Microphone use: Tips for instructors

Raising hands in UF TA Orientation - Photo by Daniel Brotherton
Some teaching situations require the instructor to use a microphone, such as when I made a presentation at the University of Florida’s orientation for new teaching assistants. (That’s me at the front of the auditorium. Thank goodness I had a microphone.) Photo by Daniel Brotherton

An increase in microphone use by instructors is one of the results of the pandemic and the increase in online and hybrid teaching.

Prior to the pandemic, most instructors taught in classrooms that didn’t require microphone use. Many instructors had never used microphones in their classrooms and, perhaps, had only used a microphone for making a conference presentations.

Even auditorium teaching doesn’t always require a microphone, depending on the design of the auditorium and the instructor’s voice projection.

With the pandemic, most instructors moved to teaching with microphones. Teaching via Zoom, using their laptops. Teaching in an in-person setting and wearing a mask. Teaching in a hybrid environment, with some students in the classroom and others participating online. Recording classes – or entire courses – for asynchronous learning.

Kevin Hull in his home teaching studio
Kevin Hull converted a portion of a room at home into a studio for his online teaching, complete with a Blue Yeti microphone.

I asked University of South Carolina faculty member and former sportscaster Dr. Kevin Hull to join me to discuss microphone use for instructors.

Hull is associate professor of journalism and Sport Media Lead in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was named a “Breakthrough Star” by the University of South Carolina and named “Promising Professor” by the Association for Education in Journalism and Communication’s Mass Communication and Society Division.

Julie Dodd: Let’s talk about the microphones instructors might use for in-person teaching, online teaching or conference presentations.

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Teaching online: Strategies and tips for college instructors

by Ernest Rice
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Ernest Rice

Ernest Rice

If you haven’t taught an online course yet, you probably will be sometime soon.

In 2012, the US Department of Education estimated that 6.7 million students were enrolled in online classes in the US, while the number of online classes as well as online only degrees is growing constantly.

Online education began as distance learning, which is a way of educating students who are not in the physical presence of the instructor.

Distance education as we know it began in England in the 1840s when Sir Isaac Pitman started promoting correspondence courses on shorthand in newspaper advertisements as well as through door to door sales.  In the 1920s and 30s several schools experimented with distance learning using radio where students listened to lectures and mailed-in assignments. In the 40s U.S. military troops were shown training films and movies, and in the 50s and 60s television was used to do the same thing.

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What are factors that impact our ability to make curriculum change and what are our views about teaching online?

Jon Morris led a discussion with the faculty, asking us:

What are factors that impact our ability to make curriculum change?

– The university curriculum process can be very long and involved. If we have good ideas for curriculum change, we need a process that can make that possible.

– We need better communication with students. Students often aren’t aware of curriculum changes or offerings because they haven’t read the information we are providing. They aren’t reading the listserv messages we’re sending. They aren’t reading the student handbook. What can we do to better reach students? And we may need to “send” that message many ways to make sure that we reach them.

What are factors that impact our interest in and ability to teach online courses?

– Jon Morris conducted a survey of students at a Gainesville high school. One of the findings was that 56 percent had no interest in taking online courses.

– Juan Carlos Molleda says, “Online is not for everyone, but it has a great potential and we are looking for that potential.”

– Kim Walsh-Childers — Online courses not only allow students to be somewhere other than Gainesville but allow teachers to be teaching from another location.

– Judy Robinson talked about Coursera, which offers well-designed courses for free. These courses enable people with a shared interest to come together. The courses that some universities are offering online are great public relations for the university.

– Mike Foley expressed his concern about how he would convey the enthusiasm he shares in a face-to-face class in an online course. Many responses from colleagues about how to use the technology tools to convey enthusiasm.

– Leigh Seaman (Sea2Sea Media) asked us what was driving our interest in online learning — reaching a different audience, generating income?

– Howard Finberg (Poynter) said that the many concerns our faculty are having are issues that faculty are having across the country. But we need to respond to online teaching/learning. Every Florida high school student is required to take at least one online course for graduation. Can we re-imagine how we teach online? We can’t teach online just like we’re currently teaching. This is an opportunity.