This guide is intended to be used by teaching staff as an online teaching manual for distance learning and hybrid learning at TU Wien. It defines recommendations as well as standards in digital teaching at TU Wien.
It also documents the overall teaching process in the 2020 winter semester as well as providing a number of ideas and suggestions. Links to further information on the individual topics are provided in the relevant chapters.
Different formats and teaching options will be available in the coming semester.
This necessitates the definition of some new concepts:
Course format: a distinction is made between three basic formats. The course format refers to the primary form in which a course is conducted. For example, if a course includes occasional online events (e.g. preliminary discussion, online consultation), but attendance is required at all others, attendance remains the basic format. The examination format of a course may differ from the implementation format and must be indicated separately in the course description.
The room reservation screen in TISS will be adapted and an extension of the course notification will be added as a mandatory field. The ‘Methods’, ‘Learning outcome’ and other points will be joined by an additional point that contains the course format via a dropdown selection (hybrid, attendance, distance learning).
This is primarily intended to provide clarity for students, but also to enable an evaluation of quality management in the area of teaching.
An icon similar to the STEOP flag is also planned and will be implemented during August.
Cohort management: Division of course participants into groups with registration and alternating attendance dates. Please note that the basic idea behind the cohort regulation is that the same cohort of students will attend TU Wien for all lectures on a certain day. This requires a standard regulation, which is detailed in 2.6 Planning cohorts.
It also needs to be noted whether a lecture or examination is synchronous or asynchronous, which obviously has an effect on the type of opportunity for preparation. The most suitable format for the relevant course also depends on the expected number of participants.
When planning the 2020/21 winter semester, distance learning must necessarily be used wherever possible so as to be able to complete the course in full despite the significantly reduced room resources.
As a result, all courses for which the distance learning format can be used must be converted accordingly where possible. The Vice Rector’s Office for Study and Teaching will provide support in the form of a lecture for tutors to convey the skills required to create teaching videos and the possibilities for implementing distance learning, while support with the adaptation of courses will also be provided by a central body. Recordings of lectures in lecture theatres via LectureTube are already possible and recommended in the summer.
It must also be noted that the safety measures may need to be tightened during the summer months or during the semester. There is the possibility that a complete switch to distance learning may be required.
A key goal is to enable new students to make a positive start to university life at TU Wien despite the circumstances. As a result, wherever possible, course units for first-semester students will be held in hybrid formats, which combine attendance and online events. The intention is to give new students the opportunity to get settled at TU Wien and network with each other.
The necessary time for cleaning and disinfection between the individual lecture times in a lecture theatre, when changing student groups, must also be taken into account. To minimise the number of necessary room changes, the “semester lecture theatres” system will be used across the board for Bachelor’s courses in the first semester. This will give the new student cohorts a fixed lecture theatre, the semester lecture theatre, for their lectures. The abbreviation of the specific course has been added to the affected rooms in TISS for the sake of clarity. However, for teaching staff, this means that, for this winter semester, the rooms for holding lectures and possibly also the times may change slightly compared to the previous year.
These Bachelor’s course lectures will be coordinated by the timetable coordinators as part of the room booking process.
The following rule applies for all other lectures for which attendance is required, in order to make the best possible use of the available room resources: Attendance events must only be scheduled in exceptional cases where an urgent requirement exists. The Dean of Studies must approve the holding of the face-to-face teaching event. In principle, the following applies: No attendance events can be approved for courses without the consent of the Dean of Studies.
Courses in which attendance events (apart from examination dates, as the examination format is defined separately) need to be held may be held as hybrid courses with the consent of the responsible Dean of Studies. In this case, the course manager needs to notify the Dean of Studies of the relevant course. If the Dean of Studies consents to the hybrid format, the central teaching room manager is informed so that the required attendance dates can be released. In principle, the following applies: No attendance events can be approved for courses without the consent of the Dean of Studies.
Different teaching concepts are described in chapter 10 Distance teaching at TU Wien.
