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How to integrate technology into post-pandemic face-to-face courses

Nhi Nguyen
|
October 28, 2022

The Fall 2022 semester is halfway through, and institutions are already preparing to return to on-campus learning for Spring 2023 term. With this offline transition, a big question arises: What is left for online learning, and the use of pedagogical technology? Believe it or not, digital learning is here to stay. 

Students’ learning preferences have changed drastically over the past year, towards focus on flexibility, social interaction, and academic engagement. This is reflected in Educause’s latest publication – 2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience. Modality preference is among the 7 issues investigated in this report. Survey data revealed that the percentage of respondents preferring mostly or completely online modules almost tripled  over the last 2 years. Most student participants also expressed the need for both face-to-face (F2F) lessons and online resources/ activities, indicating a demand for flexible approaches to teaching that accommodate varied learning needs and barriers.

Learners are becoming more dynamic, with complex learning needs and goals. Aside from completing a university degree, students now wish to secure a job, achieve personal goals, and more. Higher education then needs to go beyond transmitting information, and offers an engaging, inclusive environment where students are surrounded by meaningful interactions, and opportunities to develop lifelong skills. In the F2F classroom, it can be challenging to achieve this vision, without the aid of online elements and technology. 

Incorporating technology into F2F classrooms can significantly elevate the teaching and learning experiences. But what makes it so beneficial? And how can faculties incorporate technology into their own curriculum?

In this article, we will share 5 reasons why technology still plays a critical role in F2F classrooms, and how FeedbackFruits solutions can be utilized to implement flexible, quality in-person learning experiences.

We also created a visualized version of this article. Feel free to download it here and share with your colleagues.

This framework will provide faculty members with a holistic view to evaluate and decide on the most suited pedaogogical tools.
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1. Generate continuous engagement

It is easy to generate student engagement and interaction within F2F contexts, but the challenge lies in how to maintain this beyond the classroom. Flipping the classroom is considered an effective way to address this issue, with students studying the materials before class, and instructors addressing learners’ questions about the content during in-class sessions. In fact, faculties struggle with getting learners to actively engage in the preparation stage, and making sure all students study the content. This is where technology steps in. 

With FeedbackFruits, instructors have plenty of options to creatively use multimedia content to create engaging pre-class experiences.​​ Interactive Study Materials and Comprehension utilize social annotations to turn static, passive preparation activities into engaging experiences, where learners gain deeper understanding, and participate in discussions via in-line questions/ discussion points. As students come to class well prepared, instructors have more time to address the prominent issues emerging through observing student performance during the preparation phase. 

Add questions and discussion points in Interactive Video
Add questions, and discussion points to video materials to activate pre-class engagement with Interactive Video

Read more: 5 ways to flip the classroom with Interactive Video

Technology can also strengthen, and optimize interactions during in-class sessions. For example, instructors can liven up the lectures by adding questions to the slides; distributing interactive quizzes to activate students at the beginning. Interactive Presentation and Quiz are two FeedbackFruits tools that enable this purpose. 

As engagement tends to die down after the class finishes, it is important to generate continuous conversations and discussions. With FeedbackFruits, instructors are presented with endless options to create multiple avenues for faculties to communicate with students, generate multi-level interactions beyond the classroom. Online forums, or symposiums are among the best ways to initiate continuous conversations, which can be easily created using the Discussion on Work and Discussion on Topic

2. Allow for time-saving, effective course design 

When designing F2F courses, faculties often find themselves struggling with a load of manual, clunky tasks, such as exporting, importing grades to the LMS; recreating course activities; accessing student analytics; and many many more. Technological advancements offer institutions endless potential to minimize the time spent on these clunky tasks, while maximizing the teaching and learning outcomes. 

Here are the few ways in which technology, particularly FeedbackFruits solutions can help you and your faculties save plenty of time for F2F teaching: 

1. FeedbackFruits tools automate every step of the course set-up, from instructions writing, evaluation/ feedback rubric creation, grading configuration, to groups/ peer reviewers assignment. 

