Dual teaching in Autumn 2020: 4 tips

Dual teaching in Autumn 2020: 4 tips

Ready for the winter semester 2020 with Covid19 precautions? A few students are allowed or want to go to campus, other students are part of the risk group or in quarantine. With the “dual” teaching format, the aim is to make classroom instruction inclusive: Students who are connected live online should also be able to participate. In this blog post, I share my Lessons Learned, packed in 4 tips.

In the last blog post, I took a closer look at the terms “dual teaching format”, “hybrid learning” and “blended learning”. The dual-format is especially characterized by the fact that students are connected to the classroom course live online. In other words: the learning and teaching design of the course would not have to change and the quality of the learning and teaching process is as usual in presence – at least that is the hope.

Know the problem well – find the right solution

Same didactic concept + microphone, webcam, zoom = everything as usual?

Dual teaching and its pitfalls

I extend the equation above to include the students who are connected from home:

“Students available online during the classroom session + same didactic concept + microphone, webcam, zoom = everything as usual? – we take a closer look at the equation.

“Students who are connected online do not work as well and are not as involved as students who are present” – these and similar statements can be heard after the first attempts at dual teaching. Unfortunately, not everything is nearly as “as usual”, despite the use of technology and the efforts that go with it.


A look into our “equation” and at Zoom (or any other web conferencing tool): Zoom-Fatigue is one possible explanation. The psychologist and business economist Prof. Dr. Johannes Moskaliuk mentioned in his blog post some points that explain this fatigue caused by Zoom:

“Constantly seeing one’s own image increases self-attention.”

“We are neither here nor there. Body and mind do not fit together.”

“Zoom meetings are less effort, and are therefore often less well prepared.”

“Especially when video conferences take place at home in the home office, it is exhausting to find enough peace and concentration.”

What should be “as usual”?

What you want to achieve has a sensitive effect on our “equation”. When teaching, especially in presence, the implemented didactic design is often based on intuition and tacit knowledge of the teachers. This often works well face-to-face, but when learning and teaching online, one can encounter limitations. The learning outcomes to be achieved should be formulated as explicitly as possible – then it is easier to organize oneself in the text- & image-based world of the internet, especially in a group.

Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can also consider which means of online communication are suitable for this and this influences the didactic concept including the choice of tools and functions.

Explication Wins

Summarized: The equation “students online available during the classroom session + same didactic concept + microphone, webcam, zoom = everything as usual?” can fail simply because this “everything as usual” has to be communicated differently for communication on the web: Namely as explicitly as possible.

Enough about the pitfalls of our equation. How can the learning experience be improved both for the students who are present and for those who are online?

4 tips on how to make dual instruction a success

Last year, I held an open dual conference for the ApprEnt project, with the main focus on information transfer. I noticed a few things, here are my lessons learned:

1) Use lectures sparingly

Presentations do not have to run in a synchronous setting. The time can be better used. The question is: What do you want to achieve through the lecture?

Should students absorb and process information? Then it would be better to record the lecture, ask the students to ask questions, and answer each other, for example in a forum. Because it is NOT synchronous, students have more time to absorb the information and integrate it into their mental models of thought through reflection.

Should the students continue to work with the processed information? Then please read on at point 2).

2) Stimulate exchange, common understanding, and decision making

The whole group of learners is online at the same time. This is best used for exchange, decision making, and building common understanding in the group so that work can be continued based on this.

3) Shared online workspace

For the group of learners to be able to exchange ideas, build a common understanding, and make decisions, a common online workspace is needed that supports synchronous working in the best possible way:

Video chat and text chat: For the exchange of facial expressions and gestures, e.g. zoom, MS Teams, Jitsi, etc.

Chat channels: Structured exchange in channels, works synchronously and asynchronously, e.g. Mattermost (Open Source), Slack, MS Teams

Shared “online flipchart”: You can work together online on a topic, text, pictures, drawings (depending on the functionality of the tools), e.g. on Mural, Miro, Padlet or Jamboard, Google Docs, Google Slides, (different functionalities and possibilities)

4) ALL must be online

Also, the learners who are present must have devices with which they are online and work online. Because it is clear that if a group can only participate online, the workspace must be on the Internet. Everyone must be able to work on a common online flipchart and communicate online.

If it is organizationally possible, you can also separate into online and offline groups, but especially if the whole group is to come together, everyone must be online.

This post was originally published in ISABELL GOES EDU-TECH by Isabell Grundschober. It was translated to English by Nilay Aral.

Dual unterrichten im Herbst 2020: 4 Tipps on 20.10.2020

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