As was the case in the 2020 summer semester, the majority of the teaching will make use of the online format. This aims to reduce the physical attendance of students at the TU campus such that attendance events for courses as well as examinations can be offered in compliance with the safety requirements despite the considerably reduced room capacities due to the distancing rules as well as the restricted availability of rooms due to the necessary cleaning measures.
The central tool for online teaching at TU Wien is TUWEL. LectureTube and LectureTube Live are available for recording and streaming lectures. An up-to-date room list with the necessary equipment is provided in coLAB.
In general, the use of Zoom is recommended for live transmission or recordings outside of TU rooms equipped for LectureTube.
Different teaching concepts are described in chapter 10 Distance teaching at TU Wien.
Courses that are planned as full attendance courses as well as hybrid courses must be reported to the Dean of Studies. Courses may only be held as full or partial attendance courses with the approval of the Dean of Studies.
The criteria for attendance courses include:
In principle, the following applies: No attendance events can be approved for courses without the consent of the Dean of Studies.
From the 2020 winter semester, courses can be defined as online/hybrid/attendance in TISS. This is intended to facilitate communication with students and to make it easier to assess the resources required for the online offers (e.g. LectureTube) as well as the necessary room resources.
All events planned for a course, which are held in any kind of live format – irrespective of whether as attendance or online – must be entered so that they appear in the timetable view in TISS for students.
The timetable view in TISS can be accessed by selecting the relevant course in the course offer in TISS to display the curriculum. There you can switch to a semester view. A timetable, which displays all (live) dates for all lectures announced for this semester in TISS, can now be displayed for every semester. This view aims to make it easier to plan lectures without overlaps.
When creating an event in TISS there is the option of selecting the format in which this event will be held: attendance, hybrid or distance learning. The option of whether a room is or is not required can then be selected for each of these variants (as already explained in the introduction to this document)
Please note: If LectureTube dates are required, these must be requested separate to the room bookings! This takes place under the E-Learning tab and is only possible once the room has been approved.
The division of students into cohorts is recommended for courses whose participants exceed the reduced number of places in the relevant lecture theatres. This can be displayed via groups in TISS. The following rule must be noted when dividing course participants into cohorts: To allow students to plan, the cohorts must be the same for all lectures in a semester.
Depending on the number of participants, at least three groups are required:
If several cohorts need to be formed, the number of groups needs to be increased accordingly. But, in this case, it must be remembered that in the above example, students can already only participate in face-to-face learning every two weeks. An increase in the number of groups would therefore also result in considerably fewer attendance events for students. The time and effort required for arrangements within the individual courses to ensure a matching number of days of attendance for students would also increase significantly.
Another example would be if two semester lecture theatres are provided and lecture theatre A streams to lecture theatre B. This would allow for a higher number of groups in order to increase capacity:
The block function in TISS can be used for lectures with varying group sizes. For a course with exercises, this would allow the groups for the lecture part and the groups for the exercise part to be combined into blocks. In this case, students can then register for precisely one group per block. Details are provided in TISS Help.
Depending on the format used for a course for the 2020/21 winter semester, the relevant information will need to be promptly adapted in the course description in TISS and the relevant format selected. The methods used must be announced as soon as possible – but at least 2 weeks before the start of the course – to give students the best possible opportunity to prepare. Students should be clearly informed of the planned online phases and, in particular, also of what is expected of them. When planning the course, it is important to note that the student self-study workload will increase considerably in a course. The learning outcomes for the self-study phases may need to be adapted.
In principle, the following applies:
It is particularly important that a fixed channel for communicating with students is defined. As TUWEL is used as the central tool for online teaching at TU Wien, we recommend that teaching staff also use this tool as the primary channel for communication. A standard tool significantly reduces the associated time and effort for students and teaching staff. This does away with the need to check multiple channels simultaneously and therefore also prevents the risk of not receiving relevant information, or receiving it too late.
Further details on the options available in TUWEL are provided on the coLAB webpages on TUWEL.
