The following guidance contains practical steps to aid the smooth running of your first live online session and support student participation.
Share session joining links via Blackboard
If you haven’t already done so, start to set up your live online sessions for the coming weeks and post joining links via Blackboard. You must use a University approved platform such as Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Team meetings. Remember to replace any old session links that were rolled over in your Blackbaord module.
Prepare students for their first live online session
Students will access joining links via Blackboard, but you will need to communicate where they are located in the module. You can do this via a short Blackboard Announcement.
Your new student cohort may be unfamiliar with the platform and features you are using to deliver live online sessions. Although Blackboard Collaborate and Teams meeting platforms are user-friendly, it may be useful to provide joining instructions for your first session and links to technical guidance (below). This provides students with a chance to orientate themselves with the platform features, check their technical set up and know who to contact if support is required.
Support participation during live online sessions
You’re new student cohort may be apprehensive and a little quiet during their first live online session. A friendly face, warm welcome and gentle icebreaker are much appreciated, as are opportunities for student interaction and lots of encouragement.
- Display ‘welcome’ slides to familiarise students with the session environment and your preferred etiquette for online interaction; templates are available for Collaborate intro slides and Teams meeting intro slides (they contain ideas for quick ice-breaker activities and labelled interface screenshots).
- If you plan to divide students into smaller groups during your session, see advice for supporting students to engage in Breakout Groups.
- You can engage students through your online presentation style and use of interactive features; the following TEL blog post gives a quick overview of useful Collaborate and Teams meeting features for inspiration.
Where to seek further support and guidance..
You can use these practical checklists to prepare for your live online session:
Additional technical guides are available for supporting use of Collaborate and Team meetings, plus further pedagogic guidance via the TEL staff toolkit ‘Getting started with webinars,’ TEL staff development webinar: Running an interactive online session and via this TEL online tutorial.