Question of the Week

 

Question of the Week

 

Question

 

Answer

Week 36  
Do I need to do hybrid exams?

With all the buzz around hybrid education and going back to campus, you might wonder whether you need to do hybrid exams or if you can opt for fully on-campus or remote examination mode. The right answer depends very much on the size of your course, the type of exam that is required for your course, the facilities that are available to go hybrid, and your faculty regulations. 

Whichever mode you choose, the main goal is to create a safe environment for everyone and prevent study delay. 

Here are three ways to set up the exam of your course:

  1. On-campus examination mode: the exams are administered fully online. This requires two resits or one extra resit for students who cannot attend this exam due to self-quarantine. Choosing this mode might save time in the longer run. Have a look at the current campus regulations
  2. Hybrid examination: A hybrid exam is defined as “a written exam that is administered both on campus and remotely at the same time. Both exam modes have the same assessment method (written exam)”. When going hybrid, it is important to have facilities (Wi-Fi, workspace, sockets etc) available for students to make their open-book exam with internet access on-campus. Pay attention to room requirements on campus, select a suitable exam tool for both exam modes that are comparable, take extra fraud prevention methods for remote examination, have a plan to communicate effectively with students in both groups, and finally have technical support available.  
  3. Remote examination mode: Though still available, this method is the least desirable because the recommended standard assessment is on-campus examination. Have a look at the Remote Assessment page to learn more about it and find the regulatory updates of this mode. 

Watch webinar 59 for an open discussion on Assessment. For further didactical questions please visit the Brightspace Support page, have a look at the hybrid exams page, or brightspace@tudelft.nl

Week 35  
How can I do a basic course copy in Brightspace?

You may be working to set up your Brightspace environment and Might be wondering whether it is possible to (partially) re-use the course martial and/or structure you created previously A basic course copy comes in really handy if the above applies to you. 

Follow the 8 steps below to do a basic ‘Course Copy’ in Brightspace to save yourself some time in preparing your course in Brightspace for the new academic year and check the Brighspace support page for more information:

  1. Go to the Course Admin of the course you want to copy the content in
  2. Select the ‘Import/Export/Copy Components’ function
  3. Click ‘Search for offering’ and search for a course or a sandbox in the pop-up screen. In case you want to copy content from a course you don’t have access to, you will have to contact the Course Manager to gain access first. 
  4. Add the course or sandbox.
  5. After selecting the course of your choosing, decide whether you want to copy ‘All components’ of the course or to ‘select components’ of the course. It is recommended to select the parts of a course that are not defined by details relevant to the previous year, for example, such as Calendar items or Announcements. 
  6. Select content modules and topics within the selected course you would like to copy and wait for the copying process to be finish. The time you will wait depends on the size of the content that is being copied. 
  7. Once the copy is finished you will either see a green checkmark or an error notification. In case of an error, check in your course if you have everything you need or contact Brightspace support to reset your course. 
  8. Finally, go over the copied content and check if everything is set-up correctly as you intended. Activate your course in ‘Manage courses > Course offering information’ once you are finished setting up your course, otherwise you students will not be able to find the Brightspace environment.

Are you feeling adventurous and you would like to practice or experiment in Brightspace? Request a sandbox by contacting Brightspace Support. 

Watch webinar 58 to see these steps in action, for more tips and tricks, and which considerations you can make when choosing a lay-out. For further didactical questions please visit the support page, email brightspace@tudelft.nl or call  015-2784333 select 1 for Brightspace Support.
 

Week 27  
How can my students benefit from creating a Knowledge Building (KB) community?

A KB community places emphasis on the collaborative progressive improvement of ideas.   Scardamalia and Bereiter (2003), the creators of the KB theory, defines Knowledge building as “the production and continual improvement of ideas of value to a community … and what the community accomplishes will be greater than the sum of individual contributions (p. 1370)”. KB has its theoretical premises in deep constructivism: knowledge is improvable and socially co-constructed, To reiterate, KB is a specific pedagogical approach that focuses on collective cognitive responsibility i.e., it prizes collaborative knowledge co-construction over the sum of individual ‘random’ knowledge contributions in collaborative learning. On this note, Dillenbourg’s review (1999) on collaborative learning provides the first insights in making a distinction between collaborative learning and the knowledge building pedagogy. Contrary to the widely accepted notion of collaborative learning as an instructional method, Dillenbourg (1999) contends that collaborative learning is “neither a mechanism nor a method, but rather a situation where particular forms of interaction among the individuals in the group are expected to occur (emphasis added) (p. 5)”.  This is to say that to ensure certain kinds of cognitive processes can be activated, lesson design and instructional scaffold is instrumental. 


Fostering the KB community requires an epistemological shift to view a classroom not as a mere collection of individual students, but as a collaborative knowledge building community. Four of the commonly used KB design principles in knowledge building activities are: 1. Real ideas, authentic problems; 2. Idea Diversity; 3. Improvable ideas; and 4. Rise Above. These design principles fosters an idea-centric approach to address authentic problems: it promotes idea diversity, idea connection and idea advancement. Students will experientially see how these ideas can be improved and advanced towards a more inclusive and higher level formulation of problems/ theories/ models. In essence, we construe knowledge building as the solving of knowledge problems within a KB community who collaboratively seeks to advance existing knowledge and/ or create new knowledge. Next, to sustain knowledge building practices amongst the KB community, the knowledge Forum (KF) (web-based platform) is pivotal for students to document, archive,  and continuously  improve these epistemic artifacts (ideas, theories, models) so that they can share, connect, and advance knowledge or create new knowledge.


Watch webinar 56 to learn more about Collaborative Knowledge Building and to find out about the 12 Knowledge Building principles in two interconnected dimensions: socio-cognitive and technological dynamics (KF) to see how you can design KB activities to support your students in solving wicked problems. 


