Welcome to the Keep on Teaching and Learning website supported by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Our aim is to ensure that lecturers and students at NWU receive the necessary support to continue learning and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.This is the support page for lecturers. Visit the student KeepOnTL support page here.
This website is a dynamic environment with regular updates on best practices and tools for teaching and learning online and development opportunities for staff to prepare for Emergency Remote Teaching. Should you have an immediate challenge drop into the Zoom Support Room where there will be technical experts, instructional designers, graphic designers, educational technologists, and professional academic developers to answer your questions.
Get the right help from the right section in CTL
T&L Technologies Helpdesk:
Click on “Something is not working” >> “T&L Technology Support”.
Central Helpdesk number: 018 285 5930
Available on weekday 08:00am - 16:45pm
Remote Teaching Guide
Teaching remotely will require you to rethink your face-to-face teaching and learning activities for the online learning environment. Remote teaching requires a shift from a reliance on proximity to enable learning and teaching from a distance.
When you plan remote classes, content and activities, always keep the learning outcomes in mind as well as how you plan to assess the achievement of the learning outcomes. Do not overwhelm students with work that is not directly related to set learning outcomes. Take these steps to choose the suitable medium for content:
- Identify key concepts that can be taught remotely and what cannot be taught remotely. Liaise with subject heads and programme leaders as well as colleagues in aligned modules about activities that may need to be removed temporarily.
- List all teaching and learning activities that can be achieved remotely.
- Identify materials that you have access to, or can create, in order to teach remotely.
This guide takes you through the steps to undertake the shift to remote teaching.
(This open educational resource guide is adapted from Cape Town University’s support page for remote teaching during COVID-19 http://bit.ly/cilt-remote-teaching)
Consider using this template as you plan how to present the rest of the module and facilitate learning: Planning Template.
Ensure Zero-rated access to resources via eFundi
eFundi will be zero-rated for South African mobile users using Telkom, MTN, Cell C and Vodacom as Internet service providers (ISPs) during remote teaching. This means that NWU students who use the ISPs listed, can access eFundi for free (T&Cs apply). Users will have to have data on their phones to start with in order to connect. Access to eFundi, the tools from eFundi and content uploaded into the resource folders within eFundi, will be free of charge for mobile users (T&Cs apply). All material uploaded (not linked) to eFundi resources in various formats (e.g. PDF, JPEG, MP4, MP3) can, therefore, be downloaded at a Zero rate / free of charge by eFundi users.
Organise content logically
The Resources tool from eFundi provides a structured space for you to share module content in all formats. The first step would be to plan and create a folder structure for your eFundi site that would be practical for you, your colleagues, and the students. Next, upload each resource within the relevant folder and as part of the upload, you may want to notify students that new material has been uploaded via the eFundi email notification setting. Tip: Ask students to reset their eFundi notifications to allow for messages to be sent automatically from eFundi to their inbox regularly.
Ensure that students know what to do with the resources you provide. If you are using the Lessons tool, clear instructions along with linked resources will provide a guided learning experience for your students. For new or novice users of eFundi, regular and structured announcements with instructions and links to relevant resources will also be sufficient.
Accessibility is key!
Some students will access material via mobile devices, sometimes with low cellular reception and limited data. Even if access to eFundi may be free for some students (T&Cs apply), it is advisable to reduce the file size of resources as much as possible. The format of the material should also be accessible via mobile devices. This implies converting file formats for example, MS Word documents or PowerPoint presentations to PDF. Visit the File format information section in the Accessibility Guidelines for more information.
Respect copyright of all resources. Copyrighted articles, books and other resources may not be distributed from eFundi without DALRO clearance: www.nwudalro.co.za. Read more about the DALRO proposal during this period of remote teaching and learning. Contact your Librarian via email for more information. Some students rely on textbooks being available in the reserved section of the Library. Please observe copyright when making sections of a book available to students via eFundi resources.
Remote teaching from the NWU’s Learning Management System, eFundi
Your eFundi site will be the first go-to for students to gain access to their lecturer, their learning material and fellow students. With students having zero-rated access to eFundi, your eFundi site will become the central point of connection.
As you prepare to teach remotely and orientate your students, you may be overwhelmed with new ideas or simply do not know where to start. It is important to have a structured plan of what you want to accomplish with your students during this challenging time. Consider new ideas but keep it simple! Only activate the eFundi tools that you are going to use on the module site actively.
Think, student context!
