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ISLA (Inclusive Synchronous Learning Activities) guide

This guide will explain what the capabilities and use-cases are for rooms set up for ISLA teaching.

ISLA overview

Inclusive Synchronous Learning Activities (ISLA) is a new pedagogic and technical hybrid method for live teaching simultaneously to students who are both on campus and online. Academic staff simultaneously present to their class face to face and online using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. A camera broadcasts them to the online audience and microphones pick up all speech in the room for the remote learners. This is often known as hybrid or dual delivery teaching.

ISLA rooms are primarily intended to enable interaction between students and lecturers and so are best suited for smaller class groups. It is essentially a new level of the DALI project, in that it is comprised of an additional layer of technology. This technology includes a large display screen for the Zoom or Teams interface, a second camera directed at in-class students for those online, and additional ceiling microphones installed throughout the room to pick up discussions.

ISLA enables the following benefits for your teaching:

  • The whole class can interact with each other in real time
  • Brings together a diversity of perspectives
  • Time-efficient
  • Provides student choice about mode of attendance

ISLA has the following challenges to be aware of:

  • Complex to manage and teach the session
  • Require familiarity with technical setup
  • Limitations on suitable rooms 
  • Limitations on class sizes
  • Vulnerable to technology issues
  • Risk of inequitable experience

City also offers a number of other options for teaching that takes place both in-person and online, with various rooms optimised for these alternative options (Lecture Capture, DALI, DALI+). ISLA rooms have the most functionalities, as well as the most limited availability. This page should help you decide which functionality you'll need for your teaching goals.

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