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Planning and carrying out good, online teaching

SDUUP has developed a checklist to help you plan, conduct and evaluate your online teaching with focus on keeping up both motivation and activity level during the entire teaching course. As a starting point, your teaching is based on SDU’s underlying principle of education, that is active teaching and learning . Below, you will find a short version of the checklist in steps (before, during and after), which you can click on to learn more.

At the bottom of the website, you will find guides to the teaching methods hybrid (attendance roll), synchronous (live), and asynchronous teaching, as well as technical guides.


  • Start your planning by studying the learning objectives of your course. Decide what learning objectives will be dealt with in synchronous (live), online teaching (Zoom, Adobe Connect or Teams, e.g.) and which learning objectives will be dealt with asynchronously.
  • Use live, online teaching for dialogue with and between students, Q&A sessions, case-based teaching e.g. Provide students with active learning opportunities and keep content delivery (lecturing) to a minimum.
    • Focus on interaction: Invest your time more in interaction with students, and less in delivering content. The primary focus is students’ individual and collaborative learning processes, but you should be active and visible as guide, observer and facilitator” (Contact North, 2014, p. 14)
    • If relevant, include online, collaborative group work activities. Students can set up their own meeting rooms in Adobe Connect and Zoom for live discussions e.g.
  • Prepare a semester plan in which you provide students with an overview of both the live and the asynchronous course activities and how these connect to the learning objectives. Use Plans to set up the semester plan in itslearning.
  • Prepare a welcome announcement/introduction for your students in which you present the overall learning outcome of the course, the nature and purpose of the live and the asynchronous activities, assessment methods and match expectations about your and students’ roles and participation. In the matching of expectations also state how and when you can be contacted and the frequency with which, you will respond to questions. Finally explain to students how to get started, i.e. where to go in itslearning as the first thing.
  • Set up your course in itslearning in a logical and user-friendly manner that makes it easy for students to navigate.
    (Participate in the self-paced course ‘Setting up your course in itslearning’, which will give you a thorough introduction to itslearning and help you start setting up your course. You find the course under the menu tab Courses/Rum in itslearning).
  • Plan a strategy for communicating with your students online. We recommend posting a weekly announcement in which you explain to students what will happen that week and what you expect students to do. Also explain the why, what, how, where and when.
  • It’s also a good idea to create a Q&A forum (Questions and Answers) using itslearning’s discussion board tool. Ask students to post their questions in the forum and explain how often you will answer questions. This is a good way of managing your time in an online course.
  • Post your welcome announcement in itslearning at the start of the course.
  • Carry out introductory activities with your students: set a task that helps your students get to know the asynchronous, online learning environment and each other. And during your first synchronous (live), online session, set a task that helps your students become familiar with the live, online learning environment and makes them confident to be visible on webcam and switch on their microphone to talk.
  • Now that you have planned the course with integrated online learning activities, take opportunities to check whether the students share your understanding of the tasks and learning outcomes. Before beginning a class activity, advise the students to take 5 minutes to write what they each understand the task to be about and what they can learn, they then share what they have written with each other and decide which interpretation/s to follow. 

  • Students prepare for active participation in your synchronous (live) or asynchronous learning activities. 
  • As a preparation activity for live, online teaching, ask your students to set up their own meeting rooms in Zoom or Adobe Connect to get familiar with the system. Give them a simple group work exercise that lets them explore relevant tools.


Preparing for your live, online session: 

  • Create a detailed agenda in which you switch between brief introductions/presentations and activities that engage students.
  • Remember to include an icebreaker activity to prepare students for active participation. Read more about active learning in live, online sessions.
  • Upload relevant materials and activities to itslearning and remember to let students know what and how to prepare.
  • Formulate ground rules for your live, online sessions. As part of the ground rules, decide how you want students to indicate that they have a questions or comment.

Practice: Make sure you have the skills to use the live, online platform of your choice and its tools.

Running your live, online session:

  • Welcome students and explain the ground rules, including how you expect students to participate actively and what your role will be.
  • Explain the agenda and start working your way through the items on it together with your students.
  • Be sure to carry out the icebreaker activity to prepare students for active participation.
  • Be sure to monitor the chat for questions.

Preparing for an asynchronous activity:
In asynchronous learning activities, students work at their own pace and when it fits in with their other activities. This means that you will not be there to guide students live. Instead you must formulate very clear and precise instructions to students that explain exactly what they should do, why, when, how and where. If you want students to interact and comment on each other’s work online, e.g., it’s important to set one deadline for students’ initial contributions and then a later deadline for comments. In this way, you make sure that there is something for students to comment upon.