Consider the physical and psychological space in which your students may find themselves. Ensuring student access is central to all your planning. Within the COVID-19 context, students will be accessing their module site oneFundi from mobile phones and personal computers with free access to eFundi but at various levels of signal strength. Follow the Guiding principles for enhancing accessibility.
Remember to adhere to your faculty directives, and guidance provided by the programme leader, while considering guidelines, templates, and recommendations available to you from CTL.
Request form: Graphic design and eFundi Lessons development
At CTL we understand that lecturers do not always have the time to create an eFundi site for the current remote teaching and learning mode of delivery. We have designed frameworks to support you in making these decisions and these can be altered for your specific lecturing style, content, assessment plan, and class size.
Do you need support with:
- Setting up a module site on eFundi
- Rebuilding an old module site
- Changing your module site to support students during Covid 19
- Instructional design (eFundi development)
- Graphic Services
Complete the following Request form
eFundi Lessons tutorials quick links:
Navigation and structure setup
- Getting started with Lessons
- Collapsible sections versus subpage buttons
- How to import Lessons from another site
- Resources file management
- Insert image in Overview
- Retrieve deleted Lessons pages
Adding interesting content
- Working with text
- Embed versus linked content (images,PDFs etc)
- Embed self-recorded video
- Embed section of a YouTube video
Choose the suitable medium for content
This table provides an outline for when to use text, audio, images and video or any combination thereof.
Choosing the right tool
Use this table to decide which tools will address the needs of your students best.
Choose suitable assessment tools
Assessments pose particular challenges. Consider the type of assessment you want to use first, and then make a choice of tool. Please note that these tools are for formative assessment on eFundi.
Using media in eFundi
This resource assists you in choosing and developing the appropriate media to support learning through your eFundi course site. Making use of media when teaching remotely can increase student engagement in your online learning environment. Integration of media components may increase students’ perception of important information and motivation for learning. Click here for the TEACHING REMOTELY WITH MEDIA: A guide and tutorial. This guide contains detail regarding available media tools at NWU and detail about how to best use these tools for remote teaching.
The North-West University has committed itself to the promotion, use and creation of Open Educational Resources through the OER Declaration which was approved by the NWU’s Senate in March 2018. Consequently, NWU staff are allowed to not only use OER themselves but also create OER for broader use. This OER Quick Guide gives practical tips on how to search, use and remix Open Education Resources.
Videos use a lot of data and require special mentioning when it comes to accessibility. Videos are usually hosted outside the NWU platforms and would thus still require data to view. Due to copyright laws it is prohibited to download videos that are hosted externally and upload them to Resources on eFundi. Therefore, plan the use of videos carefully when you consider choosing, for instance, YouTube videos as required module content because they may limit accessibility.
Keep self-recorded and educational videos short and to the point. Reduce the file size as much as possible without compromising the quality of the recording. Video files should be less than 60mb to to increase download speed for students. A warning should be given when a file is larger than 20mb (mobile users. Break down long videos into smaller files if possible. Record videos at a low screen resolution: 360p (640x360) to a maximum of 720p (1280x720). Save videos in MP4 format. Videos should be, as far as possible, accompanied with a transcript of the audio track (in PDF), and if possible, the audio track (MP3/M4A) to make them more accessible. View this tutorial about transcribing with free Otter software.
Concept capture equipment
Embed self-recorded video and audio on Lessons in eFundi
View this PDF tutorial or Video tutorial on how to embed self-recorded videos and audio files in Lessons and prevent video content from downloading automatically. Quick tip: Do not embed the video/audio. Rather upload the material in Resources first and then insert a textbox in Lessons. Copy and paste the code below in the Source of the Text editor and replace the placeholder text with your video's URL. To get the URL of your video or audio file, go to Resources and rightCopy the video/audio URL in Resources by right-clicking on the video/audio.
<p style="text-align:left"> <video controls="" width="80%"><source
src="Insert file URL here" type="video/mp4" /></video> </p>
Screen recording tools:
Record screencast video of other software, audio-only, narrated PowerPoint presentations
Cannot export one recording in audio-only and video
Resizable screen capture window
Screen annotations (draw)
PowerPoint 2016 not only allows you to record your presentation but also any area of your computer screen. These recordings can be saved as separate video files (MP4). Look at this tutorial about creating a narrated PowerPoint. Look at the step-by-step tutorial and this video to see how to do a screen recording and an audio recording in PowerPoint 2016.
