How will hybrid learning work at Overlake?

An overview of "Overlake Combined" should social distancing requirements necessitate limiting the number of students physically present on campus.

Written By Jay Heath (Administrator)

Updated at August 31st, 2020

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Overlake is planning for an "Overlake Combined" contingency model which will rotate students between two cohorts, green and gold, so only half of the student body is on campus at any given time. You can review the schedule for Overlake Combined here: 20-21 Hybrid Schedule.png.  

The goals of this model are:

  1. Every student can leverage the best instructional strategies for the modality, whether online or on-campus. Students at home have an equitable and high-quality classroom experience.
  2. Employees have minimal setup at the start of class to get virtual classes going.
  3. Teachers have a playbook of flexible instructional strategies that adapt to the curricular needs in their subject.

To meet these goals when only half of our students can safely be on campus at a time, a Poly Studio camera on a tripod has been purchased for each instructional space. This camera and tripod setup have been chosen to maximize flexibility to orient the camera where the action is. The camera has a number of built-in microphones to capture speech in the classroom from all corners. It also has "camera tracking" so that as the speaker changes or moves, the camera maintains a tight frame so that viewers at home are more engaged and not simply viewing a wide-angle of the class the whole time.

How does it work?

The Poly Studio camera connects to AC power and has a 15-foot USB cable to connect to the teacher's laptop. Whether Mac or Windows, your laptop will automatically detect the camera. When you launch a Teams or Zoom meeting, you will be given the option to choose your camera (instructions for Teams and Zoom) and you will choose Poly Studio. Once you're in the meeting using the Poly Studio, you'll want to be sure to point the camera to see what you determine is relevant - the teacher, a small group, or the whole class of students. This will also be helpful for teachers who need to teach from home to see both their on-campus and online cohorts together.

A few things to keep in mind for this model:

  • There are new "Instructional Technology Expectations for Teaching and Learning" that were shared in early June. These are critical to review for whichever model we find ourselves in for the 20-21 school year. There are a number of special considerations for Overlake Combined, including a requirement that "each scheduled class meeting have a synchronous component." Operating the classroom camera has also been added to the "Instructional Technology Competencies Checklist" for Faculty.
  • Part of the flexibility built into this model is the ability for teachers to choose how often to bring the online and on-campus cohorts together  -  this will vary greatly depending on the age of your students, your subject, and even your unit.
  • Depending on how teachers decide to use the camera in their classroom, there are a number of best practices for facilitating classes with both cohorts together:
    • It is important that teachers and students know how to adjust their individual view in a Teams or Zoom meeting:
      • Fit to Frame / Fill Frame: By default, a person's video in a meeting is set to "Fill Frame" which will try to maximize the person's video in their square of an online meeting. For participants to see the whole frame of the video being sent from the classroom camera, they should be comfortable toggling to Fit to Frame which will show the full video clip being captured.
      • Switch between seeing people and content: When a person shares their screen, it takes over the main view of the meeting. You can switch back to the view of people by clicking the small thumbnail video in the bottom left corner of the meeting.
      • Pin video: Students at home can see students on campus in their online meeting which may at times be useful, and at other times, a potential distraction. Students at home and on campus should use the "Pin Video". 
    • Content shared in the classroom should be shared in digital format via screen share so students at home and in the classroom see the same content. Physical content that can’t be shared on the teacher's laptop will require the use of a document camera.
    • The camera can pick up writing on the whiteboard nearest the camera. Some rooms may need lighting adjustments to reduce glare from room lights on the whiteboards.
    • Document cameras will be an important way to share physical demonstrations, art, manipulatives, etc. Most classrooms already have these - if your space does not, please contact the Help Desk at tech@overlake.org or 206.307.0248.
  • There may still be times when you want all students to join an online meeting whether on-campus or online to participate in an activity. Students will need headphones to connect and participate in the online meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Technology

When can I practice with the camera?

Departments have been assigned morning or afternoon support sessions for two weeks in August prior to the start of school to familiarize themselves with classroom cameras as follows during the two weeks of August 10 and 17:

  • Mornings – PE, English, Science, Language
  • Afternoon – Art, Social Studies, Math, EE

Please consult this article in its entirety before reaching out to tech@overlake.org, as your department members, and let us know how we can help! 

Can I change the camera tracking settings?

Yes. Cameras are set by default to track the speaker, to move between speakers fast, to cut between speakers rather than panning, and to frame the speaker wide. Each of these settings can be adjusted, though a teacher in a given classroom must first coordinate with other teachers using their classroom to find mutually agreeable settings.

What if my camera stops working - will there be spares?

Yes. Contact the Help Desk at tech@overlake.org or 425.602.7007 with any questions.

Students say that my classroom video is being cut off, or they want to see the classroom video instead of my shared screen. How can they do this?

Teams and Zoom both allow online meeting participants to adjust their view of the meeting, whether by pinning a video, spotlighting a video (Zoom only), switching between content and people, or changing how the content fills the screen. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these settings so you can help your students make the most of online meetings.

I'm going to be teaching from home for health or other reasons - what technology will be available for me to better teach effectively from home?

