My Home Studio Setup and Useful Tips For Teaching Business School Students
Hi Everybody, I'm Andrew Lo and I want to welcome you to this video about my online teaching experience and the setup I've built to deliver my lectures. By way of background, I'm a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and affiliated faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a principal investigator at the Computer Science and AI lab. And, as you can probably tell from my suit and tie, I teach mainly business school students.
Which represents a somewhat different set of challenges and opportunities than teaching college or K-12 students. One difference is that business school students tend to have higher expectations in terms of content delivery and interaction with their faculty and classmates. And rightly so because they're paying full tuition for their education. So if you're teaching in an MBA, Master of Finance, or Executive Education program, and you have to do it online this video is for you. I'm going to cover three topics today, The first is the motivation for investing in your home studio and it is an investment. The second is the particular setup that I put together and why and how I did it. And third some useful tips that I wish I had known before I started to do online teaching.
Now, I have another video that goes into more detail about how I use this setup in a specific online course in healthcare finance that I taught during the fall semester of 2020. It's got some concrete examples of the ideas that I'll be sharing with you in this video so please check that one out afterwards. I put a link to it in the video description below. Thanks for joining and let's get started.
I'd like to begin with the disclaimer, and the disclaimer is this, I am not an expert in online teaching or audio visual technology by any means. In fact, prior to August 2020, I knew absolutely nothing about the technology that I'm going to be describing to you in this video. And I actually think that that's a feature not a bug. Now, it turns out that I have a fair amount of experience
with putting together online courses. But, the extent of my involvement in the production of those courses is to contact MIT video productions which is an incredibly professional organization with experts in all of the AV technology that you need in order to produce online content. So I would show up my classroom, and they'd be there put a mic on me and I'm good to go. That was the extent of my knowledge. And it would be great to be able to get MIT video productions to come to my house once a week, and help me to deliver online content during the pandemic, but that was not going to happen. And so what I'm going to be describing to you is the process that I went through to create what is essentially a one-man band. It's a solo operation for being
able to deliver online content in a way that I think students would find more compelling than the typical talking head setup, and I'll come to that in a minute. Now I'm going to be giving a relatively high level description of my setup and some useful tips if you want more details I would urge you to take a look at the document that my co-authors Brian Stevens and Sean Williams and I have put together it's called "The World of Edcraft", which takes its title from the gaming community, "Challenges and Opportunities in Synchronous Online Teaching". So with that caveat in mind, let me first start with a little bit of motivation, and explain to you what really drove me to be able to put together all of the things I'm going to tell you about. So what's the goal? Well, in my case the goal was to be able to deliver synchronous online content that dominates live lectures in some dimensions and to be able to do it solo. Let me explain each of those components. After March 2020, when all of us were thrown online without notice, we were pretty frustrated that essentially we were delivering lectures in a way that students weren't really responding to as much as if it were in person.
For example in some cases because students were in different time zones, we had to pre-record lectures and we posted them on our various different platforms. And not all students watched all the videos, and those who did said that they really weren't as engaged as they otherwise would be for an in-person lecture. And so, it's important to have this live connection even if it's just online interactions the fact that it is synchronous is pretty important. Now, the reason that I want to be able to deliver that content in dimensions that would actually exceed what you would get in person is simply because I was so frustrated that students were getting shortchanged. In my opinion, they paid a fair amount of tuition dollars they were not getting the experience that they had hoped for. And so, out of that frustration grew the thought that well with all this wonderful technology that we have shouldn't technology allow us to do some things better than without it? And that's true with financial technology, it's true with social media, it's true with so many other facets of modern life but it doesn't seem as true with educational technology, and so, that was the goal as well. And finally, why do it solo? Well mainly
out of practicality during pandemics you're not going to be able to get video crews to come into your home, and show you how to set things up, and manage glitches that happen all the time. And so you have to figure out how to do it on your own. So that's what I'm going to tell you about today. Now which dimensions can we actually give students a better experience than an in-person live class? That's a tough one because I realized something about human behavior. The fact is that as soon as
you walk into a classroom and are standing in front of a class of 50 or 60 students you've got their attention. You don't need to do anything you just have to be breathing and moving and they are watching you they are listening to you even if they may be finishing up conversations with people seated next to them. The fact is that a collective hush happens at the start of class and everybody is focused on you. That is very difficult to do in an online setting and so we need to use technology to figure out a way to replace that kind of human interaction. The three dimensions that I came up with for being able to outdo an in-person live class are number one the ability to network with your peers and even with others outside of class. Number two real-time interactions with classmates speakers and mentors I'll explain what that means a little bit later on. And finally access to a greater range of expertise
than your professor mainly people from industry who have a deep understanding of the kind of business issues that our students are interested in. I believe that using this online platform we can actually deliver better than in-person experiences in these three dimensions. Now, I have to explain to you how and and why but that's the goal that I set out to accomplish. And it turns out that there's a common element to achieving these goals. The key issue is how do we capture and keep students attention while they're watching us online? Especially in my case over a three hour time slot because once we went to a covid situation we had to change the class schedules to be able to allow students to engage in some hybrid classes some in person but to do it in a socially distanced and safe way. It turns out that we didn't have the choice of selecting our teaching slot so I was assigned Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm. I was competing with dinner and date night and that's a really serious challenge.
