Practical instructions for organising distance education
On this page you will find recommendations, instructions and links for planning and implementing distance education.
1.Questions that will help you choose the appropriate digital tools
What are the units that your students can study independently?
- Are you already using a specific virtual learning environment during the course (such as Moodle) that you could make broader use of?
- Can you utilise lectures that have been previously recorded?
- Is real-time distance teaching necessary or could I make a recording on my own computer and distribute it to viewers? Can the learning objectives of the course be achieved, for example, through assignments, discussions or other versatile study methods?
- At present, the utilization rate of digital tools is exceptionally high and the possibility that a service may temporarily run out of capacity cannot be excluded. In such a situation, it is usually possible to take advantage of the alternative services listed below. We are actively monitoring the overall situation and working to ensure the services are functional
- Are other electronic materials available (electronic resources provided by the Library, your own teaching materials, videos, webpages,etc.)?
What are the areas where student-student interaction or teacher supervision is required?
- Is real-time interaction and contact teaching required (ZOOM, Teams)?
- Do you need to offer your students access to a discussion forum and the opportunity to ask questions (Moodle’s discussion forum, Teams)?
- Discuss / give instructions for students about the guidelines for participating in online lectures:
How will students be required to demonstrate their learning? How will you manage the assessment of student performance?
- Will it be possible to assess and mark essays and other written assignments, considering the size of your student group and the available teacher resources? (Moodle’s assignment tool)
- Can the exam be completed remotely? (O365 Forms, Moodle’s exam tool)?
2. Recommended tools
Primarly, choose a service offered by your own organization to ensure that security and privacy issues are in order. The services below are those provided by the Tampere University community.
First, please get familiar to the instructions of digital accessibility of teaching and learning materials:
2.1. Recording and publishing videos
Choose Panopto if ...
- you want to make videos on your own computer and link them to your Moodle course area
- you want to offer one-way live streaming and recording of the learning event
- make video assignments for students where they make videos and return them for teacher-only viewing or for all students in the course
Choose PowerPoint if ...
- You want to record audio or video over your PowerPoint presentation
- Instructions: Combining video and audio with a PowerPoint presentation
- Instructions: Record your screen in Powerpoint
Choose M365 Stream for publishing if…
- you are using the TUNI Groups (Teams) with your students and want to share videos in the Teams workspace
- Instructions: Recording and publishing in Stream
Choose YouTube for publishing if…
- you are working at TAMK
- you want to share video (recording) to students
- login to YouTube using TAMK account at http://youtube.tamk.fi/
- instructions on how to use YouTube at https://support.google.com/youtube/topic/16547.
2.2. Interaction and remote teaching
Choose TUNI Moodle’s discussion forum, if:
- interaction does not have to take place in real time
- the messages and discussions are longer and explore specific themes
Choose Teams, if:
- you are arranging a remote meeting
- your group already has a team in Microsoft Teams
Choose ZOOM, if:
- interaction must take place in real time or through video/audio
- you want to split your student group into smaller teams
- your meeting will be attended by external participants
2.3. Student assignments
Choose TUNI Moodle's assignment tool if:
- students will return the assignment as a file or online text to be viewed and marked by the teacher alone
Choose TUNI Moodle's discussion forum, if:
- students will return the assignment as a forum message attachment to be viewed and commented by other students
Choose the M365 tools (OneDrive, Teams, Whiteboard), if:
- students will complete the assignment online through collaborative writing
- the file to be shared is exceptionally large (in Moodle 100 Mb)
Choose M365 Forms, if:
- your exam will be taken by a large number of students (simultaneous exam takers/short time frame for completing the exam)
- all exam takers will answer the same set of questions
- you want a user-friendly form for answering open questions or an automatically marked multiple-choice exam
Choose TUNI Moodle's quiz -tool if:
- students will take your exam at different times, for example, by answering questions randomly selected from a question bank
- students will be able to take the exam anytime within a specific time frame, so the system will not have to handle a large number of simultaneous users
Choose the electronic exam service EXAM if:
- Students will be able to take your exam under supervised conditions in the electronic exam rooms on campus
2.5. Exercises and software
- Are special softwares also available for students' own home computers? You can check the status of the software in the software list.
- For real time quidance take advantage of the distance learning tools described above (ZOOM, Teams)
- The TUNI Virtual Desktop is a service that allows you to use the same software on your own computer that you have previously used on a computer in a computer class.
3. Give instructions to students
The student's instructions can be found here
If applicable, please instruct students on the following:
- The address or exact name of your Moodle area
- The key to accessing the area if you haven't already added students to the area
- If you use Teams, are students enrolled in a team (link will be emailed to them) or do they need to join with the code?
- Structure (channels) and tools available in your teams area
- Link to the meeting room where the teaching is held
- What program is in use and instructions for participants on how to use it?
- Do students participate with voice/camera (is microphone needed) or with chat?
- How to submit the assignemnts (eg Moodle's assignment / discussion forum)?
- Instructions for submission (naming, author, file formats, length, etc.)?