Examination dates must be announced at the start of the semester in TISS. Three dates must be offered per semester. A transparent overview of the examination modalities and the assessment criteria must be communicated in the course page in TISS before the start of the course, as is the case for the planned examination format (online or attendance).
The lecture theatre capacities are coordinated and adapted with the Rector in line with the applicable regulations and requirements. The latest information, including the lecture theatre plans, can be accessed on the coLAB pages on room information.
The use of online examinations is recommended.
Examinations, especially major examination dates, can – if an online examination is not possible or appropriate (see Guide for holding online examinations) – be offered as attendance examinations and must be held in line with the latest version of the Guide on holding attendance examinations.
A broad range of options are available for conveying learning content to students. The choice of different tools/learning materials is just as broad and lets you individually adapt the online teaching to the specific course requirements.
The following provides a list of the most important formats for learning content:
Lecture recordings (recommended tool: LectureTube)
They can be recorded in the current semester, but can also be provided from a previous semester if the content has stayed the same.
If recordings are planned in classrooms at TU Wien, given the limited room resources in the winter semester, we recommend preparing the recordings in the summer.
We also recommend making the recordings available for an extended period of time to allow students to take another look prior to examinations.
Live streams (recommended tools: LectureTube Live and ZOOM)
As already noted under the lecture recordings point, we advise recording the live streams and subsequently making them available to students, such as via TUWEL.
Recorded presentations (recommended tool: Camtasia Studio)
This format is very similar to the lecture recordings, but can also be used to record must shorter presentations, which cover a specific topic and provide more detailed content in addition to a lecture recording.
These can be bundled together with the relevant formats and provided in TUWEL.
Besides these 4 main formats, a number of others have also received positive feedback from students:
Irrespective of this, the two following guidelines are essential for the successful use of the relevant formats:
One outcome of the student survey in SS2020 was that students would prefer to have more varied documents tailored to distance learning. For instance, not just the solutions to tasks, but also the path to the solution should be provided. Another outcome was the clear desire to have a form of personal interaction with the teaching staff over and above the provision of documents.
Student feedback is essential for recording the mood of students and make a general assessment of the new method of teaching. We recommend obtaining student feedback, particularly at the start of the course, on the structure, implementation and communication of the course and the materials provided in order to make any necessary adjustments. For example, a quick option would be the use of an audience response system (recommendation: ARS Nova – Audience Response System, onlineTED or frag.jetzt) during a live event to obtain quick and concise feedback.
An opportunity for students to provide feedback during the course of the semester must always exist. A simple feedback forum in the TUWEL course is ideal for this purpose. The following links provide detailed instructions on the use of the relevant functions in TUWEL:
Alternatively, recurring surveys can be conducted on specific topics.
It is important to maintain constant contact with students so as not to lose them. Feedback on learning progress in online consultations or online self-assessments is particularly important. This lets you monitor the learning progress to adapt the speed of the course or to repeat contents, where necessary.
Communication is a critical tool for (learning) success in every course. Clear, unambiguous and comprehensible communication using a communication channel of which students have been notified early on is strongly recommended. The central learning platform, TUWEL, provides a range of useful tools for precisely this purpose. Bidirectional and unidirectional as well as anonymous communication and feedback options are available.
Teaching staff can choose from a range of tools in TUWEL:
Tip: Encourage students to compile contents themselves under the motto: Students helping students:
Another tip: The forum should be moderated in order to correct incorrect responses.
The use of TUchat has also established itself in this respect.
One of the key factors of student engagement is interaction – holding discussions with students. In digital online formats this is a task that demands good planning and preparation.
One method of interacting with students is the use of polling systems (onlineTED, frag.jetzt or Classroom Response System) to gather spontaneous and up-to-date feedback. This is particularly beneficial at the start of a block of lectures in order to gain an overview of the level of knowledge, which can then be immediately utilised.
Another method is the use of breakout sessions in order to organise short activities and group work.
