Getting started with tools for distance education
(Informationen nedan finns för tillfället endast på engelska.)
Tools for distance education
This page will provide som brief information and guides for getting starting with digital tools for conducting teaching online. Short introductory videos are included to help you get started.
For holding a discussion seminar, a small-class tutorial or small-class lectures, virtual meetings using Zoom can be the way to go. In fact, Zoom can handle hundreds of partipants watching at the same time, but live discussions could get tricky to handle.
Especially for classes with large student numbers, another alternative is to pre-record lectures videos. This would avoid possible technical and bandwidth issues with streaming if there is a surge of demand in Zoom. Screencasting can be a suitable tool for this (you could also record a lecture using mobile phone or digital camera, but file size may become an issue.) Another advantage is that students can then re-watch these videos when revising.
To complement screencast videos, you can arrange other online actitivites such as online discussion boards on the Student Portal, assignments etc. You can also arrange to have "virtual office hours" where you invite students to come during a specific time for a virtual meeting (via Zoom) if they want to ask questions or discuss the material.
Further examples videos and links to other online resources can be found at the bottom of the page.
Virtual meetings using Zoom
All employees at the university have access to the e-meeting tool Zoom, which replaced Adobe Connect and Skype for Business. This program allows you to hold meetings with multiple participants, wherever they may be. You can share screens to support your discussions, have online chats, use break-out groups and more. You can see all the participants in a meeting if necessary, but this is optional.
See pages on the Staff Portal on information on activating your Zoom account, installing the program (client) and logging in.
The first video clips below provides a quick getting-started guide to Zoom. It includes information and tips on scheduling and inviting others to a meeting, sharing screens, the chat function, using mute functions for audio and video and a few other details.
The second clip is an example of using the Record function on Zoom while streaming (or just while you're in a virtual meeting room on your own). Combined with e.g. an electronic drawing tablet or a touch-sensitive screen (laptop or tablet computer), it can also be used to give chalktalk-style presentations. The videoklipp can then be uploaded for student to download at a later time.
- Getting started with Zoom (8 min)
- Example of a recorded streaming session with chalkboard-style talk (2 min)
You can also make a make-shift document camera at home with an external webcam/mobile phone, quick clamps and a cardboard box, if you want to write with ordinary pen and paper.
Note that recording a long Zoom lecture can lead to large files that could cause issues with storage/uploading/downloading. It might be worth considering breaking up your lecture and recording into shorter parts.
Screencasting for recording videos
Screencasting software allows you to record what is going on on your screen and also record audio at the same time. You can then present and record e.g. a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation. But it could also be a demonstration on how to use software, coding, analysing data, or whatever you're showing on your screen really!
The first four short videos below will quickly take you through the basics of recording a screencast, simple editing of a screencast (including removing mistakes without re-recording the whole thing), making videos in stages or continuing with an earlier recording, and making basic annotations in the videos to help understanding.
Prefer to do chalkboard lectures? You could record yourself giving such a lecture, but that might take more setting up and file size might become an issue. There is a also video below that offers alternatives that allow you to combine screencasting with a chalkboard-style presentation (see the link above for making a make-shift document camera at home).
In principle, you can use Zoom for screencasting - just record a session (even without participants) and share your screen in different ways. An alternative with Zoom is shown above. Dedicated screencasting software provides often better resolution and quality, and more flexibility for editing than recording a Zoom stream.
The software used in the videos below is Active Presenter, which is free to use for non-commercial purposes. Its use is not intended as an endorsement of the product. Others such as Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic are also available.
Whatever you choose to do, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Keep individual videos short - the average attention span for a video is probably no longer than 10 - 12 min. You're not there to keep the viewer interested...
- Have clear messages and points for each video - again, you're not there to clarify in realtime.
- Communicate clearly to students what the purpose of the video is and what they are expected to do. Does it replace other teaching, or it a complement/extra material? Is it compulsory viewing? How will be the material be used or examined in the course? When should they watch them by (given that it would be easy to keep putting off watching them)
Quick video guides for screencasting (best quality if downloaded first)
- Recording a screencast (4.5 min)
- Basic editing (4 min)
- Continuing recording/recording in stages (4 min)
- Making annotations (6 min)
- Digitial chalkboard talks recorded using screencasts (6 min)
These are intended as quick guides and the information is provided quite fast, so you may want to pause as you go to follow the steps. There is also a more detailed guide for beginners, comprehensive documentations as well as other tutorials and YouTube videos online.
Links to OpenShot and ShotCut, both free, open source, standalonem cross-platform video editing software packages (PC, Mac and Linux).
See also an easy-to-follow guide on more aspects of video design and production from Jonas Thorén, KTH.
Examples and other resources
Examples recordings with different types of presentation methods and techniques
- A recorded Zoom session with Powerpoint for handwritten notes
- Powerpoint presentation recorded and edited using screencasting software
- Handwritten notes on paper recorded using a mobile phone (clipped onto a stand)
- Three examples of recorded chalkboard-style presentations (based on PDF file, Powerpoint, and MS Whiteboard)
UU Unit for Academic Teaching and Learning
- "First Aid" for transitioning (link currently broken)
- Overview and advice for going digital
- Specific advice on the planning process for teaching courses online, methods and tools, online assessment including take-home exams, and other sources of advice and support.
The TekNat Council for Educational Development (TUR)
- Resources and advice for teaching both online and on-campus, with specific support to digital teaching.
Webinar for transitioning to online teaching, 2020-03-20
- Aimed at those new to online teaching, demonstration of basics of relevant digital tools and what to think about when teaching via online methods.
Webinar on student-centred teaching via Zoom (2020-04-01) and a summary (in Swedish) of the methods discussed there for promoting student activity.
Material from the webinar "From exam halls to home: how can I change my examination?" (2020-05-07) with ideas for examination by distance.
Website updated: 2020-08-12
Content: Felix Ho