Supporting online teaching and learning

This page was last updated at 10:49 on 03/04/2020.

Supporting online teaching and learning

This resource has been designed to assist with teaching continuity in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic. It provides step-by-step help on replicating the most common teaching activities with basic digital alternatives.

Large Group Teaching

This includes activities such as lectures or other activities where there are a large number of students being taught at once.

Panopto Personal Capture – Record a ‘Voice Over PowerPoint’ style video from your desk or personal computer / laptop.  FET’s Learning Innovation Unit website also has lots of useful web articles and guides on using Panopto for teaching.  Students can then watch this video as they would watch a live lecture recording. However rather than recording a full lecture equivalent video, consider how you can break it down into smaller chunks which are both easier to record and watch.

You could also consider creating a ‘Voice over PowerPoint’ style video using the facilities from directly within PowerPoint itself.  You could then either upload this as a video resource within Blackboard or upload it to the course (module) Panopto folder.  You can also record your screen using Powerpoint if you are working with other applications and wish to share those.   You can then add these either as resources to your Blackboard module or upload the directly to Panopto to share.

It would be useful to consider checking engagement of your students during any large group teaching activities.  You could consider running short quizzes, getting students to comment in Bb discussion or set a short reflective activity.  You can still use Mentimeter (our new polling tool) if you are presenting remotely, just remember to share your screen to show any results rather than the PowerPoint.

See also FET’s Learning Innovation Unit’s web article on Desktop Recording using Panopto and their one-page downloadable step by step guide to desktop recording.

Small Group Teaching

Blackboard Collaborate:

If you need to share video, a presentation, your screen, or your student’s screen, you can use Blackboard Collaborate. Sessions can also be recorded and distributed via Blackboard for those who are unable to attend in real time.

Use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra which is available within all modules of Blackboard under ‘Course Tools’. Please note, Collaborate Ultra does not work well using Microsoft ‘Edge’ or ‘Explorer’ so use another browser such as Chrome or Firefox.

FET’s Learning Innovation Unit’s website also has lots of articles on using Blackboard Collaborate for teaching, including:

If teaching staff would like to embed the Participants Guide into their Blackboard courses, please contact for the embed code.

One-to-one sessions

Microsoft Teams

This includes activities such as personal tutor meetings, dissertation supervision meeting, oral assessment and student support meetings and the equivalent of office hours.  It is worthwhile setting specific meetings times and length of each session.

You can schedule a meeting with a student on Microsoft Teams using their email address. You can do this through Outlook Calendar.

We are advising people use Teams for calling colleagues, holding online meetings (distinguished from webinar/teaching delivery) and using Teams for team-based collaboration.

Making and receiving calls to phone numbers (both landlines and mobile)

Skype for Business is used for making and receiving calls to phone numbers (i.e. mobiles and landlines). The other functions of Skype for Business will remain available for now, but we are strongly suggesting people use Teams functionality where there’s an overlap.

What not to use

Any non-UWE approved tools such as Facetime, Facebook, Whats App, House Party or Zoom, which run the risk of breaching GDPR requirements and are not supported by IT Services.

In summary

The above is a guideline and we recognise you may have exceptions to these situations, e.g. you are already conducting student 1-2-1 in Collaborate. Please continue so long as this takes please in one of the above tools.

Any further queries please contact

Clinical / Practical / Lab based teaching


If this activity cannot be transferred online but enough of the activity has taken place for students to be assessed on the learning outcomes for this activity, then the students should be assessed. Check with your Faculty technology team for current advice and guidance.

If it is not possible to assess the learning outcomes based on activity that has already taken place, then the recommendations are:

  • Establish if it is possible to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes by alternative methods
  • Re-schedule the activity

If you need further information about these activities, please contact your Faculty Learning Technology Team.

Keeping students informed about their learning activities

This section contains some guidance for communicating with your students via Blackboard.

  • Let students know your virtual office hours, add them to your Blackboard site and as an announcement.
  • Use Blackboard announcements to keep students up-to-date and to help manage expectations.
  • Use discussion boards to promote dialogue and allow students to sign up for email alerts of new discussions by ensuring ‘subscription’ is enabled. Also, it’s a good idea to subscribe yourself so that you know when new posts are added. Don’t forget to inform your learners how often you will be checking into the discussions.
  • Upload additional materials and online activities as an alternative to practical activities – provide specific guidance about what you want your learners to focus upon such as providing a set of questions that they should be addressing whilst reading/watching a video.
  • Use Bb Collaborate for real-time teaching activities
  • Other activities such as lectures, seminars and formative work can be flipped (giving the materials ahead of any session), allowing students to access at their convenience. Equivalent student experience is what you need to aim for, not a direct replacement of the face to face activity.
  • Tests and quizzes can be helpful formative assessment tools
  • Concentrate on covering your Learning Outcomes and assessments for the module. Just communicate with your students so they know when the online material will be there

Tips for students

Many students will be new to online learning or not used to working online in such a long-term fashion. Here are some simple bits of guidance for them:

  • Be Patient: The switch to online teaching and learning has been a last-minute response to an unprecedented event. This will take time to develop and build.
  • Embrace Online: This will become a more and more common learning environment in the future, so this is a great opportunity to build skills needed to succeed.
  • Develop your communication skills. You will communicate in various formats (e-mail, discussion boards, online seminars for e.g.) Be professional but don’t be afraid to show you are human and let your personality show through.
  • Stick to a routine: Find a time management technique that works for you. Set up a daily, weekly and monthly schedule to manage the deadlines
  • Get connected. Communicate with course mates via a medium that suits you all for offline chatting. Set up smaller virtual study groups. If your course has discussion boards or forums embrace them. They are a great way to discuss with peers.
  • Be patient with technical issues and use the right channels to get answers.
  • Online learning communities can be as rich, supportive and exciting as on campus learning, but you need to take an active role and contribute.

Other activities not listed here and any further enquiries

We appreciate that there are other types of teaching activity that take place.  This guide has been produced to try and provide the most straight-forward options for the most common types.

If you have queries or concerns about using technologies for learning and teaching, you can contact any of the following: