Ideas​ for digital teaching​

Image: qimono auf pixabay

If you are looking for suitable tools for your in-class teaching, your Moodle room, or your online teaching, you can find inspiration here. We are also happy to  give you individual advice on which tools fit your specific teaching objectives.

  • 1. How to make teaching and learning material available for your students?

    A rather simple form to support remote learning is to give your students access to material online (e.g., scripts, papers, videos, audios, or links).
    You can encourage your students’ engagement with this learning material by either assigning tasks or phrasing questions to this material or by giving students the opportunity to exchange their results and/or to receive feedback.

    I. Learning Management System Moodle

    MoodleExternal link is the Learning Management System provided by the University of Jena (for a short introductory video about Moodle please see https://youtu.be/wop3FMhoLGsExternal link). Moodle is a module based, adaptive teaching and learning platform. It helps to support classroom teaching, to enable blended learning (a combination of classroom and online teaching and learning), or to facilitate online teaching and learning. It is also convenient for storing knowledge and information and as a platform for communication with your students.

    Moodle enables you:

    • to upload information and material (e.g., data files, links, vidoes via Opencast)
    • to support communication (e.g., via formus, chats, votings, calendar management)
    • to support cooperation (e.g., via Wikis, mutual assessments, glossaries)
    • to measure learning progress (e.g., via tests, quizzes, questions)
    • to give and receive feedback (e.g., via different feedback tools)

    Further information on how to set up and start Moodle you will find in section 8 “First steps in Moodle”

    II. University of Jena Cloud

    As an alternative to Moodle, material for students (e.g., scripts, papers, reader) can be made accessible via FSU-CloudExternal link. After uploading the material to FSU-Cloud it can be shared via link. FSU-Cloud has a capacity of around 10 GB.

    III. Electronic course reserve collection – Digitale Bibliothek Thüringen (DBT)

    Electronic course reserve collections allow you to collect your course material (e.g., literature, scripts, URL links) at one central digital place. Your students can access this collection any time and independent from where they are.


    An instruction of how to start and use electronic course reserve collections can be found hereExternal link (in German only).

  • 2. How to record your lectures and make them available for your students?

    An alternative to synchronous lectures or seminars are teaching videos that are recorded in advance. Accompanied by tasks, work sheets or tests these videos not only allow for students’ learning independent from time and space, it also supports an individual engagement with the topic. Additionally, you can initiative forums or wikis via Moodle and thus stimulate communication between you and your students and among your students.

    I Recording lectures in the lecture halls and designated rooms at FSU

    For one, it is possible to have your lecture/seminar recorded in the rooms set up for this purpose (overview of roomsExternal link)  at the FSU Jena. Booking for this happens exclusively via the room-management/administration. Please inform them of your wish for a recording/streaming and coordinate with the MultimediazentrumExternal link.

    II Recording via PC or smartphone

    Which programs are suitable for screencast-recording?

    III Making the videos/screencasts available

    In order to make the recorded lectures available, you have the following options:

    • We recommend to record videos directly with Opencast Studio and make them available via Moodle. This is possible with videos that have previously been created as well. In conjunction with a Moodle-Course-Room, this is the simplest way of making videos available. Instructions can be found hereExternal link.
    • Alternatively, you can make your videos available via your YouTube- or Vimeo-channel. Please note, however, that in this case it is your own legal responsibility.

    An instruction how to embed video recordings into your Moodle-course can be found here: "Moodle für Lehrende und Autor*innen"External link (Video “Informationen und Materialien zur Verfügung stellen“). Please do not upload your video directly to Moodle!

  • 3. Which video conferencing tools can I use for teaching?

    For conducting interactive online courses or giving online lectures, you can use web or video conferencing tools. In this case of synchronous teaching, you meet all your students at the same time in a virtual environment.

    Important note: Please be aware that eventually not all of your students will have the technical prerequisites to participate in this kind of live web conferencing. Students’ participation could also be impeded by a larger degree of care work during the pandemic. Please check whether your students are able to participate in your online classes or whether you have to provide alternatives.

    I. Zoom

    Within the university and supported by the university’s Taskforce Digitalisierung Zoom is the preferred solution for interactive web conferencing, e.g. for group work, seminars or practical courses. Zoom allows for the easy invitation of external guests.

    For using Zoom please register hereExternal link.

    An instruction for how to register and start using Zoom can be found hereExternal link (in German only).

    The university’s data center (Universitätsrechenzentrum/ URZ) made a preconfiguration of Zoom that meets the concerns of data protecting requirements. Additionally, when inviting your students to the online sessions, you have to include the following two URL-links about the data protecting guidelines. These have been compiled by the university’s legal office and can be found in HanFRIED. 

