Teaching online Last updated: 15.06.2020

Not all support documents are available in English, now. But the eLearning-Team of the IKMZ multimedia center will be happy to assist you with all media-didactic and technological questions regarding the conversion of your teaching to digital teaching and learning formats in order to enable online teaching.

You can reach us by mail and via the phone hotline:

Mailsupport: elearning(at)b-tu.de

All questions will be distributed to the available employees and processed as quickly as possible..

Phone hotline "Digital Teaching"  +49 355 69 39 39 

Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The following explanations are intended to support you in designing your teaching with digital tools and online learning formats. The information provided here is continuously updated and supplemented by us. Since the current focus lies on a short-term implementation of online teaching methods, the scenarios presented are kept rather basic. We would also be happy to advise you on more complex didactic scenarios.

When planning your teaching, please note that there are currently only limited resources available for video or web conferences. Our recommendation is therefore: Design your teaching predominantly with asynchronous scenarios.

You can find current information on platforms and tools on the website: Tools for Web and Video Conferencing

Basic information

For a quick introduction to working with Moodle and the possibilities of digital teaching, we have created a Moodle self-study course. In compact lessons you can learn everything you need to know to create your own course and how to use it.

If you are already working with Moodle and have questions about a particular activity or need specific instructions, you can have a look at our Moodle glossary. A lot of things you can do with Moodle are listed there.

What are the basic steps to switch to online teaching using the Moodle learning platform?

We recommend - if not already done - to create a course room on the learning platform Moodle for each course that you teach. You can find information about creating courses here.

In the course rooms you can provide learning material and course documents (except video files and other large files) to your students. Video files can be uploaded to the BTU media platform and then integrated into Moodle. You can find more information on this under: How can I upload a video/audio file to the BTU media platform and then make it available in Moodle?

Course rooms in Moodle can be administered by the lecturers themselves. If you have not yet used Moodle, we recommend the Moodle self-study course, which shows you everything you need to know to make teaching available to your students online. If you need BTU-specific tutorials, or have a question about any of the Moodle activities, you will find information in the Moodle Help course.

We are happy to support you with questions and the implementation of various learning activities (e.g. forum, tasks, chat rooms, etc.) that you can use for your teaching. 

In the following sections you will find more information on how you can use this as a basis for designing your teaching with asynchronous (preferred) and synchronous scenarios.

Can the Moodle learning platform be used as usual, or do I have to expect traffic overload?

Currently we do not see any capacity problems with the regular use of the courses in Moodle. The administration of new courses for the summer semester will also continue to be handled by the eLearning team of the MMZ (please give us a little more time here than usual).

There are restrictions on the use of the Adobe Connect functionality integrated in Moodle. DFN requests that Adobe Connect meeting rooms no longer be created in Moodle, as this will lead to an additional overload of the service.

Furthermore, we would like to ask you to use storage capacity as economically as possible. In particular, videos should not be stored directly on Moodle, but on the BTU media platform and linked in Moodle courses. You can find more information on this at: How can I upload a video/audio file to the BTU media platform and then make it available in Moodle courses?

Other large files can be stored in the OwnCloud and shared if necessary, or stored and linked on the document server.

How do students get access to their Moodle courses?

All students with a BTU account have access to the Moodle learning platform, but they must enrol in the courses.

In order to give students easy access to their Moodle courses, we recommend that use choose the "self-enrolment" registration method. As there are currently no face-to-face classes, students should not be given a registration key (password for enrolment) at the time of self-enrolment. This key was usually given to the students in the first on-site event and served to increase the protection of the course contents against unauthorized access.

It is recommended, however, that a time window be assigned during self-enrollment (start of enrollment, end of enrollment). Due to the lack of an enrolment key, we ask all course administrators to check independently (if possible) whether the enrolled participants are actually eligible to view the course content. If this is not the case, the participants in question must be manually removed from the course.

Information and instructions on enrolment, enrolment methods and the enrolment key can be found here in the Moodle Help course.

How can the presence of students in online teaching be verified?

The documentation of student attendance is rather impractical, especially in asynchronous learning scenarios. Since the advantage of this online service lies in the temporally flexible processing of the content, we recommend that students participate by solving regularly scheduled tasks or taking e-tests. You can find more information on this under: How can I encourage my students to reflect on the learning content? and under: How can I give feedback to my students or how can students give each other feedback?

