- Group size: 22 students
- Teaching type: Undergraduate
- Division: Department for Continuing Education
- Subject: Archaeology
- Tools: Teams
The Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology is a two-year part-time course offered by the Department for Continuing Education. The teaching sessions take place every Thursday evening during term time, supplemented by weekend field trips and practical sessions. Students interested in archaeology choose to take this course as it is part-time, allowing them to study as well as having work or caring commitments. Students are usually based in Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties (although sometimes further afield), and we usually have about 22 students in the group.
In Michaelmas term 2020, this course was taught using live Teams hybrid teaching. As course director, I taught the class in person, and the guest tutors and students had the choice of attending in person or joining from home via Teams. The guest tutors and approximately half the students decided to join from home. A typical teaching session involved me and 11 students in the physical classroom and 11 students (and a guest tutor) attending from home. The students and I sat at two-metre socially-distanced tables and wore face-masks.
In Hilary term 2021, the live Teams sessions were delivered fully online. At the beginning of Trinity term 2021 the course was given permission to be taught in person, and the live Teams hybrid sessions have recommenced. Currently most of the students join from home, but every week a small group of them attend in person (socially-distanced and wearing face-masks, and having taken a LFD test).
The course is taught using PowerPoint presentations and with plenty of time built in for tutor-led discussion. The live Teams hybrid teaching sessions involve the students discussing questions with me, the guest tutor and one another, and our experience shows that all those in the physical classroom can clearly hear those joining via Teams, and vice versa. The discussions are as lively and productive as when everyone is together in the physical classroom. One strength of live Teams hybrid teaching is that is provides an opportunity for the class to meet and interact, whether attending in person or from home.
The main limitation is the additional staff-time needed. The guest tutors needed to be familiar with Teams, so practice-sessions were held in advance of live sessions to make sure they could share their PowerPoint and knew how to swap between gallery view and the shared screen. I attended the guest tutor sessions, as it was helpful for me to facilitate the tutor-led discussions and monitor the ‘hands up’ in the physical classroom and on Teams. With experience the guest tutors gain confidence in using Teams and less additional staff-time tends to be needed.
Live Teams hybrid teaching at the Department for Continuing Education, Trinity term 2021
Contributed by: Dr Alison MacDonald, Department for Continuing Education