The key to a successful experience teaching in an interactive video (ITV) environment is preparation. Before the semester begins, faculty teaching ITV courses are encouraged to contact their media center for an orientation and to meet with the ITV-support staff. If this is the first time teaching an ITV course, it is recommended for faculty to meet with the ITV-support staff a semester in advance to allow ample time for preparation. At the UH Mānoa campus, ITV instructor orientations are conducted by ITS Academic Services. Topics covered in the orientation may include introduction of support staff, tour of the ITV classroom, demonstration of the use of instructional media in an ITV classroom, and material and site coordination guidelines. Orientations may also include instructional design strategies for an ITV learning environment such as interactive strategies, designing graphics for ITV, communicating with students outside of class, etc.
ITV Support Staff
Teaching an ITV class is a team-approach. In a traditional classroom setting, there is an instructor and students in one classroom at one location. However in an ITV learning environment, there is an instructor, and students, in multiple locations. ITV-support staff becomes important team players in providing a quality learning experience for the students while working closely with the instructor. The ITV-support varies at each site. At each location, the ITV support staff is either, a center director, media specialists, technician, or student assistants.
Origination Site Support Staff (location the instructor teaches from)At the origination site, the instructor will work closely with the ITV-support staff before and during the semester. The support staff is responsible for preparing the instructor to teach in an ITV environment through an orientation and/or meetings prior to the teaching semester. The ITV-support staff will also assist the instructor with technical and classroom support during the actual course. The support staff also acts as the instructor’s liaison for communication with the receive site support staff and HITS scheduler.
Receive Site Support StaffAt the receive site, ITV-support staff provide classroom and technical support for the receive site students. The support staff is also responsible for receiving materials from the instructor and passing them out to the students in class, as well as, collecting assignments or exams to mail back to the instructor.
Each ITV classroom is customized and designed to provide a telepresence environment. In other words, the instructor and students are able to hear and see each location and the content (i.e. computer or video player) at all times. Each classroom is equipped with Polycom High-Definition (HD) videoconferencing units, cameras, microphones, and other instructional media.
In a typical ITV classroom there are three video monitors in the front of the classroom. One monitor displays the person speaking. The second monitor shows graphic content display (e.g. PowerPoint slides). The third monitor displays a multi-site view of participants at other locations. At some locations, there are three monitors in the back with the same visuals as the front monitors. These monitors are for the instructor.
Cameras in most classrooms are either remote controlled or pre-set to a wide shot of the classroom. At some locations, the cameras are either remote controlled by a site technician in a control room, or remote controlled to pan and zoom to a particular area in the room when a student turns on his or her microphone. There number of classroom cameras may vary from one location to another. Locations with an instructor’s station may have three cameras, while other locations will have one or two cameras.
The instructor uses a wired, or wireless, microphone to allow students at the receive site to hear him or her speak. When wearing a microphone, instructors should speak normally, avoid hitting their chest, wearing anything that will impact on the microphone, and avoid excessive shuffling of papers as this may be distracting to receive site students. Students at both the origination and receive sites also use microphones so everyone can hear them. Oftentimes the students at the origination site forget to speak into their microphones because the instructor is in the same classroom. However, if not turned on, the receive site students will not to hear the question or comment of their classmate. Instructors may find themselves having to remind the origination site students to use the microphone until the students adjust to the classroom environment.
Instructional media are multimedia equipment in the classroom that supplement instruction. Available instructional media will vary at each location. Some sites may not have any instructional media. Most classrooms have one or more of the following instructional media: document camera, VCR, or computer.
- Document Camera – The document camera is instructor operated and is used to show graphics, books, or small items. The instructor arranges the material, adjusts the lenses by zooming in and out and focusing. The preview monitor allows the instructor to view what will be on air. The document camera can also be used for handwritten information, demonstrations and showing three-dimensional objects.
- Video Playback Machines – Video playback machines (e.g. VCR or DVD player) are located in the control room. Program Producer should be notified prior to your program as to what format (VHS or DVD) you would be using. Playback formats vary at each location.