    ZoomExternal link

    GeneralExternal link

    II. Nextcloud Talk

    The University’s CloudExternal link offers the possibilities to share documents and files, and to start chats and video conferences. Nextcloud Talk is recommended for small groups up to 10 participants.

    HereExternal link you will find further information how to start and use Nextcloud Talk.

    III. Web Conferences via DFN (Deutsches Forschungsnetz)

    Please note: Due to the Corona crisis DFN-web conferencing tools are currently frequently used. This heavy usage might lead to bottlenecks when it comes to setting up new meetings, or to disruptions when starting meetings. More information is available at the DFNExternal link (in German only).


    For classes, in which up to 23 participants are supposed to communicate with each other, DFNconf can be used.

    An instruction of how to set up DFNconf-rooms can be found in the URZ WikiExternal link (in German only).


  • 4. Which tools (besides web conferencing tools) can be used to design interactive teaching and learning settings?

    I. Interactive formats with Moodle

    Moodle offers a whole range of possibilities to support communication and cooperation.

    • Forum enables participants and instructors to have asynchronous discussions.
    • Chat enables participants to have text-based synchronous discussions with each other or exchange opinions and different perspectives.
    • Choice enables instructors to ask a single question and offer a selection of possible responses. A choice activity may be used as a quick poll to stimulate thinking about a topic, to quickly test students’ understanding, to facilitate student decision-making, e.g. allowing students to vote on a direction for the course.
    • Feedback enables instructors to create a custom survey for collecting feedback from participants using a variety of question types including multiple choice, yes/no or text input. Feedback activities may be used for course evaluations or to collect expectations and experiences concerning a certain topic.
    • Glossary enables participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary, or to collect and organizes resources and information, e.g. by uploading the handouts of students’ presentations.
    • Wiki enables collaborative work with texts. Participants create and edit a collection of web pages.
    • Workshop (in German: Gegenseitige Beurteilung) enables the collection, review and peer assesment of students‘ work. Students submit their work, peer assess themselves and are assessed by the teacher.

    Instructions how to set up these activities can be found in the course "Moodle für Lehrende und Autor*innen"External link and in the official documentation of Moodle-tools at moodle.orgExternal link.

    Further information on how to set up and start Moodle you will find in section 8 “First steps in Moodle”.

    II. Small tools – big impact

    There are many small tools that help to activate students and to further exchange between them in online learning. These tools are a supplement to the tools provided by Moodle and can be integrated in or connected with Moodle. Here are a few examples:

    • PadletExternal link – is a tool for creating virtual pinboards (padlets) that you can use to display information for any topic. Students and teachers can (synchronously and asynchronously) collaborate, reflect, share links, notepads, audios/videos and pictures. It can be used for brainstorming, to activate prior knowledge, to collaboratively design projects or to collect information (for a short introduction to padlet, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3P5QySmLeUExternal link)
    • EtherpadExternal link – is an open online editor providing collaborative editing. Students may remain anonymous or display their names. All changes will be marked live and in terms of colour. Etherpad can be used for collaboratively producing texts or for collecting ideas in a group work.
    • TweedbackExternal link – is a live feedback system supporting the interaction between presenters and listeners in a course, a workshop or during a presentation. In the sessions that you create within Tweedback, you have the possibility to ask live questions or to design a chat wall. Please note: Within the for-free version your sessions will be available for 24 hours. After that, they can be seen but are inactive and cannot be further processed.
    • PingoExternal link – is a live feedback tool that allows you to involve students in very large classes. The tool mimics the joker of the audience in the TV show “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. Instructors ask questions and students try to answer them with the help of their notebooks, smartphones, etc. within a certain time limit.
    • Only Office-Funktion der FSU CloudExternal link enables you to create a document directly in the cloud, to share it with others via a link, and to collaboratively work on it, even synchronously. The cloud is hosted by University of Jena, so that your data remains directly on the server of the university. Storage is limited to 10GB.

    Further tools and their descriptions can be found on the following website: E-Learning an der Universität JenaExternal link.

  • 5.How to provide students with feedback to their work and results?

    I. Tasks in Moodle

    The activity “Assignment” within Moodle allows students to submit their work results to a certain task (via document or text in the online editor). You can see these individual results and assess them.

    Short video tutorials on how to set up this tool can be found in the course "Moodle für Lehrende und Autor*innen"External link within your Moodle account. Please use your URZ data to register.

    https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Assignment_activityExternal link - Instruction on how to set up “Assignments” in Moodle.

    II. Quizzes in Moodle

    The activity “Quiz” within Moodle allows you to create tests and quizzes with a variety of question types (e.g., multiple choice, true-or-false questions, short answer questions and to use them as a learning control. In the case of closed and semi-closed answers the kind of feedback can be predefined.

    https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Quiz_activityExternal link - Instruction on how to set up “Quizzes” in Moodle.