Record webcam, screencast video, audio-only
Export one recording in audio-only (M4A file) and video (MP4)
No resizable screen capture window
No screen annotations
Zoom can be used to meet with your colleagues online, with or without video. All participants can share their screens and the session can be recorded. You can also use Zoom to record your classes in video and audio-only format. View this tutorial to see how to record a narrated PowerPoint using Zoom. View this tutorial series for the whole process from opening a Zoom account, recording and uploading to eFundi Resources. You also have access to mutiple tutorials created by Zoom. Download Zoom here.
Caution: Depending on the student profile and student access to the internet it is NOT RECOMMENDED to use Zoom for live interaction with students. Zoom is data intensive. Students may not have unlimited access to data. Their WiFi may not be stable.
Record screencast video
Not compatible with standard webcams but Aver video equipment avaiable on loan basis (more info here), no audio-only
Cannot export one recording in audio-only and video
Resizable screen capture window
Screen annotations (type, draw)
Tool for creating transcripts:
Video editing and compression tool: Windows & IOS
OpenShot is free video editing software that is easy to use, quick to learn, and surprisingly powerful. Use it to combine and edit self-recorded videos, adjust existing open educational videos, and compress videos (reduce the file size). View these tutorials on how to install on PC and MAC. View these tutorial on how to edit on PC and MAC. Download OpenShot here. For more tutorials click here.
Video compression tool: Windows
HandBrake is free software with which you can compress videos (decrease the file size). It is very easy to use. One can for instance decrease a 500mb video file to only 60mb. We have created a tutorial on how to use HandbBrake to decrease the file size of a video. Click here to watch a tutorial on how to use HandBrake, created by one of NWU's lecturers. Get HandBrake here.
Video compression tool: Windows
Smartphone video compression tool:
Smartphone scanner tool:
DIY Document camera:
Click here to view the tutorial on how to make a document camera with your cellphone and a paper cup.
Tutorials for recording from home:
The unique language policy of the NWU
In line with our multilingual policy, we strive to promote the academic status of the predominant African languages of the regions in which our campuses are situated, namely Setswana and Sesotho. We do this in addition to maintaining English and Afrikaans as the current languages of instruction. Our functionally multilingual language policy is therefore an additive model, where we add languages of instruction to those that have traditionally been used on our campuses. Our ultimate purpose is to achieve both improved access to NWU and improved teaching-learning.
Language facilitation through multilingual pedagogies takes place by a variety of means, including multilingual learning material and multilingual class discussions with peer facilitation, educational interpreting and translation, multilingual videos and captured lectures, and in various other technology-enabled ways.
The NWU's eventual purpose
Ultimately our staff will be able to function more multilingually, while our students will be enabled to master, internalise and reproduce teaching-learning content better – and be able to do so in a number of languages. Thus they will be better prepared to function in the multilingual world of work.
Language services available at the NWU:
CTrans provides editing and translation services of NWU assessments (tests, examinations, eFundi tests and assignments) for academics at no charge. We also do editing of academic articles, dissertations and theses at competitive rates (which can be paid from research funds).
The Language Directorate of the NWU is a support services division that renders a variety of language services to the University. These services are budgeted for centrally, but faculties themselves also budget for certain language services, particularly for editing and translation of assessments, for which they have preferred, established language practitioners.
Since the termination of contact classes with the Covid 19-related lockdown, the Interpreting Services in the Language Directorate have been providing an extensive range of language services. Apart from offering interpreting services, the Language Directorate can assist with the translation of your written and audio-visual learning material like voice-over slides and video recordings for online teaching. However, where faculties have established sources of language services, they must continue to use these. Study guide editing and translation are still done via the normal route (study guide production process, CTL).
Guidelines and best practices
Zoom can also be used for efficient screen recordings. This can significantly reduce the eventual size of the video file that has to be uploaded.
- When submitting texts with recordings to be dubbed, please also send it to us in the original file format (like PowerPoint) and not as an already exported video. If, for example, you would like to share the final product as an MP4 video, we can then export the translated voice-over PowerPoint as such.
- If you made use of slide notes when you made the recording, please also share these with the language practitioner. This will save us first transcribing the slide notes before translating them to be dubbed.
- To ensure that students don’t lose focus it is advisable to not make videos too long (e.g. longer than 30 minutes). Rather divide a long video into shorter sections. This also makes the dubbing process much easier.
- Conversely, if there are too many videos that are very short (e.g. less than 30 seconds) these can be combined to make for a more coherent, altogether better user experience.
- As far as possible, stick with non-proprietary file formats that can be used in multiple operating systems (like MP4 files). This will ensure that the maximum number of students can have access to your material.
