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Tips & Tricks

Note: The tips & tricks are updated regularly: So keep an eye on this page for new tips!

Note: Tip 1 through 7 are aimed at teachers who need to adapt their teaching to online education in a very short period of time. Tip 8 to 12 are aimed at teachers who have more time to adapt their teaching to online education.

Note: If you want more information and support, you can join several webinars on Distance Learning

  • Prioritise. Do what's really necessary first. 
  • If necessary, let students first study material independently with processing assignments that you'll come back to later when you've further developed your distance learning . 
  • Take a look at the overview of UU distance learning opportunities on the intranet 
  • Keep it short and simple. For example short online sessions (15-30 min). Let the students go over material and/or make assignments independently prior to the online session and refer back to this during the online session.
  • Don’t  aim too high standards, accept that not everything goes smoothly.
  • Start -where possible- with tools you already know. If you then have more time and want to strengthen your education further, contact Educate-it and Educational Consultancy & Professional Development
  • In synchronous education, both distance learning and communication are live. This is more difficult to arrange in terms of logistics and technology. An example of synchronous education is the streaming of lectures via Microsoft Teams. Wherever possible, opt for asynchronous teaching, especially if you foresee problems (e.g. poor internet connection among students or yourself).
    • Optionally, record synchronous teaching, so that students can watch the recording later in case they encounter internet problems during the lecture/session.
  • With asynchronous distance learning, students can learn at different times. They do not need to be online at specific times in order to follow the course. Examples of asynchronous education include providing articles, knowledge clips, e-modules, processing assignments that students can make in their own time, and interactivity in a forum or Microsoft Teams.
  • For additional information, see also this article (Dutch) for extensive tips on online collaboration
  • For example, search the UU media platform for previously recorded knowledge clips.
  • Up until the 15th of June (at least) you can use the video journals and science education videos on 'JoVE' via the UU's subscription.
  • Did you make education material you want to share with others? You can easily do that through the repository of the UU
  • Take a look at the experiences of your colleagues in the teacher community (TAUU) of the UU and share your own tips!
  • Make agreements with your colleagues on the tools you will be using. Keep in mind that it is good for the students to work with the same tools as much as possible within the program.
  • In case you are going to stream your lecture live and in the meantime you want to give students the opportunity to ask questions, ask a colleague to act as moderator. You can then focus on giving your presentation and your colleague can occasionally break in and answer the questions the students send via chat.
  • Communicate as much as possible through the UU channels that students are used to (e.g. student email & Blackboard announcements).
  • Ask students for feedback on how distance learning works and how they experience it. Students often have good tips that can be used to improve distance learning. 
  • Use UU / Educate-it supported tools as much as possible. This way we keep it manageable for students and they don't have to learn too many different tools. Finally, you can also be sure that the privacy surrounding the use of tools is well regulated.
  • Always state how your distance learning contributes to the learning objectives of the course.
  • Structure by indicating how the online teaching moment is structured 
  • Schedule fixed moments for non-binding online question times: for example, communicate that you are available twice a week between 15:00 and 16:00 for questions via an online meeting room in Teams.
  • Make sure that there is interaction in your online (work) lecture, so that there is not only knowledge transfer, but students also actively deal with the teaching material. For example, think of:
    • Interaction between students (through a discussion forum, a peer-feedback assignment in which students give feedback on each other's work or a group assignment)
    • Interaction between students and the teacher (by scheduling individual conversations with students, or by setting an hour as a teacher)
  • Start by making a clear explanation of the 'meeting discipline': How will the session go, how can the students  ask questions (via the microphone/chat, etc.), how long will the session last, etc.?
  • Give students a (simple) assignment so you know if they have understood the instruction. For example, have your instruction summarized in half an A4 or have them answer questions (e.g. with Mentimeter).
  • Make sure students feel visible in the course (this can be done by 'liking' the forum in Teams, giving feedback, complimenting students on their contribution, sharpening discussions in chats/ forums by responding to content, etc.).
  • View the manual of Teams.
  • Teams meeting / working college
    • Ask students to turn their microphone off when they are not speaking, this way you avoid noise and interference.
    • Make sure that students turn off their webcam when it is not necessary for them to be in the picture, this way you avoid bad connection.
    • In case the lecture will be recorded, specify it in.
    • Give a brief in advance of what the online lecture will look like: duration, structure and break moments. In an online environment it can be more difficult for students to stay focused, so take a short break more often, especially for longer sessions.
    • Indicate that students can ask questions in the chat and that these questions will be answered later. If there is a second tutor, he or she can answer the chat questions as moderator or name relevant questions during the meeting.
  • For questions about Teams, mail to: teachingsupport@uu.nl.
  • When you combine a Powerpoint with a recorded audio/video, make sure that the students themselves can turn on the video/audio per slide and/or that it is possible to rewind back or forward in the audio/video.
    • You can record and add your own audio in Powerpoint. For more info see this manual.
    • You can record a knowledge clip in Mymediasite with powerpoint
  • For options and associated manuals, please visit the Remote Teaching page.
  • Constructive alignment: ensure that learning objectives, learning activities and testing are aligned with each other.
  • Webinar agenda: Through this link you will find webinars on various themes where the didactic aspects and the use of tools are discussed.
  • Feedback and peer feedback: these tips can help you use (peer)feedback effectively.

Experiences by teachers