online guides4


Hints and tips for teaching online

There's currently an increased focus on how we can move portions of our teaching online so we thought we'd give you some hints and tips to get you started or to take your delivery to the next level! We'll also link to relevant pages of the Digital Learning support guide which has lots of "how to" style help.


As you probably know, you can use Panopto to record your lectures, what you might not know is that you can use Panopto elsewhere to make all kinds of videos. From how to's recorded on your desktop PC to demonstrations or simulations using your mobile phone. Here's a few things to consider when making the recordings:

  • Equipment - make sure you have access to a microphone. This could be anything from a pair of headphones to a full on Madonna-esque headset.
  • Story-boarding - when making recordings from your own devices, it's always a good idea to plan it out before you get started. This will save you time in the long run as you won't have to make as many retakes!
  • If creating a recording on your own device, try where possible to do so in a quiet location with as few possible distractions as possible. We've all seen THAT BBC interview...
  • Don't stop! - speaking of takes, our advice is to always carry on if you make a mistake in the recording, but to leave 5 seconds of silence before starting up again. This will help you identify where they mistake came when editing afterwards.

With the possibility of a number of students not being able to attend sessions, it is also important to remember that you can live stream videos. What does this mean? Well, essentially that people will be able to watch along with the live delivery wherever they are. They'll even be able to ask questions using the comments section. Just be mindful that not all students will have access to the hardware or required internet connection to do this so make sure you let them know the recordings will be available afterwards.



There are a number of features within Canvas that can support online learning. Let's go through some of them:

  •  Discussions - these are a great tool for promoting discussions around particular subjects. They could be used to follow up classroom conversations around a particular topic or run FAQ style feedback.
  • Module layout - using Modules to design your course allows you to scaffold materials to the students. Providing clarity of what you'd like your students to engage with and when.
  • Quizzes - You can use Canvas quizzes for all kinds of things but one of the key areas is formative assessment. With the potential for less face to face teaching, regular small scale quizzing 
  • Conferences - You can use the built in webinar tool to run interactive sessions online. If you are considering using them over the coming weeks it is essential that you get in touch with the Digital Learning team as the University currently has limited access to the software. 

Other tools and tips

The Canvas expected use framework is a great place to start when reviewing your online provision. It gives you the key things to consider and if your course is aligning to the framework you're probably in a good place. 

Mentimeter is a fantastic tool to use in online learning. It's designed to support classroom interaction and though is normally focused on students within the room, it provides a great opportunity to allow those working remotely to be able to input or feedback. You can even keep the interactive elements running after the session has ended to allow for contributions later on.

Where possible it's important to consider how accessible the resources you create to use online (Canvas pages, PowerPoint slides etc) are. There are some tools to help you check your resources and make changes where appropriate. Check out the Creating Accessible Resources guide to find out more.

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