    III. Peer Feedback in Moodle

    The activity “Workshop” within Moodle is a peer assessment activity with several options. The students submit their work, assess their peers and are assessed by the instructor.

    Peer feedback helps students to take a more active role in the learning process. They learn how to phrase constructive feedback. Above that, peer feedback allows for a deeper involvement with the learning goals, the content and the assessment criteria.

    https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Workshop_activityExternal link - Instruction on how to set up “Workshop”/ peer instruction in Moodle.

    Further information on how to set up and start Moodle you will find in section 8 “First steps in Moodle”.

  • 6. Where to find online material for your teaching?

    Before starting to produce teaching material for your courses, please check what is already available in your discipline. A lot of material from the internet (e.g., work sheets, videos, audios, pictures, graphs) can be used in your courses – as long as it has a Creative Commons License and thus is categorized as an Open Educational Resource (OER).  

    OERinfo (Organisationsstelle Open Educational Resources) has listed on its website OER-lists and services (https://open-educational-resources.de/materialien/oer-verzeichnisse-und-services/External link, in German only) which search engines are particularly helpful, which material collections are offered by the disciplines and which services bundle and disseminate OER activities.

    On the following platforms you will find material for higher education:

    When searching for material with Creative Commons Licenses:

  • 7. Where to find ideas and inspirations for digital teaching?

    You are looking for further advice and practical examples for digital teaching?

    • Digital Learning Map (https://learnmap.hochschulforumdigitalisierung.de/External link, in German only) – is a map and database presenting selected digital teaching scenarios at German colleges and universities. It offers an overview of innovative teaching project and good-practice-examples from different disciplines and institutions that can be found easily on the map.
    • PatternPool (https://www.patternpool.de/External link, in German only) aims at systematically documenting, discussing and disseminating proved higher education teaching solutions. These “patterns” are written by instructors who document their teaching experience. A review process guarantees that only qualified patterns are published.
    • Field reports from e-teching.org (https://www.e-teaching.org/praxis/erfahrungsberichteExternal link, in German only) – here, digital teaching instructors report their experiences with online teaching. Interviews, reports and videos give a helpful insight into their experiences.
  • 8. First steps in Moodle

    Moodle is the learning management system of the University of Jena.

    How to connect your course with Moodle? For all courses listed in FriedolinExternal link, corresponding Moodle-environments can be established directly via Friedolin. In case your course is not listed in Friedolin, please directly contact the Moodle administrators (moodle@uni-jena.de).

    As soon as you have established a Moodle course (in the role of a teacher), you will be assigned automatically to our self-learning course "Moodle für Lehrende und Autor*innen"External link (this course will show then up on your dashboard as soon as you are logged in to Moodle). Here, you will find video tutorials and further instructions about Moodle. Unfortunately, most of the information is still only in German. We are working, however, on updating the course regularly and supplying more English information.

    Further information about Moodle und helpful instructions can be found on the website of Moodle (https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Main_pageExternal link) or on the website of the Austrian Academic Moodle Cooperation (https://www.academic-moodle-cooperation.org/en/documentation/cheat-sheets-en/External link).

General recommendations for digital teaching

  • Focus on the essentials of your course. Decide which content is really necessary in view of the learning objectives you have set.
  • Leave room for students to actively engage with the learning content in order to enable sustainable learning. In digital teaching, students frequently have to deal with new teaching formats and develop new learning strategies.
  • If necessary, provide your students with a short introduction to and explanation of the digital tools to be used in your course.
  • Consider that not all students may have access to sufficient technical equipment. Try to offer alternatives to participate in the course to these students.
  • Please think about which parts of your course are best accomplished in self-study, face-to-face teaching, alone, or collaboratively. Based on this, you can appropriately combine asynchronous and synchronous learning units in your teaching scenario. You can also outsource parts of the course that can be better completed in self-study, e.g. by means of tasks that can be solved outside class or via recorded or streamed input (e.g. lecture sequences and presentations).
  • Give students clear work assignments and include them in your materials. Similarly, formulate the assignments in a specific manner. This helps to guide students and optimize their engagement in accordance with the learning objectives you have set. Students are also motivated by assignments with a clear scope of tasks and measurable outcomes motivate students. Thus, try to take away the ‘infinite potential’ of some assignments by making them specific.
  • Make your expectations transparent to students. For example, make it clear how you expect students to contribute to the course and how you will continue to work with their results in class.
  • Ensure regular feedback by students. Thereby, you can learn how they are coping with the teaching scenario you have provided, where obstacles occur, and how these obstacles may be removed.