In the post-Covid higher education setting, many subjects are now being taught in a more distinctly blended mode, with face to face (F2F) experiences no longer a given for all components of a subject. So with limited F2F time, how do we structure our teaching to make the most of this?

In the LX.lab’s first workshop from the our new LX.lab Unplugged series, we set out to identify some of the factors and experiences that could be considered in the process of planning of F2F components for a blended subject. The collaborative workshop drew upon the experiences of those in attendance to develop a rough framework that may assist others who are responding to this new teaching landscape.

So…what is F2F good for?

Embodied experiences

We are more than just a face and a pair of vocal chords. Being in the same room together allows for activities that involve moving in a (very high resolution) three dimensional space, experiencing that space through all our senses and interacting with one another and the space. Embodied learning, which draws upon theories of embodied cognition, is more often encountered in a primary school setting, but participants in the workshop recounted a range of teaching activities that capitalised upon the physicality of F2F.

Collaborative group work

Sharing space can help to remove communication barriers and allow for more engaging and efficient processes of collaboration. In addition the teacher is able to more easily check in with groups, observe their process and intervene to redirect (its hard to subtly and unobtrusively slip into a Zoom breakout room).

Peer accountability

Activities that ask students to discuss a reading or reflect upon an asynchronous activity in small groups can be an effective way to utilise peer pressure in a positive way – nobody wants to be the student with nothing to contribute 3 weeks in a row. This sense of accountability to other students is more likely to be effective when the students are together, in the same place rather than connected remotely. In this way the F2F time can assist in driving student engagement with asynchronous online tasks and materials

Non core content

Teaching staff are increasingly recognising the need to support and engage students more holistically, incorporating activities that promote mindfulness or a sense of belonging and connection between students. This non core content can be much more effective in a F2F setting, and its impacts can extend to assist students to connect and work together as they engage together in online activities as well as F2F.

What else?

Tell us if your use of F2F class time has changed since the return to campus with this Mentimeter poll. We’ll use your contribution to shape future unplugged events.

LX.lab Unplugged event series

LX.lab Unplugged is a monthly series of on-campus only events in the LX.lab, focused on connecting to face-to-face learning, teaching strategies and practices.

Feature image by Andy Roberts

  • Face to face: also good for the mental health 🙂 I spoke to some academics yesterday and we all recognised how much we loved being in the physical spaces with the students, able to see who’s getting it, who’s tuning out, who’s confused… the zoom experience is much harder.

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