Making my voice heard (to my remote students) – Kristina Steiner, Psychology

The problem

This fall I was assigned to a very large teaching space. This was great for social-distancing but created issues for my remote students. With one external mic in this large space, I was afraid my remote students would not be able to hear me. In addition to sound, I was also concerned about presentation. I frequently use both a whiteboard and a Power Point presentation. How could I position both for my remote students to view easily?

The solution

With the use of a lapel mic, a well-positioned camera, and co-hosting two Zooms, I was able to resolve these issues.

First, let’s address the sound. I purchased a simple wireless lapel mic that I connect to the desktop in the classroom. When I log on to Zoom (cohost 1), I set the Zoom mic to the lapel mic. Now my remote students can clearly hear me and my in-class students her my normal classroom-level voice.

Second, let’s address the view. I set Zoom on the desktop (cohost 1) to use the in-class web camera which is pointing at the whiteboard and projector screen displaying the PPT presentation. Then I log into zoom on my laptop (cohost 2) and share the powerpoint for the day. The picture below is what my remote students see on Zoom. The remote students can pin the webcam view and hear lapel mic from cohost 1, which appears in the upright hand corner of the screen, while the screen of cohost 2 and the powerpoint for the day is shared. If a remote student wants to look more closely at the whiteboard, they switch the views – view cohost 1 and pin cohost 2.

The take-away

Overall, I am happy with this low-cost solution. Fortunately, aside from the lapel mic (~$50), I had access to all the necessary equipment provided in the classroom by ETS. Then using the existing Zoom platform in a creative way, I was able to keep my remote students connected in the class. After a few days, the set-up process has become second nature and the system has been very stable.

Kristina Steiner
Assistant Professor