# Sample methods for online teaching

The goal of this document is to give a complete description of how to run an online lecture/discussion/etc. Many alternatives exist and we want to publish models that people can choose from.

  1. "Pretty good" lecture model by Lee DeVille, 14 March 2020
  2. Online teaching for blackboard lovers in three easy steps by Philipp Heironymi, 15 March 2020
  3. Ideas about testing online
  4. MATH 415 process

# "Pretty good" lecture model, Lee DeVille, 14 March 2020

Ok, so at the start, let me say that I have never done anything like this before. No video lectures, no “flipped” class, nothing. I am as new to this as anyone and I’m not a huge fan of doing new things with the computer. If I can do this, I think almost anyone can. My main goal was to try a complete run-through before we had to do it for real, so I did this for my lecture on Friday Mar 13. The goal here was to come up with a process of delivering an online lecture with the minimal technology and with minimal technical know-how. This is not the best possible method, and I am sure that tweaks at different spots will work better for people. But if you follow the directions below, it works.

Caveat: this worked well for me in MATH 500 which has an enrollment in the low 20s. I expect this should work well for any 400- or 500-level class.

What you need: a computer/laptop with a camera and microphone, and a reasonable internet connection. And you could probably get away with no webcam...


There are three main steps, click "Details" in each section to expand:

A] Generate course notes;

For this, one can use a variety of methods, and I think most people already put course notes online anyway. Whatever you were doing in this regard can be used here.

In my case, what I did previously was hand-write course notes and scan them with the photocopiers, making a PDF.

Since I'm not going to the department regularly now, I needed another tool. One thing I found that worked well on my iPhone was the Evernote app, which works pretty well to take pictures of individual sheets and put them in the cloud to be worked on later.
In a pinch, one can take pictures of each page using a phone camera and then upload them.

Process to scan notes using phone:

  1. Open Evernote app on your phone
  2. Make a "new note" and title it "Lecture 23" or whatever. Press "+" and then "Take Photo"
  3. Point phone at first page, it will automatically size, take picture, save. Then repeat with each sheet
  4. All of the pages will be in the note. You can then go to your desktop and see the photos there, or download them to your phone.
  5. Mac specific: if you want to convert these images to a single PDF, open all of the photos in Preview. Press Option-Command-2, or View/Thumbnails for each one. Then drag the thumbnail from each file into a single file (typically the first page, so for example drag the second page to the first page, etc.). When you have all of the thumbnails in one place, then go to File/Print, (but don't print!), go to the bottom left of that screen where there is a dropdown menu labeled PDF, then click and dropdown to "Save as PDF..." and name it how you like:See here for picture

Of course, if you’re already LaTeXing course notes, this is best.

B] Record a lecture beforehand using Illinois Media Space Tools;

One can do this using tools from https://keepteaching.math.illinois.edu.

Step 1: Go to https://atlas.illinois.edu/teaching-online and see all the tools there. For now we will go to “How do I put my lectures online?”

Step 2: We are at https://atlas.illinois.edu/teaching-online/how-do-i-put-my-lectures-online, click the link for “Illinois Media Space”

Step 3: We are at https://mediaspace.illinois.edu/. Go to “Illinois Login” in the top right, login, 2FA, all of that.

Step 4: After logging in, go to “Add New” and then “Kultura Personal Capture”. It will prompt for a download and install, do this.

Step 5: One the software has been installed, load up your notes in a pdf viewer. Note: it is good to add a “blank page” to the end of your notes now.

Step 6: Go to the Kultura program, click on Screen -> Select Area -> 800x600 and then move the window to cover your notes. You should get about the top half of the page covered. Click camera and decide if you want to be recorded as well (the students probably prefer this in general). You definitely need Audio, but any microphone will do, including the built-in one for your computer/laptop

Step 7: Now you’re ready to record. Press the red button to start recording.

Step 8: I’d suggest here that you practice with a one-minute short presentation to get a feel for things.

Step 9: when the video is over, press the stop button. You are then given an option to change title, description, etc. Then click “Save and upload”. Note that this will take quite a while for long videos, so best to practice this with a short one the first time. NOTE: the upload will be private for the time being, so don’t worry if it is not perfect.

Step 10: Go back to the Illinois Media Space site, and under “My Media” you should see your video. If it is short, it will be working instantaneously — if longer it might need some local processing time. You should be able to watch it now … check whether the sound is good, etc.

Step 11: For now your video is private. To make it accessible to students, go to “My Channels” (which will likely be empty at this point). Go to “Create a New Channel”, suggested name “MATH XXX Spring 2020” or similar, Privacy level “Restricted”. (This last level will allow all Illinois students to watch the video without needing a password, but they can’t add to the channel now.)

