Teaching and learning online

Updated 1 February 2021

England is now facing national restrictions until at least 8 March. There are exceptions for those taking a small number of specified subjects, which at Leeds means Clinical and Social Work programmes and those who have practical assessments or activities which need to be completed for a professional qualification. If a programme falls into this category it is the responsibility of the school to let students know when to return for specific activities. For all other students teaching will be online and students should not return to university until further notice. Regardless of when students return, they must be tested for COVID-19 – and found negative – before they can interact with others or use facilities on campus.

Further details are available on the Spring term arrangements section of this website and in an email to students sent on 13 January . Implications for staff are detailed in a separate email also sent on 13 January.

Online guidance

The Digital Education Service and OD&PL have developed detailed advice and guidance on taking your teaching and learning online. Please visit the Digital Practice website to access this guidance. On this site, you will also find information on online learning content and teaching materials you can make available to your students to support them with their learning. There is also a handy guide to the resources you need to teach remotely at the University of Leeds as well as specific guidance on Mediasite and the captioning service for lectures. There are also various training sessions organised to provide guidance on using various tools, like Gradescope and Top Hat.

Mediasite desktop recording quiet rooms

If you require a room either to work on your teaching materials, or to record some teaching material, then the Medical Teaching Centre located in the Worsley Building is open weekdays from 8am until 4pm

The Medical Teaching Centre is open to all University of Leeds staff and students. The technical team, located on Level 8 of the building, can provide any advice or assistance you need. You can contact them to book via email at mtc@leeds.ac.uk.

Booking in advance is mandatory to ensure the correct track and trace process is followed; however, you can book on the same day you wish to attend. The building has a large number of Covid secure classrooms, so there is normally some availability for last-minute bookings.

If you have any feedback about the service provided, please contact the Worsley Building Manager, Jon Stothard, via email or Microsoft Teams chat.

Helpdesk

Access the support you need on online teaching and learning with the upgraded Digital Education Service helpdesk.

The helpdesk team can support staff and students with queries related to:

  • learning and teaching technologies such as Minerva, MS Class Teams, Personal Capture and Mediasite
  • lectures and classes, and communicating with others online using Collaborate Ultra or MS Class Teams
  • online teaching and learning resources
  • online assessments and examinations

The DES helpdesk only provides support relating to online learning, teaching and assessment, and online course design and development. Please contact your School or the relevant Service for other queries.

The IT Service Desk is the first point of contact for all problems and queries relating to the University’s services and software. Please continue to log any of the above with IT in the usual way or visit IT Knowledgebase for FAQs and user guides.

To log an issue or query relating to online teaching and learning, use the digital education helpdesk logging form.

The TIPS Community also have resources available to share best practice between teaching staff at the University, so you may find the answer to your query here.

Remote support (Buddy support)

The Digital Education Service is offering remote support (buddy support) for your online teaching on Collaborate Ultra, MS Class Teams or Zoom.

You can request a buddy to connect remotely to your online teaching session to provide technical assistance and ensure the session runs smoothly. Please note that your buddy will not be able to provide pedagogical support or deliver the session for you.

Requests are currently being handled on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you need support for your next online teaching session, please fill in the enquiry form for the digital education helpdesk and include the following details:

  • date of session
  • title of session
  • module code
  • start time
  • end time
  • estimated number of students
  • a contact email address and telephone number
  • any additional notes (e.g. guest lecture, etc.)

Please let us know in advance if your teaching session is part of a concurrent set of sessions being delivered, as a buddy will need to be assigned to each session separately.

When you have submitted your request for remote support, you will receive clear communications regarding the status of your request from the online delivery team at the Digital Education Service.

You will be introduced to your buddy roughly 1 week prior to the session date to provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions or iron out any issues, and they will then be available to join your session remotely 15 minutes prior to the start time to support the online delivery of your session.

There is guidance on how to create a virtual classroom session on the Digital Practice website.

Please do not hesitate to make the most of this service as you get used to delivering your teaching sessions online.

Professional development events

We have organised professional development events to support staff to design and deliver online learning and teaching and make the most effective use of our systems.

We would ask colleagues with experience of using these systems and approaches to deliver online learning and teaching to support their colleagues and provide advice and support where they can. If you are new to online teaching you may wish to read Neil Morris’ inside track article in which he shares his experiences and thoughts on transitioning to online learning.

Providing academic support to students (personal tutoring)

This guidance is primarily aimed at colleagues who are already involved in directly supporting students academically – named personal tutors, DSEs/Deputy DSEs/programme leaders, module leaders, Heads of Year, Joint Honours Tutors. Given the evolving situation, it also serves as advice for any academic colleague involved in student support over the coming weeks.

How to support students:

  • Email students to reassure them about how your role will work during this period, and introducing any other colleagues who are available to provide support.
  • Where possible, fulfil scheduled tutorial activities online or by phone, either individually or in groups.
  • Maintain a positive individual relationship.
  • Signpost students to appropriate resources that will help them to navigate any challenges and to make the most of the opportunities an online approach to learning offers.

Read detailed guidance on supporting students in the staff email sent out on 31 March 2020.

If you’re concerned about a student please contact the SES Student Support team in your school or faculty, using the generic email account for your school. This will ensure that any issues are addressed.

If you are unwell or unavailable, please make sure that you tell your Head of School or the nominated academic support lead in your School so that appropriate cover can be arranged to fulfil this important role.

More detailed guidance on academic support structures at School and Faculty level will be overseen by the Student Experience Strategy Group.

Reading lists

So your students can access library material related to their module, please make sure your reading list is up to date using the Minerva reading list tool. See the Library’s information on making items available for students and a brief video on using the reading list tool. To discuss any issues in relation to your reading list, please contact the Library.

Lecture capture Students are temporarily permitted to download Mediasite content from module areas so they can access lecture capture recordings offline. This is being run as an opt-in service. This process is subject to change and will be reviewed regularly.

Specialised software for students

The University IT Service is working closely with academic colleagues to confirm which software applications are required for our taught students. As a priority, this will focus on software that is necessary for undergraduate and taught postgraduate final year assessments, including project work and dissertations. Each software application is being assessed on an individual basis to look at the current availability of off-campus access and options to improve this if required.

We are advising students to contact their module or programme leader in the first instance, if they are unsure what specialised software they require for their studies.

Colleagues across the university are working to secure solutions to enable the continuation of study and assessment, and this includes off-campus access to as many software applications as possible which may be required for our students. If you need guidance, in the first instance you should speak to your Director of Student Education. For further assistance or advice, you should contact the Digital Education Service. Guidance on software for students has been published on the Student FAQs page.

Students with disabilities

You can access information on how to teach disabled students remotely.

You can make learning materials more accessible for students by using text captions on your online lecture material. This is all held on Mediasite and can be accessed via library services, or the Digital Education Service. More information on capturing can be found by visiting our ‘Making learning materials more accessible for students’ page.