Teaching in virtual space

In today's world, it is also becoming more and more common for teaching to be moved completely into the virtual space. Here we show you what options are available for purely online teaching.

The combination of synchronous and asynchronous phases is considered conducive to learning. On the other hand, asynchronous teaching alone can demotivate learners because social contacts and interactions are absent, and exclusively synchronous teaching reduces the opportunities for individualization and diminishes the flexibility of learning.

In selecting the three scenarios below, we followed the recommendations and elaborations of Helena Häußler of the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD) (German).

1 Lectures

Video conference & live stream

For live streaming or recording: Check with the multimedia center or your dean's office to find out which rooms are equipped accordingly. Get advice from the media didactic departments (IKMZ/Multimediazentrum) on how the technology works or exchange information with colleagues who have already gained experience. Take your time for a briefing and ask questions so that possible problems (e.g. suitable adapters, display problems) can be identified and solved in time.

Make sure that the live stream is recorded in parallel. In case of overload of the streaming platform, the recording can be viewed later. This also relieves students who cannot follow the live stream, e.g. due to care commitments.

Recorded learning videos

When successive, interrelated and complex developments need to be made comprehensible and require a visual component, it makes sense to choose a video to prepare educational content digitally. You can create your own video in just a few steps. For the operational implementation in your video shoot, you can use the handout "Materials and tips for your video shoot" of the HOOU (German).

Click on the link for more information on producing interactive educational videos.

2 Web-supported group work in seminars - digital collaboration

You want to offer your seminar online? Then of course, similar to your lectures, questions arise about the provision of teaching and learning materials or communication and collaboration with your students.

Communication in the group

You can design the communication in the group synchronously or asynchronously:

  • synchronous: During an agreed time window, all participants can exchange information. This could be, for example, at the actual date of the face-to-face event. Communicate dates to your students in good time.

Jitsi/BBB is a free and secure way to come together via audio and video. Jitsi has proven effective for smaller groups of up to 10 people. For more information on conferencing systems, click this link.

  • asynchronous: In the chat, the conversation of all participants is also possible time-delayed.

It is generally recommended to use a communication channel that is accessible to all participants. It should also be ensured that it is available on mobile devices.

Forumin Moodle When setting up the forum, take note of the settings so that it is ensured that all participants can post.

Collaborative writing

Collaborative writing processes are particularly suitable for courses in which groups of students work together on projects and assignments and the joint documentation of the results is the goal (e.g. reports, minutes, term papers, presentations). There are various online tools that support a collaborative work process.

This link will provide you with more information on: Enabling Collaboration

Etherpad as an activity on the Moodle learning platform is the classic variant of a collaborative writing tool.

  • Wiki on the Moodle learning platform

Similarly, online storage locations, such as ownCloud facilitate document management by enabling shared access to stored data.

Frequently asked questions

What interaction methods and tools lend themselves to online teaching?

Remember, never use a tool for its own sake. Your teaching/learning goal is in the foreground. You choose the method to match this, and this in turn determines the tool whose use supports the teaching/learning method. For more information on the structure of your teaching/learning concept, please watch the video "Introductory module: Using digital media in teaching" (Claudia Bremer) of the Quickstarter series of e-teaching.org. (Registration in Moodle projects with BTU account required, as the video is part of the online self-study course "Fit for the digital semester" ).

In order to make the cooperation in all learning phases, virtually as activating as in your face-to-face teaching, the learning group "From Analog to Digital" (MOOCamp 2020) has compiled learning phase-dependent different interactive formats for joint synchronous work in the digital space. The result is an eBook with vividly illustrated short descriptions. Curious? Click here for the eBook!

The University of St. Gallen has compiled a selection of methods that can promote interaction in your video conference, how to set impulses and which design principles support this. Learn more here!

Below you will find various methods and corresponding online tools to support interaction between your students in virtual teaching.

Usually these tools are free of charge as a basic version and it is sufficient to register with an e-mail address, partly the programs are completely free. On the students' side, no registration is necessary, they only need a link from you, which you can send e.g. in the chat of your used video conferencing system or share via announcement in Moodle.

The programs are usually very intuitive to use, but you should still familiarize yourself with them before the event. In the settings, the rights of the participants occasionally still need to be extended to allow independent work.

Let your students work together on whiteboards. - Webex (whiteboard feature), BigBlueButton (insert blank presentation slide + share commenting feature), draw.chat (browser-based; open source application and bound by the European General Data Protection Regulation).

A pinboard can be used to design mindmaps, represent process flows or collect data. - Miro Educational license (no work with personal data for data protection reasons)

Design real-time surveys, such as multiple-choice, scale, or sort questions. Also have your students direct questions to you as the instructor. - ars.particify, (spin-off TH Mittelhessen), invote (TU Dresden), Pingo (University of Paderborn ), ARSnovaRUB (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

For more quiz character, have your students compete against each other. - Mentimeter (Swedish company), Kahoot (Norwegian company),

Value feedback from your students. - Moodle activity feedback box, Moodle activity feedback.

More information at:

  • How can I incorporate live feedback and semester-long evaluations into my online course? (Learning phase)
How can I record my synchronous online course and make it available to students later?

We have compiled the tutorial "Recording of online courses" for you, in which the recording of your course content in the video conferencing systems "Cisco WebEx" and "BigBlueButton" as well as the browser-based tool "Opencast Studio" is shown step by step.

Furthermore, the guide provides you with information on legal aspects and how to take them into account when recording. We refer you to the sample form for the "Declaration of consent for the production and publication of recordings of online lectures" if you plan to record students with their image and spoken contributions.

How do I secure the recording of my students with their video and audio contributions in terms of data protection?

In our tutorial "Recording of online lectures" you will receive information on legal aspects and learn how to take these into account when recording. Furthermore, we refer you to the sample form for the declaration of consent for the production and publication of recordings of the online lectures if you intend to record students with their image and verbal contributions.