So as long as we can figure out a way to keep students focused on these interactions with our online courses I believe that we can achieve these three goals. How do we do that? Well, it turns out that this problem has already been solved. It's been solved by Netflix and by the gaming community. Clearly tv shows and video games are able to capture and keep
our attention in some cases for hours. How do they do that? It turns out that there are some common elements to the so-called infotainment platform and I want to tell you about four of them. The first is that each of these infotainment shows provide narrative. To begin with, they're telling a story and so right away whether it's a drama or it's a particular video game that we're following and we're trying to defeat a boss. In whatever setting you will interact in either gaming or tv
shows you are aware of a narrative, and that helps you orient your focus and attention. Second there is almost always active involvement, whether in the case of a Netflix show some kind of an emotional buy-in you identify with the protagonist you want to find out what happens to him or her, and so you're paying attention for that reason. In the case of gaming, obviously, you're seeking to achieve a particular goal and you're working either by yourself or collaboratively so that interaction is there as well. And the gaming community has now figured out
all sorts of ways to increase that kind of buy-in by having live streaming so you can actually see gamers playing. Well, we can do that as well with online lectures. In the zoom platform that I use using polls, breakout group exercises, the chat window, raising blue hands for q&a, providing surveys to students, initial meetings with your students, informal lunches, allowing them to moderate guest speakers and then having practicum exercises. Those are all examples that I'll describe to you a little bit later on how you can actually get the students to be actively involved as opposed to being passive observers. Three you've got to engage multiple senses it's not enough just to be speaking at them and showing them slides you have to use other mechanisms like sound effects, like animation, like music to engage their emotions. And finally, last but certainly not least, you need to give viewers frequent breaks. At one point I thought it was just you know because of commercials
you have to be able to sell tv ad spots in order to be able to raise money, but in fact, there's a reason that breaks are important. From the viewers perspective it allows them to be able to reset and to be able to break up the viewing period into a series of smaller segments. Now people who've developed massive online open courses understand the need for smaller segments and it's the same even though you're doing synchronous teaching. So the days where you can lecture for an hour and 20 minutes that may be true in person because physical presence allows students to pay attention without getting tired bored or distracted. But, in online settings
when you don't have that physical presence it's much more difficult to do. So, let me tell you about my teaching style and why I developed the particular technology to fit that style. First of all, as you can tell, I use powerpoint as my primary mode of instruction. I try to use animation, again, in order to be able to engage the students. And occasionally I'll use excel
every once in a while I may use a blackboard, but I don't really do flipped classrooms. We tried that as an experiment and we found that our business students actually did not want faculty to be working on problem sets for them they rather do that with the TA. They wanted to be able to interact with faculty to hear about their unique insights about the subject matter at hand. Second, I typically like to stand when I'm lecturing even online because I feel like when I'm sitting there's just less energy less dynamism. I want to be able to move freely and I want to use this kind of a weatherman type of an interface because this is the closest approximation to what it would look like if the students were in a lecture hall with me in the front walking around back and forth. And so I've set this up so I can move freely and I can point to various parts of the slides and so this seems to me to be a much more dynamic kind of a perspective than the typical talking head view that you might see from you know a zoom interface. So this is what it would look like if you were to share your screen and zoom and
you would lecture you can't really point at the screen. You might be able to use some kind of a an annotating device but it really isn't the same as when you're able to do this and to be able to move around and to interact in a way that makes the whole lecture seem much more realistic. Also, I want to be able to transition seamlessly from one type of a scene to another scene. So for example, if i'm simply making comments and speaking I'd like to be here in a kind of a conference room setting but when I'm showing slides I'd like to be able to move around and finally you have to put all of these pieces together in a seamless high production quality fashion, how do you go about doing that? Well that was the problem that I was faced with in August of 2020 thinking about the fall semester and it wasn't until I encountered this gentleman, Sean Williams, who's a visiting faculty at MIT who gave a wonderful townhouse presentation of his studio set up that I realized it was possible. And when I saw Sean set up I said get me one of those-that's what I want. It turns out that I really had no idea what I was asking because that was a fairly involved effort.
