Staff guidelines for online teaching

Staff guidelines for online teaching

These guidelines are designed to help members of the academic staff in their online teaching and other issues related to the online platforms UM is using.

Version 2 | 22 September 2020

 

  1. The Junior College has already provided its educational services online when the COVID-19 pandemic broke. This was an unexpected and rapid learning curve for us all.
  2. In the light of these events, it is evident that online teaching can complement in class teaching.
  3. For this reason the online teaching platform may be utlilised by JC departments in the normal day-to-day service as one of the educational tools at our disposal.
  4. These guidelines are aimed to help members of staff in their online teaching work and will remain into effect until updated or superseded by new ones or by others issued by UM or higher authorities.
 
  1. The official platforms provided by UM are the following: 
    • Email account provided to all staff and students by UM IT Services
    • JC Virtual Learning Environment (JC VLE) 
    • Use of Zoom and Panopto
 
  1. Services with respect to online teaching are provided through:
    • IT Services
    • Online courses organised by UM 
    • Support networks available in response to evolving needs.
  2. The Office of the Principal offers all the necessary support to deal with student matters including misconduct during online sessions.
  3. Members of staff are kindly notified that the aforementioned support services are only provided for the official platforms.
 
  1. Safeguards are mainly required in case of live sessions and direct engagement with students.
  2. Lecturers should ideally make use of all the session management features provided by the official online teaching platform to ensure the smooth running of live sessions.
  3. It is recommended that all live sessions be recorded - definitely all the one-to-one sessions.
  4. Students must be informed that sessions are going to be recorded beforehand. 
  5. If a student objects, the session can still proceed and the concerned student/s may follow the recorded session later on.
  6. During one-to-one sessions, students need to be explicitly asked if they grant consent to the recording of the session by sending their consent in the chat of the session. However, if the student objects to the session being recorded, then the session should be immediately stopped. The case should be reported to the subject coordinator and the student supported via email.
  7. Students are aware that they must leave their camera on and microphone off at all times unless directed otherwise by their tutor. 
  8. Clear professional boundaries should always be maintained to safeguard students and academic staff.
  9. Students who fail to comply with the expected online-mode of behaviour as indicated below should be reported to the Vice-Principal via email. Reports must clearly indicate the student’s name, ID number, details about the session and a brief narrative of the incident.
  10. Students have been informed that action will be taken if they abuse the system.
  11. Recorded sessions with visible student data, including student images must be deleted by end of the academic year i.e., 31 August.
  12. Recorded sessions where only the tutor and their data show may be kept for future use by the tutor.
 
  1. Students should be made aware of their own guidelines for online learning. Should you direct students, the guidelines are accessible through the JC webpage - Current Students tab - Portal - Guidelines, rules, regulations and policies. 
  2. Members of staff are encouraged to be familiar with the latest version of the Student guidelines for online learning.
 
  1. It is highly recommended to have a good microphone and earphones operating with wireless technology as these will permit a considerable and unhindered freedom of movement.
  2. One may opt to have a good track pad system or equivalent, allowing an efficient use of the whiteboard function in Zoom.
  3. If a white board is being used, the computer may be set up about 1.5m away with the screen slightly inclined upwards. The camera will cover an area approximately 2m wide by 1m height of the board. The use of black and blue markers and a suitable font size are recommended. If the writing on the screen is seen inverted, then switch on to mirror image from Zoom.
  4. When using video, good frontal lighting is required. The use of frontal light such as from a window or a lamp is ideal. Backlighting should be avoided as it puts the presenter in silhouette.
  5. An appropriate background should be used. Zoom makes it possible to choose a background. 
  6. One may gain confidence using online platforms by using them with someone else.
 
  1. Only timetabled slots should be used for live sessions.
  2. Live sessions should not be held during weekends, public holidays or recess periods unless absolutely necessary and at the discretion of the respective lecturer.
  3. Invites for live sessions are to be sent to students at least two (2) days before a scheduled session or ideally they should be informed about their regular weekly sessions. In the invite, students should be reminded about the recording of the session, if it is the case.
  4. Any material to be used in conjunction with a session should be sent beforehand.
  5. It is highly recommended that students be provided with notes and assigned work gradually to avoid overwhelming them.
  6. The web browser should be cleared beforehand if videos on the screen of the lecturer are to be shared. This avoids the disclosure of past history.
  7. Live sessions should be started a few minutes before the lesson is due so that students can start joining in and settling down.
  8. This time is ideal for the lecturer to engage with students.
 
  1. When planning how to cover the scheme of work, lecturers may use a variety of pedagogical styles.
  2. The provision of notes, power point presentations should facilitate and complement but not replace teaching. 
  3. When planning a live session, one should be aware that most probably, less work might be covered than during a recorded session.
  4. When recorded sessions need to be used, one-(1)-hour sessions should ideally be split up into two 20-30 minute clips each in order to maintain student attention. Recordings can be uploaded on VLE to be viewed by students in their own time.
  5. Students should be encouraged to participate during sessions and to use the chat and forum facilities to ask questions.
  6. An attendance record should be kept even for online sessions. One can see the students who join (this is why it is important that they do so using their name) and/or ask them to use the chat facility to confirm their presence. 
  7. A log of the topics covered, work assigned and sessions held should be maintained.
  8. It is recommended that members collaborate together and pool resources.
 
  1. Teaching involves many facets, including assessment and feedback.
  2. Students should be given reasonable tasks to test their understanding as well as feedback to appraise their performance.
  3. Both assessments and feedback can take different formats depending on the nature of the subject and topic involved.
  4. Students should be given a reasonable time frame to complete set tasks similar to when students are in class. 
  5. Marking of work should not be excluded, however it is not possible to do so in the usual manner. Use of model answers and marking schemes should be considered to enable students to self-assess their work in addition to the facilities provided by VLE.
  6. Subject Coordinators will be directing staff about College based assessments. 
  1. Caution should be exercised so neither staff nor students are overwhelmed.
  2. Lecturers may come to know of students who are experiencing some kind of difficulty, this being of psychological, emotional, financial, access to online learning and so on. Kindly inform us about these students, as there are ways to support them.
  3. In the same way that lecturers normally care for students, the same approach should be taken in the online scenario.
  4. Students who never attend the sessions nor hand in any work should be followed.
  5. One should take into account that online sessions may not be taking place in the College environment. At home there may be other issues and responsibilities, which have a bearing on both the teaching and the learning process.
  6. One needs to be patient as there may be technical problems at both ends; connections might time out and so on.
  7. Inevitably, everyone is bound to make mistakes. These should be used as an opportunity for further learning and growth.
  8. Everyone should be supportive to both students and colleagues.
  9. Reach out and assist colleagues who may have difficulties adjusting to this new style of teaching.
  1.  The Subject Coordinator should be regularly updated with the online teaching strategies being adopted to finish the scheme of work.
  2. Members of staff are encouraged to provide feedback or request support regarding online teaching and learning. The respective subject/area coordinators or the Principal’s office may be contacted as deemed necessary.
 

https://www.jc.um.edu.mt/services/officeoftheprincipal/guidelines/staffguidelinesforonlineteaching