- Computers – Computers (Windows and Mac) may be available for presentations or demonstrations. You must make prior arrangements with your program producer to insure what you want is feasible. Be aware that you may need to bring your own software if necessary.
Interaction and Planned Student Involvement
In a learning environment where students are physically separated by the instructor and other classmates, the sense of isolation and disconnect can occur. Lessons should be planned with activities that encourage interaction and collaboration.
If courses are to be truly interactive and are to personally involve each student, interaction must be carefully planned and time must be allowed for such interaction. A minimum of 30% of broadcast time should be allowed for interaction. If interaction time is below 30%, students may become inattentive and tune out. Format lecture segments should be kept short; a guideline to follow is 10-15 minute segments followed by a change element. Change elements are when the center of focus for activities is shifted from the on-camera presenter to other sites, individual students, guest speakers, or an instructional activity.
Activities that may involve the learner are:
physical or visual demonstration
Travel to Other Sites
It is recommended that faculty visit their students at the other sites at least once a semester. This allows communication between the instructor and the receive site students during class meetings a lot easier by being able to associate a “live body” with a name and face. Here are some examples how instructors plan their site visitations:
- Instructors schedule their site visits at the beginning of the semester to establish a relationship with their students from the start.
- Instructors arrange their sites visits during student presentations.
- Instructors make arrangements to travel to a particular site to hold office hours.
Guest presenters are welcomed and are encouraged as they bring in a wealth of knowledge and experience into the classroom and enhance the learning experience. HITS allows the ability for a guest presenter to speak to the class at any of the HITS locations statewide. When guest speakers are scheduled, the ITV-support staff should be informed at the beginning of the semester or at least 2 weeks in advance. An orientation and practice session can then be scheduled for the guest speaker in the studio. This way the guest speaker can practice using the document camera and other equipment necessary for the presentation.
Guest Presenters unable to speak from one of the HITS locations may videoconference into the class session using one of the ITS Videoconference services (http://www.hawaii.edu/its/videoconferencing/).
Camera Delivery Tips
The best advice for teaching on camera is to be natural and be yourself. The camera may be thought of as a student, because when you look directly at the camera, the students at the receive site will get the impression that you are talking directly to them.
Look at the camera once in a while and especially when you are talking to a receive site student.
Do not stand in back of the document camera. Avoid sudden movements.
Wearing make-up is a personal preference. For women, make-up helps to avoid looking “washed-out.” Facial powder may be used for shiny foreheads
Dressing for Video
Choose clothes that are comfortable and simple in design. Avoid bulky clothing since this will add weight to your televised image. Clothing with fine detail such as polka dots, herringbone, stripes, checks, or plaids should also be avoided, as these tend to vibrate on television. Select medium or pastel shades and avoid all white or all black color schemes.
Big, shiny jewelry should not be worn as it can cause distracting reflections. Necklaces can also get caught on the microphone or rub against the microphone and cause distracting sounds.
Eyeglasses may cause reflections, however, if you need them, use them. Contact lenses or non-reflective glasses are options.
Guidelines for Preparing Graphics for Document Camera
In an ITV environment, the document camera replaces the whiteboard commonly used in a traditional classroom setting. Whiteboards tend to appear shiny when viewed on monitors, instructor might block vital information from camera view and writing may appear too small or unreadable to the remote site students.
There are some general principles you need to follow when preparing graphics for the document camera.
- Avoid using transparencies
- Use a horizontal format (landscape) opposed to a vertical (portrait) format. Print on 8 ½” x 11” paper for document camera material.
- Keep all text and images 1” from all screen edges
- Keep visuals simple and legible
- Hand-produced lettering should be done with broad-tip pens and markers, print not cursive
- Computer text should be bold print with upper and lower case letters, preferable in a san serif font (e.g. Helvetica, Arial) and 28 – 60 pts.
Guidelines for Preparing Computer Presentations
Many instructors and presenters prepare presentations on their computers for their ITV class.
Computer hardware and software varies at each ITV location. Instructors should:
- Check with HITS-support staff regarding classroom computer and software availability
- Arrange to test slide presentation on the classroom computer prior to class. That way, if slides need to modified, the instructor will have ample time to work on it. Advance testing is especially recommended if presentation includes an audio/video component.
