Teaching via IVS
IVS stands for "Interactive Video Services". This office within Information Technology provides technology support to faculty teaching using the cross campuses television connections. Read more about their office and contact them for questions about the technology at http://www.wku.edu/it/conferencing/ Note that they also provide Audio and Web conferencing support.
Teaching via IVS is one way of reaching students at a distance. It provides a visual connection between the instructor and the students but it can seem challenging to deal with the equipment and to provide emotional connection or to provide an interactive classroom. Instructors who plan ahead and practice with the equipment do better in IVS classrooms and can come to enjoy the challenge of working with the various elements.
Here are a few key suggestions:
- Most instructors will use Blackboard for delivery of as much material as possible. Remember that students may be running onto campus from work for their lunch break and not have time to get materials delivered right before class. Make them available a week ahead of time to minimize stress (yours and theirs).
- Be sure to treat the students at the distance sites as equal to those locally, or you'll have behavior management issues at the distance site. (If the teacher didn't care about you, why would you care to listen?) Give them extra time to respond to questions (because of the transmission delay) and take turns calling on each site. Notice when they are there and apply the same rules to them as to your local class. If possible, visit each distant site once a semester, as early as possible. It makes the course go much more smoothly when they know you are more than a talking head.
- Powerpoint can be helpful, but only if it is readable at the poorer resolution of a TV monitor. Restrict yourself to 6 lines of text by 6-8 words of text and keep your text away from the edges of the screen. You need a margin for error, literally. If you write on the board, check that students elsewhere can see it. I favor the document camera for greater readability. Check and recheck on readability of whatever you project.
- Student discussion and interaction is possible but you have to teach them how in this new environment. Have every student use the mike on both day 1 and day 2-- that is what it takes for them to get over the hesitation and engage with the class the rest of the term. On day 1 they could introduce themselves (not a partner-- the camera will zoom on the speaker) and on day 2 they could share one idea regarding the course content.
- Students at each site notice the students at the other site- more closely than you do. You do have to manage behavior at all locations.
- Pay attention to your clothing-- solid colors transmit best. All white can be glaring. And patterns or chunky jewelry can become a distraction (patterns can shimmer and jewelry can hit the microphone).
- Go for advance instruction with the IVS staff...they will work with you individually.
To Grow Your IVS Skill: Teaching with IVS @WKU
If you are interested in becoming expert at IVS, enroll in our online tutorial about IVS which covers the technology, policies, more on pedagogy and self-quizzes on awareness. Visit Teaching @WKU to find out how to enroll.
Resources from Other Institutions.
Teaching with Technology: Tips for TV Teaching (The author addresses speaking to only a camera but at WKU we usually have students in our local classroom as well as the camera. Nevertheless, his ideas for presentation are useful).
p. 25 and following of Baker College's Manual provides very useful tips on the transition to teaching online: https://www.baker.edu/departments/etl/resources/Video%20Training%20manual.pdf
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