Contact Esther Tan by emailing to E.B.K.Tan@tudelft.nl to discuss and ideate how this pedagogical approach can be implemented in your classroom. 

Week 26 


 

How can I handle the questions from a large group of students?

When you are responsible for large groups of students, it can be overwhelming to answer all their questions timely. One way to reduce this workload is to employ a Q&A forum based on peer-to-peer interaction. 
Here are 4 tips on how to make the most of a (peer-to-peer) Q&A forum:

  1. Share a rulebook: Good answers are rooted in asking good questions. Define what makes a good question and answer. Explain for which type of assignments your students can ask questions: formative vs summative assignments. Share this rulebook with your students and teaching assistants to make sure everyone knows when and how to ask questions and how to answer these in a useful way.
  2. Add competition: Gamify certain elements to motivate students and stimulate collaboration. This can be based on a reputation system and/or receiving badges of achievements. Students find it fun, educational, and engaging. 
  3. Build a knowledge base: Keep the questions and answers that were asked in previous years as a base to build on. The knowledge that was built over the course won’t get lost and students can have a sense of what is going on in upcoming courses.
  4. Consider cross-cohort Q&A: Create a sense of community by including students from all years and courses to help each other and get to know each other. Using tags can help organise questions from different years and courses.

Watch webinar 57 to see the lessons learned on using stack overflow in reducing staff workload and how it resulted in creating a sense of community
For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 25  
What are the 5 low hanging fruits I can pick to engage my students?

It is fair to say that most lecturers would like their students to pay attention, be curious, show interest, be optimistic, and be passionate about the subjects they are learning. Student engagement affects the motivation of students to learn and grow as professionals. 
Have a look at these 5 low hanging fruits you can implement in your classroom to better engage your students: 

  1. Show why it is relevant they understand the knowledge at hand. Use practical to help your students understand how their knowledge can be applied in real world examples. Consider storytelling as a way to help your students apply their learnings in a creative and engaging way. 
  2. Give your students a reason to do the work. Pick a couple of assignments students hand in and discuss them anonymously during class. Offer encouraging feedback on assignments that are well done or food for thought when students make mistakes to spark their interest and curiosity to learn from their mistakes. Consider handing out badges for achievements. 
  3. Connect to your students by relating to them on an emotional level and by being transparent about your teaching practice.
  4. Intellectually engage your students by making a(n) mistake/error on purpose in your classroom. Showcase that everyone can make a mistake as a way to motivate them to stay alert, think critically, and not just take information as given from anyone. 
  5. Shift the responsibility of finding necessary information to your students rather than taking this responsibility yourself, but be ready to help guide them and ensure that the course is organized in a way that they can easily find information. Consider creating a single document/location to communicate important information, dates, and deadlines so you motivate/nudge students take on the responsibility to schedule and plan. 

Watch Webinar 56 to learn how you can engage your students in different ways and more in detail. In addition, you can check out the top ten tips on online student movitation and engagement
For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 24   
How can I set up my Brightspace environment based on my students' needs? 

One of the most important things when setting up the Brightspace environment of your course is making sure its structure is appropriate. There is no one solution for a template or format, but it is important to create a structure that is logical and helpful for students, and easy to manage for teaching staff. You can set up your Brightspace environment in a multitude of ways. 

Below you can find 5 tips to set up your Brightspace environment:

  1. Use a week-by-week structure if your course content directly relates to this weekly structure. In case including all content in a week may be too overwhelming in each weekly module, consider using a topic-based structure such as ‘weekly tasks’, ‘lectures’, ‘exercises, ‘labs’, ‘exam’, etc. Make sure not to forget to activate your course.
     
  2. Whichever structure you use, consider adding a ‘getting started’ section to allow your students the time and space to get to know each other, get acquainted with the course structure, assessment and tools or platforms you will use and so on.
  3. Consider using the checklist activity in Brightspace to help your students track their progress within your course.
  4. In case you don’t use a week-by-week structure, you can use an overview with ‘Weekly Tasks’. Within a checklist, you can link to different content in your Brightspace environment. For example, adding a link to a relevant discussion forum within the weekly tasks. Albeit sparingly, consider using conditional releases as a way to avoid overwhelming your students with all tasks at once. 
  5. Most students are familiar with where to find the Collaboration > Discussions and Assignments area. Make sure to categorise these areas not too abstract or specific. Too abstract might become chaotic and too specific might be difficult to navigate.

Watch webinar 55 to find out more about two tested types of templates you can use in Brightspace or feel free to create your own Brightspace template as you see fit. Do you prefer the latter? Consider using the ‘Import/Export’ functionality in Brightspace to select specific content modules and topics to export and import or use the ‘Course Admin’ area to adapt and change your structure.
For further didactical questions and BrightSpace related questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 23  
How can my students benefit from having a 360 tour implemented in my course?

A 360 tour can help you make your learning activities more interactive than a regular video or presentation. This is why implementing a 360 tour in your course may improve the engagement of your students with the course content and achieve the learning objectives. Using these tours can increase the sense of autonomy in your students and increase the efficiency of scheduling lab/site visits. Another added benefit is that (international) students who are not yet on campus can get to know the relevant spaces/places/buildings before arriving in Delft.

You can use a 360 tour for:

  • Various learning activities: virtual workshops of tools or studios, to learn about the safety regulations of labs.
  • Different types of introductions: getting to know the faculty, getting to know the campus 
  • Event exhibitions
  • Location/tour presentations
  • 3D spatial models: the possibility to use a 1:1 scaled visualisation of a designed space, students can showcase their 3D spatial models.
  • Site visits: virtual shipyards, labs to prepare for an experiment, workspaces to get to know the tools, or other relevant spatial context.
  • Creating games: Scavenger hunts, finding items or details, missions, solve a mystery. 
  • Graduation projects: If you have a graduate student that created something that can be shown in such an environment contact New Media Centre.

