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Including Remote Students in a Live, In-Person Class

Tips from Fellow FSU Faculty


Several FSU faculty are including remote students in their live, in-person class meetings via Zoom. Below you’ll find suggestions and tips shared by faculty using this synchronous approach. A few of the suggestions below can require a high level of comfort navigating technologies and may not be for everyone. Be prepared to adopt an approach that keeps your comfort level in mind.

Using Zoom in Your In-Person Class

Zoom offers several features that can be leveraged for the learning environment. When managing and facilitating interactions during a live class session, consider the following tips for creating a positive experience for everyone:

  • Enlist help from students. Assign a volunteer in your in-person class to monitor the chat and watch for students raising hands.
  • Include in-person students in the Zoom meeting. To enable both in-person and remote students to see and hear one another during class, have your in-person students join the Zoom meeting. Be aware that logging into Zoom from multiple devices in the same room will generate an echo. To avoid this, everyone but the person speaking should be muted. 
  • Follow best practices for sharing video. If you play a video over Zoom, be mindful of potential quality and sound issues. Be sure to check the Share computer sound box when sharing and provide students with access to any video ahead of time. This ensures they can view video on their own in the event of any playback issues in the Zoom session.
  • Facilitate interactions with remote students. Encourage time for remote students to interact prior to the start of class. Set your Zoom class meeting to start earlier than class time so remote students can ask questions and interact with one another. To protect the security of your Zoom meeting and respond in the event of inappropriate behavior or Zoom-bombing, never allow students to join the meeting before you. You should be present at all times, even during informal discussions.
  • Share your entire screen. When screen sharing in Zoom, it’s helpful to share the entire screen rather than a particular window or application. You will be able to transition from one window to another without having to re-share your screen. Be aware that sharing in this manner will enable students to see everything on your screen.
  • Save recordings to the cloud. If you are recording your Zoom meeting, save it to the cloud instead of your local computer. You can always go back and download a copy to your local drive if desired. You can set up Zoom to record automatically to the cloud when creating your Zoom meeting. Zoom automatically pushes the recording to your Kaltura account, making it easy to share the file in your Canvas course site.
  • Practice ahead of time. To minimize the use of class time troubleshooting Zoom, practice ahead of time, especially screen sharing and the use of breakout rooms.

Backup Planning

Developing a backup plan will help you continue your teaching when technical issues or internet connectivity affect services like Zoom or Canvas.

  • Download the Canvas and Zoom mobile apps to your cell phone so you can navigate problems in the event you lose internet connectivity during class.
  • Instruct students to use the Zoom call-in phone number so they can join by phone if they experience internet connectivity issues.
  • If you encounter technical issues with Zoom, use Canvas Conferences as a backup. It allows up to 100 students at a time and includes features like a whiteboard and breakout rooms. If you record your class session, be aware that recordings are only saved for 14 days. See Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) Overview for instructions on using Canvas’s built-in web conferencing tool.
  • If neither Zoom nor Canvas Conferences is an option, consider Microsoft Teams to facilitate a course meeting. See How to Use Microsoft Teams to Facilitate a Virtual Course Meeting for guidance.
  • Be sure to communicate your plan to students ahead of time.

Multiple Cameras

Using a second camera in class can give remote students a better view of what’s happening in class. One camera can be focused on the instructor, and another can be focused on the whiteboard.

  • For a DIY approach, a laptop with built-in camera can be used. Be mindful of the echo generated by having multiple devices connected in the same space and be sure to mute all devices except one.
  • A DIY approach will test your multitasking skills and can be a learning curve so don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Get professional assistance setting up and managing classroom technology by contacting Technology Enhanced Classrooms (main campus) or pcc-techs@fsu.edu (Panama City campus).

When opting for a synchronous approach to including your remote students, don’t forget to include digital versions of all content in your Canvas course site. This ensures all students have access regardless of their location. For more information on ways to meet the learning needs of both in-person and remote students, see Strategies for Flexible Course Delivery.

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  • 08-Oct-2020
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