Student screen sharing for in-class settings

Screen sharing is a great tool for encouraging active learning, group working and constructive feedback from peers and tutors – all in a live session on campus. And these days we don’t need any specialist kit to do it.

Often in group working scenarios, the tutor will set a task for each student team, to be completed during the session. Time is allocated towards the end for each group to present their work to the wider group for feedback.

This screen sharing method can be used in computer labs, TEAL rooms (where there are a number of tables for group work, each with their own screen), or regular classrooms where students bring their own laptops.

Which tools can we use?

We have the following tools/systems already in place that should prove useful:

  • Blackboard Collaborate
  • Microsoft Teams

Both of these are capable of screen sharing – just like you would do when hosting a fully online live session. The choice of which may depend on what you are already using within your teaching – which one you and your students are more comfortable with.

Ask the students in the physical room to join the ‘webinar’ – just for screen sharing. They do not need to turn on their cameras or microphones. You, as tutor, join from the lectern PC. You can then show anything screen-shared by a student on the big projector screen, and any student joining would be able to see shared content on their computer screen too.

If you want the ability for students to collaborate on documents/files:

Some considerations

You need to think ahead when planning a successful session with screen sharing.

How should I set up my webinar session?

You will need to ensure students have permission to share their screens. You may also want to disable their ability to switch on cameras and microphones to simplify things and avoid audio feedback.

Session settings in Collaborate

Participant settings in Teams

How do I invite my on-campus student group to join a Collaborate/Teams session?

  • Option 1 – Provide a ‘webinar’ link for each workshop group to join – perhaps put it in an appropriate area of Blackboard as a web link. Such links can be obtained for any Collaborate/Teams sessions:
  • Option 2 – Set up a shortened URL (web address) – easy for students to type in when they get to class. To do this take a copy of the long, unwieldy web address you get from Collaborate or Teams. Run it through the UWE URL shortener and perhaps provide a customised address. e.g.

How do I invite my on-campus student group to collaborate on files?

  • For collaboration in OneDrive: as above, you can provide a link to the document on Blackboard or set up a shortened URL. Once your students have joined the webinar, additional links can also be shared in the webinar chat.
  • For collaboration in Teams, you can either:
    • manually enrol students onto a Team (use the module distribution list to add all students on the cohort to the Team in one go).
    • provide a join code for students to self-enrol on the Team.

Audio feedback

When using Collaborate or Teams for in-class screen sharing, you need to share the visuals, but not the audio. If you have multiple mics and speakers in the same physical room, you will get audio feedback. So it is important that all microphones are switched off or disabled – including student computers and the tutor’s lectern PC – within Collaborate/Teams (you can still have the lectern mic switched on for use in the class or event capture).


Article by Glenn Duckworth

Photo by Karolina Grabowska