Tips for starting online teaching

Are you wondering how you can conduct a current or upcoming course partly or entirely online ? Teaching on screen differs significantly from face-to-face teaching: Important non-verbal communication is often reduced and handling the technology requires more attention and new skills. The functional variety of possible media and digital tools in combination with the didactic possibilities is enormous. Through our information offer and these tips, we want to offer you assistance in making a sensible selection.

Do you have any questions?

Then please contact us by mail: elearning∂

Both students and teachers are often unaccustomed to working in online teaching-learning scenarios, in part because content delivery and communication take place in different forms and ways than they have been used to. Take time to explain these changed structures to students, either in the form of a written explanation or as part of an online lecture/video conference. Provide students with redundant and transparent information about the structure and process of the course in a variety of places.

>> Instructions for teachers to pass on to students (German)

Netiquette for online participants

Students who participate via the Internet often have a sense of distance and anonymity. This feeling sometimes tempts them to do things they would not do in the presence. Often this is a sign that they do not feel part of the student group. The more anonymity is broken and they are involved, the more you support these students to participate actively and meaningfully in the course. A first step is to establish netiquette. In addition, ask students participating via the Internet to activate their own camera. Of course, this must always remain voluntary. If, despite this, disruptions occur frequently, individuals can be removed from the Zoom meeting and the waiting room activated so that they do not reappear.

>> Netiquette in online teaching

Problems with disruptors? A handout with recommendations on how to deal with disruptors has been created for KIT, which you can request via elearning∂ if necessary.

Data protection in mutual interaction

May student contributions be recorded?
Providing a recording of the course is particularly valuable for students. The same applies to the active participation of students through questions and contributions to the discussion. There is a conflict of objectives here. Speech and visual contributions by students may not be recorded. There is no legal basis and practicable implementation possibility for such a recording of students. This is not a problem in the usual teaching lecture. Chat questions are not recorded and the instructor's room microphone does not capture interstitial questions from the room. Just make sure that participants are muted in Zoom & Co. Repeat questions from the chat and the room verbally so that not only your answer but also the corresponding question is included in the recording.
The situation is different for discussion phases. Here, verbal questions from online participants would be recorded as well. In this case, the recording can be paused with Zoom simply by using a keyboard command (Linux: Alt+P,Mac: Command(⌘)+Shift+P, Windows: Alt+P).
What about contributions from students in the livestream?
In a pure livestream without recording, this is much easier. Students can activate their own microphone and camera image and in the seminar, for example, a camera can be set up so that students can see each other via the Internet and on site. For both sides this should always be done voluntarily. When participating via the Internet, students can decide independently whether to activate the camera and microphone. Students on site should always be given the opportunity to sit down outside of the camera's coverage. This means that it should be easily recognizable on site that a camera is being used and which area it covers.

Treasure trove for online teaching

  • The 15 minute media didactics introduction:Professor Gabi Reinmann describes in one video the essential didactic functions that should be harmonized in a digitally supported teaching-learning setting: Content transfer, activation and support.
  • Getting Started Course:The Higher Education Forum on Digitization (HFD), and the Society for Media in Science (GMW) conducted the qualification special "Quickstarter Online Teaching" at the beginning of the Corona pandemic. The recordings and accompanying materials of the twelve course modules are still available free of charge.
  • Lecture series: The Baden-Württemberg University Network for the Digitization of Teaching (HND BW) has organized a virtual lecture series for teachers on various facets of online teaching.
  • Hochschulforum Digitalisierung: The University forum on digitizationaccompanies the discourse on higher education in the digital age throughout Germany.
  • The colleagues at have been supporting the process of digitizing teaching at universities for many years. Accordingly, you will find extensive assistance and materials for the implementation of teaching courses, including