A new method of instruction is giving UNLV students the option to attend class in person or remotely.
RebelFlex will be tested in some courses during the fall semester. The university is seeking instructors to volunteer for the pilot program.
“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.”
RebelFlex allows instructors to teach students in the classroom and those who are remote at the same time. Instructors will engage both audiences using active learning techniques, which may include class discussions, live polling, or group work.
To prepare for the rollout, the office of information technology is converting 50 rooms into RebelFlex classrooms. Each space will be equipped with technology — microphones, video and document cameras, and touch panels — to capture real-time instruction.
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.
“It is important that we use technology to meet students where they are,” Jones 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.”
There are unique benefits to RebelFlex, including students taking ownership in their learning preferences.
“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,” Shoemaker said.
According to Jones, RebelFlex can provide a more personalized experience, showing things that may not be possible in a traditional classroom setting. He experimented with camera angles for musical instrument demonstrations, which helped students better understand complex techniques.
“The ability to use technology in the room to get up close and personal with the information you want to share became a really great advantage.”
Shoemaker noted the benefits that the technology will have on expanding enrollment. “This is going to be the future," he said. "It really allows us to scale our product across countries.”