And Sean was incredibly generous with his time and advice and really helped me set my studio up with multiple phone calls and pointers to various different suppliers for the equipment and walked me through setting up the equipment. It was really an extraordinary show of generosity and one of the reasons that I'm putting together this video is to pay it forward to try to help other people the way that Sean helped me. Sean also brought one of his colleagues from the University of Tennessee, Brian Stevens, who's been teaching online for a number of years very successfully. And between Sean and Brian, I was able to build the studio that I wanted, to be able to deliver in the style that I would like that's what I'm going to tell you about now. So Im going to tell you about my
studio setup and there'll be three components to it hardware, software and the setup itself. So let me start with the hardware this is a list of all the components in my home studio. I'm going to divide them up into five categories audio, video, computing, lighting and background, and then miscellaneous. This is part of a larger spreadsheet that is in the video description so you're welcome to take a look at it at your leisure. It contains
links to every single one of these components from the various different vendor website and by the way I'm getting no kickbacks or payouts or sponsorships from any of these sites so these are just the components that I purchased and they work well for what I'm trying to accomplish. Now you can see that the prices are listed as well and some of these components are pretty expensive as I said at the outset this is an investment so if you're looking to give three or four online lectures it is absolutely not worth it for you to do this. The only reason that this would make sense is if you're going to be teaching online for a period of time and you're going to be using this studio over and over again. I also want to point out that there's a diagram number in this particular spreadsheet. I want you to pay attention to that because that's going to correspond to a diagram of the setup that I'm going to show you in just a minute. Now, coming back to the cost of these components let me show you the four most expensive parts.
The first is the wireless mic that i'm using, the second is the video camera, the third is the desktop workstation that i'm using to do all of this and finally the last one is the desk that i'm using that's adjustable in terms of height going up and down. Now you can certainly put together your home studio for much less than this so you do not need to spend this kind of money. In my case, I wanted to build a studio that was capable not only of delivering online lectures but it would allow me to edit and produce videos, because again solo operation, we're not sure how long the pandemic is going to last I want to be able to do this in a way that can be sustainable over a period of time. Now let me show you a diagram of how all of these components are connected. This is really a wiring diagram that shows pictures of every single
component and how they're all connected and the kind of connectors that you need if you do this. Eventually you're going to learn the difference between a USB A, USB B, and a USB C connector and it's important to understand those distinctions because you're going to need to buy additional cables to connect them all. Now let me just give you a tour through each one of these components and if you want the details, again, take a look at the paper that Sean, Brian and I co-authored. I'm going to go through each one of those clockwise using the
item numbers that you have on the previous slide let's start with component number one that's a stream deck. This is a device out of the gamers community that basically allows you to put in a single key press multiple functions so this is what allows me to switch from scene to scene in a seamless manner just by pushing a button. Number two are the monitors, I recommend that you get three monitors, I know that that's excessive it may seem like a very big investment but I promise you that it's well worth it. The reason you need three is that one of the monitors is going to be your computer monitor so you can see what's going on with the various different components. The second monitor is to project your powerpoint slide you don't need a separate monitor but it turns out that for a variety of reasons that we'll describe in the document it's much more convenient to have a second monitor display your powerpoint. And the third monitor a much bigger one monitor 2a in this diagram is really so you can see your zoom video and interact with various colleagues and students. Part three is lighting.
You need at least three different lights. One 3a is a light that's contained in a diffuser so as to give you relatively soft light. And 3b are two led panels that are very bright give you illumination component. 4 is your tripod that's where your camera goes. And on top of the tripod is a pan and tilt remote, and the reason for that as I mentioned you want to be able to do a one-man show it's very difficult to run back and forth to adjust your camera position unless you have one of these devices where you can go up or down and adjust the height and the tilt of your camera from where you are. So very handy device something that I've used many times saves me a lot of back and forth trips to the camera. Item number five is called a 10 mini this is a device that converts the images from a webcam into a signal that a computer can understand. And item number six is
your webcam this is a Canon EOS RP but there are many other webcams that are perfectly acceptable so you can pick your favorite. Item seven is a green screen this is what allows you to create this weatherman look as well as to have lots of different virtual backgrounds now of course zoom has virtual background features as well ,but for reasons that I'll explain a little bit later on, it turns out that it's much better to do this with your own green screen and to be able to do the virtual background outside of zoom. Item number eight is a 10 port USB extender. You notice all of these connections going into your compute. Most computers are not going to have as many usb ports as you will need so this is definitely going to come in hand. Item number nine
is a foot pedal that allows you to advance your slides without having to use your hands which is particularly handy if you're giving a talk and you've got notes and you're simply using a monitor to be able to read those notes. Item number 10 is a device called the GoXLR, this controls all the various different audio components of your online lecture, and it's really handy for things like sound effects and be able to put certain parts on mute while allowing other sounds to go through. Item number 11 is the uplift desk that allows you to move the desk up and down to various different heights. The reason that this is particularly handy is because sometimes when you're giving a lecture you want to be standing, but if you're doing a zoom meeting for several hours during the day as well you want to be seated in that case you can move the desk down to your seating level.