Here are some examples the New Media Center created: open day of a study programme, site instructions, PhD exhibition, medical workshop.

Watch webinar 54 to find more inspiration and follow the discussion on the implementation of 360 tours.

For questions on technological possibilities and collaboration on the implementation of 360 tours, please contact the New Media Center

For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl
 

Week 22  
How can I write personalised emails to a large group of students?

Are you teaching a large group of students and do you want to send personalised emails in different cases? While emails can be automated as a result of lack of action or failures (when they haven’t logged in to the Brigthspace environment of your course in the last 7 days, when your students aren’t attending your class, if they may fall behind, etc.), they can also be automated for positive actions or successes of the student (to welcome them to your course, mid-way course completion, certificate or badges).

To send personalised emails to your students, Brightspace offers Intelligent Agents. These are automated email notifications based on the occurrence of situations that are pre-defined by you. An important side note using Intelligent Agents is keeping privacy concerns in mind, such as bcc the students in an automated email. Watch Webinar 53 to find out how to get started in Brightspace, how to pay attention to privacy, and to find tips and tricks on how to communicate to your students.

Have a look at this page for general information on Intelligent Agents. Are you considering using Intelligent Agents and you aren’t sure whether you should? Have a look at the considerations you can make. Are you curious what kind of Intelligent Agents Brigthspace offers? Click here to find example Agents and click here to find intelligent uses of this function
Are you ready to create intelligent agents? Have look at these effective practices and common pitfalls.

For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl

Week 21  
How can I make my classroom more inclusive considering different disabilities?

More than 2200 students (9%) at Delft University of Technology have a confirmed disability and professional estimates range up to 7500 students (30%), from dyslexia to ALS to visual impairments. These disabilities can affect student motivation, engagement, and performance. As a lecturer, there are small things you can do to make your education more inclusive and offer these students the opportunity to reach their full potential irrespective of their disability. 

Here are five tips on how to make your classroom more inclusive:

  • First and foremost, be open and communicate with your students to find out the range of disabilities you have in your classroom. Consider doing an anonymous online survey during your first lecture to offer the space for your students to mention their disability and the potential support they may need. Not all students feel comfortable to come forward and ask for help. Explicitly mention that students are welcome to contact you in case they have different needs and listen to what they need from you.
  • Try to think along and provide guidance with adjusting assignments if necessary. Contact a learning developer in case you need support on how to adjust assignments. Ask your students how they would like to be guided. Consider contacting your students in case of radio-silence to check up on them and schedule a meeting.
  • Give structure and maintain a level of flexibility for students with different needs. Let your students know what they have to do. Clarify your expectations regarding the assignments and exams of your course by providing example reports different marks and an example exam similar to the real exam. This will help them understand how they can pass your course and what they need to do.  
  • Keep your lectures interactive, short, readable. Give 30 minutes lectures with a break afterwards, especially in online education. This will help keeping the attention of most of your students. A great test of readability of powerpoint presentations and figures is to make your lectures in greyscale, squeeze your eyes while looking at your presentation, squeeze your eyes while looking at your sheets, and zoom in to check whether you will have to squint your eyes to read it. Use high contrast text and images, and sans serif fonts to increase readability. Try using polls or questions about the information you shared so students stay engaged with the content and your lecture.
  • Make room for socialising. Socialising outside the lecture is important for certain groups with a disability. With online education it is crucial to create these spaces and offer the time to socialise and learn together.

As of September 2021, the new academic year, you will be able to contact Horizon to help you out in making your education more inclusive and answer all your questions. Keep an eye on The Educator for the announcement.

Watch webinar 51 to watch the discussion on inclusive education with Student Onbeperkt. For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.

 

Week 17  
How can I use Extended Reality (XR) to influence student engagement?  Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), nearly all forms of technologically-supplemented reality fall under XR. Currently students are visually saturated by receiving online education and need new ways of interacting online. Using a type of XR can engage students to interact with your course content and add a new dimension to it. 
Here are a couple of XR projects that are ongoing at the New Media Centre:
  • PRIME and AR: here the goal is to make education more fun. PRIME is a mathematics programme functioning as a use case to apply AR. Mathematics problems are used to model in AR. An example is the prediction of lava flows. 
  • Studio AR: a new studio is being built in IDE by New Media Centre where lecturers can present their subjects with the digital context present. Here they can add the graphic media in their virtual surroundings. 
  • Navigator: a firefighting strategy experience was designed for Architecture using the HoloLens which creates a virtual model of the space. As the user walks through the building the space is being generated in 3D digitally so an overseeing professional can have an overview of what is going on. 
  • HoloLearn: explores the use of holograms in distance education with the intention to improve social interaction and presence in online classes. A lecturer will only need a LIDAR camera and prepare him/her lecture like any other online lecture. This technology is in development. Send an email to b.h.limbu@tudelft.nl to participate in the pilot.
The future of education is expected to be influenced by these extended realities to enrich different interactions. Get  inspired by watching Webinar 49 Exploring the use of Augmented Reality and Holograms in Teaching to find out examples of these and other applications and whether it may be interesting to apply it for your course.
For questions on technological possibilities and collaboration on the implementation of AR in education, please contact the New Media Center.
Week 16  
How can I nudge my students to turn on their cameras during my lectures? Have you ever felt like you were speaking to a wall of silence? One of the challenges of remote education is having an audience with their cameras turned off. Here are some tips that might help nudging your students to turn on their camera during your lectures:
  • It’s a two way street. Students want to see you too. Make sure they can.  
  • Use interactive (warm-up) exercises using cameras (in the beginning), this might nudge the students to keep their cameras on.
  • Send your students to breakout rooms in the beginning of your lecture and during breaks. Most often they turn on their cameras and might keep it on after returning to the common space.
  • Conversation cues are learned or normalised within a (digital) space. Virtual conversation cues can be moments of silence or the use of emojis, such as thumbs up, clapping, hand raised, etc. Consider discussing with your students how they want to use emojis as cues. Try to find a way that makes the lecture work for both you and your students. 
  • Encourage the use of an avatar or lego figure is students are uncomfortable showing their faces/locations.
  • Point out environmental elements that are unique in the space of those who have their cameras turned on. This may excite other students to do the same. Or ask them to show a certain object during your lecture. 
  • Include students who have their cameras turned off by asking them questions during your lecture. They are likely to feel more engaged and might turn on their cameras eventually to feel more involved. 

