2. Moving your teaching online

Good Practice Principles for delivering quality online learning, teaching and assessment 

  1. Teaching should be delivered asynchronously wherever possible.

  2. Design materials with inclusivity at the core. Staff should keep materials simple and in common formats to ensure students with basic IT provision and different learning needs can access.

  3. Learning, teaching and assessment delivered in Autumn 2020 is a bridge between the emergency mode of delivery at the end of the academic year 19/20 and future blended forms of delivery (with increased on-campus activity and online) in 2021.

  4. Clear communication should be given to students about what engagement with the online materials is expected.

  5. Online teaching and learning should be delivered through University supported educational technology systems.

  6. For practical-based subjects, determine achievable learning outcomes for online activities.

  7. Include opportunities for engaging and connecting with the wider university community.

Further detail is available from City Learning and Teaching Hub.

During this academic year, our students will be accessing their learning and teaching material and sessions in many different ways and locations than normal.  As most programmes have significant amounts of online learning, our students will not normally be in a physical classroom with us. This means that we need to mindful of issues that may impact on them safely and fully engaging with their learning. Further guidance for using potentially sensitive material with students is available from the City Learning and Teaching Hub.

The Teaching Online Toolkit has great advice and tips on how to review your curriculum and map out your teaching each week. Further information can be found below on the technologies you can use to support your teaching online.

Using Moodle

  • All taught modules have a corresponding Moodle course to facilitate online interaction with students. Where in active use, all these courses offer at least lecture slides, discussion forums and reading lists and an Announcements forum; many also offer problem sets, quizzes and other more interactive materials.

  • Many Moodle courses already use digital discussion forums/announcements as an official means of communication with students. We highly recommend the introduction of a standard discussion forum on Moodle courses to enable staff to address any student concerns collectively and reduce email traffic (see guidance on using Moodle Forums).

  • Useful guidance:

Alternative provision

It may be necessary to create additional resources or provide alternative ways of accessing teaching activities in order to support students. The following table provides advice on the recommended City-supported technologies for you to use for particular activities. We request that only recommended technology is used.

Activity

Considerations

Tool / Help and support

Online asynchronous discussions

Students and staff can interact with one another and that can occur independent of time and space.

  • Provide students with guidance on expected use of the forums.

Moodle Forums

Quizzes

For testing students’ understanding of material and providing feedback.

  • It can take time to write good quiz questions and create the quiz on Moodle.

Moodle Quizzes

Audio/video lectures or screencasts for asynchronous viewing

To record lecture material for students to watch in their own time.

  • To use Kaltura Capture for the first time, you will need to download the Desktop Recorder software on your computer. Please refer to the Quick Start guide for instructions.

  • To narrate a PowerPoint presentation, you have the options of using Kaltura Capture or the inbuilt Video Recording function within PowerPoint. The advantage of Kaltura Capture is that it automatically creates chapters for each slide in your PowerPoint making navigating and viewing slides easier; while the PowerPoint recording function allows you to record audio slide-by-slide making recording and amendment of recording more efficient.

  • Before the recording:

    • Find a quiet space to work at. Headset with microphone is recommended for best audio quality.

    • Have a script ready for cost effective recording.

    • Instead of recording a one or two-hour lecture and putting it on Moodle, think about breaking up your lecture into smaller chunks (no longer than 15-20 minutes)

  • See our “8 Useful Tips for Recording Online Video Presentation

Kaltura Capture

Narrated PowerPoint

Virtual office hours/small-group tutorials/supervisor meetings

Provide students with one to one or small group academic support and mentoring.

  • Consider student time-zones and speed of internet access.

  • Switch off webcams unless necessary.

Microsoft Teams

 

Teams for teaching

Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365 and its collaboration and communication features make it a great option for supporting student collaboration, group work and communication. Through your Team you and your students will have access to Teams Meetings where you can facilitate Virtual Classrooms.

  • Consider student time-zones and speed of internet access.

  • To use Microsoft Teams for teaching, students will need to download the Microsoft Teams software/app on their devices.

  • Students will also need to use their university credentials and not their personal accounts.

Virtual Classrooms

For conducting teaching activities wholly online. Lecturers can share desktop and files, create polls and record the session. Participants can contribute via text chat (recommended) or by audio/video.

  • City has an institutional licence for Zoom and Teams.

  • Review our Microsoft Teams Meetings and Zoom Feature Comparison to select the best tool for your requirements.