- Depending on the amount and nature of the work we need to translate or dub, please allow adequate time for us to deliver the translated material. Please negotiate a deadline with whoever is doing the translation and/or voice-over for you. There is normally a queue of waiting jobs.
For the translation of eFundi Lessons, eFundi Tests and Quizzes, Tests, Assignments and Examinations you can contact CTrans:
Wendy Barrow (CTrans Coordinator)
+27 16 910 3485
Building 7 Room 202
For the translation of printed study guides and Module Overview Documents, please follow the correct procedure by working via your respective study guide coordinator. More information can be found on CTL’s web page for Study Guide Coordination.
For the translation of slides, slide voice-overs, the dubbing of screen recordings, as well as for arranging interpreting for live classes you can contact the respective satellite managers of the Language Directorate (Interpreting Services):
- Language Services: Faculty of Theology
- Language Services: Faculty of Engineering
Hänschen Van As
- Language Services: Faculty of Education
Lynn Cilliers 018 285 2676
Monica Van Zyl 018 285 2676
- Language Services: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences,
Faculty of Humanities
Basil Rabie 018 299 2756
- Language Services: Faculty of Health Sciences
(BCur BPharm BHSc Physiology)
Marilize Van Deventer 018 299 2397
- Language Services: Faculty of Law
This office also does the translation for the following:
Forensic Accountancy, Social Work, Dietetics, Consumer Sciences and Psychology.
- Language Services: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Johan Steyn 018 285 2686
This office also does the translation for Sport and Recreation Science.
As per communication from the Registrar, conditionally registered students are not eligible to access module content in eFundi. However, as many students are currently finding it difficult to finalise their registration, the Registrar announced a grace period for senior students to finalise their registration. This grace period has now been extended to 19 March 2021 and also now include first year students. During the grace period conditionally registered students will have access to module information in eFundi. Unless the grace period is extended again, this implies that after 19 March all conditionally registered students will not have access to module information in eFundi.
What does this mean for staff: If students report that they cannot see their module sites in eFundi, please add them, manually, to your site as a Temporary student and advise them to finalise their registration as soon as possible. They can make financial arrangements at the Finance department. Contact detail for Finances is available on the Keep on Teaching and Learning webpage.
Alternatively, please refer them to log a request with the T&L Technologies Help desk who will be able to add students, as a Temporary Student, to a site. Due to high volumes of requests this may take a day or two to finalise. Students must provide their student numbers and module code to enable the helpdesk to assist in adding them as temporary students.
Requests for assistance can be made via the IT-Help system or call 018 285 5930.
To make arrangements with Finances students can email, phone or visit the Finance offices on campus.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com (don't send a message to both)
Phone (018) 299 2662 / 2663 / 2664 / 2665 / 2666 / 2667 / 2668.
Visit Admin: Joon van Rooy (F1) building - ground floor
Phone: (016) 910 3234/316/3167
Visit Admin: Building 24
Phone: (018) 389 2503/ 2330/ 2372/ 2516.
Visit Admin: Building A1
Orientating your students
By now your students have adjusted to remote teaching and learning but they still require your guidance on how to complete the module through this alternative mode of delivery. Students still require guidance in terms of what remote teaching and learning means within your module. Consider the following topics to address during orientation.
What will your students expect from you, as their lecturer?
Moving your lessons online means that you will need to assist your students to focus on important learning activities and resources. Students may easily feel overwhelmed, so provide clear instructions on the type of activities they will engage in, where to find resources, and how to complete assignments. There is no need to provide students with unnecessary material and activities during this time. Keep it simple, keep students focussed on achieving the learning outcomes.
Provide a clear schedule for the module, that will assist students to pace themselves through the learning activities. Stress that this schedule is flexible and that you will communicate changes as needed. Outline the communication strategy and explain to students how they should and will be able to contact you (for example, via email, online but during office hours, through the eFundi Messages tool, etc.) and when you will be able to respond to questions. Remind students to check eFundi on predetermined dates to keep up with announcements for the module. Assist your students to focus on their time management and communication with you.
What will you expect of your student?
Explain to students how often they should log in to the eFundi module site, where to start, what activities to complete and provide an estimated time of how long assessments will take them to achieve the outcomes. Agree on guidelines for communicating with peers. Explain where students can find assessment information, how to submit assessments, and when they can expect assessment grades and feedback.
