To ensure that all study programs can run in the winter semester 20/21, the Digital Teaching Taskforce has defined interdisciplinary recommendations for online teaching events. The Rectorate emphatically supports these recommendations and views them as an important orientation tool during the current pandemic situation. The recommendations are also supported by the student union. By following the aspects listed below, you can help ensure the success of online teaching in the digital winter semester.
Asynchronous teaching formats, which are based on an ILIAS course, should be used where possible as these allow as many students as possible to take part in the teaching event. Furthermore, priority should also be given to formats that permit a regular direct interaction between students and with teachers. The teaching materials must be made available to students and follow a regular timetable. These must be available before examinations are due to be held. Synchronous online teaching events can be used where didactically relevant. The use of digital teaching during the pandemic is an unusual situation that demands a mutual respect from and for all participants, also with regard to a more generous understanding of attendance regulations for synchronous online teaching events.
The recommendations are relatively abstract, to allow room for maneuver for the various subjects and types of teaching events. They are illustrated with explanations and examples, which also serve as motivation for the implementation and are being continuously updated and supplemented. Good online teaching sometimes demands more in-depth knowledge of the University of Stuttgart’s online systems, such as ILIAS, Opencast and Webex. Our student volunteers, the eScouts, are on hand to support you; thus ensuring that every member of our teaching staff can offer not only good quality teaching, but also good quality online teaching.
Aspects that every online teaching session should cover:
- Information about course organization (contact person/people, procedure, appointments, expected course assessments and examinations)This information is usually presented in table form and can be found at the beginning of the ILIAS courses homepage, or in a document and must be available at the start of the teaching session.
Example: The timely provision of template of an ILIAS course, which can be copied for your own teaching sessions.ExampleEin Template eines ILIAS-Kurses, das für eigene Veranstaltungen kopiert werden kann, wird zeitnah bereitgestellt.
- Digitalization of contentEach kind of teaching session has a different digital format. Recordings must be made available for lectures. Examples of digital formats (not all digital formats are listed here!) are:
- Presentations (particularly as part of a lecture) must be recorded and the recording must be made available to participants before the next session.
- Teaching videos that clearly communicate content.
- Materials (Full text scripts, slides and literature lists etc.) are already available in a digital format.
- Primary and secondary literature should be available in digital form where possible (university library scan service, ordering ebooks via the university library, use of licensed library service, license-free materials).
- Clear presentation/publication of ILIAS course content
- There are different ways of structuring ILIAS courses, so that the content doesn’t appear “flat” or chaotic in the ILIAS course.
- Exercises and seminars with interactive, communicative components can be taken in addition to the ILIAS course using Webex meetings or Webex teams (when applicable, using the “Breakout-Rooms” and whiteboards).
- Clearly formulated and easily digestible grouped assignmentsAssignments and questions activate the students and encourage them to consider the content of the lesson in more depth.
- Opportunities for students to ask questionsStudents can be given the opportunity to ask questions via the ILIAS forums (using a pseudonym if necessary), in webex meetings or during consultations hours and in the inverted classroom scenario. For students, it is important that there is a regular cycle of interaction, reliable answers to questions, and clear communication channels.
- Skill level controlsIn many online sessions and events, skill level controls are used to give students and teachers valuable feedback on whether students have understood the content and are prepared for the examinations. If such skill level controls are unnecessary, exam papers from past semesters can also be used to help students prepare for examinations.
- Opportunities for giving feedback on the technical implementation of online teaching sessionsFeedback can be given e.g. on forums (anonymous via ILIAS, to eliminate any worries about writing something critical) or, webex could also be used, depending on the nature of the discussion. The opportunity to give feedback is particularly important at the beginning of the semester.
- Motivating students to form study groupsStudent study groups encourage social cohesion and are an important part of succeeding at university. The winter semester will be largely digital in form, so this is extremely important for all students and particularly those in their first semester.