Technology for teaching and learning continuity

Technology for teaching and learning continuity

IT Services has prepared this page for academics. It is being updated with additional resources. Last updated 13 October 2020.

The contents of this page should be read in conjunction with the document Advice and guidelines to staff and students  published on 19 September 2020. This document provides guidance on in-person (face-to-face) lectures, remote lectures, and P-R (P = physical presence; R = remote teaching) lectures. 

 

Remote lectures

Remote lectures may involve synchronous teaching streamed in real-time (using Zoom) or using recorded material (using Panopto) or a blend of both types.

For synchronous online teaching, students are required to keep the audio muted but video camera on during class; a virtual background is provided by the Zoom software for privacy.

Refer to the section Tools for instructional continuity for information about Zoom and Panopto.

P-R lectures

The P-R lectures (P = physical presence; R = remote teaching) may have the following formats:

  1. simultaneous in-person teaching and remote teaching (using Zoom); or
  2. online lectures streamed in real-time or using recorded material, or a blend of both types followed by small group in-person teaching.

For (1), academics will be required to bring their (a) own laptop and (b) personal headset with a microphone. The headset is needed so that remote students can hear the lecturer clearly. The in-built microphone on the laptop may not be sufficient due to the ambient sound in the lecture room. Academics will connect their laptop to the projection facility in the learning space, start Zoom and share their electronic presentation through Zoom. The Zoom whiteboard feature can be used for writing/typing. The in-class students will follow the presentation / Zoom whiteboard on the projection screen whilst the remote students will follow on Zoom.

This setup requires academics using wired headsets, to remain on the instructional desk throughout the lecture. The Zoom whiteboard feature will need to be used instead of the writing surface on the instructional wall. Academics may need to repeat the student questions before answering these for the benefit of those on Zoom who would not have heard the question. It is recommended that academics establish the protocol that students should follow when asking questions (e.g. Q&A breaks or appoint a student as a co-host to manage questions coming from remote students). Academics may decide that remote students follow the lecture as observers.

Refer to the section Tools for instructional continuity for information about Zoom and Panopto.

Tools for instructional continuity 

This section provides information about University-supported tools and resources to help maintain instructional continuity when you are unable to meet with all your students face-to-face. The tools are cloud-based and available from anywhere.

VLE

The VLE is the core learning platform for your study-unit. It should be your primary means of communicating with students, delivering content, enabling interaction, collecting assignments etc. - even if your study-units are already in progress.

Your study-units are available on the VLE even if you have not used the VLE before. Each study-unit area is also populated with students enrolled in the study-unit. You only need to make this available to students by following these instructions.  No requests are required to start using the VLE. Visit this link to access your study-unit/s on the VLE.

IT Services offers basic training on the use of the VLE for academics. Follow this link for more information and to register for the Workshop: Getting Started with the VLE.

Quick guides:

Pre-recorded video lectures (Panopto)

Panopto Personal Capture is a tool that you can use to record lecture videos, narrate voice-over-presentations, and capture screencasts from your laptop. The videos are automatically shared through the VLE with your students.

You can access Panopto and download the personal capture tool from the VLE

IT Services offers basic training on the use of Panopto Personal Capture for academics. Follow this link for more information and to register for the Workshop: Using Personal Capture to Pre-Record Lectures.

Quick guides:

Live interactive teaching (Zoom)

Zoom is a cloud-based service that you can use for live interactive teaching, online meetings, and webinars. Students are able to ask questions and interact during the session. You can also share your presentation or screen.

All UM staff are required to first activate their Zoom account, and should ensure that they are signed in to Zoom with the UM account (via SSO)  to gain access to additional features and for more secure use of Zoom. After activating your account, you can start scheduling Zoom sessions in the VLE.

You may wish to record your lecture sessions so that students who are unable to connect and attend the live sessions can watch them later.

IT Services offers basic training on the use of Zoom for academics. Follow this link for more information and to register for the Workshop: Getting Started with Zoom for Teaching

Quick guides:


Frequently asked questions

The following technologies are available for remote teaching:

  1. VLE
  2. Panopto Personal Capture for pre-recorded lectures (asynchronous)*
  3. Zoom for live interactive teaching (synchronous)

* Smartphones or portable digital voice recorders can be used to record podcasts. The podcasts along with any presentation can then be uploaded on the VLE. IT Services has a limited number of digital voice recorders that can be loaned 

For synchronous teaching sessions it is strongly recommended that your virtual classes are held on the same day and time that you would normally teach this class on campus. This ensures that students who attend your class do not need to adjust their schedules to participate. It is suggested that you do not extend the class time beyond scheduled hours. Remember that students will also be following other lectures remotely.

Files (such as PDFs, slide presentations, or other documents) can be uploaded onto the study-unit area on the VLE and accessed directly by students. Links to online resources are also easy to create and organise in the VLE.

Always use the 'Announcements' forum in the VLE  (located at the top of each study-unit area) as your primary tool for course-wide communications. When you post an Announcement, all students enrolled in the class will receive it as an email, after a short delay.

Why use Announcements? Doing so ensures that all students know where to go for information, assignments, and updates, while also making it easy for instructors and students to access a record of past announcements. If you use email instead, you will likely find yourself sending the same email multiple times if students delete or lose track of the emails they have received.

Note that your students cannot reply to messages that you send via 'Announcements' (refer to the following FAQ). 

Create a discussion forum in your study-unit area on the VLE. Direct the students to use this forum to ask questions about the study-unit. When you reply to questions in this forum, the entire class will see your reply.

The Forum activity  in the VLE provides an easy way to add discussions to your study-unit. Files such as images and media can also be included in forum posts.

Every study-unit automatically has an associated site in the VLE that is accessible to students registered to the study-unit. You only need to make this available to students by following these instructions You will use the VLE to post learning resources, collect assignments and communicate with students - even for study-units already in progress.

If you need technical help with keeping your class running, contact the IT Services E-Learning Service Desk as follows:

Self-Service Portal | Tel: +356 2340 4113 | e: vle.itservices@um.edu.mt 

In addition to the IT Services support, a number of academics are also available to support you in adapting your current teaching strategies to an online modality.


https://www.um.edu.mt/services/coronavirus/instructionalcontinuity