Item number 12 is a document camera this is particularly handy if you want to show specific documents you want to do writing or drawing you have a document camera right here. This is my remote control and if I had some equations that I wanted to do some derivations I can simply write on this. Item number 13 is the wireless microphone that I'm using as well as the charging port for the batteries. This is a really expensive mic but I have to tell
you it is phenomenal. It's wireless which allows me to move around without any issues and the sound quality is just really excellent. Item number 14 is a Wacom tablet input device, I don't use it much, but for people that like to annotate on their powerpoint slides it's actually pretty handy. Item number 15 is Bose computer speakers, I love the sound of Bose, but in addition it's got a really nice on/off switch that you can use for certain situations where you want to turn off the speakers and maybe use your microphones to prevent feedback. Item 16
is the most expensive part on this list, the desktop workstation. Part of the reason it's so expensive is because it's really built to do not just online lectures but video editing as well so it's got a large amount of memory solid-state drives and it's completely sound insulated so it's absolutely silent you'll hear no fans or other noise coming out of it. Item 17 is the mouse and the slide advancer I'm using the Logitech spotlight remote, which is particularly cool for online lectures, because you can do this. I want to spotlight the confidence monitor I can show you this, or if I want, to go back and show you the stream deck I can do this. Not that easy to do with your typical remote because you can't see a laser pointer online. Item 18 is a uninterruptible power supply. Item 19 which looks like a coil of cobras it's actually a bunch of cables. Although each of these components typically comes with its own cables
you're going to need extenders, because once you get your setup, you will invariably run into situations where the cable is not long enough and you will need to have extensions. You won't know what cables you will need until after you set up your system so I would propose that you get all of the components working the way you want it first, and then figure out where you'd like to have everything positioned, and then purchase the cables that you need. And last but not least item 20 are in-ear monitors. You see I'm wearing them here so that I can have direct input from the system into exactly what it is that I'm outputting to all of you. The reason that that's important is actually a behavioral fact. So it turns out that after doing a whole bunch of zoom meetings during the course of a day I realized that my voice is completely hoarse, and at first I didn't understand why until I started watching myself and listening to myself as I interact with with people online, and I noticed that when I was listening to them through the speakers I would raise my voice somehow to match theirs it's I guess a human behavioral trait that we're in conversations with other people we try to match volume so that we're not louder or softer than they are.
And because of the way that the room echoes, I end up speaking much more loudly than otherwise would, and really end up making my voice hoarse after just a few hours of speaking. And so when I use these in-ear monitors and I turn off the speakers it turns out that my voice lasts that much longer. Now that we've gone over hardware let's talk about software. This is the list of software that I use to deliver online content OBS studio which I'll describe in a minute, powerpoint, excel, and word, zoom of course, adobe after effects which is used to create transitions also known as stingers. So here's an example of a stinger, pretty cool right? I want to thank Brian Stevens for producing that for me in adobe after effects. Auto hotkey which is a keyboard macro program that you
can download for free wonderful program that allows you to create shortcut keys. Snazz which is a countdown timer and i'll show you how that works a little bit later on. And finally OBS ninja which is a new piece of software that essentially allows you to turn your smartphone into a webcam, and I'm going to be using that to give you a tour of my studio in just a few minutes. Now this is the software that I use for delivering online content, for editing videos that I've already shot like for creating this video there's a different set of software. It turns out that Windows 10 has actually a very good editor built into, it if you want to be a little bit more professional adobe premiere pro is excellent and I also use avid mux and audacity to edit the sound for various different videos that I've shot. Now that we've gone through the hardware and the software we're now ready to see how it all fits together. As I mentioned before,
Elektra has a number of different components audio, video, powerpoint, excel, perhaps a writing tablet, some cases you might want to use a light board or other input devices like a document camera. All of these components come together to make up a lecture in the same way that the Hollywood studio brings together all of these different elements to make up a scene and so OBS studio really does that job of bringing together these different inputs which it calls sources and it creates out of those different sources a single scene and once it creates that scene it then feeds it via a virtual webcam into zoom which then goes to the students and so this process happens in an incredibly complicated but seamless way on your desktop computer which is one of the reasons why you need a desktop and laptops really don't work unless they're a gaming laptop and even if that's the case it's got to be one that you purchased within the last six months in order to have the proper bandwidth to be able to use with zoom and now let me show you the studio so these are images from the studio that i set up in an office at the mit computer science and ai lab and i want to thank daniela roos head of the lab for giving me permission to come back to campus to use this office and my faculty colleague bruce teeter who is in charge of space allocations at csail for giving me such a wonderful office to use for this purpose in fact this was the former office of the late patrick winston one of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence he passed away a few months ago