Consider going to a classroom or a change of scenery in case it makes you feel more comfortable or excited giving your lecture. It helps to be in context or in a different space. Have someone with you in that space; most often it feels more comfortable looking at someone rather than into an empty space. 
Watch Webinar 48: Open Discussion and Q&A for more tips and conversations on remote teaching and learning.

For further didactical questions please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 15  
How can I create a virtual lab that students like? Apart from the limited access to labs, it is difficult to offer everyone a spot as space and materials are limited too. A virtual lab can mitigate these problems. When creating a virtual lab, it is important to consider the student perspective so the course is educational. Pay attention to the following:
  • Structure 
    A schedule, albeit flexible, promotes engagement. Offer students a timespan in the course schedule in which they can ask questions. Students appreciate this. 
  • Instructions
    Clarity of the guides and instructions is key. Make sure students understand what they need to do. Embed or integrate the instructions in the different steps of the platform you use. It makes it easier for the students to successfully do the experiments. 
  • Interface 
    Pay attention to the affordances you use in the interface or platform you use. Affordances gives the student visual clues how to use the interface and what functionalities it has. Having clear affordances improves the experience of the students as it is clear what is expected of them with little effort. Apart from good affordances a realistic look and feel of a virtual lab spikes the interest of students as well.

You can go about creating a virtual lab with different levels of difficulty. Watch Webinar 36 to learn about the Google Art Project and how to use a Virtual Museum Tour in your education, watch webinar 37 to learn how to set up an easy Scavenger Hunt in Teams, and watch webinar 46 to learn about what to consider when creating an entire new virtual lab for your course

If you want to set up your virtual lab, have further (didactical) questions, or need ideas to implement key elements as mentioned above, please email brightspace@tudelft.nl.
 

Week 14  
How do I configure my BrightSpace Gradebook?

Brightspace Grades (Gradebook) is available in most Brightspace Courses and is used to communicate grades. Always use BrightSpace Gradebook or Osiris to publish grades of your students. Never publish grades in PDF or Excel to avoid giving away their personal data. Check out how to comply with the privacy regulations when assessing remotely. If you want to learn more about personal data and privacy regulations have a look here. If you want to read more about how to import or export grades, click here.

Brightspace Gradebook distinguishes ‘grade items’, ‘categories’ and ‘weights. A grade item is a single grade and a category defines a group of single grades which are the ‘partial grades’. The final grade of a course can be calculated by subdividing it into multiple ‘categories’ (‘partial grades’) which can consist of multiple ‘grade items’ (the assessments itself). You can appoint weights to each ‘category’ and ‘grade item’. You can combine several grade items into one category. The weight will be distributed accordingly per grade item. Check out the Rules and Guidelines of your Board of Examiners (art. 14.7) to find out how to round up  grades and have a look in the study guide when students can receive a final grade. 

First you need to go through the basic 7-step Setup Wizard of Brightspace Gradebook; how it should view and calculate the grades. Then you will create the grading scheme of your course in the ‘Manage Grades’ section. This is based on the settings you chose in the previous wizard. Finally, you will link the assignments or quizzes to the gradebook you created. Be aware that workshop attendance is considered as bonus points and is not part of the total weight.

Watch the first 18 minutes of webinar 46 to see how to configure the BrightSpace Gradebook step-by-step. The rest of the webinar will go into assessment tooling and choosing the right assessments types for remote education. Are you using different tools for remote assessment, have a look at this comparison of remote exam tools

For further questions educational tooling for remote assessment, please email brightspace@tudelft.nl

 
Week 13  
How can I facilitate a conversation on well-being with my students or colleagues?

As access to resources are sometimes limited and it may be that learners or peers are not sure where to find resources. The goal in open discussions is to help people share out resources they found helpful to them and enable people to share experiences and ideas on how to cope with the various situations that arise. Watch Webinar 45 Calling all Super Heroes: Open Discussion on Lecturer Well-being to see an example on how to lead such a conversation. 
You can use these questions to facilitate a conversation on well-being for your students or colleagues:

  • What comes to mind when you think of well-being? What are some of the feelings you have experienced since going remote? Pay attention to whether negative emotions are discussed, such as ‘grief’. If avoided, it may be necessary to gently bring up an emotion and have an open discussion on it. 
  • What other roles have you adopted as a lecturer when remote teaching? And what are some tips and resources related to the various roles you’ve taken on in the past year?
  • What are some tips and resources for stress management? 
  • What are the different ways to connect with others online with respect to sports and hobbies?
  • Asking what others (or their contacts) need but haven’t found yet. 

When addressing these topics make sure the participants can share their thoughts anonymously and to not record the session. Allow them the ability to share about themselves or someone they know so that they can be more anonymous with personal needs. There will be moments of silence on topics that are serious; this is natural and beneficial as people need to work through their own moments. Let those moments be. If you or someone you know is working through grief or loss, consider holding a virtual memorial. You can do this by creating a video with photos and favourite songs or celebrating the shared moments with the deceased.

