Teaching and learning online

Updated 31 March 2020 6.30pm

For the rest of this term, all physical lectures and classes for taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are cancelled. This includes laboratory and other practical classes. So far as possible, teaching will be delivered online.

We have agreed on a new approach to examination and assessment in the summer term, as explained in our  online document. Students can also find out more about this on the  student FAQs page.

This is a significant change to make quickly, and we would like to thank you in advance for your patience with any glitches you may experience.

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. We also provide specific guidance on Mediasite and the captioning service for lectures.

Helpdesk

Access the support you need on online teaching and learning with the upgraded Digital Education Service helpdesk. Now, when you contact us for help and support with digital education, you’ll be asked to fill in a short logging form to help us direct you to the right advice as quickly as possible.

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

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

The DES helpdesk only provides support relating to online learning, teaching and assessment, and online course design and development, so any other enquiries will not be answered. 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, learning and assessment, access the digital education helpdesk here.

The Helpdesk team is regularly updating the digital education FAQs using questions asked by your colleagues, so you may find an answer to your query here.

Remote support

The Digital Education Service is offering remote support for your online teaching on Collaborate Ultra. As you prepare your courses for online delivery, you can now request an experienced member of staff to connect remotely and ensure the smooth running of the session.

This service is open now and will remain open until further notice (including throughout Easter break) for any form of online learning and teaching. Requests will be handled on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you need support for your next online class, please email Digital Education Service Helpdesk with ‘Scheduling Remote Support’ in the subject line. In your email, please 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.)

Before the Collaborate session can run, you need to first create it on Minerva. Guidance on using Collaborate can be found on the Digital Practice website. 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.

Your assigned support staff member will contact you 15 minutes before the start of the session and will support the online delivery of your class as long as you need it.

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