There are a number of pieces of technology in addition to your school-issued laptop that may help you to better teach from home. The technology department can provide the following technologies to help you make teaching from home more engaging:

  • Drawing tablet: If your Ovelake computer is a Windows computer you already have a touchscreen capable of handwriting and whiteboarding with your students. If you have a Mac, you don't have a touchscreen, so a drawing tablet to connect to your computer may be helpful to allow you to write by hand or whiteboard with your students. 
  • Document camera: These are available in most Overlake classrooms. Some disciplines may find them helpful for teaching from home, but cannot take their classroom doc cam home because they share their classroom with other teachers. If a document camera would be helpful to share manipulatives, demonstrations, etc. with your students that your laptop camera cannot easily capture, a doc cam may be a good fit for your needs.
  • USB headset: If you have a work from home (WFH) situation where your laptop speakers or microphone do not allow you to adequately allow you to participate in online meetings, a USB headset with microphone may be helpful to improve your audio quality. 
If you have other ideas about hardware that would be helpful to use for teaching from home, please don't hesitate to reach out to the Technology or Teaching & Learning teams for support. If you need any of these technologies, please contact the help desk at tech@overlake.org or 206.307.0248 if you need a drawing tablet for your Mac.

Will my whiteboard be visible using the classroom camera?

Yes, although this will depend on the unique lighting situation in your room. The largest challenge will be glare from overhead lights on the whiteboard. Many classrooms have the ability to turn off half of the lights - this may help to reduce glare. Many classrooms are set up to have a whiteboard on either side of the projector, and glare will likely be better or worse on one board versus the other. Certain color pens will work better than others. Given all of the above, we strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with your own setup in a test online meeting; this will take trial & error and flexibility in each room.

Cohorts

Do I need to keep both cohorts together all the time during class?

No. This model has been designed to give teachers the autonomy to instruct their cohorts in the method that is best for their individual course. For some subjects like Art, PE, or Science, it may be that students need to do an activity that can only be done in person during their on-campus day, and the online cohort does another activity that day. On a subsequent class day, the formerly online cohort is on-campus and completes the on-campus activity while the formerly on-campus cohort now does the online activity. Other subjects may lend well to always bringing cohorts together for live or online discussions, group work, etc.

How should I plan curriculum that works for both cohorts?

Curriculum planning in an online or hybrid setting is a complex process. We need to re-examine the essential skills and content in our courses. This may mean "covering" less material but having a chance to learn more deeply. Curriculum planning is different from instructional planning. Curriculum is the "what" and instruction is the "how." Consider the fundamental differences between online and on-campus instruction when deciding how to manage both cohorts, whether you decide to instruct them together, or apart.

Will I be expected to manage both cohorts simultaneously?

Yes. Consider that "managing" is different from "actively instructing." This is exactly what the synchronous component of each class is built for - clarifying learning objectives and setting expectations with both cohorts about what is expected of them.

Teaching and Learning

What is expected of me during the "required synchronous component" of each class?

Please review the Instructional Technology Expectations for Teaching and Learning which covers this in greater depth.

How do I call on kids who raise their hands from home?

There are a few options to manage this depending on how each teacher prefers to manage their own classroom:

  1. Ask students at home to use the "raise hand" functionality in Teams or Zoom in order to indicate that they have a question, then instruct students who are on campus to raise their hands on behalf of students at home to say "John at home has a question" at which point John at home unmutes and asks their question.
  2. Leave pauses for questions longer than usual to ensure students at home have time to unmute and ask their questions.
  3. Come up with a buddy system so that each student at home has a buddy in the on-campus cohort to speak up on their behalf with a hand-raise, etc.

Can I move from my desk while teaching?

Yes. The camera will track you as you move (within its wide field of view). Please test this in your classroom to determine where the camera needs to be placed in order to track you across your most used teaching locations.

How will student accommodations and 504 plans be managed during hybrid learning?

Many of the same accommodations we offer students in person will still be applicable in a hybrid model.

How will I teach from home?

A substitute protocol is still being determined, but it will involve someone who can be physically present in your classroom to join your online meeting with the camera setup to your specifications. The sub will be present in the classroom for any physical classroom management needs. Otherwise, you as the teacher can control via the online meeting what shows on the screen, what you see, etc.

Should I be recording my online meetings?

We are working on putting guidance together for teachers to determine when, how, and why they record their lessons. For now, continue to use your professional discretion to record when you deem it necessary for future professional or instructional use.  

What if a student needs to stay home for health or other reasons - can they be online only?

We will make individual accommodations where available but will not expect faculty to design a fully online curriculum for students if our campus is open.

Are there more resources I can find to change how I think about teaching online and on-campus cohorts simultaneously?

The Teaching & Learning and Technology Teams have built substantial resources through the Designing for Online Learning Canvas course. We encourage you to utilize those resources, as well as Wise, Overlake's Knowledge Base, in order to get answers to your questions about teaching and learning and instructional technology. Our instructional coaches will also be available to provide thought-partnership and targeted support on best practices in curriculum and pedagogy.

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