Step 5: Deliver Course Lectures
Now that you have prepared your course material, it is time to plan for how you will create and deliver lectures. Here we use the term "lecture" to refer to both direct instruction (explaining difficult concepts, presenting information, interpreting texts, offering illustrations, doing demonstrations, etc.) and also more interactive lectures (which combine direct instruction with active learning, facilitated discussions, Socratic teaching, collaborative learning, etc).
Read on for three different approaches. As you read, think about how you would combine them into an effective way to accomplish the many different things you do when you teach your class..
Approach 1: Post Your Course Lectures as Written Documents
One straightforward, low-tech way to deliver course lecture material is to type out in a document what you would have said during lecture and then post this document in Course Site. Since these notes are meant to be read by students rather than heard during class, compose them so they are clear and easy to understand. Although this approach is primarily for direct instruction, some notes can also integrate active applied learning, if students are directed to complete certain activities at key moments while reading the notes. That said, there is no opportunity for interactivity and so, while some students may prefer to read rather than listen to lectures; written notes should not be your only way of delivering your lecture material.
Options: As an alternative to placing your Course Lectures in Course Site, you could create a shared Google folder with your Course Lecture documents as Google Docs. In the folder sharing settings, select "viewable by anyone at Lehigh with the link," then "get sharable link," and add that link in Course Site so students know where to find this shared Google folder.
Approach 2: Pre-Record Video Lectures for Students
Panopto is a video-creation tool available through Course Site. You can use Panopto to create Video Lectures that present content, explain difficult concepts, etc., just as you would when lecturing in a face-to-face class. Instructors record themselves by using their computer's built-in camera and microphone or a webcam. Panopto also allows simultaneous capture of the contents of an instructor's screen (i.e., to show lecture slides or other material).
- Keep recorded lectures brief (ideally 10-15 minutes). If your typical lecture is longer than that, break it into smaller sections of this length. You may find it hard to do this at first, but please know that it is hard for students (hard for anyone, really) to stay focused on a recorded lecture that is longer than this, and attention begins to fade after 10-15 minutes. If you have more material, record two separate shorter videos.
- Separate content-heavy lectures from more personalized or semester-specific communications. That is, create one video that explains a difficult concept, and create a separate video to connect with students more personally, reflect on current events, give general feedback to students, provide instructions on an assignment, etc. This approach will make it easier for you to reuse content-specific lecture videos, will also make it easier for students to know where they need to go for which material, and will convey to student that you care not only about the course content but also about them, as individuals in this class, this semester.
- Bear in mind that pre-recorded lectures are a form of direct instruction, so it is a good idea to assign a post-lecture activity to complete after viewing each recorded lecture. The idea is to help students solidify their understanding of the lecture material, apply concepts, practice skills, discover misunderstandings, etc. Some possibilities:
- Homework assignment from the textbook.
- A ConcepTest, i.e., a Course Site Quiz or Google Forms Quiz asking a few questions to measure understanding of concepts in readings and lectures;
- Shared Explanations: students write an explanation, in a shared doc, of an assigned course concept;
- Collective Course Notes: students take turns writing course notes on lecture and readings in a shared doc—highlighting confusing concepts and posing at the end questions for you and for each other;
- Studend-driven Q&A: students take turns posing questions from the reading in a shared doc—other students write answers.
- Presentations: Designated student(s) prepare a presentation (Panopto video, or create slides in a shared Google Slides to be discussed during class, or prep for a live presentation in an upcoming Zoom session. Done well, this lecture-activity-lecture-activity approach during the asynchronous part of your course will reinforce learning, increase retention of knowledge, while also cueing you into areas of student confusion that you can address in an upcoming interactive class.
- CITL Tips for High Quality Recordings: Location, Lighting, and Sound
- Sample Panopto-produced Video
- Use headphones or earbuds with a microphone to minimize surrounding noise and maximize your voice.
- Tips for capturing hand-written formulas, equations, etc.
- Give your lectures descriptive names so your students can easily find the correct lecture.
Approach 3: Create Live Interactive Lectures
This approach is best for interactive teaching sessions where you shift frequently between short lectures and synchronous interactions with students or discussion-style classes.
- Read LTS's "Getting Started with Zoom" [slides]
- Read CITL's handout "Creating Interactive Lectures in Zoom"
- Watch CITL's video "Live Online Interactive Sessions"
- Read "Best Practices for Hosting a Zoom Session"
- Read CITL's "Tips for High Quality Recordings: Location, Lighting, and Sound"
- Point your students to this site before your first Zoom Session: "Best Practices for Zoom Meeting Attendees"
- Instructors have the option of sharing screens, visibly annotating on shared documents, and creating opportunities for student-student collaboration through Breakout Rooms (which splits a large class into separate rooms for small groups of students to work collaboratively).
- Instructors can choose to record sessions and make them available for the class to watch again later.
- When you set up your meeting, be sure to select "Only authenticated users can join" to avoid "Zoom-bombing" incidents.
- As the host of the meeting, instructors are able to mute and unmute participants at any point. When you start a Zoom session with many participants, opt to “Mute Participants” upon entry into the meeting and during ‘pure lecture’ time. Unmute only when you wish to create opportunities for discussion.
- If you need to use Zoom for purposes beyond this course, you can access Zoom directly at lehigh.zoom.us using your Lehigh username and password.
- Google Meet is an alternative to Zoom that are also supported by Lehigh, but it is not as robust a videoconferencing solution.
- If you have very large classes that would diminish interactivity in Zoom, or are holding a non-interactive direct-instruction-style lecture, you may wish to consider pre-recording your lectures using Panopto (see above) or live streaming your lecture using Panopto’s live webcast feature instead of Zoom.
Delivering Course Lectures: Selecting the Right Approach at the Right Time.
So, what is the best way to combine Lecture documents, Panopto videos, Zoom sessions? There is no single right answer.
As you prepare your asynchronous sessions, you may find benefit in having more time to write out or record your lectures in advance, and pre-recorded videos are a great way to deliver complex material efficiently, especially if you find it challenging to lecture while also facilitating a live Zoom session. Writing or pre-recording lectures also has the advantage of creating documents or videos you can repurpose in future classes.
During your synchronous sessions, Zoom allows you to have everyone online together at the same time, creating an opportunity for you to lecture “live” while simultaneously interacting with students, posing questions, soliciting responses from students, engaging in Socratic dialogue, etc.
As suggested in the framework above, the best answer is a combination of the three approaches, tailored to the course type, discipline, and instructional approaches. That is, create some lecture documents, supplement them with pre-recorded lectures and class activities to be completed within a certain timeframe, and then hold discussion sessions and office hours synchronously using Zoom. This combination approach has the advantage of letting you carefully construct re-usable lectures material while also creating opportunities for the spontaneity and interactivity of a live online discussion.
- Read this CITL Handout: Recommended Pedagogy for Online Teaching
- Watch a recording of CITL's workshop on "Delivering Lectures Online: Three Methods"