Step 12: Open up the channel you’ve just created, click “Add to Channel”, and choose the video upload you want.

Step 13: You can then share a link to the channel with your students (it should look something like https://mediaspace.illinois.edu/channel/MATH%2B500%2B-%2BSpring%2B2020/155609681 — my channel so you can see what I have put up).

And you should be good to go.

C] Give a “lecture” in Zoom at the regular time.

(If you’ve already installed Zoom on your computer, skip to Step 3)

Step 1: Go to https://illinois.zoom.us/

Step 2: Go to “Download client” at the bottom and install the software

Step 3: Run Zoom, you should have some options including “New Meeting”, “Join”, “Schedule”, etc. Click Schedule

Step 4: Name the topic (“MATH XXX Lecture”) with date and time. I suggest “host video on” and “participants video off”. Do not require a meeting password. Choose the calendar software you use, if any. When you click schedule, it will give you a download to add to your own calendar.

Step 5: You can share the details of the meeting with the students in your class now (it will be clear to them that it won’t start until the time you’ve set). Many ways to do this, you can look at the calendar entry in your calendar and copy the description. Alternatively, if you go to the main zoom screen you should see your meeting scheduled, click on “…” and then “Copy Invitation”, and you can “paste” this directly into an email that you send to your class.

Step 6: At the time of the lecture (maybe a bit before), log into Zoom and see that everything is working. You probably want “Join with Computer Audio”. You should be able to see yourself at this point, and students should be logging in. Say a few welcoming words, open it up for questions, make sure the students can hear and see you.

Step 7: You can now play your video in the Zoom window. The idea here is that the students are getting a lecture that is (more or less) like the one they’d get in class, but you are here if they have questions. To do this, go to the video in Illinois Media Space, for “Picture in picture” make the choice that does not show you (the leftmost choice that is a solid rectangle) and then click “Full Screen” (right to the left of the Block I in the bottom right). Now go to the Zoom software, click “Share Screen” and click on the first option (“Desktop 1” on Mac). The students can now see the whole video, and you can press play, stop, start as you wish. They should also see you in a small video window as long as the screen is shared.

Step 8: Then progress, pausing frequently to check in that people can hear, questions are answered, etc. Some caveats: you won’t be able to mute your sound, since they will hear the video from your speakers to microphone here. So make sure you have a quiet environment! From here you can go through the whole video, and leave time for questions at the end. Keep aware that you can read faster than you can write on a chalkboard

Hint 1: you can also share a “whiteboard” on which you can draw with a mouse. Warning here: it is difficult to write neat mathematics with a mouse.

Hint 2: if you want to know what your students see, install Zoom on your phone and watch it as well.

Hint 3: You can also share other devices as well, including phones and tablets if you’d like to draw math real-time. Click “New Share” and choose the device you like.

# Online teaching for blackboard lovers in three easy steps, Philipp Hieronymi, 15 March 2020

Step 1 - Hardware: Get a tablet with an electronic stylus. The Apple IPad for $329 with Apple Pencil for $99 is sufficient. Apple products have the advantage of working well with the Mac in your office.

Step 2 - Software: Install Zoom on your Mac. Install Goodnotes (for live teaching, around $8) and Explain EDU and the Box app (for pre-recorded videos, around $14).

Step 3a - Live teaching: Start Zoom and e-mail your students the link to the meeting. Connect your I-Pad to your Office Mac using the Lightning-to-USB cable (the cable you used to charge to keyboard/mouse). Click on "Share screen" and select "I-Phone/I-Pad via cable". Start Goodnotes on your I-Pad and open a blank document. Give your class as usual at the usual time.

If you want to see, how the result could look like: here is me awkwardly giving an online office hour via Zoom for the first time: https://illinois.zoom.us/rec/share/38B3Nu6r9G9LQ6vR7UXxeZIzGr3bX6a81HIY_vdYzx6VbE8BdbDwOfJl59HDvbif

Step 3b - Pre-recorded videos: Start ExplainEverythingEDU on I-Pad. Start an empty document. Click on the record button and start writing and talking as if you are in class. Once you are done with the first page, hit stop and move to the next page and repeat. Once you are done with the class, click the button at the top of the screen and export the video to a Box folder you share with your students.

If you want to see, how the result looks like: see https://mediaspace.illinois.edu/media/t/1_jy4436ae (I like to write on pre-made pdfs, but this is not necessary)

If you don't consider yourself a computer expert: let Math IT do Step 1 and Step 2 for you and come talk to Math IT or me so that we can go through Step 3a or Step 3b together. I am happy to help. This is really easy, in particular if you have someone show it to you.