- Bring presentation on a flash drive and arrive early to download onto the classroom computer.
Instructors planning to use their own laptop must have the following features:
- VGA output
- Appropriate external monitor out cable/ adapter
- Mirroring capabilities
(This allows instructor to see on own laptop screen the same image that is being transmitted out of the VGA output. Laptop computers that don’t have this will have a blank screen when the VGA output is being used. Instructor may also need to toggle your laptop to display the picture through the VGA output.)
Tips for preparing your presentation:
- Aspect ratio should be 16:9 for Windows or 16:10 for Mac
- Font size should be 28 points or higher.
- Use large, bold, legibility text. Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, Lucida Sans and MS Sans Serif fonts are good choices because of their equal thickness.
- Do not prepare material in ALL CAPS. Text will be too difficult to read. However, you can emphasize a point using caps.
- Use dark text colors on light backgrounds or light text colors on dark backgrounds. Black test on a pastel background is always safe. Yellow on blue is commonly used. Avoid reds, oranges, and pinks – they tend to bleed when projected on the monitor.
- Keep all text and images 1” from all screen edges.
- Keep graphics and charts simple and use large labels.
- Thin lines shimmer on screen. 1 pt. lines are too thin; the minimum width is 2 points.
- If graphics are complex, consider building it in subsequent steps.
- Avoid transitions and no animation
- Ask the question, “Can I stand 10 feet from my computer and see my material clearly?”
- When possible, test ahead of time.
- Provide students with a hard copy of presentation during class or have it available to students on Laulima to retrieve
Distribution of materials and handouts to receive site students is the responsibility of the instructor. Materials may be distributed electronically or by U.S. postal. Please keep in mind that it will take advanced planning and preparation to send materials to receive site students in time for the next class meeting.
In the early days of ITV, most materials were sent by U.S. postal mail. Today, you can still send materials through campus mail (which travels through the U.S. Postal Service). However this is no longer the best method to send materials to students.
It is recommended that faculty send materials electronically and directly to their students. This allow students a way to receive their materials faster than by U.S. postal mail and avoids having to check with ITV-support staff on whether the materials arrived. There are many electronic options that the instructor can implement in their course: course mailing list, course webpage, and web-based tools, and faxing.
- Laulima – Laulima is the course management and collaborative resources tool supported for enhanced/total online teaching and collaborative projects at the University of Hawaiʻi. Laulima is used to distribute learning in an online environment and as an enhancement tool in traditional and ITV courses. Laulima is used to organize and distribute course materials, facilitate communication, and administer your course at a distance. *Laulima is highly recommended to enhance your ITV course. https://laulima.hawaii.edu/
- Mailing List – A mailing list is a tool that provides a way to disseminate information to a group of people using a single email address. To set-up a mailing list, the instructor first needs to find out all of his or her students’ email addresses. This is usually done during the first class session when gathering information on each student. Once student emails are collected, the instructor would go to online and set-up a class mailing list. http://www.hawaii.edu/askus/1066
- Course Webpage – a course syllabus, links to additional Internet resources, course lecture notes, and instructor vitae are examples of how course webpages are used to disseminate course materials to students. http://www.hawaii.edu/askus/696
Outside Class Communication
It is important that faculty provide a way for remote site students to contact them outside of class. This information should be included in the course syllabi. Here are some options to consider:
One of the most economical ways for instructors to keep lines of communication open with their students is through electronic mail (e-mail). Students at all campuses can utilize the system at no cost. As long as the instructor is consistent in answering your mail, students will be able to communicate with the instructor at any time.
In addition to using Laulima for material distribution, Laulima has tools to allow outside communication between the instructor and student, such as discussion boards, chat rooms, electronic mail. Laulima allows the instructor to use as many tools to manage the class. https://www.hawaii.edu/talent/laulima_tutorials.htm
While a phone call is another way to communicate outside of the class, it might be the most expensive due to the long distance charges for the student. However, most cell phone services do provide free long distance coverage.
