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Digital teaching

Teaching online does not have to be very different from normal.

Synchronous and asynchronous teaching

It is common to distinguish between synchronous and asynchronous in online teaching. 

  • Synchronous teaching: takes place in real time where students participate in a video conference that replaces regular class time.
  • Asynchronous teaching: Students work with the syllabus and recorded lectures at their own pace.

Lecturing in real-time (synchronous)

The lecture format is widely used at UiO, and there are several resources that allow for real-time lectures with small and large groups of students.

  • Take breaks: Teaching online can be both tiring and demanding, especially in real time. Therefore, plan regular breaks or divide your teaching into smaller segments so that you and the students can have full concentration and focus during each teaching session.
  • Let the students work in groups: Zoom lets you easily divide the students into groups, so-called "breakout rooms", during parts of the lecture.
  • Make a recording of the real-time lecture: For students who cannot attend at the scheduled time, consider recording your Zoom lecture which you can then publish in Canvas.
    • To protect the privacy of your students, we recommend turning off the participants' cameras, as well as pausing the recording during discussions.

Recording lectures (asynchronous)

Asynchronous lectures are recordings in the form of either video or podcast which students can view at any time and in their own tempo. Recording yourself talking about a given topic can be a good substitute for the real-time teaching described above.

Record some shorter lectures on specific topics, texts and core concepts, and try to put these in context with each other and other activities.

  • Divide into smaller segments: Divide the syllabus into shorter videos that focus on one element. Along the way, you can ask students to stop the video to make notes, answer questions, or reflect. Shorter video clips make it easier to plan and edit, and the videos will also be more user-friendly for students.
  • Structuring contents: In online teaching, students need support to structure and sequence activities. Think about how a video or podcast fits in with the student's learning process. It is important that you provide clear organization and flow of materials.
  • Test students: Allow students to test their own understanding of topics from the videos / podcast. A well-designed multi-choice test, as an extension of a video / podcast, may be very beneficial for student learning.
  • Reduce Quantity: It may be easy to add resources that may be relevant, but too much information can be overwhelming on a digital learning platform. Make sure you don't post too much content.

Seminars and smaller student groups

Seminars are similar to the synchronous and asynchronous formats described above. However, smaller groups allow for more discussion and student interaction.

  • See the students: Talk directly to the participants. Start by welcoming and providing information about the plan for the teaching session. Ask students to turn on their camera to contribute to the learning environment.
  • Support participation: Think about how to organize each participant's turn. Digital "hand raising" or "chat" features in Zoom, discussion forums in Canvas, or quizzes in Mentimeter allow students to contribute to discussions and to test their own learning along the way during a teaching session.
  • Use group discussions: Have students discuss, explore, and collaborate on solving problems and tasks in 'breakout rooms' in Zoom
  • Have students present: Students can hold presentations in Zoom using powerpoint slides and screen-sharing.
  • Take breaks: Schedule regular breaks and divide your teaching into smaller segments to helps students to concentrate and stay focused.
  • Support group work:
    • Can you add group or collaborative activity in Canvas by using co-writing features like in Office365?
    • Can you create smaller assignments related to certain parts of the syllabus that do not require much follow-up?
  • Use multiple communication channels:
    • Can you conduct digital office hours or advising sessions via Zoom?
    • Can you use Mentimeter to let students test their own knowledge or ask questions during the lecture?
    • Can you use Teams to initiate synchronous or asynchronous discussions?

An example of how to organize a teaching week

For many, it might be appropriate to divide a teaching week into several parts. 

  1. Students prepare by watching lecture videos, reading the syllabus and using other learning resources. In some subjects, it will be appropriate for students to respond to a quiz or similar task in Canvas to get immediate feedback on what they have learned.
  2. Students participate in digital seminars or lectures in Zoom and contribute to discussions and reflections in smaller groups. Here students get to apply new knowledge and skills with each other. This part of the teaching program takes place in real-time (synchronously) 
  3. Students submit a paper or contribute in a discussion thread in Canvas. This will show what they have learned and the submission can be followed up with each other's evaluation or discussion threads, where relevant and appropriate. Read more about formative assessment on this webpage: formativ assessment.

Other resources

Published Apr. 22, 2020 1:02 PM - Last modified Jan. 17, 2022 12:59 PM