Split cohort teaching

Students are timetabled into separate activities (eg on campus tutorial vs online tutorial) depending on whether they can attend campus or not.

The two most common approaches to split cohort delivery are:

1. Some synchronous learning activities are delivered to campus-based students separately from online students, though the activities are very similar or the same.

For instance, remote students may be timetabled into online tutorials while on campus students are timetabled into campus-based tutorials. The tutorial learning materials may be idential or very similar for the two cohorts.

Splitting the cohorts to deliver similar activities may be more necessary for synchronous activities (tutorials, workshops, etc) than asynchronous activities, and is likely to be a better fit for subjects with higher student numbers.

2. Some activities delivered synchronously to campus-based students are delivered in alternative formats for remote students

There may be some synchronous, campus-based teaching and learning activities that cannot be replicated for remote students. In these cases, it may be more appropriate to have the campus-based students engage in the synchronous activity, while remote students are provided with an equivalent but different activity.

Planning your split cohort activities

Equity in activity design

When designing split cohort activities, teaching staff are urged to keep the following guidelines for dual delivery subjects in mind:

  1. That the subject's intended learning outcomes (ILOs) are the same for the two student cohorts in the subject.
  2. That teaching and learning activities for each cohort in dual delivery subjects are designed to lead to equivalent learning outcomes, allowing all students to achieve the subject’s ILO.
  3. That the teaching and learning activities for the two cohorts in dual delivery subjects should be designed with equivalent time commitments for students.

Flexibility and access to technology

In planning alternative activities for remote students, it will be important to:

  • Ensure that alternative activities are clearly identified for the remote student
  • Carefully consider whether synchronous activities are appropriate as such activities, while having benefits, can limit flexibility for your remote students and therefore impact on their capacity to access and engage with learning activities
  • Select the simplest and most utilitarian technology tools to meet the pedagogical objectives
  • Clearly state the technologies, devices and connectivity students will need to successfully engage in the remote learning activities.

Split cohort scenarios showcasing alternative activity designs

The following scenarios represent situations where activities designed for on campus classes, tutorials or workshops are offered in an alternative form for remote students – with equivalence in learning experience and outcomes.

  • Role play, presentations and peer review

    My on campus students are asked to role play in class in authentic but simulated encounters; what can I provide as an alternative option for my remote students?

    Individual or team presentations can be motivational and creative – you could schedule a series of online presentations from students or remote experts via live Zoom meetings or pre-recorded videos. Consider including peer review of the seminars by creating a review rubric in the LMS to provide constructive and critical formative feedback to students on their presentations.

    My on campus students are asked to make something physically in class; what are the options for my remote students?

    As an alternative to building something in class and submitting for class critique, remote students could be asked to create their own educational video or PowerPoint presentation enhanced with animation or voice over and slide notes for a selected topic which can then be submitted to the same class review session.

  • Discussions and class collaborations

    I break students into pairs or small groups in my tutorial class to share and report back; what are my options for remote students?

    Remote student pairs or group discussions can be facilitated using an online discussion forum, or in real time through peer-to-peer video conferencing using Zoom breakout rooms. Remote students could report back on these discussions by recording and sharing a presentation through the LMS. Discussions can be enhanced by assigning or allowing students to choose specific roles and role play to engage students in online discussion forums.

    Students could create a weekly podcast series of recorded audio discussions or interviews with experts by recording their podcast in Kaltura or Universal Capture and sharing to an LMS discussion.

  • Inquiry-based activity

    I have set inquiry-based learning projects, problem sets or case investigations within a seminar with 60 students – how can I translate these into equivalent activities for my remote students?

    Groups of students could collaborate on editing or creating a Microsoft Teams document, Microsoft Teams wiki or LMS wiki page or LMS group as a research resource on a specific topic.

    Consider creating a collaborative online reference library or image gallery to which students can contribute annotated references on a specific topic, using a Microsoft Teams document or LMS wiki page.

    For individual inquiry tasks, you may want to set a non-graded assignment in Canvas, containing task information and links to reading materials.

    Student-created media can be shared in LMS subjects by asking students to first upload their media to Kaltura or Universal Capture and then attaching media to discussion forum posts via ‘Select Ap’ option.

  • Studio or performance-based activity

    I typically set short performance tasks for my students which they carry out in class and receive feedback...what are my options for remote students?

    You could ask remote students to submit rich media (for example, self-recording a video of a short performance) for synchronous review in an online class, or for asynchronous review and feedback.

    Kaltura or Lecture Capture can be used to share remote students’ audio or video media via your subject. Both of these media platforms provide the option to embed the media item in a Canvas class discussion board, and to be time stamped.

    Consider asking students to create their own ePortfolio for sharing their work and inviting peer and expert review and critique.

This page was last updated on 23 Jul 2021.

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