Asking if there are any questions or unclear points at the end of a block of lectures can also be useful for obtaining an overview of whether it may be necessary to go back over certain content. Audience response systems or even the chat function have proven effective in this case.
In general, we advise making a (moderated) discussion forum on the courses available in TUWEL.
Many teachers have found the ‘Activity support’ TUWEL activity to be very helpful in this respect. This tool helps teaching staff follow the course activities. They can access information on the use of any study materials or activities and so keep a constant eye on the student cooperation. The activities are displayed anonymously and cumulatively for the entire course. Further information on this topic is provided in the associated cheat sheet.
The focus:lehre Team offers all teaching staff online resources on the topics of ‘Motivating students online’ as well as ‘Structuring self-learning phases to support learning’.
Student networking is an important factor for learning success. It is therefore recommended that teaching staff suggest that students set up learning groups and opportunities for exchange themselves as part of their course. Students do not always find the TUWEL course, as a virtual room for this type of exchange, to be optimal, as there is a reluctance to participate in informal learning in front of the prying eyes of the teaching staff. But teaching staff can explicitly encourage students and set aside a bit of time during the course so that students can establish these kinds of opportunities for exchange, e.g. on platforms popular amongst students, such as Discord, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, forums etc.
The offers provided by the student bodies of the relevant faculties can also support student networking.
In this approach, teaching is structured similar to the flipped classroom principle. In this case, a lecture theatre equipped with LectureTube is booked in the summer months before the start of the semester and the lecture contents are recorded without an audience. Wherever possible, these contents are structured to enable better referencing during the actual teaching period.
The TUWEL course should be set up for the course even before the start of the semester (see Guide to announcing a TUWEL course) and the recorded contents structured as weekly/regular self-learning phases in TUWEL. Short knowledge checks (quizzes, H5P), short tasks, questions based on the learning objectives etc., can also be prepared. These can then be released manually or on fixed dates during the semester (with the TUWEL prerequisites). TUWEL instructions can be found in the TUWEL Tutorials course.
As an alternative to recording with LectureTube, a screen recorder (recommendation: Camtasia, Snag-It, OpenBroadcaster Software) can be used to locally record and edit the units before uploading them on the TUpeerTube platform. Contents can naturally also be structured entirely without video, for example with activities and study materials that are provided in TUWEL, such as a text page, book, lesson etc. The TUWEL update in the autumn of 2020 will also make H5P available, which is a powerful tool for creating interactive learning elements. An info event is planned for this purpose.
... weekly/regular discussion units on the produced contents will be offered to go over and discuss these contents or respond to questions/uncertainties.
In attendance option 1: Held in tranches in the lecture theatre/seminar room (cohort regulation)
In attendance option 2: In parallel rooms with live streaming, including accompanying feedback option. In this case, it must be noted that a supervisor must be in attendance to monitor compliance with the safety measures in the second room.
Hybrid: During an attendance event, provision of a parallel web meeting (with connected lecture microphone or boundary microphones in small rooms, but not in LectureTube lecture theatres; we advise against the parallel use of LectureTube and web meetings), incl. additional assistance for moderating/supervising the web meeting.
Distance learning: The use of web meetings, such as Zoom or GoToMeeting
Irrespective of the format, we recommend providing a supervised and moderated discussion format in the TUWEL course for the course. This gives you the option of answering questions on an asynchronous channel (and, where applicable, also posing questions to stimulate the student discussion).
In this approach, the lecture is held during the semester ‘as per usual’ (only with a significantly reduced number of participants) and the lecture units are recorded. Alternatively, a live stream can be offered for recording. However, greater demands exist with live streams (technical requirements and due to the setup as well as monitoring of synchronous feedback channels), while students generally also prefer on-demand recordings compared to live streams, as recordings can be consumed at any time and at the student’s own pace of learning. Experience shows that live streams tend to be more suited to courses in which direct interaction with students is desired – e.g. revision sessions before exams.