Provide easy access to academic and eFundi support resources
Refer students to the Keep on Teaching and Learning webpage for students, for up-to-date information as well as for tips and advice on how they can manage their remote learning. Refer students to the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) webpage (click on the Student Support icon) for the contact details of student academic advisers, SI leaders, tutors, and academic peer mentors as well as for online student academic development support available.
Depending on how eFundi was integrated into your planning before remote teaching, students may have or lack specific skills, in using the eFundi tools. Orientate your students on how you will be making use of the eFundi tools that you will be using in the module site. Utilise the existing eFundi instructions and tutorials for students.
Supporting your students during remote teaching may be challenging. Consider questions from a student perspective on remote learning to see what students have to say. Ask for advice on how to answer questions. Share with colleagues.
1. General communication guidelines
It is important to communicate with students in times of uncertainty. In your engagement with students, keep the tone friendly and polite, and reassure students of your guidance and that their academic needs are important to you as their lecturer. Your communication approach with students should meet the principles of being eFundi-based, low tech, low data, low bandwidth and low urgency.
1.1 Communication strategy
Remote teaching amplifies the need to communicate with students in regular and planned intervals. Your communication approach with students should meet the principles of being eFundi-based, low tech, low data, low bandwidth and low urgency. Plan for two-way communication between you and students and between students via the module site on eFundi. Outline your communication strategy to the students. Explain when and how they should expect communication from you and how they will be able to contact you or fellow students via eFundi. Keep communication short and to the point but detailed enough so that you are not flooded with questions. Keep the tone friendly and polite, and reassure students of your academic guidance.
1.2 eFundi Communication tools
The Announcement tool is the standard one-way communication to students from eFundi. When adding attachments to Announcements or using hyperlinks to eFundi resources in the text itself, this seamless way of communicating becomes a powerful tool to guide student learning. eFundi Messages, is similar to an eFundi-based e-mail system and provides an option for private two-way communication between lecturers and students. It is also an important tool that may be used to follow up with individual students and the tool also allows for communication between students. Different dedicated eFundi Chatrooms can be created to allow for spaces for student-to-student support and synchronous (i.e. same time) chats during ‘virtual office hours’ . The unstructured format of chatrooms is similar to WhatsApp messages. For structured discussions, focussed on specific topics, consider the Forum tool where students can reply directly to a specific topic and post. The Forum tool is also suitable for academic discussions and reflections that should be visible to all.
The eFundi communication tools, with the exception of the Chatroom, are group sensitive and as such, make it possible to communicate with a specific group of students on your module site.
1.3 Student-to-student communication
Students rely on one another during face-to-face sessions for emotional, social, and academic support. To maintain a sense of community, create spaces for student-to-student interaction and support for academic purposes. Dedicated discussion forums (with a clear purpose description) or chatrooms provide different options for public communication within your site. Incorporate this in your communication plan and tell students how Chatrooms will be used within your module. Text messages allow for low data (bandwidth) asynchronous and synchronous options.
The gradual creation of a sense of community and belonging starts with communication. Such a sense of community is important if formal group work forms part of the student learning experience. Read more on group activities or consult with an instructional designer or with an academic developer at CTL to help plan these activities.
1.4 Social media & virtual meetings
The use of social media as part of your communication strategy is an option if you have used this before and students have access to the specific platform. Consult with students first by using appropriate eFundi tools (e.g. Polls or Chatrooms) to determine the option that you intend to use is accessible to all students. You may already be using joinable WhatsApp groups and Google chat; please consider the accessibility guidelines for teaching NWU students online. Please also read our guidelines for using WhatsApp for remote teaching.
While virtual platforms like Zoom and Google Meet allow users to meet online, with or without video, these synchronous online communication tools must be used with caution, not to exclude students. NOTE: Zoom is data intensive and most students have limited access to data. Also their WiFi may not be stable.
CAUTION: Depending on the student profile and student access to the Internet it is NOT recommended to use Zoom for live interaction with students. Where such virtual platforms are used for academic sessions, these should be recorded and the recordings or summary of what transpired made available to all students in the group. Contact IT in advance in order to know more about the platforms that are officially supported by NWU IT.
1.5 Organised student/peer-led communication (SI’s, tutors & mentors)
Communities of practice could be facilitated through smaller social media communication groups (with CTL support and using the SI and peer mentors). Small communication or learning groups are also formed informally by students but lecturers can encourage the formation of these groups and integrate this into their module.
The NWU acknowledges that the need for contact remains critical in both the F2F as well as online contexts. F2F contact needs to be facilitated such that students do have some contact experience even if with each other through their communities of practice. Academics should coordinate with peer mentors and SI's to ensure that the contact experience is small group and COVID-cautious. The guidelines for small groups’ discussion between lecturers and students apply for interaction between SI leaders or tutors and students.
