Remote lecturing options

This document will help inform you about the choices you might need to make when preparing for remote teaching, in the context of providing an alternative to face-to-face lectures or presentations.

Scenario

As a tutor, I need a way to deliver a lecture or series of lectures to students, and to provide access to my slides and any other relevant materials; I might also need the ability to use a whiteboard or to share my screen with students, and for students to discuss and share work.

I might need to provide synchronous (real-time) lectures which could involve student participation; I might also need to provide access to existing pre-recorded lectures or to record smaller ‘chunks’ of information, for example, an introduction or a summary.

Note: This guide attempts to accommodate common scenarios across the University. If you need guidance or advice for a bespoke situation, please email the Teaching Remotely Service Desk, giving details of your requirements.


Before creating any new material, you might want to consider whether there are any existing resources that you could use, such as:

  • Recordings from a previous year
  • Lecture materials, including slideshows, handouts or reading lists
  • Open educational content, if suitable (for example the University's Podcasts series).
  • You can find further examples and ideas for remote lecturing in the Teaching and Learning Remotely Canvas resource.

Options for creating and delivering lectures remotely

Below is a list of options available to record videos or audio files, and make them available to your students.

In order to make recordings with Panopto, you must first install the ‘manual recorder’ software on your home or work computer. The recommended route is to do so from within either Canvas or WebLearn, which is normally the route for all users to access recordings in Panopto. The IT Services Replay Team provides full instructions and a short video demonstrating how to download and install the recording software. You will then be able to make recordings into the Panopto folder within the relevant Canvas course, or Weblearn site. If Panopto is not enabled, please see our guidance on enabling Panopto in Canvas, or enabling Panopto in Weblearn (section 3a). Alternatively please contact the Teaching Remotely Service Desk.

Panopto is fully supported by the University; we have a site-wide licence to make new recordings, upload existing recordings and view recordings. Recordings are stored securely in the University’s instance of Panopto. Accessing Panopto through the VLE makes use of your SSO login details, thus obviating the need to have an account and log in directly to Panopto.

What can I do with Panopto?

For asynchronous (any time) delivery

  • Record yourself narrating over a PowerPoint presentation (in a continuous lecture, or broken into chunks)
  • Record what appears on your main computer screen and voice-over in ‘screen-cast’ mode; you can record PowerPoint and the main screen at the same time, switch between them, or choose either option
    • Any open application running on your computer can be recorded in this way – for example if you have a whiteboard app, this can be captured when using the main screen mode
  • Include a feed from your webcam (this can be turned off in preference for audio-only)
  • Include an additional video feed if one is available (such as an external camera)
  • Upload media created in other tools into Panopto, and use Panopto to host and stream – this can be video (mp4 or other formats), or audio ‘podcast’ style recordings (mp3 format)

For synchronous (real-time) delivery

  • Create a ‘webcast’ in Panopto. This has to be done by opening Panopto in a new browser tab (go to your ‘My Recordings’ folder from Canvas or WebLearn, click the arrow icon top right to open in a new tab; choose the ‘Webcast’ option from the green ‘Create’ button)
  • Besides using Panopto to record lectures for later viewing, the webcast option enables students to watch in real time and participate using audio. They can also ask questions through a chat panel (although there is a small delay). Webcasts are also recorded and available to watch alongside any other recordings
  • We recognise that many staff will have concerns about the transition to creating remote content with Panopto. We recommend exploring the Lectures: Ideas page within the Teaching and Learning Remotely Canvas course, as this contains many tips on how to approach both the recording itself and how to re-think interaction within the context of remote delivery.

This is part of the Nexus 365 suite, available with SSO login (See information about tools for working remotely). Teams can be used for live (synchronous) lectures or meetings where all users can participate or share screens. If a lecturer or tutor chooses to deliver a live session using Teams, it must be recorded (one reason is so that students in different time zones are not disadvantaged in any way). Regarding this point, please refer to further guidance in this Canvas resource).