The recording and streaming options vary depending on the room situation:
In attendance (in the LectureTube lecture theatre): Independent programming of the recording via TISS in line with the instructions and automatic recording in the lecture theatre. Particular attention should be paid to a punctual start as well as a punctual end. A list of LectureTube-supported lecture theatres is provided on the room information page.
In attendance (own room): For instance, a laptop can be used to record the contents during a lecture with a screen recorder (our recommendation: Camtasia, Snag-It, OpenBroadcaster Software). The recordings can then be uploaded to TUpeerTube.
Hybrid or distance learning: Besides the same recording option as is available in attendance, there is also the option of using the recording function in the web meeting tool. Two approaches are available:
In attendance (in the LectureTube lecture theatre): The live streaming is started and stopped in the lecture theatre. The lecture theatres that support live streaming are listed on the room information page. The following options are available for playing the live streams:
In attendance (own room): For example, a laptop can be used to transmit the contents of the computer to a streaming portal (e.g. YouTube) during the lecture using the Open Broadcaster Software tool. Similar to the above option, the following options are available for implementation and rendition:
If you have any questions, please contact the LectureTube Team in good time at email@example.com.
Please note that this option is technically as well as organisationally time-consuming and complicated, and the time and effort (set up and implementation) must be managed by the lecturers themselves.
Hybrid: During an attendance event, a parallel web meeting (with connected lecturer microphone or boundary microphones in small rooms) is provided, incl. additional assistant for moderating/supervising the web meeting.
Distance learning: Held via web meetings, such as Zoom or GoToMeeting
The recordings/live streams or web meetings are linked with the TUWEL course. Ideally, these elements are enhanced with/linked to further TUWEL activities and/or study materials in the course. In case of questions, the TUWEL Team would be pleased to offer support via the Ticket Line firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: An accompanying feedback option should always be provided with a live stream. Either a supervised or moderated TUWEL forum for questions with permanent logging and access (tip: the questions can also be gathered in the lead-up in the forum) or an audience or student response system, such as onlineTED, frag.jetzt or Classroom Response System.
NOTE 2: Please note that the parallel use of LectureTube as well as web meetings in LectureTube lecture theatres is not recommended, as this generally requires additional technical equipment for audio as well as greater moderation effort.
The Distance Learning Team recommends the use of TUWEL (the learning management system based on the Moodle open source software) as the central tool for the courses. This platform lets you manage a wide range of tasks in the field of face-to-face teaching, distance teaching and hybrid formats. TUWEL can be ideally used for the following activities and should be used from the 2020/21 winter semester:
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: TUWEL.
This tool lets you record lectures in the lecture theatre as per usual and then subsequently make these available to students via TUWEL. The benefits lie in the familiar environment and the technical equipment in the lecture theatres (panel, presentation). The integration in TISS allows lecturers to independently create weekly events and programme recordings. Please note: A prerequisite for this is the prior approval of the relevant room reservation.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: LectureTube.
Comment: The group of users with access to the video recordings can be adjusted in 3 stages.
This LectureTube option is based on the principles described above and merely represents a real-time version of the tool.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: LectureTube Live.
Further to LectureTube and LectureTube Live, the document camera provides the option of presenting real objects or hand-written digressions in the lecture theatre. This allows practical examples, physical models and other material objects to be integrated into the lecture. Please note: A document camera is not available in every lecture theatre. An updated list of rooms, including equipment, is provided in coLAB.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: Document camera.
This tool is used to provide internal learning materials in video form. The structure is similar to the YouTube video platform. It lets students access independently created videos and recordings in an internal area. The simple integration into TUWEL makes this tool a good alternative to LectureTube, if attending the lecture theatre is not desired or is not possible – e.g. if no capacities are currently available in the lecture theatres.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: TUpeerTube.
Comment: Videos that are available on TUpeerTube are publicly accessible, if the link is known. At the moment there is no technical option for restricting access to a closed user group.
