Blended synchronous learning (BSL) is a mode of instruction where in-person and remote students are combined in one classroom environment.
This form of teaching presents numerous challenges, but may be necessary at times in the 2020-2021 academic year when students are unable to physically attend on-campus class meetings. Per UChicago’s Instructor Guide for Remote and Hybrid Instruction: “At any given time, you might have students who cannot attend face-to-face meetings for various reasons. You will need to accommodate them synchronously via Zoom in a blended synchronous learning fashion or asynchronously by creating additional assignments and resources.”
The UChicago Language Center has been supporting BSL classes for several years via the CourseShare program. Below are some resources to learn more about BSL in general and about
1.Training materials on classroom equipment: UChicago AV Services’ tutorial videos, written instructions, and in-person demonstrations can be found here. This includes a step-by-step video for the Yamaha CS-700 soundbar, the all-in-one conferencing camera, microphone, and speakers found in most of the classrooms in Cobb Hall (and across campus).
• Please note that classroom conferencing equipment uses a USB connection. If you have a newer Mac that only has USB-C ports, you’ll need an adapter.
2. Webinar: In July 2020, Nick Swinehart (CLC staff) and Alba Girons (Director of the Catalan Language Program, Senior Lecturer) gave a 30-minute webinar for Georgetown University Press that gives an overview of BSL, its challenges, and strategies for success. The webinar can be viewed below, or at https://youtu.be/1L19pmRUZ1w. Clicking ‘Show more’ in the description on YouTube gives an outline and shortcuts to specific questions.
3. Pedagogical tips: Alba has compiled a list of recommendations for teaching in BSL settings, available here. This list was adapted from Alba and Nick’s book, Teaching Languages in Blended Synchronous Classrooms: A Practical Guide, available for download and purchase.
4. Checklist for Blended Synchronous Teaching: a (non-exhaustive) list of things to become familiar with and plan for before beginning blended synchronous teaching.
5. Live demo: Wednesday, Sept 23, 10:00-11:00am. Registration closed. This webinar will preview what BSL looks like and will outline technological, logistical, and pedagogical considerations.