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Teaching Tips

Laptops versus podium computer

IF you want to use your own laptop, you won’t be able to use the robotic cameras.  The new university-provided cameras are connection to the lectern only.  Unless that changes, you will have to choose – use the robotic/wider shots from the robotic cams or tight shot from your own laptop camera and microphone at the podium.  The remotecontrol for the robotic cameras, which have been put on tripods in the back of the room/labs, seems to work pretty well (but the remote is a little slow).

I learned that I COULD use my laptop to monitor the outgoing feed from the lab, so I could see what remote students are seeing.  If you send yourself a “guest” invite, and sign into blackboard ultra as using a guest link, you can then simultaneously monitor the feed.  You can also monitor from the podium computer, but the image is VERY small down in the corner if you’re sharing content with students.

BB Collaborate

Now… some tricks IF you're using BB Collaborate AND teaching simultaneously in-person and remote (If you’re using Zoom this will be less of a factor for you).  Let’s say you want to show some previous classroom examples on the fly (audio or video projects), IF you haven’t pre-produced and uploaded your media files to the web (as YouTube videos, for example): 

Audio will be the big issue IF you’re using BB Collaborate.   If you taught on collaborate in the spring/summer, you know that the only way to share audio directly with students is to (a-share it on Chrome, “select” the chrome tab you want to share, then click on “share audio”, or b – play audio directly on your laptop and hope the folks at home can hear it).  From the quiet of our own homes, that was workable.  But that will be much trickier in the labs.   Because you cannot pre-load .mp3 or .mp4 files in collaborate, I learned that the ONLY way to share audio to the classroom (over lab speakers) AND simultaneously to folks at home, is to put the files you want to share ON your desktop, then (before class) open the files DIRECTLY in Chrome.  From the top menu bar of Chrome, click Open File > then select the file you want.  That will open your video and audio files and you’ll be able to play them in both places at once.  There’s a slight time lag between the two but it seems to work.  Jill and I had NO luck playing directly from OneDrive or other methods.


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