Teams meetings can now be set up from within Canvas, from various tools which use the rich text editor. These Canvas tools include:

  • Pages
  • Announcements
  • Course Calendar
  • Discussions
  • Quiz

Detailed instructions on setting up Teams meetings from within Canvas are given in our Using Canvas at Oxford guidance for staff. The Mathematical Institute has created an excellent resource which gives a list of tips when using Teams.

Teams meetings can also be set up directly from Outlook using the Teams plug-in on the Calendar toolbar; this will add the meeting into the Outlook Calendar within the full Teams software (which we recommend downloading and installing, rather than relying on the web app).

Users without SSO can also access Teams meetings – they are directed to a ‘lobby’ until an authorised person grants them admittance.

If you need to control who can present in a Teams meeting, share their screen, or allow external participants to ‘by-pass’ the lobby, then you should create the meeting from the Calendar tool within the Teams software.

Meetings can hold up to 250 users at any one time. For meetings with many participants it is important to specify the meeting presenter in advance, encourage participants to switch off video feeds and only unmute their microphones when speaking.

The preferred, supported solution is to use Panopto to record all teaching sessions, including those presented through Teams. Note that if you wish to record audio from other people on the call (as well as from your microphone) then you need to tick 'record computer audio' in Panopto.

If a meeting must be recorded, it is important that this is declared to participants at the outset.

For synchronous (real-time) delivery

  • This requires users to have speakers, and a microphone if audio participation is required – those built into a laptop computer are usually adequate
  • The host can present and share their desktop or specific applications
  • Participants can share their screen, if that permission has been enabled
  • A chat panel can be used to share notes, links to websites, raise questions, or make comments
  • The Microsoft Whiteboard can be used within a Teams meeting (this is different to a video call within a Teams chat)
  • Within Teams there is an app called Forms. The meeting organiser can use Forms to create a quick poll for real-time interaction and feedback from participants.

For asynchronous (any time) delivery – recording the meeting

  • Open the Panopto manual recorder before the live session
  • Choose the ‘main screen’ option
  • Tick the box ‘capture computer audio’
  • Choose a location to save the recording – ‘My Recordings’ can be used initially, and the recording can be moved later in to a suitable Canvas or WebLearn course
  • Start the recording and minimize Panopto; keep the Teams meeting application in focus during the meeting
  • Return to Panopto after the meeting and close the recording. It will then be uploaded to the Panopto server in the chosen folder.

For advice or if you experience any difficulties in using Panopto to record a Teams session, please call the IT Service Desk on (08165) 612345. If that does not provide a solution, then you will need to formally request IT Services to turn on Teams recording for you (details of how to make this request are currently being finalised – if necessary call the IT Service Desk again to request this service).

There is a Conferences tool available from within Canvas, which runs a free version of the Big Blue Button webinar software. This is not recommended due to potential limited capacity issues and browser incompatibility (a warning is now in place within the Conferences tool). We advise using the Microsoft Teams integration in Canvas instead (see section above).

For synchronous (real-time) delivery

  • Host a live (synchronous) session with students, including presentation of slides
  • Provides screen sharing, text chat, shared notes, polling, breakout rooms
  • Requires users to have speakers/headphones, and a microphone if audio participation is needed

For asynchronous (any time) delivery 

  • Supports recording of a conference, but the recordings are available for only 14 days

PowerPoint

Create slides and record your voice directly within PowerPoint (see Microsoft guidance).
The saved presentation can be shared with students via Canvas or WebLearn.

Note: We recommend using Panopto instead (see details above). This provides a more fully-featured output video for students, showing thumbnails of all the slides, and enabling them to search text (on the slides) and within the audio commentary.

Other tools

You may have access to other software, and are familiar with. However, bear in mind that the University does not offer direct support for such tools. Examples include:

As mentioned in the Panopto section above, any recordings made using another application should be uploaded into Panopto (via Canvas or Weblearn) in order to control student access.

Teaching Remotely Service Desk


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