Have a look at this cheatsheet on what to do if a student needs help with personal issues, and here you can find more cheatsheets on teaching skills based on didactical theories. In case you come across a lecturer who needs help or would like a safe environment to share their situation, you can tell them about the “Intervisie” Peer Consultation group. Alternatively, lecturers can join the Health Coach Program to improve their well-being and energy or get coaching on work pressure and vitality.

TU Delft offers a page full of workshops, training and coaching on work and well-being, and reading materials. Make sure to have a look or to share with your colleagues. On this page, you can find more information for staff on work and well-being, for example if you need an emergency leave or what leave options you have as a parent with (school-age) children etc.  

Week 12  
How can I build the base for online interactions in my course to be more inclusive of students of varying cultures? It takes approximately 1-3 weeks to build a base for interaction between students; it is important to regularly initiate interaction and offer the space for interactions to build. Offering online activities may require from you: to select the right content, to prepare your students, to test out the tools you will use, to interact with students, and to encourage students to interact with their peers. Here are the key elements you can prepare to build the base for interactions:
  • Social Lounge: This is the space where students can see what the social norms are; they observe how everyone interacts before sharing anything. Interaction is not mandatory. The Social Lounge is not related to your course content. Consider posting something about your hobbies and goals to start the conversation.
  • Non-content related icebreakers: In the first week opt for non-content related icebreakers so students get warmed up and have a base for interacting with you and feel intrigued to interact with their peers. Check out Question of Week 8 for a list of icebreakers/energisers that are non-content related. 
  • Technology orientation: Give an introduction on the tools and platform the students will be using when following your course. Students may have used certain tools in other courses, however, every lecturer has their own way of using a certain tool or platform. 
  • Content related icebreakers: After the first week introduce content-related ice-breakers to get to know each other on a professional level: e.g. what motivates them to be in the field, what is a quote from the field they are inspired by, share an article or news that is fascinating to them, etc. 
  • Norms of communication and expectations: Establish your norms regarding communication and expectations so your students understand how they can interact with you and their peers. Ask your students to introduce themselves and to interact with their peers while doing the homework and discussing the shared materials.
  • Space to network: At the end of your course, give students space to network and find each other outside of your course. 
  • Self-reflection: Towards the end of your course, offer your students moments of self-reflection. When meeting strangers and trying to interact and collaborate online, it brings about a range of feelings and thoughts that are important to reflect on. 

Watch Webinar 44 to find how to connect students remotely and about virtual study abroad options.  

If you want to set up your online (study abroad) course, have further (didactical) questions, or need ideas to implement key elements as mentioned above, please email brightspace@tudelft.nl
Week 11  
How can I engage my students by using animated lectures? 

Spending an entire day behind your laptop/PC is energy consuming and studying from home can be distracting. So making your lectures livelier with animations will improve the student engagement.

You can either create animated lecture slides and export these in video format (watch webinar 43 on how to make your first animation) or you can go pro by creating an animation film (watch  webinar 42 on online vs campus lecturer). Whichever way you go, consider the following tips and questions:

  • Script: Write down your story from beginning to end or use the lecture slides to record your voice for the animated lecture. Think about what the message is you want to convey: are you explaining something, reflecting on a topic, or making an argument?

Storyboard: Create visual content alongside your script. Define the scenes (beginning, middle, end) and gather the materials you need. Will you show yourself, text, or visuals? Show yourself if you want to put a face and name to the lecture you are giving. Contemplate the use of words versus visuals. Use images and videos to support your story and convey the meaning of the text. People read the text you add to your slides.

  • Sound: Be careful with music. If it is too loud, it may ruin your video and distract your audience from the content. Ask yourself what the added value of background music is? Consider recording the white noise in your room for sound-breaks.
  • Tooling: Use a tool you feel comfortable or ask New Media Centre for help. At all times consider the privacy and security of your students. Have a look at this colour-coded list of educational tooling for related privacy and security remarks.

In case the threshold to make an animation is too high, consider doing a ‘show and tell’ by simply sharing your screen, and using a question and answer format. This is a quick and easy solution to make your lecture more lively.

For further questions on didactics or educational tooling for recording your lectures, please email brightspace@tudelft.nl. For questions on technological possibilities, please contact the New Media Center.
Week 10  
How can I motivate my students and help them grow as individuals using the Self-Determination Theory?

The Self-Determination Theory is a meta-theory to frame motivational studies. It identifies three innate human needs that foster motivation and growth: Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. By fostering Autonomy, you will empower your students to be the captain of their own ship, by building Competence, you will increase their confidence to deal with their environment effectively, and by encouraging Relatedness, you will reduce loneliness and help your students create close and affectionate relationships with their peers. 

How to foster Autonomy

Clarify expectations about the time they need to spend to pass your course, the type of tasks they can expect during your course, and how they can keep their minds sharp with mental exercises. Stimulate your students to find their own way and routine of studying by offering examples of alternative routines. Flip your classroom: let your students absorb information before your lecture and let them discuss/practice the given material during your lecture. Build their self-esteem by connecting your course content to societal problems and their potential role in society. Instil a sense of responsibility by demonstrating how they can make a difference in the world using a realistic scenario. And build their resilience to not give up when facing technical difficulties but speak up and help each other solve them.

How to build Competence

Know your audience by providing the right level of difficulty and right amount of autonomy; with first-year bachelor students, you may still need to help build their study skills. Use entertainment with a purpose to increase their engagement to your course and mastery of the course content. Help your students relate and understand the message you want to convey by using jokes, political cartoons, metaphors, scenarios, or by adding a competitive element, gamifying your course content by turning modules into “missions” and how all these fit together, and giving away “badges of honour” as a result of finishing your course. 

