The University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) announced that remote learning will be incorporated into select traditional classes. The school is currently recruiting instructors for a pilot program this fall.
The initiative – known as RebelFlex – will enable instructors to teach students in the classroom and those who are remote at the same time. UNLV said instructors will engage both audiences using active learning techniques, which may include class discussions, live polling, or group work.
The university is offering instructors willing to participate in the pilot a $500 stipend, a classroom assistant to monitor remote students, and additional training.
“RebelFlex will give students more flexibility as they balance life, career, and education,” said Melissa Bowles-Terry, UNLV Faculty Center director. “As they enroll in either the in-person or remote section, students may choose to attend a face-to-face class remotely for many reasons. RebelFlex lets them be in the room and connect with their classmates no matter where they are joining the class.”
In advance of the pilot, the Office of Information Technology is converting 50 classrooms and equipping them with microphones, video and document cameras, and touch panels to capture real-time instruction.
“It is important that we use technology to meet students where they are,” Timothy Jones, assistant professor for the School of Music, said. “[RebelFlex] allows them to be involved if they are unable to be in the room. They can still join the class in real-time and be an active learner.”
In a press release, UNLV said the hybrid learning approach allows students to take ownership of their learning preferences and will allow the university to expand enrollment in the future.
During last week’s information sessions, Timothy Jones, assistant professor for the School of Music, and Stowe Shoemaker, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality dean and professor, shared their experiences teaching in-person and remote students simultaneously.
“I found [teaching in-person and synchronously online] incredibly rewarding because I could still have those interactions with the students, and it was allowing the students to learn how they wanted to learn,” Stowe Shoemaker, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality dean and professor, said.
Shoemaker added that when it comes to expanding enrollment, “This is going to be the future. It really allows us to scale our product across countries.”