General Experiences

In the call of the Educator, we asked the lecturers to answer a couple of questions regarding going remote in the corona crisis to help those who will only start to convert their course, see below:

 

What golden tips would you like to share with peers?

I would give three core tips:

1. Don't be too hard on yourself.

2. Perfect is the enemy of the good.

3. Students also understand that you are in a difficult situation just like them.

- Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

If you also want to write by hand, you can order a special laptop via TU Delft.  Such a laptop (e.g. Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1) also has a tablet mode and a pen with which you can write on the screen by hand. At lectures where I combine PowerPoint with writing on the board, I can now add empty PowerPoint slides and write on them with the pen. I also gave a lecture where in the past I wrote mostly on the board. Now I gave this lecture online, interactively, and I wrote on the laptop screen for 20 hours. (I also had to attach a separate webcam, because the laptop’s own webcam points in the wrong direction when I write by hand.) - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

Let students read, watch videos, and ask questions in the forum, in their own time. Do not require them to watch the lectures; provide enough offline learning materials. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)

Take some time to get familiar with YouSeeU, Skype etc. in order to select your favourite one. - Lecturer from Aerospace Engineering (AE)

 

What was well received by the students?

That I had time to talk to them via Zoom or managed to respond quickly to their questions via dedicated chat service at EWI: Mattermost. Class dynamics goes down as physical presence is absent; gamification of your class works pretty well even in an online setting. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

My use of handwriting and the fact that my courses were both live and recorded. I see that many students prefer live interactive courses. But at a master course I had students from different programmes and the recordings made it possible to students with conflicting schedules to join the course. Sometimes even online students liked to look again at some of the recordings. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

YouSeeU live lectures (which weren’t recorded); this forced students to be present (similar as on campus lectures) and to keep a daily study routine; via the chat there was more interaction than during the on campus lectures. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

What challenges did you face?

That I had to use tools I never used before (I was streaming my lectures on Twitch). Plus, the fact that I never streamed my lectures online (so I had no reference point) was a small stress point. Also, getting a place where I could stream my course online without background noises was a challenge. Also, my course contains some hardware demonstrations that were impossible to be done online. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

Lecturing via Zoom was for me better than expected, without major problems. But I can't look into the student's eyes, and that makes me sometimes a little less concentrated. For me it is like for the actors who prefer to do theatre rather than movies, because they want to immediately see the reaction of the people in the audience. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

Assessment. Given that we unfortunately believe that students are not to be trusted, I had to develop several variants of exams. Of course, I do not even consider proctoring as an option, as it’s really invasive. Maybe it’s time for us to reconsider assessments in general. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)

To choose something in a very short period (at that time the Zoom bombings took place which makes me choose YouSeeU, since it is only accessible for students who are enrolled in your Brightspace course). To get familiar with YouSeeU in just a few days. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

What would you do differently if you did it again?

I would re-plan my course to be online teaching targeted (so online consultations, virtual demonstrations from the lab, reduce man hours required to finish the course). And I would use a different streaming tool, as Twitch has pretty predatory copyright laws. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

Less assessments. I would have dropped my midterm. Too much work given that I need to create so many variants! -  Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)

 Take a Teaching Assistant, since it took much more time, especially the required adaption of the exam (a.o. open questions) + the grading of the exam (for numerical questions, each student had a different input, so the correct answer for these inputs had to be generated as well; file handling of the answers (unpacking all zip files + sort alphabetically; conversion HEIC format to jpg; search which file/picture contained the answer of some specific question; rotate/zoom picture of answer). - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

How did you pay attention to the students?

I had no means to check it, except for constantly reminding students about the upcoming deadlines and assignments and asking them to ask me questions if something was not clear. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

By keeping the lectures interactive. But I had to tell students that I turn off the Zoom recording when I or they ask questions, otherwise many of them remain passive, probably because they do not want their questions and answers to be preserved for eternity. This turning on/off of the recording was sometimes frustrating, especially when I forgot to resume recording and I had to record the missing part separately after the course. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

I used the lecture slots to debate about the topics, rather than to teach the topics (flipped classroom model). That made my lectures way more interactive. Online meetings had 25% attendance (150 out of 500 students). Students asked more questions online than in lecture halls. I sometimes even felt I needed a moderator! I suppose it’s easier to ask a question in the chat than in person. That’s a good thing of moving lectures to online.Moreover, I incentivised students to ask questions in the forum. I also made sure to provide them with timely answers (response time: less than a day). My forum has almost 500 questions and answers in 7 weeks!!I also made sure to schedule open office hours so that they could ask me questions about the exam. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)

 At the very start: developed Brightspace quiz; made transcripts of lectures; used discussion forum. I kept the practical as well as the guest lecture (both online). And included a group assignment. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

What are you proud of, looking back on the past remote-period?

That the class completed without major problem, despite myself being severely sick half-way my course. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

I am proud of my online materials and the number of questions in the online forum. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)

Just a few students dropped out; the pass grade of the exam was more or less normal while the exam was more challenging (due to the open questions / limited available time in order to prevent fraud). - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

How did you keep your balance?

By staying calm and reminding myself that every teacher was in a similar situation as me. - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

Do not compromise on (coffee) breaks / walking trips during lunch. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)

 

What or who helped you to get your course remotely?

I had to handle everything myself, I was caught with the online-only measures in-between my course - Lecturer from Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), MSc course

Practicing with colleagues / YouSeeU help pages. - Lecturer from Applied Sciences (AS)