Example: Group Member Evaluation tool allows faculties to incorporate a group evaluation activity where students assess their peers’ contributions to in-class team projects. In this tool, instructors can configure any step of the learning activity in just one platform, from writing instructions, assigning groups reviewers, designing rubrics, to deciding on grade weighting of the assignment steps. 

2. All the grades produced within FeedbackFruits activities are automatically synced into the native gradebooks, saving faculties plenty of time manually exporting and uploading grades to the LMS.

3. If a course runs successfully, faculties would without doubt want to scale to other classes. For either F2F or online classrooms, it is challenging since there is no systematic way to store and distribute the learning activities. With FeedbackFruits, faculties can generate templates from existing activities, rubrics, or feedback comments to reuse or share them with colleagues quickly and easily. This saves instructors and faculties plenty of time having to create brand new assignments, thus strengthening collaboration among institutional departments. 

Create templates from existing activities in FeedbackFruits tools
Generate templates from existing activities in FeedbackFruits

3. Create inclusive, equitable, and accessible learning environment 

Education needs to be responsive, and accessible to each and every student, regardless of the course settings. And technology plays an indispensable factor in helping institutions cultivate inclusive, equitable learning environments, whether it is online or face-to-face classrooms. 

The presence of diverse learners with diverse needs, backgrounds, and abilities require the use of multimedia materials, assessment practices, and feedback. FeedbackFruits solutions allow faculties to generate these multimedia course aspect, by supporting faculties in:

  • Providing content in multiple modalities (documents, audio to video; and in formats accessible to all learners (e.g., adding subtitles, including alternative texts to images, increasing text size or brightness).
    Tool suggestions: Interactive Video, Interactive Document, Interactive Audio
  • Curating different ways in which students can interact with the study materials, by using social annotation, online discussion forums, or interactive quizzes.
    Tool suggestions: Comprehension, Discussion on Work, Discussion on Topic, Quiz
  • Issuing multi-layer assessment activities (peer feedback, group evaluation, and self reflection) to initiate interactions, and encourage students to learn from each other.
    Tool suggestion: Peer Review, Group Member Evaluation, Self Assessment
  • Offering students multiple ways to provide feedback, not just limited to text-based comments.
    Feature suggestions: FeedbackFruits instructors and students always have the option to attach pdf files, audio or video alongside their feedback.

Add a self reflection step to any FeedbackFruits activity
Add a reflection step to any activity for students to evaluate their own performance

Inclusive teaching also involves personalizing the learning experience to stimulate student autonomy and self-efficacy. FeedbackFruits can help faculties create plenty of opportunities for personalized learning, by generating interactions, authenticity, data insights, and more. Here are some of the ways to leverage technology-enhance personalized learning in F2F courses: 

  • Create authentic assessments that replicate real life scenarios (group projects, poster presentations, conferences, podcast production, etc.). E.g., Discussion on Work helps instructors organize an online symposium where students can showcase their research poster. 
  • Provide instant, timely feedback, and mentorship using feedback tools (Peer Review, Automated Feedback, or Group Member Evaluation). E.g., ‍FeedbackFruits Automated Feedback tool harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate instant, formative remarks on lower-order aspects of student academic writing skills (spelling, citation, or structure), allowing teachers to focus on higher-order aspects (argumentation, reasoning) tailored to individual needs. 
  • Access student analytics to identify existing problems, and make timely adjustments to address students’ needs. E.g., Using the analytic dashboard in Interactive Document, instructors can go over the questions and responses to identify the most prominent knowledge gaps, then bring these to address in face-to-face or synchronous sessions. This results in a much shorter and more effective lecture.

Student analytics dashboard in FeedbackFruits
Access student analytics to adjust the course design

Conclusion

Institutions might not feel the need for technology when returning to face-to-face classrooms. In fact, the potential of digital-enhanced learning extends beyond the remote setting. As shown in the previous section, incorporating technology into in-person courses can bring plenty of benefits, from saving faculties time in manual course set-ups, supporting inclusive pedagogy, initiating the transfer of skills, to creating a learning community. Though institutions might fear the effort required for technology adoption, many digital tools (including FeedbackFruits) offer great user experience, and ample support for integration and implementation.

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