The ZOOM tool is recommended for holding live lectures. To date, Zoom has been the most impressive of the web conference tools that are available. Besides the ease of use and the good accessibility, ZOOM also offers excellent voice and video quality.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: ZOOM.
This tool provides the option of creating and editing recordings that will, for example, subsequently be made available on TUpeerTube. From simple screenshots through to the picture in picture function – this tool lets you create videos and add sound entirely at your discretion.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: Camtasia Studio.
Snagit is a software for creating and improving screenshots. It also lets you include invisible scroll areas of a browser window in the photograph. It provides options for using screenshots to create your own presentations.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: Snagit.
The ARS Nova tool facilitates interaction between an audience and a lecturer in web conferences. This feature is currently in a test phase at TU Wien.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: ARS Nova.
Tip: This page also contains alternative tools to ARSnova, such as onlineTED or frag.jetzt.
This tool is not limited to web conferences, it also offers a range of options for collaborating in small or larger groups. In addition, MS Teams can be used as a cloud service, as it is compatible with numerous renowned cloud services. The large number of plugins means that MS Teams can be expanded as necessary and converted into a truly powerful and customised tool.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: Microsoft Teams.
GoToMeeting makes it possible to quickly, easily and reliably hold video meetings. But please be aware that GoToMeeting is not entirely barrier-free.
More detailed information can be found on the relevant coLAB page: GoToMeeting.
When using external content in teaching, especially in online distance learning, attention must be paid to copyright issues. The following publications can be used as a guide:
Urheberrechtsfragen beim Einsatz von Multimedia an Hochschulen – Ein Leitfaden für die Praxis am Beispiel der Universität Wien [Issues relating to copyright when using multimedia at universities – a practical guide using TU Wien as an example] Dr Seyavash Amini & Prof. Dr Nikolaus Forgó, Vienna 2009
as well as the following, which is based on these elaborations:
Lehren mit (digitalen) Medien – Ein Leitfaden durch das Urheberrecht für die Praxis [Teaching using (digital) media – a guide to copyright in practice] Dr Seyavash Amini & Andreas Huß, Vienna 2017
TU Wien’s membership in the ‘Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria’ association gives all teaching staff access to a range of FAQs on the topic of e-learning and legal issues. This requires you to register on the ‘Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria’ association’s portal.
Once registration is complete, you will have access to frequently asked questions in the FAQ section, which is constantly updated.
When creating digital learning content, barrier-free access must also be ensured. Information on barrier-free teaching, from which people with disabilities can also benefit, is provided on the TUW barrier-free pages.
Regular seminars are held on the topic of barrier-free teaching. The seminars currently on offer can be found in the list of internal events in TISS.
Teachers from various courses have declared their willingness to make their concepts and practical examples on distance learning available. This page will be regularly updated with new concepts. Don’t we want to provide a link?
An updated overview of planned events (webinars, info sessions, training sessions) as well as offers is provided on the event page.
This list is constantly updated. Tip: ‘Like’ this page so that you are automatically informed of any changes.
Contains a central summary of current information concerning coronavirus for teaching staff, researchers as well as students.
Contains an overview of all teaching rooms, their equipment, current capacities as well as room plans.
The support page in coLAB contains the latest support and contact information on topics such as TUWEL, LectureTube, Zoom and other services and offers provided by the Distance Learning Team.
Please feel free to forward any questions to email@example.com.
In addition to upcoming offers, videos and documents of past training events are naturally also still available. These can be found at: Overview of training sessions and webinars in coLAB
Extensive documentation and video instructions on the central learning platform in the TUWEL Tutorials course
Interactive demo course on TUWEL to independently test TUWEL functions, TUWEL application scenarios
Distance learning for teaching staff information page on the TU Wien website (in the Teaching at TU Wien section)
Another comprehensive collection of multimedia tutorials provided by the Academic Moodle Cooperation contains information on a range of topics and tools.
PDF download: Guide to digital teaching and learning at TU Wien in the 2020/21 winter semester