For people who don't like Apple: Of course, all mentioned Apple products can be replaced by non-Apple products. Also Goodnotes or Explain EDU can be replaced by other equivalent apps. Similar apps exist for Android-based and Microsoft tablets.

# Ideas about testing online

We will compile here some ideas for managing class exams while our courses are online. The primary issue to resolve is how to proctor exams.

# Proctoring using Zoom

The following scheme is used by NetMath and was provided by Kerry Butson. It is not clear whether this can be scaled to work for large lectures.

  • Students sign up for a time slot to take their exam.
  • The students registered for a given time slot are divided among the available proctors. NetMath uses a ratio of 4 students per proctor. We should increase this for efficiency, but it is not clear what a manageable upper bound is.
  • At the designated time, the proctor has each student under their supervision scan their writing room. When the proctor is satisfied that the room is appropriate they will deliver the exam to the students via Box.
  • While viewing the exam electronically, the students complete the exam using pencil and paper. The Zoom connection with the proctor is maintained throughout.
  • When the exam is completed, the students upload their papers by either taking a picture with their phone or using a scanner. A copy of their student ID is also uploaded at the time. The proctor will also check the uploaded work for legibility.

# MATH 415 overview

The following is the email that Philipp Hieronymi sent to his MATH 415 class. You might find that many of these ideas will work in your course as well.

# MATH 415 goes online

Hello MATH 415 students,

First, we would like to thank everyone for being so patient and helping us navigate these challenging times. We have never seen anything like this. As you know from the various mass email, all in-person classes have been cancelled for the rest of the semester and instructors have been advised to move to an online format following Spring break. This post contains a summary how we are planning to do so.

Again, this is an unprecedented situation we are experiencing together. We are grateful for your patience and ask you to work with us and each other to make this course as success despite the challenges we are facing. Stay safe and healthy! Jer-Chin Chuang and Philipp Hieronymi P.S.: We will post Midterm 2 grades later today.

# Summary

  1. Instead of lectures you will watch the already posted lecture videos.
  2. During lecture times, the instructors will hold online office hours through Zoom.
  3. All discussion sections are cancelled. Instead of discussion sections, we will have an online tutoring room staffed by the TAs.
  4. Instead of doing worksheets in the discussion section, you will do these at home and upload them.

# Lectures

All in-person lectures are cancelled until further notice. Instead we ask you to watch the videos posted on the Learn@Illinois site of this course. We expect you to watch the videos posted in the Week X folder by the end of the week X. So for the week after Spring break (this is Week 10) you should watch all videos in the Week 10 folder (which are the videos of Lecture 21, 22 and 23) by the end of the week (which is Friday March 27th).

# Instructor online office hours

Instructors will be available to answers questions during our usual class meeting times through Zoom.

  • MWF 9am-10am: Q&A with Jer-Chin Chuang at https://illinois.zoom.us/j/256330475

  • MWF 11am-noon: Q&A with Jer-Chin Chuang at https://illinois.zoom.us/j/910619801

  • MWF 1-3pm: Q&A with Philipp Hieronymi at https://illinois.zoom.us/j/309439832

We will send you further information and instructions before the end of Spring break. The Q&A sessions will replace the usual instructor office hours.

# Online Tutoring room

All discussion sections and evening tutoring rooms are cancelled. TAs will staff a virtual tutoring room on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please take a moment to fill out the following form:


The results of this form will allow us to schedule the online tutoring room at times most convenient for you.

# Homework

Instead of doing the worksheet in the discussion sections, you will do the worksheets as homework. You are still allowed to do this as group work, and up to four students can submit the same worksheet as long as:

  1. All students are in the same discussion section.
  2. All students are listed on the submitted worksheet.

You will upload the worksheets on Learn@Illinois. The first worksheet will be available on Monday March 23rd and due at 11:59PM CST Monday March 30th. Once the first worksheet is posted, we will inform you in more detail about the submission and grading procedure.
Currently the worksheet grades determine 5% per cent of your overall grade. We will change this as follows:

Old system: Worksheets scores (2 lowest dropped) count for 5% of your grade.

New system: Worksheets scores from the first 8 weeks (2 lowest dropped) count for 2.5% of your grade. Worksheet scores from the last 8 weeks (1 lowest dropped) count for 2.5% of your grade.

Everything else stays the same for now.

# Midterm 3 and Final exam

We currently have no update about Midterm 3 and the Final exam. We are still awaiting guidance from our Department and the University regarding the procedure for midterms and final exams. We will update you as soon as we know more.

Last Updated: 3/20/2020, 7:47:44 AM