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Engagement in Large Classrooms: Online or Face-to-Face

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has taken strategic initiatives to increase accessibility and engagement in educational activities through digitalization and offer the best engineering programs in Europe. The Erasmus+ EdViCon (Portable Educational Video Conferencing Systems) project together with the Danish DIREC project “Learning Technology for Improving Teaching Quality at Scale” contributed to reaffirming that “Lectures are very important” to the students of Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering courses. Students stated during interviews that they expect that the video conferencing systems, professors’ interactions, and opportunities to interact are critical in the case of both videoconferencing mediated and face-to-face classrooms. 

Photo by: Md Saifuddin Khalid, 7 October 2022, right after a break

To simulate a portable videoconference mediated large classroom, in the introduction to statistics course, during Fall 2022, Remarkable 2TM was used to present the slides in pdf form. During the lecture, students were suggested to ask questions at the end of each method and example. The answers to students questions included drawing using Remarkable 2 TM, writing small lines of code, or showing small calculations on the pdf version of the slides. After the class, the students requested for the edited version of pdf, which was then uploaded though the Brightspace learning management system. The students stated that the session was more engaging and believe that videoconference mediated session might be as good. From the teachers’ perspective, an additional screen is necessary in the case of video-conference mediated teaching for ensuring that a raised do not go unnoticed and visual cues regarding students’ engagement will significantly reduce if the students turn off their videos. 

Students were engaged by using Kahoot or Socrative. Daily formative evaluation shows that students liked the interaction using Kahoot so much that many asked why it was not used on during one of the lectures.  

Author: Md Saifuddin Khalid, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

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