Once you have planned the asynchronous learning activity and written detailed instructions, set up the instructions and relevant tools in itslearning.

Carrying out an asynchronous activity:

  •  Post an announcement to launch the activity. Explain the purpose, match expectations concerning roles and participation and tell students how they get started and what the deadlines are.
  • Monitor students’ work online and follow up on students who are not participating.
  • Send announcements to remind students of upcoming deadlines, encourage students to participate and acknowledge students’ contributions.   You can also send announcements to get students back on track if they seem to move in a less fruitful direction. If you mean for students to interact online, do not dominate their interaction by commenting on individual students’ work. Instead communicate collectively through announcements as explained above.


Following up on live, online sessions:
Depending on the activities of your live, online session, you might want to share the recording or any “results” produced during the session with students by uploading these to itslearning, e.g.

Following up on collaborative, asynchronous activities:
It’s important to make sure that students get feedback on their work and progress. Here are some suggestions:

  • Skim students’ contributions and comments online and post a concluding announcement that sums up students’ work and highlight important points and conclusions. In courses, with more experienced learners, you can ask students to do this. It’s a great learning activity.
  • An asynchronous learning activity can also be concluded at a live, online session where students discuss their take-aways and consider what they would like to explore further. Connecting live and asynchronous activities is a good way to create coherence and signal that asynchronous learning activities are also important learning opportunities.

Following up on individual, asynchronous activities:
Study students’ responses and identify any areas that students need to cover in more depth and plan how and where to do this.

Practising oral exams

  1. Familiarise students with the online platform in a synchronous class. Use the Waiting Room feature if you plan to use it in the oral exam.
  2. Upload some indicative oral exam questions to itslearning and use Screenshare to make them accessible in the main online meeting room. 
  3. Set up Breakout rooms in an online session and allocate three students to each room. 
  4. One takes the examiner role, one the student role and one an observer role.
  5. Explain they need to practise some questions, changing roles each time and the observer should note queries they have about the questions and the oral exam process.
  6. If the oral exam will include annotating, sharing screens or any other Zoom features, include this in the task so the students practise it.
  7. The teacher visits some Breakout rooms, to provide advice and/or model questioning.
  8. Close Breakout rooms and return to the main meeting and discuss queries. 
  9. Add queries and responses to FAQs in itslearning about the oral exam.

Addressing students’ anxieties about online oral exams
Ensure students have accessed the University and Faculty guidance on oral exams - provide a link on the course’s itslearning site. It is especially important that the student takes responsibility for checking their online access, including sound and webcam are functioning via Zoom. Students will need to be present throughout the online oral exam, which means their webcams will need to be switched on and they will need good audio connection.

Provide time in class and a discussion board in itslearning for students to post their questions and anxieties about oral exams. Check in to the discussion board and share your responses as well as addressing issues in class time. Reassure students that your focus is to enable them to do their best. Let students know they can ask you to repeat, re-phrase a question or ask another question during the exam.

See e.g. this detailed practical guidance for online oral exams – compiled by the SDU Centre for Teaching and Learning with contributions by consultants and teachers at SDU.




Are you tired of the webcam, poor audio and using your home as backdrop? Now, you have an opportunity to record your teaching videos on campus.

As an experiment, SDU has built a studio in Odense that enhances the quality of your videos. The equipment connects your computer with a high-end camera, microphone, and gives you a neutral background.

The studio is designed to work with itslearning and Kaltura Capture which you probably already use. This way, you obtain your recordings immediately within itslearning – and you can share content with your students the moment you are done in the studio.

If you prefer to record using other applications, e. g. Camtasia, this is also possible. The application just needs to be installed on your own computer.

In this video, you can view the process:

 If you would like to know more about using the studio, send a mail to Karsten Prinds from the Educations of the Future-project, or call 6550 2374.

Webcam and microphone mounted on wheels

Transmitting sound and picture through e.g. Zoom or Microsoft Teams - Booking is needed 

Log in to SDU's learningplatform itslearning with your SDU Office 365 username and password:

Written guides and videos on SDUnet: Guides to itslearning

Online bulletin board/digital canvas

GDPR notification: When using Padlet, the teacher must create the Padlet, students must not be expected to create their own for a course and they must not post using any personal data.

Capture feedback instantly during virtual meetings

License needed for this software, please contact SDU Help.

Last Updated 03.05.2021