Creating and Setting up Virtual Classroom (VC) sessions within Brightspace Modules.
The Brightspace Virtual Classroom continues to be the primary means through which teaching is been conducted at the University of Suffolk. The VC (hosted by an external tool named Bongo) allows lecturers and student to communicate via video, audio and text. Lecturers can upload an present documents, and can also split attendees into small breakout rooms to facilitate group work.
Virtual Classroom inline with Content to create Context and Narrative
The interactive guidance below shows you how to set up a Virtual Classroom session by two methods, by inserting a session directly alongside your course content, and by creating sessions through the Communications tab in Brightspace. Both methods will achieve the same end-result as far as the VC session itself, but will have differing results within the module content. Please also familiarise yourself with the following notices about use of the Virtual Classroom settings;
- Automatically Recorded Sessions - Guidance from the University of Suffolk is that ALL VC sessions should be recorded in order to facilitate both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Whilst setting up a VC session 'Auto-Record' is set off by default. Turning this on means that the session will begin recording from the set start time. If 'Auto-Record' is not set, recording will need to be initiated manually. If a session is not recorded it will disappear once ended and cannot be recovered. See guidance on how to start recording here
- Publish Recorded Meeting - The option to automatically publish a recorded meeting is set on by default. This can be turned off. Be aware that recorded meetings that are not auto-published will not show up on a students list of Virtual Classroom sessions to be reviewed after they have ended, even if a student is invited to the session. If Auto-Publish is set to off, a VC session can only be shared by creating a link to its public URL in course content after the session has ended.
- Allowing External Participants - By default Brightspace Virtual Classroom sessions should not be set to allow external participants. Leaving this option off means that ONLY the students and staff enrolled on the module will be able to see and attend the VC session. If you need an external speaker (who otherwise would have no access to the session) to be able to attend, then select this option. Once selected an option to "Copy External URL" will appear under the 3-dots next to the session. Clicking this will store it on your clipboard and it can be pasted into emails and messages. This option should NOT be used to allow students to enter the VC, as their attendance in the VC will not be tracked if they enter via this link.
- Inviting the Entire Class or Not? - The default setting for "Invite Entire Class" in VC sessions is on. This will allow every student access to the VC session you have created. If you untick this option, students will not be able to see the VC session. You can use this to only invite certain students to a VC for group work or individual tutorials. This option should not be used to pre-record lectures, as students cannot see the resulting VC recording. If this option is selected you can click the 3-dots next to a session and select "Manage Invites" to select which students should be able to attend. After a session is recorded, those who were not invited will not be able to see the recording.
If you require further guidance on use of the Virtual Classroom please see our guidance on Running VC sessions here, or alternatively you can speak to Learning Services staff at our Drop-In sessions, advertised here.