Online Lectures Overview
Article Last Updated September 2020
Please note: eClassLive (Adobe Connect) will be decommissioned on January 3rd 2021. Instructors for the Fall 2020 term can still use the system but anyone who can, especially instructors who are new to delivering lectures online, should switch to using Zoom for Synchronous lectures.
There are several centrally supported online lecture tools available at the U of A. These tools can add live discussion and dynamic interactions inside existing eClass courses or as separately scheduled events by email. All of the tools enable instructors to have real-time audio and video conversations with students while sharing content. See below for the recommended tools for each functional use or review a fuller comparison of the different functions and capabilities. Instructors should also consult the known issues for Zoom meetings and Google Meet.
Please note: As per the University's recommendations for shifting lectures online, instructors should consider providing lecture recordings that students can access at their own pace instead of delivering full synchronous lectures online. The tools below, along with using eClass forums, should be used to supplement lecture recordings through smaller interactive sessions.
Delivering full lectures online
This is the prime instructional use for both Zoom meetings and eClasslive (Adobe Connect). Students can join synchronous online sessions where instructors deliver, audio, video, and share their screen and/or lecture slides. Live sessions can be recorded for later review. As the number of participants in sessions increase, it becomes more challenging to manage participant interactions and keep sessions engaging.
Please note: Zoom meetings have been added to address Adobe Connect capacity limits and should be the first choice for any new users. Existing Adobe Connect users should continue using that platform but should be prepared to switch if required.
Facilitated group collaboration sessions
In smaller numbers, it is more manageable to have students sharing their own audio and video and contributing collaboratively using whiteboards. Breakout rooms are available in both Zoom and eClassLive to break down the class into smaller sized groups.
Group members (with or without instructor participation) can share audio, video, and screen content to collaborate. These sessions can be created by anyone with a CCID. Note: students cannot create their own Zoom meetings.
Recommended tools: 1) Google Meet
Virtual office hours
Instructors can arrange online sessions for 1-on-1 interactions with students. These can be scheduled through google calendar easily when using Google Meet. Zoom meetings have a feature to allow instructors to schedule sessions and allow students to join one at a time.
All of the available tools provide the ability to record sessions. For Zoom and eClassLive, these recordings are automatically available for students to view on their own time through their eClass course. Instructors should also review the Lecture Recording Overview for other available options.
Note: If you are instructing a class of more than 100 students there are important Google Meet changes to be aware of.
Earlier this year, Google announced that access to Meet premium features (e.g. hosting meetings up to 250 people and recording meetings to Google Drive) would be available temporarily to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers. Beginning October 1, 2020, access to premium features such as; meetings of up to 250 people and the ability to record meetings, will expire for all UAlberta G Suite accounts.
It is recommended to use Zoom as the video conference tool for e-learning classes of more than 100 students. To learn more about Zoom, visit: https://support.ctl.ualberta.ca/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/410/23/using-zoom---instructors