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Snow on campus.

Photo: Paderborn University, Johannes Pauly

Transforming lectures and seminars from in-class teaching to self-study-settings with feedback

The COVID-19 pandemic comes with various challenges for the traditional in-class teaching. Digital solutions are now in high demand. Here, we would like to give some advice how you can digitize your teaching.


1. Digitize your teaching material


Textbooks, scientific papers or „teaching scripts“ can convey the learning content well.
However, scientific papers as well as textbooks were not written for self-study-settings. Therefore, it makes sense to complement those texts for teaching purposes. The university library has a large number of textbooks and articles.

The depiction of learning objectives and learning content is an important step in the learning process and should take place in an early stage of the teaching. It is helpful to highlight important messages graphically and to visualize the content vividly. It is particularly important for students at the beginning of their studies to understand why the respective content is taught - for example with additional information about the practical relevance.

To guide the students in their readings, it is useful to give specific reading tasks, for example guiding questions that have to be answered. Likewise, the students can develop their own reading questions or mind maps about the texts. It is also possible to develop online tests with questions about the corresponding text. Those online tests can be created by the teacher him-/herself on PANDA or by assigning students (Textpatenschaften) to develop a set of questions on PANDA about the corresponding text.

Further helpful tool are online pinboards or forums (Etherpads, etc…), where questions of students can be collected and be answered by fellow students or teachers.
PANDA offers such a forum (see below) where all the entries are visible. A more anonymous tool in PANDA is the feedback tool. However, the teacher has to copy the questions from the feedback tool to the forum in order to make them accessable for the other participants. Questions can also be collected on the website No login is needed (neither for teachers nor for students). Questions can be collected over a period of up to 90 days. In order to answer questions on PANDA, we recommend the use of PANDA’s Etherpad feature because this tool allows an open exchange and can be edited by everyone. If you don’t use PANDA, you can still use free online Etherpads.


For teaching videos, the same rules apply as for texts. For an in-depth examination of the videos, it is useful to provide guiding tasks to the students.
The videos can be typical recorded lectures. Sometimes it is worth searching for open-source lecture videos with same subject as one’s seminar, in particular for introductory courses. A short overview is available here under existierende Lehrveranstaltungsaufzeichnungen anderer Hochschulen.
However, listening to recorded lectures for 90 min is often exhausting. Therefore, we recommend to subdivide the lecture into several videos.

If there are no recorded lectures available and own videos have to be created, the recorded units should be no longer than 20 minutes. The IMT offers single lecturers the possibility to record lectures in teaching rooms until April 20th 2020. If you are interested, contact the IMT (imt(at)upb(dot)de).

The Hochschule Niederrhein published the following handouts about this topic. We particularly recommend the handout about legal aspects of lecture recordings.

How can videos be produced with simple tools? 

Using cellphone cameras:
If you don’t want to show presentation slides (more information below), you can simply do a recording with your cellphone. This is particularly adequate for welcome sessions, before you start the audio-visual presentation.Auch Digitalkameras bieten die Möglichkeit, Videos zu erstellen, häufig liefern aktuelle Smartphones qualitativ hochwertigere Videos ab.

Using digital camera:
Digital cameras also present the opportunity to create videos. However, current smartphones usually allow better results in terms of quality.

Laptops, cell phones and cameras have integrated microphones. Nevertheless, the sound quality should be tested. For better sound quality, external microphones are preferable (if available). The sound quality should be tested before a long recording.

Tools for video production are available on our tool webseite.


Studio and recording possibilites at the IMT

The IMT offers a large number of recording possibilities. You can “pre-produce” short video modules of relevant courses in lecture halls. These videos can be integrated into courses via PANDA. Due to limited production capacities, prioritizing will apply. Lecturers can send their request to the IMT ticket system (imt(at)upb(dot)de).

(last update March 26th 2020)



Existing materials

Textbooks, scientific papers or „teaching scripts“ can convey the learning content well.
However, scientific papers as well as textbooks were not written for self-study. Therefore, it makes sense to complement those texts for teaching purposes. The university library has a large number of textbooks and articles.