In the case of synchronous sessions, you will see all students present as participants in a list. You can also use the "Attendance" activity in Moodle to manage fixed course dates. If students are online in a Moodle course at the set time, the system will register attendance.

How can I organize the communication with my students?

If you would like to contact students by e-mail, the BTU's e-mail system is of course available to you without restriction. Alternatively, you can use the Quickmail block in the respective Moodle course. In this way, you can either contact all students enrolled in the learning group of a course simultaneously or select individual students separately. You add the Quickmail block to a course via "Gear > Enable editing". In the navigation at the bottom left you will then find the button "Add blocks". Here you select the block "Quickmail".

By default each Moodle course room has a message forum which is used by lecturers to communicate with their students. Using a forum is useful if, for example, you expect several students to ask the same questions. You can then answer them openly in the forum and make the information available to all students.

In addition, each lecturer in the course room should provide contact details and times. In addition, you can also offer an online appointment or a regular office hour using a web, video conferencing platform or chat software. You can find suitable tools for this here.

Can I use external tools? What do I have to pay attention to?

If you use free external web services (video conferencing systems, platforms such as MS Office 365, WhatsApp etc.), there are unfortunately problems with data protection laws (e.g. profiling, which is forbidden for business use according to the current interpretation of data protection). Therefore we can - according to the current status - unfortunately not give any recommendation for these services. If an external service does not check an e-mail address, this problem does not exist. Nevertheless, data protection aspects must be taken into account accordingly (e.g. when using names, contact data, etc.). Furthermore, we cannot offer central support for external services. It should also be noted that copyright aspects must also be taken into account for the use of any digital platform or tool.

Where can I find further information?

Here you will find further didactic advice and digitally based scenarios realized at BTU.

For more detailed information, we recommend the pages of the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung. In addition, you will find an overview of best practice examples for online teaching at the BTU and throughout Germany on the eTeaching.org website.

Knowledge Transfer Asynchronous scenarios

How can I record my lecture?

There are several ways to record and provide lectures. It is recommended not to record 90-minute lectures but to divide them into smaller units of up to about 15 minutes. Shorter videos not only achieve better learning effects, but also save you editing time. Experience shows that longer recordings cause more mistakes and need to be revised.

A very simple and recommendable method for recording lectures is the use of PowerPoint. Here you have the possibility to directly record single slides/presentations including audio track. Test your microphone before recording. We also recommend keeping the videos short and lively, as it is often more difficult to keep attention if only the presentation and not the speaker is visible. Please also consider the special needs of students with visual impairments by commenting more on the material shown.

Please note that if the lecture recording generated with PowerPoint is to be uploaded to the media platform and made available there, it must first be saved in MP4 format.

You will find further information under: Suggestions for preparing the online lecture recording (GER)

You can also record your lecture or parts of it as a podcast or screencast and integrate it into Moodle later. You can find an overview of the tools you can use for this purpose here.

Note: Please do not embed videos and audio recordings directly into your Moodle course. Please upload these recordings preferably to the BTU media platform. Afterwards, integrate your media into Moodle through this service, or send the link to your students by e-mail. For more information, see: How can I upload a video/audio file to the BTU media platform and then make it available in the Moodle course?

How can I upload a video/audio file to the BTU media platform and then make it available in Moodle?

To upload a video you need access to the BTU media platform. If you have not yet been activated for uploading on the platform, please contact elearning(at)b-tu.de. Once you have received your access, you can log in to the platform and upload videos. You can find a detailed description including the embedding in Moodle here as a video or text.

BEFORE applying for your access, please log in once with your BTU account on the platform at https://www.b-tu.de/media.

The platform accepts the following formats with a maximum file size of 2000MB (but we urgently request that you keep the file size as small as possible):

Video: avi, wmv, mov, flv, mpeg, mpg, m4v, mp4
Audio: mp3, ogg, oga, wma, m4a

Please note that the lecture recording generated with PowerPoint must be saved in MP4 format before uploading it to the media platform. You can use the free tool HandBrake (https://handbrake.fr/) to compress video files or convert them to MP4 format. If the video consists primarily of still slides, you should select the settings 'Medium Bitrate (kbps:) 100', 'Two-pass Encoding' and 'Speed up First Pass' under 'Video'. This way you can achieve significantly smaller files. After conversion, check the result and increase the bitrate value if the quality is too low. A short instruction for the basic conversion of a video can be found here.