How to encourage Relatedness

Ask your students for help to improve the course and their experience; be transparent with them. Use polls as energisers and as a warm-up before your lectures. Hire Teaching Assistants (TAs) to bridge the gap between you and your students. This will give them a safe space to exchange experiences and relate to one and another. Create discussion boards or break out rooms (spaces) for your students to exchange their questions and knowledge to foster their sense of community and build relationships with their peers. Help your students cope with loneliness by reframing it into a scenario unrelated to current circumstances, e.g. a space mission.

As an example, watch webinar 42 with Calvin Rans to see how he put this theory into practice in his first year bachelor Aerospace Statics course.

For inspiration or didactical questions, please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 9  
Can I design a Scavenger Hunt?

Yes, you can! Everyone has the qualities required to create a successful Scavenger Hunt. Start with a small set of modules, keep it simple, keep testing and try out new things, and start with means you feel most comfortable with. Your first Scavenger Hunt will not run smoothly, and that is ok; do not be afraid to make mistakes and reiterate.

Start with designing your instructions. Focus on modularity by creating stand-alone tasks to make it easier to customize for different groups. Choose the right level of challenges to get your students in the flow, so they aren't bored or demotivated by their tasks' difficulty. Use scaffolding by offering step by step instructions to inexperienced students, intermediate goals to advanced students, or solely the final goal if your students are experienced.

Consider adding gamification elements. Ask yourself whether it is meaningful or beneficial for your learners to have a time limit. Leave enough room for everyone to find their own pace. To keep your students engaged, you can add a light or heavy narrative to your story, or no narrative to avoid distractions. Narratives can take a lot of time and effort without always paying off. So to get started, begin without one. Use hidden messages or a secret team (Easter Eggs) to offer your students something fun. This is an easy and fun bonus, and a nice opportunity to add something personal about you during this time of remote teaching.

Do you want to design your own Scavenger Hunt? Please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl. Or watch for further tips the recorded weekly webinar 37: Scavenger Hunt with Marvin Soetanto, blended learning developer.

Week 8

 

How can I create a sense of community together with my students?

More students are commenting that they feel isolated. While this feeling is not unique, even before the pandemic, students may not have been as comfortable stating such feelings or their need for a community space. Last week’s discussion in the Remote Teaching and Learning webinar highlighted the possible ways to help students connect, express their feelings, and create a sense of community as a lecturer. The question and answer are written with many of the take-aways from the open discussion:

  • Today’s weather: Check in your students what their weather is that day. Are they feeling sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, stormy, hailing, windy, foggy, or is there lightning or thunder? Create a poll in case you have a large group of students.
  • Thorns and roses: Start a conversation with your students on what is good (roses) and not good (thorns) in their day. This will help you understand what is going on in the lives of your students. If you are teaching a larger group, create break out rooms so your students can have these conversations among themselves.
  • Archetypes: Have your students choose their intention to be one of the archetypes that day: The King, The Magician, The Warrior, or The Lover. The King is the source of order and harmony, The Magician is the thinker and has the capacity to detach from the chaos of the world, The Warrior is the doer and is a master tactician who finds creative ways around his limitations, and The Lover is the source of intuition and listens and responds to everyone without judgement.
  • Be the empath: Divide your students in breakout rooms per two and give the assignment for one student to be an empathic listener and then switch. This will help them empathise and check in with each other.
  • Discuss euphemisms in different languages: Have a fun discussion on euphemisms that are the manifestation of the cultural or geographical semantics. Discussing similarities and differences of euphemisms leads to laughing together, and can be one of the best engagers and connectors. For example, this Dutch expression “It’s raining pipe-stems” is similar to the English expression “to rain cats and dogs” and means that it rains a lot. Discuss Dutch words that are not in other languages.
  • Willingness to make mistakes: Create space for your students not to be afraid to make mistakes and encourage them to learn from it. Experience is the accumulation of lesson’s learned. Set a good example by admitting your shortcomings and making mistakes yourself. For example, you may not be able to pronounce foreign names but try anyway and have a laugh about it with your students.
  • Show your human side: Students value the ability to relate to you; this relatedness and interest in connecting with them might motivate and engage your students.
  • Space for chit-chat: Facilitate the time and virtual space by opening 15 to 30 minutes before the start and at the end of your lecture so your students can chit-chat with each other and feel less isolated.
  • Social Cafe: Create a separate virtual space where students can share connect with you and with each other on a personal level. This could be separate channel, for example, in Teams or in BrightSpace.

Whether we connect online or offline, communication is eventually what leads to creating a communities where people feel understood, safe, and valued (Rollo May, 1989). The tools we use can accommodate or inhibit that. Have a look at this color-coded overview of tools that are used in education for communication.

Join the Remote Teaching and Learning webinars every Wednesday between 10:00 – 11:00 (see in Agenda) or watch past webinars for more inspiration, tips, and to connect with your community of peers. Read this Cheat Sheet for inspiration on how to motivate and engage your students online.

For inspiration or didactical questions, please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 7

 

How can I prepare for remote teaching and learning at the beginning of a new quarter?