and it's a great honor for me to be using the office particularly because in addition to being a first-rate scholar patrick was also an incredible educator in fact i put a link to his amazing talk how to speak uh in the video description below i urge you to take a look at it i've watched it several times i have all of my students watch it it's the most amazing lecture on how to give lectures and so i think it's only fitting that we put together the studio in patrick's office now the left image is a shot of what it looks like standing behind the desk facing the camera about to give a lecture the image on the right is what it looks like from behind the camera looking at the speaker and the green screen behind that speaker and this image is to the left of the webcam where you can see the computer as well as the uninterruptible power supply and other components and all of the components are identified here so this is my studio i'm using obs ninja to turn my iphone into a webcam and let me turn it around so you can see what i see when i lecture that's my normal webcam behind it the confidence monitor i'm actually running zoom right now so you can see the size of that screen my desktop my two other computer monitors two lights that's the third one to the right and let me now walk to the front of the office so you can see how everything is laid out that's probably 15 or 20 feet from where i was standing to the office door so you can see why you need as large a confidence monitor as i have otherwise you won't really be able to see the images or the chat window from where you're standing it's also handy to have a clock and here's the canon eos rp webcam which is sitting on top of that remote pan and tilt device that i mentioned by the way unfortunately it's not wireless so you are going to have to run cables to your desktop and the computer cable management is a pretty important thing to keeping a neat studio that's one of the two bose speakers and you'll notice blue tape markings on my desk that's really to show where you stand to be in the middle of the shot and the left and the right boundaries this is the uplift desk that allows you to adjust the height a really handy thing especially if multiple people are using the same studio or if you're going to be using it to stand as well as to sit the stream deck device that allows you to automate various different scenes for a single push of a button go xlr this is the a10 mini and the document camera the heart of the system is behind that second screen that's the thinkmate computer and the uninterruptible power supply battery charger the box contains microphones and other items and i'm not sure you can see underneath but this is where the extra usb ports are located that's the foot pedal and now the green screen you'll notice it's extra wide because i want to be able to move around without having to worry about being off of that green screen and that's it that's the studio now we've gone over the hardware the software and how to put all of these components together but there's still a fair amount of work involved in figuring out how to install and properly configure each of these components it turns out that there's a lot of material on youtube to figure that out and so in the video description below we have all sorts of links so that you can actually get those resources the same ones that i and brian and sean used it turns out the gaming community has been very active in providing all sorts of tutorials ones that i use all the time are from gaming careers pete wilkins thank you very much you've been a life saver in all the various tutorials that you provided there's more resources than i have time to cover in this video so please check out the materials that are listed below and in the document that sean bryan and i put together okay so now i'd like to turn to some useful tips for using this setup in various different contexts i'm going to focus on six of them try to go over it fairly quickly one is on composing slides in powerpoint two animation three sound effects four how to use zoom five using a checklist and finally six class logistics so let's turn to the first item composing slides first thing you'll need to do is to choose a background color now you'll notice that i'm using a kind of an off-white i didn't do that at first the typical slide that i use looks like this when i was lecturing live in a classroom you want it to be fairly bright because in the typical classroom there's lots of light and so looking at a white background seems perfectly fine but i realized that when you're lecturing to individuals who are at home and particularly if you're lecturing to them thursday night you don't want something really bright because it's quite jarring and in fact if i showed you what this looks like full-on you can see that a white background particularly with a dark suit like i'm wearing now is visually kind of disturbing and so what you want to be able to do is to soften that a bit so instead of using a white background i chose something a little bit darker so that it's just a bit easier on the eyes okay having picked out a color you now need to put text on the slide it turns out that for online lectures the font size doesn't have to be as large as if it were in person i typically use 28 point fonts but it turns out that 24 points works just fine and you can even get away with smaller fonts but you do need to leave some space to the right of each slide for your image where i'm standing right now now here you want to add extra spaces by padding the line rather than hitting a line return mainly because when you do it inserts an extra space i know that this is a minor issue but it used to bug me so i'll tell you if i highlight this particular line you can see that there's extra spaces to the right of these two lines if instead of adding the padded space to cause a line return if i actually just hit it enter right at this point it would look like this and you see it inserts this extra little tiny space between the first and second line and so that's one of the reasons why you want to just add the extra space by padding the line as opposed to hitting line return and finally sometimes you do need to use the entire slide as opposed to just the the left part and so when that happens there's a really cool solution that i came up with so here's an example of a table that i wanted students to look at and compare between the left