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.
- Information for staff delivering teaching to students in China (NUIST, Guangdong or BIT).
- General guidance for remote working from DTS.
Take Home Exams
You can continue to teach and support your students through a range of online approaches, including through live online teaching, and through providing materials and activities that students can interact with asynchronously.
- See COVID19 remote teaching – a quick summary in the first instance.
- See the video below for a more detailed orientation in the tools and approaches available:
The video content is taken from TEL staff development webinar ‘Delivering teaching and learning remotely’.
- Remote teaching is dependent on individual computer set up, speed of one’s internet connection and location. Wherever possible, students and staff are advised to use a wired, stable, high speed internet connection - however, this set-up is not always possible for all.
- Consequently, the following sections on this help page recommend preparing for a mix of synchronous (live) and asynchronous approaches to deliver teaching and learning online.
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.
- Ensure your content is grouped into simple folder structures and you have clear file names to direct students to activities. e.g. date labelled.
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.
- For inspiration, read more about the uses of Blackboard Collaborate
- It is possible to use Blackboard Collaborate for academic meetings not directly related to your specific Blackboard course e.g. tutorial sessions. In this case, you can set up a Collaborate room in your Blackboard Practice Course.
- Microsoft Teams can also be used to hold online meetings with colleagues or students, however, this tool does not feature interactive teaching functions such as polling, whiteboard sharing etc. For more info from DTS (Digital Technology Services), see the Communicating with Teams page or this DTS blog post: New Microsoft Teams guidance for Teaching and Learning.
Support available for Blackboard Collaborate:
- For a brief overview of the tool, see Webinars for live teaching and seminars.
- Our series of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra user guides – for Staff give the information needed to make the most of the tool.
- Specifically, we recommend using the Blackboard Collaborate Moderator’s Checklist to ensure you have what’s required before running a webinar.
- You can support your students by sharing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra user guides – for your Students
- The video below gives a brief tour of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra interface:
**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:
- Before making recordings, see the checklist: Creating video content for online delivery – key considerations
- While the University does not yet have an approved learning capture solution, there are numerous tools you can use to create a screencast. See Personal Capture Tools available in Microsoft Office and from Third Party providers.
- Please ensure that you have the latest Office 365 version of the software installed, as this incorporates enhanced functionality for screencasting. MS Office tools are free and already available to you – see Office Software on the IT website.
- Upload videos directly to your Blackboard course or use Microsoft Stream to upload, store, play and share/embed videos you have created (in the same way you can via YouTube).
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:
- Consider using a Discussion Board to promote peer reflection on student activities. See Discussion boards: Moving discussion from the classroom to asynchronous online discourse
for ideas about effectively implementing this type of activity.
- Keep it simple, use existing online resources and courses to provide content to students, adding links to your Blackboard module page. Good sources which the University provides are available via the Library, Box of Broadcast (BoB) and LinkedIn Learning.
- Informal online self-test quizzes can provide a significant checkpoint for students engaging asynchronously. The video below gives a brief tour demonstrating how to set up an informal online test in Blackboard.
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.