Complete courses, e.g. at Coursera – for inspiration for one’s own teaching – if necessary for extending own courses,

Purchase additional licences via the university library

Available materials, take note of terms of use 

OER – OER search engine


2. Create feedback and interaction possibilities

PANDA tests for direct feedback

With the „tests“ feature on PANDA (Moodle 3.5), students get immediate feedback on their entries for all test questions except for free text tasks. This also allows students to get feedback on their knowledge level.

You can ask questions that relate to the learning material. The diverse options in the test administration also allow you to include texts or videos in your test questions.

Online tests can be created by the teacher on PANDA or by assigning students (Themenpatenschaften) to the task of developing a set of questions on PANDA about the corresponding course content.

Online handout about tests:

On Youtube you can find several tutorials about Moodle “tests”:

PANDA forums

Forums can be used for different didactic purposes.

Question forum about the learning content:
In this forum, students can ask their questions about the learning content and discuss them. It is often necessary to guide such forums because students rarely answer each other subject-specific questions directly.

Forum with content-oriented task instructions:
For this purpose, the Question-Answer forum is particularly appropriate. In this forum, students only see the entries from their fellow students, if they already wrote something themselves.
Example: “What key observations did you get from the learning materials?”
However, it is difficult to establish a long-lasting discussion in large groups as they regularly need subsequent questions.

Forum for small groups:
Forums can be used as an exchanging platform for working in small groups. For this purpose, you need to select the option “Getrennte Gruppen” (separated groups) in additional settings of the group mode. The groups can work on a group task or write self-reflections in the forum, which can later be commented by one or two peers. The forum type “Standardforum in blog-ähnlicher Anzeige” is particularly adequate for self-reflection with feedback. This forum is an easy way to give or get peer feedback. To work with groups, they have to be set up on PANDA beforehand:


Using journals and self-reflection tasks on PANDA

The activity “Journal” allows to get feedback on a specific topic. This is for example adequate for diaries. Teachers can access the journals and give feedback. It is important to consider that the students can work on the journals at any time. Therefore, journals are not suitable for graded activities.
For the activity “Aufgabe”, any task can be stored, for example tasks for self-reflection. For this type of task, the students usually expect a feedback from the teacher (by comment, annotation of documents or by using a grading scale).

Peer Feedback on PANDA

Besides the described approach to get peer-feedback with the forum tool, there is the comprehensive tool “Gegenseitige Beurteilung” (mutual evaluation). In a first step, submissions have to be uploaded, which will then be distributed to peers for examination and later for evaluation. Assessement sheets can be stored so that the peers have to answer simple questions and the system calculates the achieved points.

Handout introducing the tool "Gegenseitigen Beurteilung":

The tool „Gegenseitige Beurteilung“ is only recommended for advanced PANDA users.

interaktive Inhalte mit H5P (z.B. interaktive Lernvideos) nutzen

H5P ist eine freie und quelloffene Software zum Erstellen von interaktiven (Lern)-Inhalten für das Web. H5P muss für die an der UPB verwendete Moodle Version noch mit einem zusätzlichen Plugin eingebunden werden.
Dieses Plugin ist aktuell auf unserer zweiten Moodle Installation CoMo installiert. H5P Inhalte z.B. interaktive Videos können dort den Studierenden zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Kurse auf CoMo können ebenfalls über das IMT beantragt werden.
Für April 2021 ist ein PANDA Update auf Moodle 3.9 geplant, ab dann ist H5P direkt in Moodle integriert.

Fit für die Onlinelehre

Qualifizierungsspecial der Hochschuldidaktik. Der nächste Durchgang startet im Februar. Anmeldungen sind ab jetzt möglich.


In case of questions concerning the digitalization of your teaching or useful support tools, contact us by e-mail: corona-lehre(at)upb(dot)de.

Here you will find a chatlink as a communication channel to get help from colleagues: „Users help users“. 


Creating videos

The IMT offers single lecturers the possibility to record lectures in teaching rooms until April 20th 2020. If you are interested, contact the IMT (imt(at)upb(dot)de).



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