Center for Advancing Teaching Excellence: Approaches to Concurrent Teaching

Approaches to Concurrent Teaching

Concurrent teaching refers to having a synchronous class with a portion of the students in a face-to-face classroom with you and a portion of the students in class remotely, presumably via Zoom. The primary challenge of the concurrent classroom is ensuring that students who are participating online have equal opportunity to learn and to take part in the class activities. This requires some extra planning; however, concurrent classrooms have certain benefits. The most significant benefit is that, if implemented thoughtfully and precisely, concurrent classes give students a great deal of control over their own learning experience.   


The number of students attending in-person and via Zoom will likely change over the semester as people isolate or quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19. All faculty should be prepared to teach in dual modalities at some point, if not regularly, during the semester. Because of the challenging nature of running a successful concurrent class, CATE recommends the following planning and implementation strategies:

  • If possible, know in advance who will be in person and who will be remote.

    • If you’re leaving the decision up to students, you may want to use a weekly Canvas or Qualtrics survey to find out whether students plan to attend in-person or via Zoom.
    • If you’d like, ask them to choose one medium to commit to for the whole semester so that you can plan your class time accordingly and won’t be surprised by different numbers of in-person and online students each session.
    • If you choose to require students to be in-person unless they are sick or have an accommodation, ask them to notify you as soon as possible if they need to be remote so you can send them a Zoom link and make arrangements for any planned activities.
  • Prerecord something for first 5 minutes as folks are arriving/logging in. A solo activity they can all work on right away. Then you can focus on logistics and set up while students are busy with the task.
  • Assign rotating notetakers for class to provide notes for those who are absent. Don’t just post them in Canvas for everyone but have them available to anyone who requests them. We suggest that you reward notetakers, perhaps with 1-2 bonus points.
  • Make short recordings of the 3-5 main points at the end of the class, using Panopto or Zoom, where you summarize for everyone and post to Canvas. That gives everyone in class and on Zoom the chance to hear the summary and refer to it later. For anyone who missed class altogether, this will help them know what to focus on as they try to catch up. Note: this is for classes that aren’t already being fully recorded.
  • Consider recording your classes and sharing them on Canvas – but be aware that recordings of live classes shouldn’t be used for future semesters if there are students or any student identifiers in the video.
  • Test the tech before class to be sure everything is working properly


Concurrent Teaching Part 1: Introduction

Concurrent Teaching Part 2: Technology


  • Be sure to intentionally engage both the online and the in-person students. Specifically call on remote students early on in class. This lets them know they are part of the classroom community.  
  • Assign a chat monitor. If you have a teaching assistant or undergraduate learning assistant, they can help you watch the Zoom chat for comments from online students. Alternatively, you can create a rotating schedule for in-class students to monitor the chat. Save the chat log. You can turn any unanswered questions—or points you’d like to follow up on—into a Canvas discussion or announcement.  
    • You might also consider disabling the chat altogether to limit distractions.
  • Use breakout rooms. Don’t try to mix face-to-face and remote students in discussion groups – use breakout rooms for the online students to connect with each other. When using breakout rooms, and small group discussion, require deliverables. Having groups provide some sort of deliverable from their discussion helps avoid potential imbalances in workload for in-person and online students, as all students are working towards the same end.
    • If you only have one or two people on Zoom, you might consider having them on a separate computer working in with an in-person group, in lieu of a breakout room.
  • Don’t write on the whiteboard in the classroom as remote students may not see it. Instead, consider using a Word doc, PPT, or a document camera so that everyone has access to what is being shared.
  • Use engagement activities and tools like Jamboards, polling, annotation, etc. to ensure participation from both in-person and online students simultaneously
  • Assign group projects mixing remote and in-person students for collaboration outside of class. If there’s a required presentation give option to pre-record.
  • Encourage student-to-student engagement, particularly between online and in-person students, by using things like Canvas discussions and mixed asynchronous group work. Consider using some asynchronous engagement tools such as Perusall, Discord, Chatter, FlipGrid, etc. 
  • Make sure all resources are available in Canvas.
  • As always, be sure to solicit feedback regularly from all students.


Harvard Business School Webinar:  The Hybrid Classroom  

Harvard Business School: Making the Most of the Hybrid Classroom  

Baylor University Learning Together: Concurrent Hybrid  

6 Tips for Teaching Online and In Person Simultaneously