We recommend that you store a license notice for each video on the media platform (e.g. "May be used freely"). You can place this directly in the video or in the video description. You can find information on licenses here.

To assign your videos to you in the media platform, we recommend using channels. These can be created by us. To do so, please send an e-mail to elearning(at)b-tu.de. You will then be given admin rights for your channel and can upload and manage your own course-spanning videos there at any time. You can also choose whether the channel should be publicly visible or hidden on the platform.

I have uploaded a video to the media platform and linked it to my Moodle course. How can I make the video visible for everyone?

When uploading a video to the media platform, you have the option of restricting access to "BTU users" (users logged in to b-tu.de/media) or enabling access "Worldwide" under "Media Permissions". If you have only selected "BTU Users", the video can only be viewed on the media platform by logged-in users.

As a Moodle user, you are not automatically logged in to b-tu.de/media. If a video is integrated into Moodle, access to the media platform must be enabled as "Worldwide".

Alternatively, you have the option of creating a link to the media platform in Moodle. This will take students directly to b-tu.de/media where they can authenticate themselves. In this case the setting "BTU user" is sufficient - the setting "Worldwide" is not necessary.

In most cases, the most practical way is to upload a video "hidden" for "worldwide" access. This way it can be easily embedded into other services such as Moodle.

How can I restrict the usage of my online materials (e.g. prevent download of videos)?

When uploading videos to the BTU media platform, you can prevent the download and offer the videos in a hidden manner. Please refer to the tutorial for details.

It is not possible to restrict the download of other materials in Moodle. Here you only have the option of prohibiting printing and copying from documents (password-protected) in the security settings for PDFs created in LibreOffice or Acrobat DC, for example, directly during export.

Can I include external material (YouTube videos, documents, and copyright protected material) in my Moodle course?

Before using third party materials, if available, please note the respective license terms of the material. Make sure that you always specify references.

Furthermore, PDF files from publishers may not be edited or modified and copyright notices may not be removed.

The University Library has licensed a variety of electronic media. These can be integrated into the course by means of links, which will allow your students to access the entire e-book, the entire journal article and other materials. Please note that access must usually be provided from the campus network (or via VPN).

According to § 60a of the German Copyright Act (UrhG), you are also allowed to integrate third-party materials into your course, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Shared works serve to illustrate the course content (i.e. not only for decorative or entertainment purposes).
  • Only teachers, examiners and participants of the respective course have access (authorised group of persons). In Moodle you should therefore ensure that only the above-mentioned authorised group of people is enrolled in your course.
  • Teaching is for non-commercial purposes only.

As soon as the above conditions are met, § 60a of the German Copyright Act (UrhG) generally allows you to share up to 15% of a published work (e.g. a book, film, piece of music, newspaper article) per course. Completely shared may be for teaching purposes:

  • illustrations
  • individual articles from professional or scientific journals (but only one article per issue)
  • works of small size (up to max. 25 pages or, for films, up to max. 5 minutes)
  • works that are out of print
  • streaming movies (playback is allowed, but copying or distribution is not)

Further information on copyright, data protection and examination law can be found in our online course "Legal aspects of university teaching, especially of e-learning" in Moodle.

Please note that this information has been researched and compiled by us, but we cannot guarantee its legally binding correctness.

How can I use Open Educational Resources (OER) in my course?

Instead of producing all your content yourself, you can also draw from the large pool of free learning and teaching materials. We have compiled a list of links to general information and specific OER collections for you here:

Knowledge Transfer Synchronous scenarios

How can I give a lecture online with students?

The realization of online lectures is possible with didactic adjustments and by using suitable web and video conference platforms. However, since capacity shortages in the available systems are very likely to occur and bandwidth may also be limited for some students, we recommend the use of asynchronous teaching scenarios, especially for larger groups of students.

The list of available platforms for videoconferencing, web conferencing and video streaming as well as important information on their use can be found here.

In addition, we recommend recording the event and making it available via the BTU media platform. For more information, see How can I record my lecture? and How can I upload a video/audio file to the BTU media platform and then make it available in the Moodle course?