- Deadlines (submission, evaluation)
Evaluation and exams:
- How course is assessed?
- How is the exam organized?
- How students can contact the teacher / student group if needed?
- Where instructions can be found?
4. Links to user guides and instructions
- Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)
- Digital learning environments
- Hybrid teaching
- All TUNI Moodle instructions
- Moodle video tutorials
- IT instructions: Video services
- Eduhouse:Self-study materials and online training
- Practical instructions for distance learning
Access to recorded lectures/External persons’ participation in remote classes
Question: Are external persons who are not members of the university community allowed to take part in remote lecture or classes?
Answer: To ensure the safety of the participants and prevent distractions while teaching remotely, sessions that are open to external persons will be separately announced. Otherwise remote lectures and classes are closed to external persons. When a class is open to external persons, it is not possible to freely participate in the discussion as communication is one-way only. The risk of personal data being exposed is much higher during a remote class than a conventional class. If necessary, the teacher can share a recording of the class later.
Question: My student has asked permission to record my lecture so he or she can revise the content later. How should I respond?
Answer: Teachers should preferably record their lectures themselves and share the link to ensure that the material is made available to all the course participants. Sharing a link to a recorded lecture without the permission of the teacher and all the course participants is not allowed.
Question: I teach a sensitive topic during a course attended by international students. How can I ensure that participation in my remote class does not pose a security risk to the students or the teacher?
Answer: You should provide your students with instructions (linkki) for sharing and processing course materials. Make sure that your students are aware of the course themes well in advance. Avoid recording the lectures, or at least edit the recording to cut out all class discussions. When your course begins, you should share the ethical guidelines for using social media with the students.
Use of non-University email addresses
Question: There are some students who keep sending me emails from non-University email addresses. How can I make sure that they are who they claim they are? How should I respond to these emails?
Answer: All students are advised to use their tuni.fi email address to communicate with staff. Especially if an email includes personal information about a student, the reply must always be sent to his or her tuni.fi email address. If you must use some other communication channel, you can send the student, for example, a text message to a phone number that belongs to the student.
Processing students’ personal data
Question: A student is absent from a mandatory class and says that he or she was ill. Can I ask him or her to present a medical certificate?
Answer: As a rule, students are not required to provide a medical certificate for an absence due to illness. If it is necessary to verify the reason for a student’s absence, instruct the student to provide you with the information using secure encrypted email. Please be aware that you must destroy this email and any attachments as soon as they are no longer needed.
Question: A students with a diagnosed learning difficulty has been granted special arrangements. Do I need an electronic copy of his or her proposal for special arrangements so I can put in place the necessary arrangements?
Teachers do not need to keep the document; it is enough that the student, for example, shows you the proposal for special arrangements in front of a webcam during a Teams meeting. Students are required to present their proposal for special arrangements to the teacher by themselves, regardless of whether they do it in person or remotely. If a student is for some reason unable to personally present the proposal, the teacher can (with the student's consent) contact the staff member who drew up the proposal for special arrangements. Teachers do not save copies of these documents.
Instructions will be provided to staff members who draw up proposals for special arrangements.
Question: My students are concerned because they do not know what kind of information about them is stored in Moodle and for how long.
Answer: TUNI Moodle's privacy notice includes information about user data and log data. As for other types of information, the information stored in Moodle will depend on the content created by the teacher, so teachers should inform their students of the information that will be stored.
Using electronic tools to support teaching
Question: My students are hoping me to use a variety of electronic tools that they think would work well on my course. Can I take these tools into use?
Answer: Teachers should only use systems and software approved by the ICT Services of Tampere Universities . Other systems may be problematic in terms of information security or GDPR compliance.
More information about information security and data protection in the context of teaching is available on the intranet. With questions, please contact the IT Helpdesk at it-helpdesk [at] tuni.fi.
Assessing students and demonstrating learning remotely
Verifying exam takers’ identity
Question: How can I verify students’ identity if webcam monitoring is not possible?
Answer: You can ask students to turn on their camera when they first join the exam/assessment session so you can verify their identity. Notify students of this procedure in advance. The identification will not be recorded. If turning on the camera is necessary for assessment purposes, you must inform your students in advance that they will be monitored via webcam and ask your students to let you know if they have a problem with this. If there are students who inform you that they cannot or do not want to turn on their webcam at home (or wherever they are), you must assign them to a quiet and safe on-campus space where they can complete the assessment while keeping their webcam on.
Question: How can I prevent cheating in online exams?
Answer: Your exam questions should require students to apply their knowledge so they cannot just copy their answers but must demonstrate that they have genuinely mastered and understood the topic. You can prevent cheating by setting a time limit for an exam. If all the students will answer the same set of exam questions, the exam should not remain available online for long to prevent the exam questions from being revealed to students who have not yet completed the exam.
You should remind your students of the principles of academic integrity before the exam and possibly during the exam (by including a reminder in the directions displayed to students in the exam system). You should also tell them that students are expected to complete the exam independently and that cheating will lead to a failing grade.
- Questions and support: it-helpdesk [at] tuni.fi