and the right and there's no easy way for me to make this smaller if i did that they wouldn't be able to read the entries in the table and by the way these are much smaller than 20 points so as i said when you're doing this online you can use much smaller fonts but the way that i figured out for being able to allow them to see the right side of the slide as well as the left is this voila now this looks pretty easy but there's a little bit of subtlety here i'm going to give you a few seconds can you tell what just happened well what happened is that i used obs studio to take my image and slide it to the left of the slide but i did something else i also flipped my image to its mirror and the reason that i did that is because in this position i'm looking at my computer screen and my left hand is pointing at the middle of the slide so for example when i point to a particular entry on this table i use my left hand to do it well if i were to shift and now go to the other side of the screen i'd have to use my right hand normally and i would have to reposition everything it would be quite difficult because then i'd be looking at the opposite side of where my computer screen is which is to my left however when i flip the mirror image i can still use my left hand and i'm still looking at my computer screen and still looking at the middle of the slide from your perspective so that simple trick allows me with the flip of a button to be able to go from left to right right to left up down in a way that's actually pretty smooth so it doesn't really matter where the content is on your screen you can always move yourself out of the way as necessary okay now let me turn to animation as i mentioned in order to keep the attention of the students in an online setting you need to keep it dynamic and animation is a great way to do that so here's an example where i'm talking about clinical trials and showing how clinical trials need to be arranged into drug indication pairs and pathways each of these horizontal bars is a pathway and so what we need to do is to sort these clinical trials into those pathways this is a slide where i was talking about the covid19 impact on financial markets the s p and nasdaq and pointing out that if you simply eliminated the chunk in the middle where markets reacted to covid you realize that actually there really isn't any long-term impact on financial markets as far as we can tell and that's really because we're all reacting through the so-called five stages of financial grief and so this is an animation that highlights that but this slide is the slide i am proudest of this is an illustration of something in statistics known as type 1 and type 2 error which is a particularly important concept for randomized clinical trials in healthcare finance and so i start with type 1 error which is this area under the curve here and i talk about what happens if you've got an alternative hypothesis and you want to understand what happens to the test when you're testing against this particular hypothesis well that's type 2 error which is this side of the curve and 1 minus type 2 error is power which is on the other side of that curve i hope you appreciate this animation because it took me like three hours to make it i'm very proud of it and i'm going to include this slide in the link below in case you'd like to use it for your own applications finally i tend to use sound effects mainly because i feel that that ends up adding an extra dimension to grab students attention so this is a slide where i was talking about one of my colleagues harvey lodesh who is a professor at the mit whitehead institute harvey's story is an amazing one and as soon as i heard it i said that i want to be like harvey lodesch because it turns out that he did some work in the 1980s that developed a drug for a rare disease called gaucher syndrome which ultimately his grandson developed completely unknown to him at the time when he was developing it and so his grandson is doing just fine thanks to the drug that grandpa helped to develop two decades before he was born and so this is an example where you can do well by doing good and to make that point i use a little animation i know it's kind of cheesy but what can i tell you it's something that i think students respond to okay let's talk about zoom now you might think that this is the most important part of the discussion but it's not because we've done all the hard work already in putting together all the different components that make up a lecture composing it into a scene in obs and having obs stream it into zoom using obs you will never ever have to share your screen again now there's nothing wrong with sharing your screen in fact i use it all the time for smaller meetings and zoom but when you're trying to deliver this to a class of 90 students and you've got other things going on like the chat window and people raising blue hands and so on it turns out that zoom can sometimes get overloaded and sharing your screen does have some glitches and delays never mind the delays that you create by you know fiddling with your mouse and looking for oh should i share this screen i'm sorry the wrong screen let me switch and share this other screen these delays again they cause students to lose attention and focus so this is especially useful when you're sharing videos because the way that obs works is to put together all of these elements onto your computer and then to stream that into zoom so what zoom is seeing is just one video stream and so here's an example where if i have a video clip that i want to play here's a video clip of a clinical trial for a patient that is treated with a single gene therapy you'll see that it is an incredibly smooth video and now i can control the volume using my go lxr and raise it if i want to double the voiceover and then lower the volume so that i can talk over it and describe what's going on in this video clip do you see how smooth that video was if you're doing that through share screen even when you click on the optimize for video sharing it's much more jumpy and occasionally it will freeze whereas with obs as long as it shows up properly on your computer it will show up very smoothly in zoom also in zoom i do use polls often because remember i'm trying to increase interaction with the students so for any given lecture i'll have three or four polls where i'm asking students specific questions and then showing the