Hands on – designing a course with Zoom and Stud.IP

(from the series “Good online didactics with Zoom”)

In the article 01 Teaching with Zoom – from a didactic point of view, some basic considerations on how Zoom sessions can be didactically designed and integrated are presented at the beginning of the series. This is followed in the second part by practical tips on how to proceed in the concrete creation and implementation of digital courses with Zoom and Stud.IP.

How do I plan my course with Zoom and Stud.IP over the course of the semester?

One approach to a didactically sensible sequence of self-learning phases and classroom appointments throughout the semester is the concept of the “flipped classroom” (see the article im Digitalen Freischwimmer). In this case, students prepare themselves with the help of learning materials made available online, while the presence is used primarily to exchange information with the students about the subject content and to clarify their questions. Classical lecture notes or scientific literature as e-books can serve as learning material. In addition, various other materials such as learning videos, screencasts, podcasts or online assignments can be a good way for students to acquire the material through self-study. As the central learning platform at TUHH, Stud.IP can be used to make teaching materials available to students (more on the possibilities of designing teaching and learning with Stud.IP can be found here in our blog).

What is intended in the Flipped Classroom concept as a “real” face-to-face appointment can also be conducted as an online face-to-face appointment, for example with Zoom. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when conducting online face-to-face sessions (more on this in the section “How do I design the individual Zoom sessions to optimally promote student learning?”).

However, not every course in the digital semester has to be designed as a flipped classroom. Input and work phases can also be usefully combined during online sessions with Zoom (more on this in the section “How can I use Zoom to impart knowledge, for learning activities as well as for interaction with students?”).

In order to promote the preparation of students and to additionally motivate them, it is also important in digital teaching that you as a teacher maintain contact with your students between online appointments by regularly answering questions collected, giving feedback on a group work (e.g. in a joint forum on Stud.IP) or directly addressing students (e.g. via message on Stud.IP). You can also offer an online consultation hour at Zoom for students at fixed times (for confidential topics, the video conferencing tool BigBlueButton can be used).

Can I use Zoom for knowledge transfer, learning activities and interaction with students?

Because the low-stimulus format of videoconferencing demands much more concentration from students than face-to-face teaching, it can be problematic for them if knowledge transfer in digital studies takes place exclusively with videoconferencing tools. If the daily online presence appointments add up, this can quickly have a negative effect on student learning. In order to increase the students’ attention and motivation, we therefore recommend that a closed online input in the Zoom session lasts a maximum of 10 minutes and that the tool is rather used to alternate content inputs and activating elements (see also ourarticleon the “sandwich principle”), or that the common time is even used exclusively for exchange in the plenary or in small groups.

How do I use the zoom functions in a way that optimally supports student learning?

An exemplary procedure for “webinars”, as teaching events with video conferencing tools are also called, can be found here (graphic from Freischwimmer https://www2.tuhh.de/zll/freischwimmer/webinare/).

Phases of knowledge transfer can be supported at Zoom, for example, by showing PowerPoint slides or short video sequences via screen sharing. Students can also use screen sharing to show presentations to the group. Activating work phases can be introduced, for example, through surveys on the understanding of the content. Alternatively, the chat can be used by students as a backchannel to formulate questions, which can be collected by a tutor, for example, and passed on to the teacher in a structured way (find out more about the backchannel here). Afterwards, breakout sessions can be used for discussion in small groups. In the breakout sessions, the whiteboard can also be used to work on group tasks. For example, students can use this to make drawings together or comment on texts shared via screen sharing.

In addition to the input and activating phases, transparent communication about the structure of the session, the technical framework conditions (e.g. joining via browser or webapp?), about data protection (e.g. recording yes or no?) and about common communication rules (e.g. microphone off when not speaking) is particularly important in video conferences. We recommend putting this at the beginning of an event with Zoom. You can find out more about good online communication in teaching here).

You will find further information on all the Zoom functions mentioned below.

How do I create and invite a Zoom meeting?

If you have a licence at the TUHH (application via the Zoom support of the computer centre), you can create “meetings” for individual or recurring appointments via the web portal (https://tuhh.zoom.us), the app or – soon – via Zoom login using Shibboleth. To do this, click on “Plan a meeting”. In a meeting you have created, you are the “host”, but you can also transfer this right to other participants.

For reasons of data and access protection, it makes sense, especially for courses with a large number of participants, to create new meeting IDs or links for each meeting, to protect access with a password and to communicate both to the students exclusively via Stud.IP.

You can find a detailed procedure on how to set up a meeting and make various (especially data protection-friendly) settings here on the website of the data centre.

How does screen sharing work?

During a Zoom meeting, you can show participants PowerPoint presentations, applications, documents or websites that are open on your desktop by clicking the “Share screen” button. A new window opens automatically where you can select what you want to show the others.

If you want students to be able to share their screen, for example to show presentations, you have to give them permission to do so. This can be done, for example, during a meeting via the small arrow on the right above the button “Share screen” and “Advanced sharing options”.

How can the whiteboard be used meaningfully in Zoom?

The whiteboard integrated in Zoom can be opened via screen sharing and enables all participants in a meeting to make simple drawings together or to write short joint texts. With the “stamp” function, various symbols can be “stamped” on the whiteboard. For example, students can leave their “stamps” on a pre-drawn target as direct feedback to the teacher for their own safety with the material (more on feedback methods in the blog post after next on feedback with Zoom).