Remote education has brought new challenges upon all lecturers on a global level. Although remote teaching and learning has now been in place for nearly a year, designing an online course and remote teaching are quite different. The design of an online course is based on teaching the course entirely online, while remote teaching means moving an on-campus course online in stages. You have likely tried various means and ways of remote teaching. After almost a year, the following tips are noted among lecturers:

  • Organise the synchronous more effectively. With the tightened COVID-19 regulations, students lack socialization outlets and may feel more isolated than before, particularly if they live alone. Encourage these spaces as moments of interaction and connectivity; to collaborate, to have discussions, and have students actively participate in the sessions as well as use the course material. Have a look at this Cheat Sheet on Online Student Motivation and Engagement for more ideas.
  • Create chunks of information. Cut lectures into mini-lectures to keep the attention of your students and have them do assignments based on those lectures, and promote note-taking for active participation in lectures. Have a look at these active learning principles, and active learning instructions and feedback to more effectively involve your students in the course content. Do you want to create new multimedia, contact New Media Centre (NMC) for support.
  • Reuse content. Have a look at what is already available with the content you have and Open Educational Resources to reuse and/or modify in your course before you create new material. Create and find course materials in stages, while continuously improving your BrightSpace course.
  • Take a different role. Working remotely, your role as a lecturer may have shifted from lecturing or teaching to motivating, engaging, and connecting students with one and another, and preparing them for their profession. Have a look at this cheat sheet to read more about the various roles of lecturers. This change in roles has an effect on how to structure and design your course content, and the balance between synchronous and asynchronous teaching sessions.

Join the Remote Teaching and Learning webinars every Wednesday between 10:00-11:00 for more practical information. Have a look here for past webinars.

For further didactical questions, please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 6

 

What will I keep online or change in my course once I go back to teaching on campus?

Over the past year, the delivery of courses have shifted to various online formats. We all wonder what the new “normal” will be, what the lessons-learned are, and what will change once we are back on campus. This situation brings up questions on what to keep online or change for which the answers depend highly on your personal context.

This is the time to collectively experiment and get feedback from students about what they liked and did not like about remote learning. For example, many lecturers utilise more features of BrightSpace than before and some lecturers explored new tools that brought about a smoother collaboration between students.

The following questions might be helpful in the discovery of the new “normal” and help decide how the next stage will be for you:

  • Blended education: Due to the transitioning to remote work, you have likely created new content material. To what extent will you keep your education blended once you are back to teaching on campus? Here you can find pre-covid blended experiences that might be a source of inspiration.
  • Multi-tooling: Moving online required us to use various tools with different functionalities to fulfil needs that come with working remotely (overview of educational tools). How have you integrated different tools in your education and interactions? Which are a great addition and are worth keeping in your new normal?
  • Working together: What are the benefits of remote work you would like to keep when you are back on campus? This inspirational webinar (Webinar 39) on organising online workshops with 200 students might help to gain another perspective on working together.
  • Privacy: Not every tool ensures privacy. By moving courses, online privacy may have been more of an issue. Have you considered whether the various tools you use are privacy proof? Which type of data do you share on which platform? On the Educational Tooling website, you can review the privacy settings.

These events might help envision your personal and our collective new “normal”:

If you have further suggestions for other inspirational events, please email teachingacademy@tudelft.nl.
For further didactical questions or using available tools, please contact a learning developer by emailing to
brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 5

 

Which digital exam tools are suitable for my situation?

The guiding principle for developing good quality remote assessment is that during assessment, students should be enabled to demonstrate how well they master learning objectives. Using the right tools to accommodate this principle is key. However, it must be a hassle just to select a tool, let alone implementing it in your course. What if there was an overview comparing five widely used online exam tools?

Do you want to know which tool is easiest to enter questions, or to use parametrization, with which tool it versioning is possible, or are you curious what kind of data entry is possible by students? Maybe you wonder how you can grade with each tool, how and if you can regrade automatically graded answers, or how the interaction is for your students. Would you rather like to know to what extend you can detect fraud, how the security is, or whether or not there will be support when using the tool? How about all of the above.

Have a look at this comparison of online exam tools that are widely used across TU Delft: Ans Delft, Möbius, Brightspace Assignments (handwritten & typed answers), and Britghtspace Quizzes. Use this overview to decide which type of assessment to use.

Maybe you have already grown fond of an online exam tool, but don’t know yet whether it is supported by the university. This list will offer you a color-coded list with advice on privacy concerns and information on how to use some of them.

For support in selecting your digital exam tool, or support on how to design an assessment or advice in how to assess the learning objectives of a course, please contact brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 3-4

 

Where can I find more information on remote assessment?

After switching to teaching from home, assessing remotely has been a hot topic among lecturers. Especially to maintain the quality of education. Do you have questions regarding how to make your assessment remote? Do you wonder how to use Möbius in your assessment or which remote assessment tools you can use? Have you questioned how to create fraud resistant exams?

Visit the Remote Assessment page for general information on how to remotely assess your student. Here you can find the guiding principles for remote assessment, the procedure for changing your assessment to remote, several remote assessment types and tips, remote assessment tools for written/oral exams and assignments/projects, and how to create fraud resistant exams.

If you are using or you want to use Möbius, look here to find out how to get started and work with this tool for creating summative assessments.

For further didactical questions or using available tools, please contact brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 2

 

How can I engage my students online?

In these times of remote education, separation is inevitable. Literature suggests that separation is not just physical, but “a psychological and communications space to be crossed” (Moore, 1993). This space is a place for potential misunderstandings. To overcome this separation for both yourself and your students, this cognitive space must be crossed. This can be done through balancing the three variables in distance-learning: Dialogue, Structure, and Autonomy (Moore, 1993).

Here are some tips on how to cross the cognitive space to engage your students in remote education:
- Structure: Engage your students by offering a clear structure. Use transparent and prompt communication. Use an agenda with to-do lists and align it with your course schedule. Set manageable milestones; seeing immediate results will motivate your students. Create engaging content with available tools and platforms or gamify the content of your course.
- Dialogue: Clarify what students can expect of you in terms of supervision, communication, and interaction, and what you expect of them. Send your students reminders and updates, and regularly offer them personalized feedback. Apart from expectation management, increase dialogue by hosting live events such as webinars, real-time Q&A forums, discussions, virtual tours, to name a few. Stimulate collaboration and connection amongst students with peer reviews or social learning activities.
- Autonomy: Communicate with your students in various and interactive media formats so they can study autonomously. Implement some of the following formats: text, video, imagery, podcasts, and animations. Provide self-paced online training resources such as offering micro-learning online training libraries and “moment of need” repositories.