results to the rest of the class which they often find really interesting i'll use breakout rooms as well to allow students to interact with each other one of the really nice features about zoom is that you can pre-assign breakout rooms why would you want to do that well one of the things that i was trying to achieve in my course was to get as many students to meet as many other students as possible and so every week i would have breakout rooms that were different from the previous week so that i knew for a fact that they were getting random interactions that they didn't have before the only drawback with zoom is that for each zoom session you can only have one pre-assigned set of breakout rooms you can't do two different pre-assignments it would be wonderful if they did that but from a software perspective i gather it's quite hard now these next two components are probably the most important and that is the use of blue hands for students who want to ask questions and then to encourage the use of the chat window so that students can interact with each other in both these cases the ta's role is critical because when you're lecturing online you're not able to monitor these two things and the ta can and be able to bring to your attention things that are warranted now i want to emphasize in particular the use of the chat window because i have to tell you that when i first came across it i was really surprised in fact i thought it was kind of rude that while i was lecturing students are chatting with each other and i began to realize that actually not only was it not rude but it was actually important that they do that that you encourage them to do that let me give you an example so here's an image from one of my zoom classes where the chat window is given below and i was talking about a particular concept in the drug industry and it involved a particular entity known as a pbm pharmacy benefit manager and it turns out that i hadn't defined the term even though i used it so in the chat window student number one writes what's pbm now i'm not watching this chat window because i'm lecturing and so this is going on completely outside of my engagement student number two writes back in the chat window pharmacy benefit manager student number three provides a little bit more context cvs express scripts those are examples of pbms the ta then weighs in and puts a link to the wikipedia definition of the pharmacy benefit manager and then student number four who actually has some experience consulting for pbms writes often the middleman between your insurance plan and the drug companies and student number one says thanks the amazing thing is that this entire interaction took place over the course of 29 seconds think about that and what it means for learning imagine a live class where this student is sitting in the room listening to me talk i didn't define this term and so now he's confused and maybe he can talk to the student to the left or the right of him but if they don't know then he's out of luck so he's sitting in the class kind of confused not sure what i'm saying trying to figure out from the context what a pbm is but feeling a little irritated or perhaps intimidated and not wanting to stop the class for something as as trivial as this even though in fact it's not at all trivial it's quite important that he knows what a pbm is and why i'm using it in the context that i am in this case in 29 seconds he has his answer and he's not confused anymore in fact he can appreciate now why i'm using that example in the remaining time that i have to lecture about it so once i understood the power of the chat window i actively encourage my students to use it and in fact i will ignore it myself because at one point i actually tried to answer a question that was in the chat window while i'm talking and i realized that the student actually felt a little bit intimidated because he didn't want me to stop my lecture in order to answer him he was actually looking for help from his students some amazingly interesting and important ideas are expressed in the chat window from one student another and you know i have to tell you that this came out of the gaming community i'm sure in terms of interactions among gamers as they live streamed and very often as instructors you know we have very rigid views about what proper protocol and behavior are and i realize that you know when we think about what an ideal student is a student that's paying attention hands folded focusing on the lecture whereas other students may be distracted and thinking about lots of things it turns out that this kind of a technology platform enables those students who might get distracted because either they get it and they're bored or because they are confused and the teacher is not helping them using this platform they can be engaged in ways that we can't easily do in a traditional setting in fact i'll go even beyond this to make a conjecture from a learning perspective what we think of as deficits and disorders with various kinds of individual behavior differences maybe with the right kind of technology deficits and disorders become strengths now i'm no expert in learning disabilities but having experienced that myself when i was growing up i can tell you that there are all sorts of innovations that are occurring today that can actually turn those deficits and disabilities into advantages okay let's talk about class logistics as i mentioned i taught on thursdays from six to nine pm and so here's an example of the typical schedule that i would have i usually begin about an hour before class time and i start by rebooting my computer so that it's in a clean state and then launch all the various different software applications that i'm going to be using for class on that day including zoom now it's particularly important to start zoom early because it does crash on occasion and it's better to find out early rather than just a few minutes before it time for lecture and so once i start all of those things i begin going through my lecture making sure that everything is prepared all of the effects are working and so on and during that process i have a splash page on zoom in case any of the students sign in early and the splash page has the name of the course and also has a countdown timer much like the gamers use when they're about to do a live stream just to build anticipation and drama i guess so this is what my splash page looked