What to consider for surveys in Zoom sessions?

Zoom has its own survey tool that can be used to conduct simple, short surveys during a Zoom session. This is particularly useful for re-engaging students after a technical input, for example, and can help the teacher to get immediate comprehension feedback from students. Surveys in Zoom are best prepared before a Zoom session in the web app (directly in the settings of the individual meetings). Both single and multiple choice questions can be asked. Hosts and co-hosts in a meeting can start and stop polls and view the results, but cannot participate themselves. Participants must install the Zoom app and attend the meeting via the app in order to vote. If participating via the browser, students will not be able to participate in polls. The voting results are saved locally on your computer under Documents – ZOOM. The results file will also open automatically when you exit the meeting. You can find more about polls in Zoom here.

How does the chat work?

Chat in Zoom can be activated or deactivated in advance by the meeting host. If the chat is activated, participants can send messages to the whole group or to individual participants during the meeting, depending on the default setting. If the chat is to serve as a backchannel (more on this here), it may make sense, depending on the number of participants, to assign another teacher, e.g. a tutor, in the meeting to collect questions in the chat for the teacher or to answer them directly. The chat can be saved by you as host afterwards. Participants can only save the chat if you as host change the corresponding default setting in the web portal.

What should be considered when setting up breakout sessions?

Breakout sessions can be used for simultaneous small group work during a Zoom session. Theoretically, as many breakout sessions can be set up as there are participants in a Zoom session. Participants can either be randomly distributed across the groups or manually added to individual breakout sessions. For the manual option, you should either allow enough time or have another person help you. Theoretically, all participants can also be made co-hosts and decide for themselves which breakout session they go to. You as a host can attend the individual breakout sessions. This can be done, for example, in response to participants in breakout sessions asking you for help or inviting you into their room. Also, as a host, you can write a message to everyone, which will then appear on the screens of all participants. It is important to communicate clearly before the start of the breakout session what task students should do during the session and how much time they have to do it. You can bring participants back to the “main session” if you want the work to continue in plenary. Overall, managing breakout sessions in Zoom requires some skill and practice. It is best to practice with a small group of participants before using this feature in your teaching.

What needs to be considered when recording Zoom sessions?

A recording of the Zoom session is possible for you as host and – after changing the settings – also for the participants. You can use a recording to make the Zoom session available to students afterwards as a video. This can be useful at the moment, as there can be various reasons why students cannot participate in online presence sessions with Zoom (for example, a high load on the WLAN if students live in a shared flat with other students who all use video conferencing tools).

Because records require special care in terms of data protection, we have some recommendations for you:

  • You can use the chat function to enable direct questions or contributions to the discussion. When doing so, read the relevant questions aloud for the recording and do not save the chat history to avoid a personal reference.
  • If the participants’ camera and microphone are deactivated at the beginning of the recording and they have to activate them themselves, e.g. if they want to make a verbal contribution, this activation can be understood as implicit consent to the recording.
  • If the camera and microphone are activated for all participants and you would like to record, it is best to obtain written consent from the participants.
  • Do not record if interaction (with image/sound) is an elementary part of the course, but you do not have the consent of the participants to record.
  • Another option is to only record your talk and leave time for questions and answers at the end of the meeting and not record again during this time.
  • No matter which option you choose – Communicate clearly to the students at the beginning of the course how you want to deal with recordings.
  • If you want to be completely safe, it is advisable that the camera and microphone of all participants are switched off when recording.
  • Finally, it is recommended to store recordings locally on your computer and not in Zoom’s cloud.

(On the contrary, under certain conditions it may be important for you as host that no recording takes place during a Zoom session, neither via Zoom’s own recording function nor via other tools. This could be pointed out to students on a start slide if the case arises. If you explicitly refuse the request to record in such a way, participants should not make recordings via smartphone or stream capture for absent fellow students).

You can find further information on secure operation and data protection at Zoom here.

What else needs to be considered for data protection when using Zoom?

If you are using Zoom via a TUHH moderator licence, you are working with the data protection-friendly default settings from the computer centre. It is the responsibility of the respective moderator to decide which of the functions are reactivated.
Zoom requires moderators to register with a (work) email address, a first/last name and a password. Participants should be free to choose whether they want to use the Zoom client or prefer browser-only access.
The password used at Zoom must not be the TUHH password or be very similar to it.
To protect Zoom meetings from access by third parties, a password should always be set and a new URL created for each meeting. The password should only be communicated via Stud.IP. If you transfer the information about a meeting to your calendar when planning it, the calendar information with access data to meeting rooms should not be made readable for everyone.

More general information about data protection and Zoom can be found here. You can find out more about data protection at Zoom from a student’s perspective here.

This is the second part of our series “Good online didactics with Zoom”. It follows on from article 01 on the introduction to the topic. After the follow-up article 03 on further tools that can be combined with Zoom, article 04 on feedback possibilities with Zoom will be published shortly.

01 Teaching with Zoom – didactically speaking

02 Hands on – designing a course with Zoom and Stud.IP

03 Optimise Zoom events with additional tools

04 Giving feedback with Zoom (and checking with BigBlueButton)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *