SOP - 11 Planned Synchronous Opportunities



Instructional interactions in Pamoja Education (PJE) courses take place through a variety of media for both teacher-student communication and student-student communication. These interactions may include media such as discussion forums, chat, email and assignment feedback, as well as web-conferencing for “Live Sessions”. A key distinction between these media is whether the interactions are synchronous (occurring in real time) or asynchronous (not occurring in real time). Due to geographic time zone differences between teachers and students in the global PJE community, many interactions are conducted asynchronously. However, there are instances when it is advantageous to have synchronous interactions. For example, students who have a question may spontaneously and informally chat “live” with teachers and fellow students who are online. However, students can also benefit from Live Sessions. These are times when students and teachers meet at a scheduled time in a synchronous environment, with planned instructional objectives. This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will describe the rationale for Live Sessions, and the recommended forms, frequency and organisation.


Live Sessions are conducted to:

  • ensure opportunities for direct student-to-student and student-to-teacher communication.
  • address subject-specific learning objectives.
    • e.g. Mathematics – to allow students to see problem solving “in action”
    • e.g. Languages – to allow students to have live conversation in the target language 
  • give students greater control over their learning at agreed points in the course.
  • foster the development of students’ Approaches to Learning (ATL), such as communication and social skills.

Forms of Live Sessions

Live Sessions can take a variety of forms in PJE courses to suit both general and subject-specific learning objectives. While Live Sessions may take different forms to serve subject-specific needs, there are common Live Sessions principles across all subjects (commencing with all May 2017 cohort subjects). Under the coordination of the HoD, each course will:

  • deliver Live Sessions via Big Blue Button (BBB) with a target length of 45 minutes (max 60 minutes).
  • provide students with a Live Sessions semester schedule identifying dates and times of upcoming Live Sessions, at the start of each semester.
  • ensure that Live Sessions schedules
    • feature a suitable variety of session times and dates for access by the global subject cohort. 
    • provides a suitable variety of interactive formats, such as
      • extension activities that complement / extend student understanding of subject-specific issues.
      • remediation activities that review / reinforce student understanding of subject-specific issues.
      • teacher-led sessions with student question and answer.
      • student-led sessions hosted by a selected group of 2 – 5 students coordinated by a teacher.
      • guest speakers.
      • special events specific to the subject in question (e.g. the Oscars in Film)
    • are flexible, taking student feedback, teacher notes and consultation into consideration to determine the best focus and format for Live Sessions.
  • ensure that sessions are recorded and archived using standard naming conventions, so that they are available to all students in a course.
  • ensure that student feedback, teacher notes and consultation within the Learning Space are used to inform the focus and form of Live Sessions.

Frequency of Live Sessions

Live Sessions are only one form of instructional interaction in the PJE learning environment and hence have a frequency that reflects this. There need to be enough during a semester so that students in different time zones have an opportunity to attend a reasonable number but the number should not detract from the time a teacher needs to work with students asynchronously or from the time that a student needs to review course content, interact asynchronously and complete assignments. To this end Live Sessions will be available to students approximately once every two or three weeks. Each Teaching Team in a Learning Space (3 – 5 teachers) should plan the following number of Live Sessions each term to be available to an individual student:





9 to 12


12 to 16


9 to 12


9 to 12


Organising Live Sessions within a Learning Space

Under the coordination of the HoD, the proposed schedule of Live Sessions for a semester is published before the beginning of a semester with teachers assigned to each Live Session as coordinators/presenters within the Learning Space. Teachers should be invited to consult with the HoD before the start of semester if they wish to change the Live Sessions schedule. Live Session teachers are responsible for organizing, publicizing, and recording the Live Session which they are scheduled to coordinate. 

Heads of Department will place the live lesson schedule in the Learning Space calendar at course opening. The timing of the lessons aims to be such that a variety of time zones are included over a number of weeks. Students will be offered to give feedback on the most suitable timing of live sessions and adjustments made to the calendar where possible.

Organisation of Live Sessions

The table below demonstrates the sequence of events to organise, manage and coordinate Live Sessions:

Head of Department Planning




Publish draft of the shared activity Rota in the PLC

Two weeks before course opening


Decide on final dates and timings of Live Sessions

One week before course opening

In negotiation with the HoD.

The form of the Live Session should also be included here so that a good variety of instances is evident for the year.

Publish Live Session schedule with the naming convention of Course – Cohort – Year – Topic in Course Announcements

e.g. Math HL - M2017 – Y1 – Unit 4 Differential Calculus Review

Week 1

In course announcements

Also in a Googledoc/Wiki Page

Course Calendar updated

Teacher Planning

Outline of assigned Live Sessions

Week 2

Form of Live Session

Short Description

This is in Googledoc/Wikipage and notification in Course Announcements.

Include topic, outline and proposed objectives in the Googledoc/Wikipage.

5.      Note that students are invited to comment on the Googledoc/Wikipage so that objectives can be adapted to student need.

Setting up the Live Sessions

e.g. Group of students for Live Sessions (D day), Guest Speaker Contacted, Current Event Preparation etc.

Live Session date minus 3 weeks

Select group to lead/assist with Live Session ,if student led.

If a Live Session is a review type a teacher may ask a group of students to help focus questions.

If a Live Session has a guest speaker the coordinator contacts the guest.

If the Live Session is a current event the coordinator begins to prepare for the event.

Final Preparation

e.g. Review of presentation (for student led or guest speaker Live Session), posting of review stimuli in a discussion, prior reading posted etc.

Live Session date minus 1 week

This is primarily for student led presentations

Live Session notification

Live Session date minus Week

Live Session date minus 30 minutes

Reminder in email and announcement. Also students are asked to sign up in the Googledoc/Wiki schedule if they are planning to attend the Live Session.


Reminder in Chat and email for students who are online.

Live Session begins

Live Session date

Note that the session may be delayed by a few minutes to allow late arrivals if attendance is low.

Live Session ends

Live Session date + 1 hour


Live Session archive

Live Session date minus 2 hours

Teacher check for archive.


[1] Note that this refers to the end of the weeks indicated.


Related Articles: -

SOP - Journals and Blogs

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