When to choose synchronous video conferencing
Keep calls to a reasonable length (no more than 1 hour). A temptation can be to organise a video call as a direct replacement for a face to face session but this is not inclusive for a number of reasons, including concentration span and technological limitations.
Use the synchronous video conferencing to:
- Spend the time that was originally allocated to the face to face sessions bringing your students together for a series of tasks to be completed collaboratively, in real time. It is preferable to bring the students in and out of your whole group deliveries and discussions regularly, moving them between video calls initiated by you, and by students in smaller groups - i.e. use a blend of synchronous approaches – video and simultaneous group work.
- Bring all the students together and explain key issues / ideas that everybody needs to hear. For example, if you’re planning to deliver an online session where you need all of your students to move between activities, getting them together via video conference chat/meeting is a good way of explaining the plan for the day and your expectations.
- Explain the session step by step and offer an opportunity to ask questions. This complements the overview of the schedule emailed in advance.
- Discuss outcomes of the group activities students were working on. This is the equivalent to you allocating time for your students to work on/discuss something in small groups in a tutorial and then facilitating a plenary to gather ideas / issues that stemmed from group discussions. Here you could ask a spokesperson from each group to feed back on their ideas / progress and invite them to use the 'share screen' function to show any output they developed together, if approriate.
- Provide feedback on group activities students were working on.
- Offer a question-answer session. For example, if you provided recorded mini-lecture videos and want to give students an opportunity to ask questions. To improve participation you could ask them to email questions in advance.