You may be able to schedule on-air office hours for receive site students. For example, if your class is scheduled for 4:00 PM – 6:45 PM, an instructor may excuse the students at the originating site and allocate the last 15 minutes for the remote site students’ office hours.
Desktop Videoconferencing allows for desktop to desktop conferencing. If a student request a meeting with the instructor, the instructor can reserve this service for a certain date and time and hold office hours virtually. This service also allows for content sharing. Both instructor and student must have a computer or mobile device with camera and microphone capabilities. http://www.hawaii.edu/its/videoconferencing/desktop/
Assessing student learning in distance courses is a somewhat controversial issue for many faculty. The primary concern is ensuring the academic integrity of assessment (i.e. how to prevent students from cheating). The simple answers is that there is no foolproof strategy for preventing cheating in any course, whether it’s taught in a classroom or at a distance. However, there are a number of assessment methods that can make it difficult for students to cheat.
The following examples can be used in various combinations to accurately and “securely” evaluate student learning, depending on the content and learning objectives of your course.
- Change your testing to more of a “take home” test or an open book type test.
- Have students take tests online. Use the Laulima assessment tools. https://www.hawaii.edu/talent/laulima_tutorials.htm
- Have students take exams at a UH Test Center at a UH campus. http://www.uhonline.hawaii.edu/fsproctoring
- Student presentations
- Discussion questions, group activities, research tasks, projects and/or papers
If in-class exams are preferred, then instructor is responsible for proctoring in-class exams by monitoring receive site students on the video monitors and at the originating classroom. Receive site coordinators and technicians are not responsible for proctoring exams during the interactive class session. Receive site coordinators and technicians can distribute the exams and mail exams back to the instructor. Instructor must provide enough copies of the exam for each site and specific instructions.
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Outreach College provides proctoring arrangements for UH Mānoa courses at the various receive sites. Please contact Jon Matsuda at (808) 956-6780 or firstname.lastname@example.org., Outreach Support Specialist, for more information.
The University Centers may provide in-class proctoring arrangements for UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo courses for remote students located at Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi (Kona).
|Kauaʻi UC||(808) 245-8330|
|Maui UC||(808) 984-3525|
|Hawaiʻi CC (Pālamanui campus)||(808) 322-4865|
The level of support provided at each library varies. Therefore, it is critical for instructors to plan early and carefully for their student’s library needs. Every student will need a library card for any transaction. http://www.uhonline.hawaii.edu/fslibrary
Use of Copyrighted Materials
Copyright law generally protects any expression recorded in tangible form, regardless of the type of work or the recording medium used. Copyright may protect a work whether it is published or unpublished. Much of the materials used in teaching are protected under copyright law.
The University of Hawaiʻi Executive Policy 5.204, Section II (I) states that the University is committed to full compliance with copyright laws in its adoption and utilization of software and content for distance and online learning.
The Copyright Act of 1976 includes simple and broad provisions allowing “performances” and “displays” in the face-to-face classroom setting. However, since distance education allows transmission of coursework extending outside a face-to-face classroom setting utilizing one or more of the distance learning technologies (such as the Internet, Cable and two-way video) the rules and meaning of copyright law are different.
When selecting materials from among copyrighted works and determining whether permission from the copyright owner is necessary, the following Copyright resource webpage may provide additional guidance as you plan for your ITV course: http://www.uhonline.hawaii.edu/copyright
While HITS runs very well, there may be a few problems throughout the semester. Be aware that the HITS-support staff is working “behind-the-scenes” diligently to remedy the technical issues at hand. In most cases, classes can continue as normal while these issues are being resolved. However, for extreme situations, instructors should have a back-up plan in case these issues do not allow class to continue. This will allow the students to adjust to the situation and the instructor will lose very little instructional time. Laulima may be used to continue class discussion online (https://www.hawaii.edu/talent/laulima_tutorials.htm).
Video on Demand (VOD)
VOD allows students to view class sessions missed due to illness or due to technical difficulties online. Instructors interested in having this option for their ITV class may submit their request to their HITS-support staff.