Sunday, May 19, 2013

7 Ways to Use Google+ Hangouts in Online Classes

      A Google+ Hangout is one of many tools educators and students can use to increase engagement and achievement, particularly in online classes.  Participants can talk to each other synchronously using audio and video.  Participants can share their screens, share Google Documents, or watch YouTube videos together at the same time.  Google+ Hangouts can be recorded (Hangouts On Air) and posted to YouTube.  Here are some suggestions for instructors and students in online classes.

1. Virtual Office Hours 

     Professors often provide office hours for students in face-to-face classes.  Professors can use Google+ Hangouts to offer office hours to students in online classes.

2. Review Sessions

     Professors can host review sessions before exams.  Students could host their own review sessions to make sure they understand the content in the class.

3. Synchronous Class Discussions

     Many online classes feature discussion boards.  As an alternative to traditional written posts and comments, students could record their Google Hangout and embed/post it in the discussion board in the learning management system.  Students could also record and embed/post their responses.  Students can set their videos as "Unlisted" if they don't want others outside the class to see the videos.

4. Group Project Meetings

     Students in face-to-face classes often have to complete group projects.  Students in online classes could use Google+ Hangouts and other Google tools to complete group projects.  Students could set a time when group members could meet to discuss and work on their project.  Students could also work collaboratively on their Google Documents during the Hangout.

5. Student Presentations

     Students in online classes can complete student presentations in online classes with Google+ Hangouts.  Students could create a presentation in Google Drive and then toggle between the presentation and the webcam during the presentation.  Professors could watch and assess the presentation synchronously at a specified time or asynchronously if the student records the session (Hangouts On Air).  This can work with individual or group presentations.  Again, students can set the videos as "Unlisted" if they don't want people outside the class to view the videos.

6. Feedback on Assignments

     Professors can use Google+ Hangouts to provide feedback to students synchronously.  In the synchronous option, the instructor and student could set a time to meet and discuss the student's work. Alternatively, the professor could record his or her comments using the video recording features in YouTube and set the privacy setting on the video to "Unlisted."  Then the professor could send the student the link to the video.

7. Record Lectures

     Many instructors are looking for ways to flip their classrooms.  Google+ Hangouts can be a tool in this process.  Professors could record their lectures using Google+ Hangouts On Air and use the embed code in YouTube to embed the videos into their learning modules in their learning management system.

     For more information on online degree programs, please visit the Tarleton State University E-Campus Website.

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