Preparing for Online Teaching Semester

1. Do I have a choice whether or not to conduct my teaching online?

Based on the new guidelines nearly all modules taught by FASS faculty will be online only in Sem 1. Talk to your HOD if you think your module can be taught in person. Even if you think you might be a rare exception who can teach in person, we suggest planning your modules to be online only. The unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic means the campus could be suddenly closed at any time during Sem 1. Better to plan now to be wholly online than to be stuck in Week 4 suddenly unable to return to your office.

2. What are some examples of how I might conduct online classes?

You could record your lectures (with or without video) using software like Panopto, Camtasia, etc. and students can watch these online via LumiNUS. You can also conduct classes and discussions via Zoom. You may want to consider building in more opportunities for students to demonstrate learning in terms of online quizzes, discussion forums or online collaborative assignments, using the chat function in Zoom, or submitting smaller assignments to ensure they are keeping up with the readings and content for the module.

3. All my teaching materials are in my office on campus, what should I do?

Beginning 2 June, we can return to our offices one day per week, based on the last digit of our Staff Number (see the Provost’s circular for clarification on your day). The Resumption of Campus Operations guidelines calls this a “Research Day,” although we have clarified with the Provost that we may also use this day for teaching activities. We suggest using one of your Research Days in June to collect any soft- or hard-copy teaching materials (books, artifacts) from your office so that you have everything you need well before the semester begins.

4. I do not have suitable software or technical equipment to produce online teaching resources, what should I do?

There are many different types of software for recording and sharing your lectures online and also software that can be used for discussion and to promote student learning (e.g. Panopto, Camtasia, Zoom, PollEverywhere etc.). These are available for NUS stuff to download via CIT. While all of our teaching needs differ, most people will need a built-in or external camera and microphone. Contact your Department for support. They may have equipment that you could borrow. With the right software and technical equipment, you should be able to do all your teaching from home. However, you could also use your weekly “Research Day” to record e-lectures from your office if your home environment is not conducive for recording lectures.

5. I do not know how to use online teaching software, what should I do?

We have compiled a list of resources which we find useful for online teaching, and will be updating the list regularly. Additionally, in the weeks to come, many NUS divisions (CAFÉ, CDTL, CIT, other) will offer workshops and sharing sessions to help us all prepare for an online Sem 1. These will cover topics like holding a seminar with Zoom, producing effective open-book online exams, and more. Please look out for such notices and consider attending. CAFÉ holds several such events on Wednesdays; our next session is 24th June, 2-3pm, on ‘Lower Tech’ online strategies. You can also access past session recordings and presentation materials from our blog at the bottom of our Events page.

6. Can I webcast my lectures in an empty lecture and use FASS IT to upload the webcast?

No, this is not an option.

7. Will my students be able to use the library once the teaching semester commences?

They will be able to order books and have them delivered to their Zone. However, they will likely not be able to physically visit the library. Please recommend resources that can be obtained electronically from the Library. This applies to all materials needed for assignments. Students will no longer have physical access to the library. You may want to contact the library at askalib@nus.edu.sg. Our librarians should be able to help you curate suitable freely accessible resources for the various disciplines in FASS.

8. If all classes are going online, does that mean I have to stick to the timetable for my lectures, tutorials and seminars?

Yes. Don’t plan any synchronous learning outside your assigned teaching slot. Students are expected to follow a timetable and we should too.

9. My home working environment is not ideal, especially with regard to IT facilities and capabilities. Is there flexibility to teach from our offices?

For Phase 1, staff who are supposed to work from home shall continue to do so. For subsequent phases, teaching staff who are are unable to teach online from home may seek permission from their Dean for to teach from their office.

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