Aalto University Information Technology Program (ITP) is a minor program (24 ECTS) that is completed during the summer period (3 months). It brings students together from diverse backgrounds and all around the world to solve digital business problems.
ITP courses were organised in hybrid teaching model during the exceptional summer
The year 2020 has been exceptional in various ways. For the Information Technology Program (ITP), Aalto University’s flagship summer minor, this meant a full make-over of the 25-year old program’s implementation. ITP staff decided to run the program in a hybrid online/onsite model where some of the students attended the lectures onsite while others studied fully online.
ITP Program Manager Petra Fagerlund says that taking care of the safety of every participant, including staff, students and lecturers, was imperative for moving to the hybrid teaching model: ‘Our team instructed students to keep safe distances and wash hands often. We had hand disinfectant in the classrooms, and the students were requested to attend the lectures online if they felt any symptoms. We made our full effort to follow Aalto University’s Covid-19 guidelines. I am happy with how we managed to offer the students valuable learning experiences while taking care of everyone’s safety.’
Petra Fagerlund, ITP Program Manager
We made our full effort to follow Aalto University’s Covid-19 guidelines.
Hybrid teaching model provides flexible completion of the program
In a hybrid teaching model, students can attend the same lecture either in the classroom or online. The lecturer teaches in the classroom, considering both the onsite and online students. At ITP, online students participated in the lectures via Zoom, a video conference online platform. According to Fagerlund, it required a few trials and errors to make the the technical setup work for the hybrid teaching. However, ITP staff found the way to make the hybrid teaching model function in collaboration with the lecturers and students.
The lecturers wore a microphone headset and used a fixed classroom camera to communicate the classroom’s audio and video for the online students. The online students’ videos and Zoom’s chat were projected on the wall. The questions and comments provided by the online students were heard via the classroom’s audio system. For group discussions, the lecturers divided the online students with Zoom’s breakout room function and onsite students by the traditional way, asking them to form small groups.
Lecturers in ITP found the Zoom’s chat option as a great addition in the classroom teaching. A chat that is reflected on the wall brings an additional noise-free discussion channel next to the traditional classroom discussion. It enabled students to have conversations and explain things to each other without interrupting the lecture. This helped the lecturer to maintain the teaching flow.