like it's got the name of the course the date and a countdown in terms of minutes and seconds to class time and usually when i have this page up i'll actually play some music just to keep things light and interesting you know one of the advantages of having a go xlr is you can actually control the audio to your different inputs so i've actually just reduced the audio to this music so that i can speak over it and you know in case we have guest speakers in class that come a bit early and they're wondering why they're hearing this music i can break it down and say hi to them and typically what i do is to choose a song right before class begins that's particularly upbeat just to get the mood going and that really allows me to change the mood of the class to make it somewhat more dynamic and exciting and so you know as we get closer to class time the music begins to end and as it ends i will then transition to class and it'll look something like this and uh and then i start with some introductory remarks and of course the music uh gets turned down and then we begin our class so that's the process that i use to get the class started and once we begin shortly after the start i'll ask the students to go into the breakout rooms they're assigned just for a five minute meet and greet session because uh they generally don't know each other since i'm using these breakout rooms to introduce them to new people in the class that's the networking part of my goal and then they come back after the five minute meet and greet we do some more lectures i'll do some polls to get them interacting again encourage them to use the chat window and then we'll put them into a breakout room for the exercise which is usually a 10 or 15 minute period where they're actually working on a particular problem sometime during the three hours we'll take a 10 minute break usually around the middle although it depends upon the guest speakers schedules we typically have guest speakers during the second half of class and the idea there is to be able to have them get exposed to industry experts as well as lectures from me we all always have students introduce the speakers and moderate the discussion again to get them to be engaged and to interact with each other and with the speakers and then we end promptly at 8 55 pm now i typically give them a five minute break at that point and then i'll change the setting and talk with them informally kind of like an after class session and you know the setting that i use is a different background that provides a little bit more of a relaxed atmosphere i'll take off my jacket and tie and and it will seem much more casual than the kind of lecture format that we typically use and that usually happens for about a half an hour and at that point we say goodnight so that's how class works and the idea again is to try to keep it as dynamic and as engaged as possible the one thing that i want to emphasize is that it's really important to provide the students with a schedule like this so typically before every lecture i'll give them a much more detailed schedule about exactly when we're going to have the break when the speakers will come in we'll start and finish and so on and it is really important to stay on schedule mainly because people are all in various different time zones they're at home or they're at school in a room that's being used by others to view this and they need to understand exactly when the breaks are and when various different activities are going to happen and so the more you can stay on schedule the more they can actually plan around these various different activities and one more thing you have to know about is a checklist there are so many different things that have to happen before an online lecture you will not remember all of them and even if you do you will not necessarily remember the order in which those things need to be done let me give you an example i discovered much to my disappointment and frustration that the order in which you launch zoom turn on your computer launch obs powerpoint and the other software packages that order actually matters so if for example you switch on your camera after you turn your computer on and after you start zoom and obs that can sometimes lead to crashes so i've learned you have to turn on the camera first then start your computer then launch obs first and launch it in administrative mode and then launch zoom and the other applications for whatever reason on my system this is what needs to happen so i put it in a list so this is my checklist it's not going to be the same as yours but you'll definitely want to have one well we've covered a lot of material in this video and i want to thank you for sticking with me to this point we've done it at a fairly high level so you might not be able to apply all of the things that we've covered but that's one of the reasons why sean brian and i put together this research article to describe how we use our technologies in various different contexts in fact we provide three case studies that come from the three courses that each of us taught brian taught a large undergraduate statistics course shawn taught a mid-sized mba course in operations management and i taught my class of healthcare finance of 90 students so if you want to learn more about how we use our respective technologies in those contexts you'll definitely want to take a look at this paper as well as the videos that each of us have produced down below finally i want to tell you that this is a very long process it's a lot of work but it's incredibly rewarding for those of you who really care about your teaching this is a really exciting opportunity to change the way we deliver our content in an atmosphere that really uses technology to its fullest as i mentioned earlier i think i'm going to be using some of these concepts when we go back to in-person teaching and i'm not quite sure how to do that yet but i do know that i will not look at teaching the same way now that i've had this experience i wish you good luck with your online teaching and until next time thank you so much for watching was baby you are using there's no fixing what's been broken this ain't the first time walking down the street the rain is pouring down but my feet the mirror i can see there's no fixing what's been broken this ain't the first time this ain't the first time i'll leave it all behind i this ain't the first time till i'm fine you