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 24 September 2021.

The contents of this page should be read in conjunction with the document Advice and guidelines to staff and students: towards achieving some degree of normalcy - Academic year 2021-2022 . This page provides guidance on P-R (P = physical presence; R = remote presence) teaching and remote teaching.

P-R teaching

The P-R (P = physical; R = remote) teaching mode can take place through the underlying methods.

Note that:

  • The remote students will follow the lectures in real-time as the students in class through a live stream. Lectures can be streamed live using Zoom or Panopto. The remote students will follow the live-streamed lectures as observers.
  • Alternatively, the remote students will be provided (later on) with a recording of the lectures using Zoom or Panopto.
  • Teaching spaces are bookable through the Scheduling Office.

IT Services is supporting the following approaches to P-R teaching:

Some learning spaces are equipped with Panopto technology that enables lecturers to live stream their lectures.

  • Once an academic is informed that their lectures are scheduled in a Panopto-enabled learning space, the academic will share the Panopto streaming link to the students using the Announcements forum on the VLE 
  • The workstation available on the instructional desk will need to be used to live stream the lecture. The presentation files to be used during the lecture can be transferred using a USB stick or accessed from Google Drive.
  • The academic will use the wearable microphone available in the learning space so that the remote students can hear the lecture.
  • These learning spaces are equipped with a document camera or a whiteboard with a camera. The remote students will also be able to follow any writing on the document camera or whiteboard.
  • Streaming starts automatically at the lecture’s timetabled start time. When the streaming starts, the On-Air light indicator switches on with a green light.
  • Once the assigned lecture time is over, the stream ends automatically at the timetabled finish time.

The live-streamed lecture is also recorded. The academic can make the recording available to students after the lecture.

Some learning spaces have a Zoom Room add-on. This add-on is a relatively new feature and more spaces will be upgraded during the year.

These learning spaces are equipped with:

  • cameras to capture the lecturer and the whiteboard
  • a control tablet and a computer with Zoom software on the instructor's desk. Academics can bring their laptop and connect this to deliver the lecture
  • a wearable wireless lapel microphone that will be used by the lecturer so that students following the lecture remotely can hear the academic
  • speakers so that remote students can be heard by the lecturer and students in the room
  • a large LCD screen to view the remote students.

A quick start guide to Zoom Rooms  is available.

In learning spaces that are not equipped with Panopto technology (A) or the Zoom Room add-on (B), the lecturer creates a standard Zoom meeting and uses their personal laptop to run the meeting in class.

  • The lecturer schedules the Zoom meeting in the VLE  ahead of the teaching session.
  • The lecturer connects their laptop to the projection/LCD facilities (usually via an HDMI cable) available in the learning space as usual.
  • The lecturer should connect their laptop to the network cable available in the learning space for a more stable Internet connection.
  • The lecturer starts the Zoom meeting in the VLE  and shares the presentation via Zoom.  The students in class will follow the presentation on the projection screen/LCD whilst the remote students will follow the presentation on Zoom.
  • For remote students to hear the lecturer, the in-built microphone on the laptop may not be sufficient due to the ambient sound in the lecture room. The next section contains a list of recommended devices.

Recommended devices to enhance the audio for Zoom client on laptops (option C)

A number of devices will be made available for lending purposes however, it is strongly recommended that academics use their work resources to buy these devices. This will facilitate connectivity and familiarity with the device.

This is the most common and widely used solution. The headset consists of headphones covering both ears or one ear with an attached microphone. This may be wired or wireless.

For P-R teaching, the one-ear set is recommended. Alternatively, when using headsets with two ear cups, one ear cup can be displaced away from the ear. The most critical part is the microphone attached to the headset as this allows the remote students to hear the lecturer clearly.

Wired headsets:

Wireless headsets:

These can be more comfortable. It is recommended to make use of one earbud.

Unlike headphones, the neck speakers rest on the shoulders. This gives a more real presence and eliminates the discomfort of having a headset covering the ear. Microphones inside the unit allow the far end to hear.

These mics attach to the lapel or can be attached to a loop around the neck. These types of mics are discreet and allow the remote participants to hear the presenter clearly.

These are by far the best solution and are extensively used in live performances. However, professional models can be quite expensive. Less expensive models require great care when selecting the wireless frequencies used as interference can often occur.

  • Wired vs. wireless - A wireless headset is more convenient as this allows lecturers to move away from their laptop.

  • Frequency/modulation used - Avoid units claiming to use UHF frequencies as these are often a set of fixed frequencies and may be subject to interference especially if other devices are being used close by. Moreover, some UHF devices still being sold use frequencies that are not recommended by the local communications authority (MCA).

    We suggest using Bluetooth devices as these are more readily available, reliable while generally being relatively less expensive. DECT units are also favourable but these are harder to find.

    Note that for laptops without Bluetooth connectivity, a USB dongle/adaptor will be required.

  • Noise cancelling - This is the reduction of unwanted background noise. This may be applied to the headphones, to the microphone or both. In a lecture room environment, noise-cancelling headphones should be avoided as these will make it difficult for the academic to hear the students in class. A noise-cancelling microphone is however recommended as these allow the remote students to hear the lecturer clearly. In general, the closer the microphone is to the speaker's mouth, the less the background noise is heard by the remote participants.

P-R teaching support

Learning Spaces Technology Support (LSTS) staff within IT Services are available for any support needed. An appointment may be made by calling (2340) 4112 option 2 or by filling the AV support form. A support line will also be open for emergencies during lectures. Each learning space has a specific support number to call. When calling this number, staff closer to the venue will be able to respond as quickly as possible.

Further information on use of the VLE and Zoom for P+R lectures is available.

Remote teaching

This section is aimed at lecturers teaching evening courses.

Remote teaching involves the streaming of a lecture in real-time (using Zoom). The 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. Students should discuss any concerns they may have with their lecturers about the use of cameras.


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