Where peer mentors mostly work on a one-on-one basis with the students, the SI’s and tutors have larger numbers of students per module. SI leaders and tutors can ask students who want to meet in a face-to-face setting to see if there is a need.
Venues on the respective campuses available should be used for this purpose. The following examples apply:
- Unused T&L venues.
- Spaces in the library
- Informal indoor and outdoor spaces
- A row of PCs in the reading labs on of the respective campuses can be made available for students, especially first year students if they need any assistance with First year orientation related questions or if they need help with eFundi.
Faculties know which COVID complaint venues they may utilise and will therefore be in the position to indicate to students which venues are available and accessible for purposes of group work, or self-study. This will alleviate the pressure on existing study spaces, such as those made available in the Libraries. Such usage should be pursued with due adherence to COVID protocols and Faculties should engage with Facilities to clean and sanitise when such venues will be used. The newly developed IWMS system is intended to be in place by July 2021 which will centralise space management electronically.
Tutoring, SI and Academic Peer Mentoring currently takes place in an online format via WhatsApp, eFundi, and sometimes via Zoom hence these communications or learning groups are formed within the NWU peer support programmes.
1. 6 At a more practical level:
- Manage lecturer-initiated communication load:
- Communicate early and often. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety and save lecturers from dealing with individual questions. Avoid communicating too much. Remember students are enrolled for other modules as well.
- Some questions from individual students may very well be pertinent to all students. Consider posting FAQs and answers and ask students to check these before asking individual questions.
- Offer students an opportunity to exchange phone numbers and, for those who are interested, to create a WhatsApp chat group (encourage students to form these communications or learning groups)
- Ensure that learning materials and resources are clearly labelled, easy to find, and easy to navigate• Prepare for flexible timing for student assessment, discontinue traditional long two-hour lectures, and opt mostly for asynchronous activities.
- Check in with students: It can be easy, once teaching materials and assessments are uploaded, to have a “set it and forget it” mind set. Ask students how they are doing and remind them of upcoming tasks. Reach out to students on a regular basis; check if they are confused about any assignments and set up virtual office hours where they can ask any questions they have. Make sure they can access all the assignments and be sensitive to any personal struggles they may be dealing with. Ask them for feedback about how teaching and learning in the module is working for them. Since the goal is to foster learning in students, work with them to ascertain which approaches are viable.
- Identify struggling students and those who do not participate early on and reach out to support them.
- Remember to put students into contact with psychosocial support if needed.
- Make expectations clear: outline what is required by making all modules requirements explicit, for instance, which levels of participation will be acceptable.
- Communicate consultation hours: i.e., those times during Office hours when you are available to talk to students, or to respond to queries via communication media. Also communicate when it is likely that you will not be able to respond to queries immediately (for example, after hours, or unless otherwise advised).
2. Communication guidelines applicable to online facilitation of learning
Effective communication practice should form part of your approach to teaching and learning and should be an inherent part of the design of modules. Various theories and models exist to guide lecturers in creating the necessary scaffolding to support students to learn and participate in online teaching and learning. Salmon (2004) has identified five stages of online interaction or facilitation. Each stage requires distinct types of support from facilitators/lecturers.
- Stage 1: Access and motivation
Provide students with the necessary information and technical support to get started online. Students might need individual technical help (helpline) as well as encouragement to overcome any technical difficulties and uncertainties. Clarify roles and expectations in terms of tasks, assessments, time needed and communication channels.
- Stage 2: Online socialisation
Lecturers has a vital role to play in helping students develop a sense of community and feel at ease with the online culture. Promote mutual respect and defuse any potential conflicts between individuals and groups. It is important to create an atmosphere where students feel respected and free to express their views. As some students might be reluctant to initially participate in in written discussion forums, and they should be encouraged to read and enjoy others’ contributions for a short while before compelling them to post their own messages. This can be done by presenting them with an informal icebreaker or brainstorming activity.
- Stage 3: Information exchange
As information starts to flow and students need immediate access and fast information exchange, it is important that the lecturers help students though suitable time management and well-structured content and activities. Students interact with the course content and interaction with people. It is essential for students to know where to find the various resources they need and to understand clearly how the interactions with peers and tutors can help them achieve their learning outcomes.
Lecturers need to provide guidance and assistance where needed and encourage open communication between students themselves as well as with them.