  • Consider reducing the length of the session to avoid student fatigue with multiple online classes.

  • Consider student time-zones and speed of internet access. Record the session for those who cannot attend live.

  • Use the polling features or Poll Everywhere to embed some interactivity in the session.

Zoom

Teams

Teaching in Virtual Classrooms

Live streaming

For broadcasting a live face-to-face lecture to students in remote locations.

  • Requires the lecture to be taking place in a lecture capture enabled room.

  • Will need to consider how students in remote locations interact with the lecturer. Poll Everywhere could be used to collect student questions online.

  • Lecturers should ensure any questions from students in the room are repeated for those watching the live stream.

Echo360

Re-using 2018/19 lecture recordings

Where lectures cannot take place, last year’s lecture recordings could be made available on request.

Echo360

Multimedia resources

You might want to supplement your materials with multimedia from sources such as:

  • Saves time as you don’t need to create your own resources.

  • Need to ensure the content aligns with your learning outcomes.

  • Check permission of materials before use. City is licenced to use Box of Broadcasts (BoB).

    • Typically BoB is only accessible to students accessing from the UK.

    • Learning on Screen have opened up their 'BoB Roaming' service until the end of July 2020. This means that students from subscribing institutions who have returned to any EU Member State will be able to access BoB until the end of July 2020.

Important Note

It may not be possible to simply transfer face to face teaching to an online environment without rethinking the content and delivery of original face to face content.  See the LEaD guidance on designing effective online activities and the LEaD assessment toolkit for advice on alternative assessment types.

In addition, please be mindful of your students’ accessibility requirements. It is important to ensure that no students are disadvantaged while you are trying to ensure continuity of teaching. If you require any advice in terms of selecting alternative formats and methods of delivery, contact the Educational Technology Team via the IT Service Portal. You may also need to consult the Disability and Neurodiversity teams for specific advice, in particular for students with reasonable adjustments.

For information on making your content more inclusive, please see the LEaD Inclusive Design Framework.

 

What about my students who are registered with the disability office, how do I make sure my teaching is accessible? 
While making alternative teaching and learning arrangements, please be mindful of your students’ accessibility requirements. It is important to ensure that no students are disadvantaged while you are trying to ensure continuity of teaching.   

Accessible resources and activities benefit all students, some things to bear in mind are below: 

  • Clear structure and instructions are very important to students with mental health issues and specific learning disabilities.  Use Moodle labels creating headings and sections for resources and activities.  

  • Emphasise that participation and content are of interest rather than grammar/spelling during online discussions.  These can form part of your guidelines for participating in discussions. 

  • Provide clear written summary feedback even when a face-to-face feedback discussion takes place. 

  • Proactively manage online group discussions; offer clear tasks and outcomes. This can help students understand when and why to make a contribution.  

  • For online learning activities, shorter, concretely achievable tasks can be most productive. 

  • Communicate deadlines well in advance and clearly describe academic tasks. 

  • Reduce PowerPoint and Word file sizes to make it easier for students to access them on mobile devices. 

  • Present content that you want students to fill in as Word documents

  • Ensure that you use a fonts size which is large enough to read (at least 12 pt) and coloured text has high contrast. 

  • Provide alternative text for images for those who are unable to view the images. 

  • Provide transcripts for video resources – there are several automatic subtitling options available which can then be corrected for errors, see below for some guides  
    Creating captions with Kaltura 
    Captioning in mediaspace 
    Real time captions or subtitles in PowerPoint  

  • Use the in built accessibility checker in Moodle.  Located in every text editor box in Moodle (see icon below) the Accessibility checker can be used to test if there is sufficient contrast between text in the foreground and the background colour.  The screen reader icon checks if the links and alt text are suitable for screen readers 

     

See the effective Moodle design guide for more guidance. 

 A note for staff and students on the use of online services

 City, University of London provides a cosmopolitan learning environment that is professional, friendly and inclusive. We treat fellow students, staff and visitors with respect and as equal and valued members of the City community. 

When joining and participating in a City, University of London webinar, online meeting, chat or discussion forum you are participating in a welcoming, friendly and supportive community of international character, enriched by its diversity. 

 City’s Student Charter, codes of conduct and policies apply to all staff and students, both on University premises and in online environments. All users are expected to comply with the University policies on the use of IT and online services.

 Useful links