Delivering synchronous medium size Q&A tutorials effectively using a visualiser and Piazza

In this video, Kyriakos Neanidis (SoSS) demonstrates how he utilises live sessions for medium sized groups to supplement pre-recorded lectures and live tutorials.

With lockdown Kyriakos decided to run his Macroeconomics PGT course using a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Lectures were delivered asynchronously and students were provided with recorded materials. Tutorials were run live as an opportunity for students to ask questions (Q&A) sessions but also supported with Piazza for asynchronous discussion.

Kyriakos posted in Piazza every Monday morning a message listing the reading materials for the week ahead and the opportunities for students to contact Kyriakos individually and when the Q&A sessions would take place.

In live Q&A sessions Kyriakos used a Visualiser (provided by Faculty of Humanities) to replicate what would have happened in class using a class whiteboard in subjects like economics where formulae or numbers are used frequently. The visualiser allowed him to demonstrate and cover student questions jotting down, scribbling but also annotating hardcopy documents live with students.

The experience helped Kyriakos realise there are elements of this mode of delivery that benefit students, which he intends retaining even after the end of lockdown restrictions. For example, holding office hours online.

  • Effectively replicating in-class teaching in a live online context.
  • Live annotation captured with the Visualiser raised interest and focuses students’ attention on a topic
  • The Visualiser facilitated student engagement with the live sessions, consolidation of students’ understanding of materials, and self-testing.
  • Managing live medium-size groups (90 students) effectively.
Student Feedback

“In every Q&A session and office hour session, the lecturer has been very patient and kind to answer every question of students. There are videos attached on blackboard to explain tutorial questions and the lecturer answers questions as soon as possible.”

“The communication between professor and students during the live Q&A sessions have helped me feel part of a learning community.”

Top Tips
  • Weekly email facilitated students planning of the week ahead
  • Visualiser requires low level of technical expertise/technical confidence
  • Piazza was used to prepare students to understand and engage with content as well as for asynchronous discussion
  • Specify very clearly to students what will be covered in the live Q&A session
  • Encourage live participation in Q&A by making sure that all questions are covered and responded including poor questions.
  • Ask students to provide a list of questions they would wish to see addressed in the live Q&A session before the meeting. This could be done by posting their questions on Piazza.


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School: Social Sciences

Discipline: Economics

Academic: Kyriakos Neanidis

Course: ECON60411 Macroeconomics (PGT)

Themes: Teaching ideas, Blackboard, Piazza, Seminars, Live collaboration

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