Key principles of online teaching: Teacher presence in student forums

In preparation for another semester online, we have asked the members of our Online Teaching Community of Practice, led by Deanna Horvath (Bachelor of Food & Nutrition), to contribute some video vignettes, each focussing on one element of good practice in online teaching. Here Anna Vassallo (Dietetics & Human Nutrition) talks about the importance of teacher presence in student forums.

For more information on the Online Teaching CoP, please contact

Industry Based Learning program

Julian Pakay (School of Molecular Sciences) has drawn our attention to the GlaxoSmithKline Industry Based Learning program, applications for which have just opened. Course coordinators may be interested in sharing this information with their students. The program is aimed at students in their penultimate or final year of their undergraduate degree, and caters for a range of roles relevant to a number of degrees.

From the website: “This twelve-month, full time IBL program is the perfect opportunity for students to launch their career, offering invaluable hands-on work experience in a friendly and supportive environment. Upon completion, IBLs will have built on their university learning and gained a competitive edge for all future career paths.”

Subject Week 7-9 July 2020

LTLT and the Colleges of ASSC and SHE will present a fully online Subject Week event from 7 to 9 July 2020.

COVID-19 made the move to learning and teaching online essential rather than exploratory. Subject Week 2020 is a campus-wide, cross-college online event exploring how we engage students online.

Each day is focused on a different aspect of successful engagement with curriculum. Sessions led by your colleagues and supported by LTLT educational developers and designers will address: teaching to engage online; students interacting online; and, activities, assessment and feedback that engage.

Full program of workshops and how to register can be found here.

H5P workshops

H5P is a suite of interactive activities that can be embedded in the LMS. It is fully supported by Ed Tech and the Ed Designers in LTLT. If you’d like to know more, LTLT is running introductory workshops on H5P. The next one is on Wednesday 10 June, 12-1pm. Go to this link to register.

LMS quiz settings for exams and providing time extensions

With many academics preparing online exams in the LMS, these suggested quiz settings may be useful when setting up your exam. They have been put together by SHE academics and cover things like timing, layout and question behaviour settings.

We have also put together some suggestions as to how provide time extensions to students who are not able to log on to complete an LMS quiz that has a tight time-frame.

Training students for online exams

Because online exams are a new development for the majority of students, many of you will be offering practice exams in this format. Dan Laurence (LTLT) came across this blog post which argues that training students in taking online exams reduces cognitive load during the real thing:

The post contains a useful checklist of the types of skills that need training.

Assessing complex tasks online with MCQs

Tomasz Kowalski (Mathematics) demonstrates how he breaks down complex exam questions into smaller chunks that can be tested with multiple choice questions. He demonstrates this using a practice exam containing in-built feedback that he has prepared for his students, so that they can familiarize themselves with the online exam format.

How many question bank questions is enough? – follow-up

We’ve had quite a bit of interest in our post addressing this question from a few days ago.

Katherine Seaton (Mathematics) has pointed out that the Open University UK rule in the case of summative assessments is to have at least 5 variants of each question in the question bank.

Katherine also cited a UNE presenter in a Transforming Assessment webinar in pointing out that the number of randomized questions needs to be sufficient to disrupt undesirable behaviour, rather than make it impossible. As Katherine concludes: ‘Taken to its logical conclusion, each exam would have to be different.’