- Stage 4: Knowledge construction
Lecturers have a vital role to play in building and sustaining groups. As interactions unfold and expand, many (but not all) participants/students engage in some active exploration, and in the process widen their own viewpoints and appreciate differing perspectives. By now, students should be interacting and starting to collaborate in their knowledge construction. Problem-based and practice-based tasks are appropriate at this stage.
During Stage 4 students start to become online authors. Knowledge construction occurs when students explore issues, give meaning, discuss their understanding, and reflect on and re-evaluate their perceptions.
The lecturer now needs to pull together the students’ contributions through discussion and collaboration, summarising from time to time, and relating them to concepts and theories from the module. Make sure that diverse views are given consideration and help keep the discussion on track.
- Stage 5: Development
Students begin to explore their own thinking and knowledge building processes. It is common at this stage for students to reflect on and discuss how they are networking and to evaluate the technology and its impact on their learning processes. Students become responsible for their own learning and need less support beyond that already available. Experienced students often become helpful in assisting peers and may feel confident to challenge lecturers and provide them with feedback to help improve the learning process.
CTL/CPD – Online Facilitation courses
3. Guidelines for F2F contact
All large-scaled asynchronous and all large-scale synchronous teaching activities will still be delivered remotely. In the case of For F2F contact with students who are on campuses, the following applies:
- Minimum OHS and COVID 19 requirements will apply (mask wearing, distancing, sanitising).
- Supply academics with a list of COVID compliant lecture rooms for small group discussions.
- Technical services must be involved to clean venues.
- Faculties should manage the booking of their COVID compliant lecture room for a one-hour block, in-between already time-tabled classes. This would also be dealt with the IWMS system once in place.
- Adhere to government guidelines for sizes of indoor / outdoor gatherings.
- Fit touch-free sanitising stations at entrances of COVID compliant lecture rooms; utilise floor stickers to signal accepted physical distancing.
- Keep lecture room doors open to minimise contact with door handles.
- Communicate opportunities for F2F interaction timeously to students – perhaps get them to “sign up” or book F2F opportunities.
- Manage students entering and leaving to ensure distancing. In classrooms with fixed seating, lecturers should encourage students to fill the available seating in a way that prevents students from having to pass by other students in each row. Students may be asked to fill rows from the front and centre as they arrive to prevent students from passing each other in rows. Alternate rows ought to be left open entirely. The students should be asked to leave by row to prevent congestion in the rows as they leave the lecture hall.
- Adhere to start and finish times of discussions to allow for clearing, orderly exit, and cleaning.
- Avoid often touched surfaces, handouts, and shared materials – handouts can be put in a plastic sleeve and kept for a minimum of 72 hours before using. Handouts can be placed in such a manner that students can pick up their own copy only.
- Lecturers should avoid “moving” around in small group discussion situations – maintain a distance of at least 1.5m from the students.
- Adhere to NWU guidelines for occupancy in computer and other laboratories.
- Avoid workstations in labs or technical workshops where students must face each other.
- Adhere an artefact must be shown to students in a lab, use a document camera, rather than passing it around.
- Generally, ask students who feel unwell, or display symptoms, to avoid F2F sessions.
Although this will come at a substantial cost, provision should be made for bichronous delivery of F2F events (F2F contact, online streaming and lecture captures for offline use by students), all of which will require the procurement of specialised software and supplementing hardware and digital control rooms to make this possible. This will afford students who cannot access F2F sessions to do so remotely. Investigations are underway to assess the potential of current systems used by the NWU (MS Teams), as well as the integration of other third-party solutions.
4. Communication between academics and support staff
Communication access between academics, and academics and support staff benefit similarly from transparency and consensus about what is reasonable and relevant to the programme, modules, and its facilitation of learning and assessment.
Recognising that the need for contact is still critical to create inclusive experiences for staff as part of reintegration to campuses, opportunities should be structured and created for groups of staff to come together on campus for social integration and discussion purposes recognising that only limited numbers are possible.
- Directors can arrange for this to take place, for example: arranging to have coffee one day per week in a venue where social distancing can be adhered to (campus context must be taken into consideration).
- Support staff should work on a rotational basis (e.g., one person available for student support, staff support and admin support) to ensure that there is a presence at the CTL offices to assist walk-in staff or students.
We trust that these guidelines would assist you to “align across campuses of staff experience in relation to accessibility to students, and each other, in the context of an on line and limited F2F working environment towards staying in touch, staying aware, and being inclusive” (Balfour, Memo 3, 2021:2).
