacher and the students physically present in the classroom are recorded audio-visually by means of a camera and a directional microphone and can be transmitted via a video conference system to those course participants who are not physically present and who are connected to the course from another location [...]. The participants who are not physically present are simultaneously recorded audio-visually and transmitted via the video conference system to a screen and speakers in the classroom.[*]

Thus, a part of the students takes part in the course on site and at the same time another part of the students is present online via a meeting room, e.g. via the video conference service Zoom. For the student groups participating physically in the classroom, there is a prescribed arrangement of tables and chairs for each seminar room, including an occupancy schedule with the maximum number of participants. This arrangement may not be changed by the teachers. The corresponding room plans will soon be available under the room information in myStudy and will also be posted in the rooms themselves. In any case, the protective measures described in detail in the Sars-CoV-2 hygiene guideline must be observed by the persons participating in classroom. This means among other things also that falling below the minimum distance is permitted only for short periods and only under use of a mouth nose protection.

Video transmission - and therefore the hybrid format - is only permitted for those courses in which an interactive discussion of the participants is a necessary part of the course. (ibid., §2(2)2.b):

An [interactive discussion] is generally only to be supposed for seminars and colloquia [...]. Exceptions will be decided by the Deans of Studies in consultation with the persons responsible for the module.[*]

In the following you will find information about some important questions concerning the planning and implementation of hybrid teaching. This concerns the possibilities for interaction as well as the mode of rotation, the conditions for video transmission, the technical support and the possibilities for formative and summative feedback. A description of possible procedures for a hybrid seminar session will be available on these pages shortly.

Interactive Szenarios

Interaction is the reciprocal reference and relationship between two or more participants. This can refer to a part of the group or to its whole. What is special about the hybrid teaching is that there are so-called presence differences between the participants. Some of them may be in a neutral place, they may spontaneously shout something to each other in the room, feel the mood, and possibly see more than the participants in front of the screen. Others are anonymous at the push of a button, are at home or at another place of their choice, can observe from a distance and communicate secretly with other online participants.

The hybrid equipment of the seminar rooms provides for a camera and a microphone to transmit the events in the room. With a seminar size of 30 students and a physical attendance rate of 30%, there will be 21 to 22 tiles in the video conferencing system: one video tile for the room with 10 students created by the room camera, 20 video tiles for the students connected online and - if desired - one for the teacher created by their computer camera.


How can the online and presence participants interact with each other?

The following scenarios have been devised. We cannot draw on experience yet. Also, there are only three scenarios to begin developing ideas for the design of hybrid teaching. Many combined forms are of course just as conceivable. The circumstances, resources, inclinations and subject matter of the event will certainly play the major role in decisions and mixtures.

Among the circumstances are the technical equipment of your seminar room, the technical possibilities of your students, the size of the group in your course and whether there are people with increased risk or those who provide care to people who are more at risk among the participants.

It is essential to discuss with the participants the mode in which those who are physically present take turns with those who are online. This is the only way to find out who belongs to a risk group or who, for various reasons, does not have a room in Lüneburg, or who, conversely, is restricted by the data rate or a missing or older terminal device or is subject to other conditions that make one or the other variant mandatory. It is also important to discuss this mode repeatedly.


Your seminar group should get to know each other as a whole

At first, this would simply mean something that might seem obvious (but it is not, as will be seen later), namely that all participants keep appointments in sync with each other. One part is sitting in the seminar room, one part is connected via video.

Depending on the size of the group and the limitations of the participants, the way of rotation can be arranged in such a way that the composition of the two sub-groups, in the seminar room and online, varies. One reason is that people perceive themselves differently online as if they have physically met each other. A different composition prevents sub-group formations in cases where the whole group should work together.


Subgroups should know each other as well as possible and work together

There may be project groups in your course. The cooperation in the project groups naturally benefits from the opportunities and continuity of the meetings. In this case it can be helpful, in contrast to the first scenario, if the same composition always meets either in the seminar room or online. Depending on the composition of the whole group and their living conditions, it can even happen and be helpful if it is always the same people who meet physically and the same people who meet online. This wouldn’t be unfair, it rather follows the circumstances and could have the advantage that the respective groups can easily practice their mode of their interaction. The latter can even contribute to the issue for some topics.


Hybrid teaching with synchronous and asynchronous elements

Those who have already had experience with hybrid event formats report quite unanimously that the challenge and complexity is significant. They have the people in front of them in different forms and interact accordingly in different ways. They may want to enable interaction between everyone, both physical and online, which means that several of them would have to have a technical device and the interaction would have to be organized. It must be possible to transport materials back and forth. And, very fundamentally, the technology has to be easy to utilise  - and at the same time it has to be considered who should see and hear whom and when, or who should not see and hear at all. A hybrid-variation could also be to have one part of the group in the seminar room and the other part of the group working asynchronously on tasks. Of course, there must be a rotation here and the rotation can include a session in which participants are attending exclusively online because there is a group that cannot come to the seminar room for the reasons mentioned above.

Principle of rotation

In hybrid teaching, only a part of the students are present in the classroom. The currently valid upper limits for attendance can be found in the [seating plan] (.pdf, as of 12.8.20). For the selection of students, the following applies (according to §2(2)4. of the annexes to the framework examination regulations):

If there are more students interested in attending the course than there are seats available in the classroom, students will take turns attending the course according to a rotation principle. The responsible teacher decides whether students can attend the course in class based on the following criteria:
• didactic-methodological reasons,
• the desire of the students to participate in presence and
• information on whether students themselves or persons to be cared for or supervised by them belong to a risk group.
If these data are personalised, they are to be deleted at the latest after the end of the lecture period.[*]

This means that first of all you as a teacher decide whether and how many students should actually be present. In addition, when selecting participants for attendance, both the students' own wishes and their health situation or that of the persons they supervise must be taken into account. In addition, the students who participate in attendance should take turns (rotate) regularly.

Transmission of image and sound

Under what conditions may image and sound be transmitted? Basically the following applies: Image and sound are not recorded. The data may not be stored and processed manually. It is not permitted to record the non-publicly spoken word of others without authorisation; this constitutes a violation according to § 201 para. 1 no. 1 StGB. Please point this out to the participants of your event.

As already mentioned, only those courses in which discussions are desired and required may have a hybrid structure. Audio and video transmissions of students on site are only permitted for the times in which the participants actually interact with each other. If, for example, you are giving a lecture, please make sure that the camera is not pointed at the participants in attendance.

Students who are online should switch on their camera and sound. However, they must also be allowed to participate in the course without using a camera or microphone via the video conferencing system (§2(2)3.d). In any case, it is necessary that you secure the videoconferencing system with a password and provide your students with this password for their participation.

Hint: Talk to your students in the first session about what it is like for you to look at a screen with black tiles. Together with your students, create rules for the hybrid course.

Technical Support

The newly purchased and installed equipment in the rooms on campus is supervised and maintained by the AVM's colleagues. They will provide concrete instructions on how to operate the equipment in time for the start of the semester. In addition, tutors will be hired for the beginning of the semester to help you in every building during the initial period.

Regardless of this, it may be advisable to include student co-moderators during the planning of your hybrid scenarios, who will keep an eye on the smooth running of the session.

 

Feedback

For regular feedback you can schedule time in or after each session. What went well? Where do you see room for improvement? What is missing and how can the participants support good teaching and learning even better?

In addition, as every semester, you can use the qualitative feedback format Shift! and course evaluation, both of which are also highly recommended for hybrid event formats.

[*]Please note: Only the german version of the Gazette is legally binding. The English excerpts are provided solely for information purposes.