Teaching with a Bimodal Approach
A new option for Fall 2021
Welcome to this new webpage where you can learn more about the University of Ottawa's bimodal approach.
In anticipation of a gradual return of students and professors to campus, starting in the Fall of 2021, the University of Ottawa will offer courses using a bimodal approach.
This approach is a combination of two distinct real-time (synchronous) teaching spaces. One physical space in a classroom on campus where a professor is there with a reduced number of students (to meet the physical distancing measures established by Ottawa Public Health), and a second virtual space using a videoconferencing technology (Zoom or MS Teams) for students who choose to take the course remotely.
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We will share additional resources on teaching with a bimodal approach.
We are also preparing training sessions (webinars) – dates to come
Professor and students in a classroom on campus.
Students taking the same course at the same time remotely.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
In the context of a gradual return of students and professors to campus, bimodal instruction is a synchronous mode of teaching that includes two learning spaces, one physical space in the classroom and the other via virtual/distance learning.
Bimodal instruction combines two spaces (physical and virtual) rather than just one of the two.
Professors need to handle more audio-visual equipment in the classroom to ensure that each student (in class and at a distance) is able to see and hear what will be happening in the classroom (content presented, discussions, questions, etc.). For students, adaptations to the learning environment will consist of being mindful of students in both modalities and helping instructors facilitate communication and discussion across modalities (e.g., respecting the right to speak, avoiding unnecessary noise, muting the microphones, etc.).
No, they see and hear the professor just as those in class do. They also have access to shared media via the virtual teaching platform (Zoom, MS Teams or Adobe Connect).
Usually, cameras are installed to provide a foreground view of the instructor, screen and board in front of the classroom. However, as in typical face-to-face lectures during student presentations, students can go to the podium or to the front of the class. Their peers at a distance will only be able to see them if they are at the front of the room facing the in-person roster of students.
The goal is to equip as many classrooms as possible with ceiling microphones so that the voices of students in the classroom can be broadcast to students at a distance. If this is not the case in a particular classroom, it will be important for professors to repeat (or simply paraphrase) the questions so that they are well understood by all students (in class and at a distance).
The goal of bimodal instruction is to make the experience of students following the course remotely as similar as possible to that of the classroom students. All students should be viewed as a single group, but in two different "spaces" (one physical space in the classroom and the other virtual space from a distance). Teaching assistants can also play a role by actively participating during synchronous sessions (monitoring the chat room, managing questions submitted by students at a distance, technological support, etc.).
All multimedia rooms on campus that are equipped with a camera and microphone can accommodate bimodal instruction. The TLSS team is currently working to ensure that all Registrar's classrooms will be equipped for bimodal instruction for September 2021.
A major upgrade of classroom equipment is currently underway. This important step aims to substantially increase the number of classrooms equipped with cameras and microphones. Each multimedia classroom will eventually have at least one microphone and one camera.
Once in the classroom, here are the steps to follow.
- Open the podium by passing your access card over the sensor designed for this purpose and start the equipment.
- On the touch control screen, select the language of use "French" or "English".
- Using the arrows to control the camera, position the camera to give the desired image or perspective to remote students at a distance. It is strongly recommended to keep the same position for the duration of the session to avoid unnecessary camera movements.
- Select the desired language of use for the computer screen on the podium.
- Select the desired virtual teaching platform (Zoom, MS Teams or Adobe Connect).
- Once the connection is established with the virtual meeting scheduled for your course, share your screen so that all students (in class and remotely) can see this interface.
- Make sure that your microphone is turned on and that all students can hear you.
- The course can now begin.
Specialists at the TLSS are available to assist you in adapting your course to a bimodal approach. In addition, training will be offered in the coming months and a resource bank will be available on the TLSS web site to help professors make the transition to bimodal instruction.
Specialists at the TLSS are available to assist your TA with bimodal instruction. In addition, training will also be offered to TAs in preparation for the Fall 2021 term.
During your class sessions, the TLSS technical team will be able to help you if you experience technical issues with the equipment. Classrooms are equipped with telephones so that you can contact the technical team quickly (7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.).