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Getting Started with Crowd Mics

The Crowd Mics application, installed in some USU classrooms, allows students to connect their mobile devices to the classroom microphone system. Participating students tap to speak into their mobile device's microphone, and their audio is shared over the classroom microphone system to any remotely connected sessions, like Zoom. This solution helps teachers hold in-class discussion where some students are attending remotely. It allows all participating students, in class and remote, to hear student comments when student microphones are not otherwise installed in the classroom.

Crowd Mics also allows participating students to send chat messages to the instructor.

When to Use Crowd Mics

Crowd mics can be used in face-to-face classroom environments where some students are participating remotely, either real-time through web broadcast (Zoom) or later when viewing a recording. 

Key Points

  1. Tell your students how to get started. Share this link:
    https://www.usu.edu/academic-support/technology/crowd-mics
  2. When you are in the class, use the iPad mounted on the desk to create an event >> New Local event.
    Share the participant pin with your students.
  3. You will use the classroom mic. The students will use their cell phones. 
  4. Don't forget to end the event when you are done so the next teacher can start one.

Using Crowd Mics as a Teacher

Preparing students to participate with Crowd Mics

  1. Before your first class, send a message to your students with the following link, which provides information on using Crowd Mics:
    https://www.usu.edu/academic-support/technology/crowd-mics
  2. In class, be sure to direct students to the QR code sheet posted in the classroom, containing QR codes to download the Crowd Mics app and to connect to the room. The following example is for one room. Each room will have its own QR code.
    Example of QR codes for a classroom. Each classroom will be different.(Example. Each room's QA code is different.)

 

Starting an Event

Crowd Mic events are set up and run on an iPad placed in the physical classroom. Each of the steps and screenshots below are done on the classroom iPad and cannot be performed on a personal device before class. Find time to practice these steps in the classroom ahead of your first class session, if possible. Although the steps described do not take long to perform once you are comfortable with them, be sure to arrive to your first class early so you have additional setup time.

  1. Tap Create Event
    Tap the Create Event button
  2. Tap Create a new local event
    Tap the pink Create Local Event button.
  3. Fill in Event Details
  4. Tap Create
    Tap the Create button after entering information
  5. Tap on the event you just created on the main screen
    The event appears on the main screen. Select it.
  6. Tap Push to Atom
    Tap the Push to Atom button
  7. This takes you to the main screen. Tap once again on your created event.
    Back at the home page again, select the event again.
  8. Tap Start Event
    Tap the Start Event button
  9. Create a Moderator PIN that you will use to log back into this event in the future.
  10. Create an Attendee PIN that you will share with your students to be able to join your event.
  11. Tap Start Event
    Enter pins and click Start Event

Teaching with Crowd Mics

Instructors should use the classroom microphone hardware as usual (see Microphones). Students should be instructed on how to install the Crowd Mics application and connect to the classroom event. Click here for student instructions on using Crowd Mics.

Once students connect to your classroom event through Crowd Mics, they can tap to speak or request to speak, depending on the event settings. 

  1. By default, Crowd Mics turns Auto Approve on, allowing anyone in the classroom to tap and speak at any given time. Students will see a delay as their approval is auto-approved, depending on their place in the lineup of student requests.
  2. To require teacher approval before students can speak, tap Disable Auto Approve. When a student requests to speak through Crowd Mics, his or her name will appear on your main screen. To approve, tap the student's name. 
    Waiting for speakers. Disable auto-approve button appears below.
    Tap on an incoming mic request to approve
  3. Students themselves should click to close their crowd mic when they are done speaking so the next student in line can open their crowd mic and speak. However, the instructor can end a speaker's microphone feed, if needed, by tapping the End button.

Viewing Incoming Chat Messages

Students can send you messages through the chat feature in the app. To view these comments, tap on the comments tab on the bottom navigation.

Tap the chat icon to view incoming chat messages

You cannot send messages back. Simply address the comment verbally.

 

Important! Ending the Event

If you do not end the event, the next teacher won't be able to start a new local event.

  1. When you are finished teaching, tap the close icon at the top right of the Crowd Mics tablet screen.
  2. Tap Yes when asked "Warning: Do you want to end the event?"
    Tap the close icon to end the event, and tap yes to confirm

 

Hearing Audio Feedback?

You may hear an echo in some classrooms when students speak through Crowd Mics. In most cases, this results from the sound coming from the classroom speakers being picked up by your instructor microphone. Try turning down the classroom speaker volume or muting it altogether. Do not mute your audio on Zoom, because that will mute the audio from Crowd Mics for your Zoom students as well. You can also try switching off your lapel microphone while students are speaking.

Differences in Student Volume

Some phones record volume at a higher level than others. Students may be able to adjust their microphone input settings on their phone. However, some students may simply need to hold their phone closer or further away than others while they speak. 

Getting Help

If Crowd Mics isn't behaving as it should, please refer to the Classroom Support information posted in the classroom. You can also go to https://classroomsupport.usu.edu to chat with a member of the classroom support team for help.