For further didactical questions, please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 52

 

How can I use virtual tours in online teaching?

A virtual tour is a simulation of an existing location which is composed of images of that space. You can use virtual tours to stimulate knowledge acquisition and creation, to spice up your lectures, and to help your students connect better with your teaching content or with each other.

Tips for using virtual tours in your lecture:
- Engage your students with an activity.
In doing so, provide clear instructions: make sure there is a goal and clarify what the students have to do. You could start with a guided tour and then let them explore the space with given tasks. Alternatively, you could organise a scavenger hunt as a social or educational activity to get to know a subject or a virtual space. Finally, you could let your students discover and draw a map of the virtual space or an item that fits in the space as an assignment.
- Explain how to use a lab. You could give instructions on where to be or how to use certain machinery/products in the virtual space. Think of virtual lab instructions.
- Use the virtual space as an inspiration to aid your brainstorm sessions.
- During remote education it is easy to lose connection with your students’ to develop their professional identity as being in the faculty offers lots of inspiration and confirmation of that identity. You could use a virtual space to inspire and connect with your course and faculty. 

Have a look at the Google Art Project and the Aerospace Engineering virtual tour to give yourself an idea of how a virtual tour works and consider how you might use it in your courses.

For further didactical questions or using available tools, please contact a learning developer by emailing to brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 51

 

What are the important aspects to consider when giving students practice assignments or formative tests?

 

It is important that the assignments are correct and do not contain errors. Test your assignments and answers as making too many mistakes demotivates students and increases the likelihood of dropouts.

Assignments must be of the correct level and must prepare the student for the exam. When students make their assignments, they have a certain perception of how challenging the assignments are concerning the final exam. If the level is too low, they will use alternative materials to prepare for their final test.

Provide specific feedback (ideally automated); not only "your answer is right or wrong", but explain why their answer is right or wrong.

Finally, provide a large and diverse set of practise exercises so that students can practice as much as they need. It could be helpful to use parametric models to generate lots of practice material.

For further didactical questions or using available tools, please contact brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week 50

 

How to optimise audio for my home recording?

The best preparation and expert tip we can give from the New Media Centre is to test, test and test your set-up again. The device you use is only a supporting tool, the way you set it up and use it is far more important and the only way to know what sound comes out is by trial and error.

When the New Media Centre picks their own device for a session, they always consider the purpose. You will use different devices when you are recording a knowledge clip or when you are speaking in a live lecture. In the webinar Pim van Schöll and Rob Maas, elaborated on three types of microphones – a lavalier/clip-on mic, standing-mic, and headset-mic – and their advantages.

When you go testing, make sure to approach the real setting as close as possible during your test. You can do so by recording your session and listen to it to check sound quality. Make sure you compare the quality between recordings with the same speaker. For live sessions it is important to invite guests to your practice session. And most important: always practice in the same platform you are going to use in the real setting.

Besides testing your setup, enhance the audio of your recording by minimizing external factor. Do this by taking care of your surroundings: close windows and curtains, avoid disturbing background activity, record when nobody is around. When you ensure a wired connection for both your internet and microphone, you limit the risk of connection problems. In live recording, ask your audience to mute themselves (and keep an eye on this).

If you want to learn more about how to improve the quality of your recordings, find the webinar on ‘NewMediaCenter – Your audio in online learning and teaching’ under recorded events and feel free to contact New Media Center or Pim (J.T.vanScholl@tudelft.nl) for any questions related to the recording of your home recording and audio.

For questions on didactics or educational tooling for recording your lectures, please contact brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week: 49

 

How can you encourage students to make the most of feedback opportunities?

There are different techniques and activities that suit beginner to advanced feedback-givers. For students who are experiencing peer-feedback for the first time, it is important to explain the relevance and effect of feedback on progress and results, and to have synchronous practice feedback rounds using examples and rubrics, with lecturer monitoring. For students who have experience giving and receiving feedback: create scarcity in lecturer feedback so that they are more motivated to give peer feedback, and have them narrow down the points that they want to receive lecturer feedback on.

Another example of an interesting activity to target lecturer feedback is the meta-cognitive ‘making of’ activity, in which students reflect on what they did while working on the assignment. This gives lecturers insight into students’ understanding, level and work process, and can help lecturers give more informed, specific feedback.

If you want more detailed examples from Mariëtte Bliekendaal (TPM), you can find the webinar on ‘Peer feedback in the online classroom’ under recorded events (link will follow soon) or contact Mariëtte directly.

For further didactical questions or technical tools on peer review/feedback, please contact brightspace@tudelft.nl.

Week: 48

 

What tool can be used to prevent free-riding in remote group assignments?

Learning Developers of Teaching & Learning Services (TLS) are suggesting to use ‘Buddycheck’ as a tool to prevent free-riding in remote group assignments. This peer evaluation tool, which allows students to evaluate each team member’s performance in a group activitiy, worksh also well for self-assessment. Students receive feedback on the group dynamic and their own performance against the group average.

‘Buddycheck’ was assessed as a user-friendly tool by both students and lecturers compared to previously used tools and is supported by Brightspace support.

Find more information about ‘Buddycheck’ here.

For further questions on Buddycheck and for more didactical questions about dealing with free-rider behaviour, please contact brigthspace@tudelft.nl.