Virtual synchronous video sessions (webinars) have become integral parts of the online educational landscape. However, their use is still often seen as inferior to the attending a ‘real’ classroom.
While webinars can be just as successful pedagogically as a face-to-face sessions, there are still some affordances of the physical space that have been hard to replicate with virtual sessions. One of those is the barrier a webinar interface presents to a virtual participant but an even more important one is the lack of audience connection reported by webinar presenters.
The Oxford HIVE is a new virtual education space implemented at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School using technology developed by SyncRTC. This room is designed to give the lecturer a similar experience to that of the physical classroom. The stand in front of a video wall on which up to 84 videos from participants are shown. They can ask questions as they would in a real classroom. The initial reactions from faculty and external presenters have been very positive.
This presentation will showcase the Oxford HIVE and describe the experiences of its first year of operation. It will then discuss how the HIVE helps to bridge the affordance gap and where more work is still needed. Lessons learned that are applicable to traditional webinars will also be shared.
In addition, it will consider how the cloud platform can be used to blend synchronous and asynchronous communication by exploring differences between it and BigBlueButton integration in Canvas. Further, the session will explore the logistical constraints on scaling a solution such as this and implementing it into existing schedules and course curricula. While the HIVE is primarily intended for interaction with off-campus audiences, the session will share experiences with integrating on-campus attendees with fully virtual audiences.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This session is based on practice and will share the aggregate experiences of the Oxford HIVE presenters and attendees from the first year of operation. The data will include summary of participant and lecturer feedback and a description of trials. The presentation will also draw on extensive personal experience of the presenter running webinars using various platforms.
Oxford Saïd opens Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/school/news/oxford-hub-international-virtual-education (accessed 3.26.18).
Mohorovičić, S., Lasić-Lazić, J., Strčić, V., 2011. Webinars in higher education, in: 2011 Proceedings of the 34th International Convention MIPRO. Presented at the 2011 Proceedings of the 34th International Convention MIPRO, pp. 1271–1274.