How can I conduct a course or meeting with a small group online?

Courses in small groups or meetings with students, colleagues or external parties can be held online with the help of video conference platforms. Generally, you can use a screen sharing feature to share your content or upload documents to be discussed (e.g. as PPT or PDF).

The list of available platforms for videoconferencing, web conferencing and video streaming as well as important hints for usage can be found here.

What do I do in case of technical problems during a video conference?

What do I do if I cannot connect to the videoconference?

  • This is probably due to an excessive use of the system. If possible, use other communication channels such as e-mail, telephone, chat or forum to establish contact with the videoconference participants and clarify the situation.
  • Alternatively, you could provide the content to be discussed elsewhere (e.g. as recorded video) and postpone the discussion until a later time.

What do I do if my microphone and/or camera does not work?

  • In general:
    • check in the control panel whether microphone/camera are activated
  • Windows 10:
    • in the Windows settings under "Privacy" share the app permissions for camera and microphone

What do I do if the sound quality is poor or feedback is occurring?

  • As an active speaker, always use headphones, better yet, a headset!
  • First check your audio settings via Meeting → Audio Setup Wizard.
  • All participants should set their microphones to silent when not speaking.

What do I do if the transmission stops?

  • Turn off your camera if possible. The less data that needs to be transmitted, the better the quality should be.
  • Try using a different web browser - some systems work better with certain web browsers. When using meet.b-tu, for example, it is recommended to use the Chrome browser.
  • Do not use a VPN connection during the video conference.

 You can find more information on using the video conference platforms here.

Learning Phase

We have compiled didactic hints for suggestions on how to design your digital teaching. In addition, on our eLearning website you will find digitally supported scenarios already implemented.

How can I organize the asynchronous communication amongst my students?

Students can communicate with each other using the Moodle "Message" function (speech bubble at the top right).

For asynchronous collaboration between students, Moodle also offers learning activities such as Forums, Wikis or Glossaries:

In Moodle you can create a separate Forum within your course area where students can answer questions and discuss topics with each other.

The Moodle Wiki is suitable, for example, for a complex task in which each student defines a part of the task for himself or herself and makes it available to other students in a separate wiki article. It is possible to work together on articles and to link and discuss them.

The Moodle Glossary offers the possibility for students to work on specialist terms and compile them together in an overview. Further information on how to use these learning activities can be found here:

How can I organize the synchronous communication amongst my students?

The learning activity Chat can be created for synchronous communication between students. Here students can communicate with each other and thus coordinate the work on the documents.

How can my students write texts collaboratively?

The following options are available for working on and editing texts together:

Attention: When using external services, please pay appropriate attention to data protection aspects!

How can I encourage my students to reflect on the learning content?

Video tutorials/explanatory videos: Let your students create their own videos using PowerPoint or their own smartphone. This not only stimulates their own reflection on what they have learned, but can also be used to pass on knowledge to others.

Here you will find tips for your students [design tips (GER)] & [video creation (GER)].

Students can summarize what they have learned by individually or jointly developing content in the form of mind maps (Moodle Mindmap) or learning journals (Moodle Assignment).

To deepen students' understanding of the content, you can also create exercises, small learning challenges or gamification elements in Moodle. This is possible with the help of the Moodle plug-in "H5P". In the webinar of the BTU eLearning team you will see examples and learn more about individual H5P applications for creating interactive content. On the H5P website, you will find a clear overview of many examples!

Short formative assessments can also help students to reflect on their newly acquired know-how and identify any gaps in their knowledge that still exist. The BTU eLerning team's webinar will give you a first insight into how to create formative eTests in Moodle.

This webinar will show you how and why you can award your students with badges after they have successfully completed learning tasks.

How can I give feedback to my students or how can students give each other feedback?

In order to continue to provide students with feedback on their individual learning process, there are various options for online feedback. In addition to simple email feedback, you can also use Moodle's chat or messaging function or offer an online consultation via a video conferencing platform.

Results of exercises can be uploaded by students for review in Moodle via the learning activity Assignment (not visible to other students) or in the Forum (visible to all) and commented on directly. You can also encourage students to give each other peer feedback. This can be done via the Moodle function Workshop.

A compilation of our recommendations can be found here (GER).