- Ensure accessibility
- Design for inclusivity
- Check understanding and consolidate learning
- Technical support
- Reflect on the experience
- Further information
When planning and delivering blended teaching activities there are some general considerations that should be borne in mind.
Many students and staff have declared and undeclared disabilities, and while for some these a Blended Learning approach can be a significant benefit, for others it can present additional challenges. Read more about making accessibility content, but here are some top tips:
- Checking Word and PowerPoint content using the accessibility tools available in Office 365 (available on Windows 10 machines)
- After uploading to Blackboard, using Blackboard Ally to check any content (coming summer 2020).
- Using automatic subtitling for presentations where possible
- Provide captions for any recorded videos
- Recording suitable sessions to ensure students who have technical difficulties or who can’t make it can watch later.
Design for inclusivity
It is important to consider the inclusivity of blended sessions to enable all students to participate as fully as possible. Inclusivity is related to accessibility, but also includes less technical aspects that might encourage or discourage participation, such as time zones, making recordings available, tool choice, etc. Reasonable adjustments to sessions should be made to maximise inclusivity, including both the delivery and interaction methods and mechanisms used, the tools used to support learning, and the content itself.
Check understanding and consolidate learning
Short quizzes or polls can be useful to allow lecturers and students to check progress and understanding. These can be used in face-to-face sessions or as part of the content on the Blackboard site, with the results informing future sessions or activities.
Tools and platforms should be tested prior to being used for the first time to ensure that all necessary software is installed and up-to-date in advance so that it does not create an issue during delivery. If you need any new equipment such as headsets or webcams to facilitate the session, please request them well in advance. Encourage students to test tools on their own machines ahead of sessions to help with diagnosing any issues early. Signpost technical support to students that can help if they have any issues. Additionally, before each session, time should be allowed for any login or technical difficulties, both for yourself and you students.
Reflect on the experience
Particularly during the early weeks of the semester, you should take time to reflect on your teaching each session and identify aspects that worked well and those that worked less well, ideally including finding out the students’ perception of the session. This reflection should be used to refine future teaching approaches.