The remote-teaching period offers faculty the opportunity to think about assessment in a different way. Assessing students remotely is a challenge, the purpose of the guidelines is to share best practices and tools to help. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with Faculty Assessment Plans (FAP).
Read the latest information on assessment at the NWU
Important Information regarding Assessment will be updated on an ongoing basis, as colleagues from CTL work to answer emerging questions and offer advice and recommendations. Please pay attention to faculty-specific communications you may be receiving, in case there are special circumstances or guidelines that are contextual to your faculty and/or module. If you notice any discrepancies from what you read here, contact your Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning for clarification.
Policies, Rules & Guidelines
Despite the challenges we are faced with during these uncertain times, we should aim to maintain the principles and guidelines of assessment as set out in the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy, to be read with the Rules for Teaching, Learning and Assessment.
Equally important are the General Academic Rules (A-Rules) as well as the Faculty-specific Rules, and the respective Faculty Assessment Plans (FAPs).
The main approach to assessment used in the remote teaching and learning phase, will still continue to be continuous assessment. However, there are some modules that will make use of invigilated assessments as part of regulations from statutory bodies, and these will take place according to the approved and scheduled assessment timetable and in COVID-compliant venues.
The NWU TL glossary define continuous assessment as follows: A structured process by which the quality of a student’s work is judged by various pieces of evidence as submitted during a semester or year in a specific module, and not only by one final exam.
Le Grange and Reddy (1998:11) defines continuous assessment as the assessment of the whole learner on an ongoing basis over a period of time, where cumulative judgements of the learners’ abilities in specific areas are made in order to facilitate further positive learning’.
For more information regarding Continuous assessment - during Covid-19 and the Development of Continuous Assessment Opportunities please access the webinar presentation and recording available on the joinable CTL Staff Development site, on eFundi. (You need to log in toeFundi to access these resources).
In order to develop a strategy for the assessments in your module, you first need to consider exactly why it is you are assessing students and examine what it is you are assessing. Only then are you in a position to think about when that assessment should take place and ultimately to consider the most appropriate method or methods of assessment to use – the how.
Consider using this template as you plan your assessments to ensure valid and reliable assessment Planning Template.
Based on the updated FAP and your module assessment plan you should vary your assessment methods and provide multiple means of assessments. Here are some examples of alternative assessment methods in eFundi that may be considered.
The most commonly used eFundi assessment tools are Assignments and Tests & Quizzes. Visit the new Test & Quizzes Tutorial site for up to date information on how to administer online tests. Other resources include the Designing effective Multiple Choice Questions, eFundi Assignments and eFundi Tools for student collaboration webinar presentations and recordings available on the joinable CTL APD eFundi site.
Concerns about dishonesty are important considerations when developing assessments. The Policy on Academic Integrity provides guidance on the topic of academic integrity.
Turnitin is also useful in assisting you in identifying similarities found in a student work and other text in the Turnitin repository. Read more on the NWU Turnitin Tutorial page .
Academic integrity resources:
- NWU Community of practice: Academic Integrity website
- NWU Community of practice: Academic Integrity Facebook page
- Academic Intergrity 3rd Forum Discussion
- Eish! August edition: Academic Integrity article
During remote teaching and learning, various feedback strategies may be combined to support learning and encourage student engagement. Shared with you are feedback guidelines presented during the Digitising Feedback webinar recordings available on the joinable CTL Staff Development eFundi site.
The new PDF marker tool enable lecturers to mark assignments, submitted in PDF format, electronically (on screen). For more information access the PDF marker tool tutorial.
Quality will be monitored by a dedicated internal and external Faculty board approved Moderation process. The moderation process aims to ensure that assessment practises are fair, valid and reliable, and that assessment criteria have been applied consistently. Download the Moderator’s report Continuous Assessment document here.
COVID-19 Online Resources
A selection of COVID-19 Online Resources is available on the joinable CTL Staff Development site on eFundi. If you are already a participant on the CTL Staff Development eFundi site, log into eFundi and then click here to access the COVID-19 Online Resources. If you still need to join the CTL APD site, see this tutorial on how to join a joinable site.
Academic professional development opportunities
CTL offers academic professional development opportunities in the form of webinars during the COVID-19 period. Visit the CTL Continuous Professional Development opportunities webpage to see the webinars and training opportunities on offer. Register to attend CTL Webinars on Libcal. If you have missed a webinar, visit the CTL APD eFundi site to access all webinar and training opportunity recordings. The video below provides an overview of the resources avaiable on the CTL APD eFundi site.