Information for staff delivering teaching remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This page provides colleagues with advice on the tools and techniques available to deliver online teaching and learning while University campuses are closed.

Take Home Exams

Take Home Exams Summer 2020: Information for Staff.


Review your course using the checklist and points raised in ‘Blackboard course design for remote teaching’.

Take these simple actions to get started:


  • Prepare a short course message to students, to inform them of your approach to remote delivery and set expectations for participation. This could be a ‘talking head’ video or Announcement on the course notice board.

Communicate your office hours - this is particularly important if using live chat/video with students. See ‘Live lectures and seminars’ below for details of live chat/video tools.

You can also maintain contact and engagement asynchronously outside of the live teaching environment:

  • Login regularly to your Blackboard modules, students are more likely to engage where there is a regular online tutor presence.
  • If possible let students know times when you will be online; this will prompt student engagement and let students know when to check their Blackboard course for updates.
  • You could create short videos of yourself, and upload them to Blackboard, to communicate to students and give a greater feeling of teacher presence online. For example, give a summary or instructions for the week ahead/week completed. For more information about creating video content see below section: Personal Capture: creating screencasts/video content for T&L.
  • Use Announcements to alert students of upcoming or alternative activities.
  • To reduce individual students emails, set up a Discussion Forum to answer any FAQs. Use this to communicate with and respond to your students.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the TEL supported web conferencing software for holding real-time online ‘virtual classroom’ sessions with your students, wherever they are located. These sessions are usually called webinars. You can run interactive seminars, tutorials or meetings with your students, and anyone external to the institution is able to join using a guest web link

Support available for Blackboard Collaborate:

  • The video below gives a brief tour of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra interface:

Please note:

**For latest updates on Blackboard Collaborate performance during COVID19 please see: Bb Collaborate - COVID19 latest

A screencast is an effective means of explaining a particular concept or describing a step-by-step process, through recording your screen, webcam/mic input or via a PowerPoint presentation with narration. You can use screencasts as an alternative to live synchronous teaching sessions, or to complement them:

Students will have problems with connections, with making the technology work and may have unforeseen demands on their time e.g. caring responsibilities or illness. This is a significant argument for doing as much as possible asynchronously to promote student well-being during periods of remote teaching. Students can participate at a time inclusive of their individual circumstances.

You may be providing additional materials and setting activities for your students to complete. For ideas, see Student activity – facilitating asynchronous online learning tasks

Some key points from the guide:

During this time of remote teaching and learning, group work and peer learning are more important than ever for enabling students to feel a sense of belonging to the learning communities on their courses.

  • If appropriate, set up Groups on your course to allow smaller groups of students to work together.
  • When creating Groups, enable tools that will allow your students to interact with each other via their Blackboard course, for example, the Email, File sharing, Collaborate Ultra tool and Discussion Forum.