Planning teaching activities for 21/22 academic year

As we will be using a mixture of online and in-person teaching this year, this page provides some guidance and resources to help you with preparing materials for the online elements of your teaching. In particular, there is new information on the new Ed Discussion discussion board (replacing Piazza) and advice in relation to re-recording video segments, if that is something you are considering.

You can find some general principles and helpful advice in the Imperial Teaching Toolkit

Imperial Teaching Toolkit 

and particularly the section on online learning and teaching: 

This contains some useful guidance to think through when considering how/whether to combine synchronous/asynchronous content, as well as case studies which are helpful for seeing the range of activities that are possible.

FONS Remote Teaching pages: is the College level page (also includes the other links above and links to pages from other Faculties) 

Collected feedback from last year's staff-meeting breakout discussions on online teaching can be found here

There is also assorted detailed technical information on Blackboard, Panopto, and Turnitin available on the FONS Edtech team’s DELTA wiki – if you are trying to find out how to do one particular thing, there is quite a good chance that there will be a page in the wiki.  If information on these topics which you are looking for is not there and is not further down this page, please email them on to ask.

Activities between lecture videos

For online lecture-video content, different styles of learning suit different students, so including different activities with the videos helps students to learn.  This could be a quiz but need not be: it could be a point in a video where you ask students to pause and think about a question, try a step in a derivation, make a summary in 1 minute of what they have learned from the video, find some other information or something else.  Include any other resources you think are useful!  Be creative!

With some forms if activity, like Blackboard quizzes, this gives feedback about how engaged individual students are and can be used to target additional support for less engaged students. 

Some examples of tools you could use are:

Features you may not be aware of tabs

Quizzes in Panopto

Simple quizzes can be embedded into Panopto videos.  The video will pause and there is the option to block continuing until students get the question right.  Guidance hereHowever, we recommend not blocking student progression because this can be an issue for students with a poor internet connection”.


An example of how to embed Mentimeter into Blackboard can be found here. It describes embedding a question of the free-text type, but you could try out other question types. Further guidance on this will be available soon.


Mobius is better and more flexible than Blackboard quizzes for integrating mathematical questions into quizzes. These can be algorithmic (which means they can be adaptive and different for different students) and can be embedded into or interleaved with teaching content.

An introductory Blackboard module called Mobius Resources and Templates is available for this and includes very straightforward introductory videos made by the Edtech teams.  To gain access to that Blackboard module, please email

Guidance on using Mobius from the manufacturer is available here.

Other useful online tools

Some other useful tools which you could make use of in a lecture course and/or in seminars are included below:


Ed Discussion (replaces Piazza)

Blackboard has a built-in discussion-board function.  However, this is a bit clunky and doesn’t render equations properly.

As an alternative discussion forum, instead of Piazza, this year we now have access to “Ed Discussion”.  It is somewhat similar to Piazza in style and renders equations correctly; it has good reviews from the Edtech team.

The ICT help page on Ed Discussion is at

Here is some further information about using it from the FONS Edtech team:

An Ed Discussion board can be created via an integration with Blackboard so that all the students enrolled on the Blackboard course are automatically enrolled onto the Ed Discussion board. Here are two videos about the Ed tool that may be helpful:

• A guide to Ed discussion boards for students (produced by the Maths StudentShapers team led by Ioanna Papatsouma):

• A recording of the ICT training sessions on how to use Ed discussion boards for staff:



Flipgrid allows students to share video/poster content.  This also integrates well into Teams.  Students are really adept at making videos and the current online format might be an opportunity to make more use of this, perhaps formatively rather than in for-credit assessments.  It could also be useful in building and maintaining community. You can see an example in the Video Tips tab of the Physics Remote Teaching Team.


Padlet can be used as an online noticeboard for sharing information such as in the staff meeting – it can be used with text or other kinds of content.  It is free to have up to three active Padlets at once. 

You can find fuller information about these features in the College’s Teaching Toolkit, linked to at the top of this page including links to more information on Padlet, OneNote, Mentimeter, Möbius and Ed Discussion (links taken from the lower part of this page).

Recording online lecture content: 

Replacing sections of existing video content (NEW)

The guidance provided last year for recording online content is still given below.  In case you need to re-record just a snippet of an existing video, note that it is not necessary to re-record the whole video:

-Record the new segment as a new recording in Panopto.

-Edit the existing recording and edit out the section of the existing recording you no longer want

-Choose “Add a clip” at the particular location within the recording.

 More detailed help is available at

Note that when you preview the combined video in the editor, the transition will look clunky, but in the finished edit (once you save it and view it as a student would) it will be quite smooth.

If you are concerned about continuity of shot, you could pay attention to shooting the new segment in the same lighting conditions etc as the first shot, or you could make the new clip appear with the focus just on the slides without including video for that part.  My opinion would be that provided the content follows seamlessly, the other details of continuity are not too important.

For recordings including the Powerpoint slides, if you need to replace these, it is possible to do in two ways:

-Add a set of slides to the recording and then specify when you want transitions between slides to happen.  This might work if you have only static slides – it does not include any animations.

-Add a new set of slides as a new stream in the video (would require recording the powerpoint as a video) and remove the old one.  The Panopto editor would allow you to add a new stream but not remove an existing one (though you could edit out the whole stream manually). FONS AV support recommend that it’s better to remove any unused stream completely and can help with this ( or you could do it yourself using an external editor such as Adobe Premier.

Some additional information is available here:

Technology for recording online video content

There are various combinations of equipment which will allow you to record content for online lecture videos:

1. Laptop/computer + tablet  [FONS AV guidance doc 1]

A tablet can act as a second video stream (in addition to your laptop webcam) with the right software to link your laptop and tablet. Apart from the ways described in the document, another way to do this is to start a Teams meeting and join it from your tablet, then share the screen from your tablet. 

2. Laptop/computer + drawing tablet [FONS AV guidance doc 1]

A drawing tablet does not have a screen of its own but is an affordable alternative and is preferred by some over using an iPad etc 

3. Laptop/computer + visualiser ‌[FONS AV guidance doc 1]

Low-cost visualiser devices are available and connect to your computer by USB 

4. Laptop/computer + iOS device as visualiser [FONS AV guidance doc 7a

5. Laptop/computer + Android device as visualiser [FONS AV guidance]

Some general guidance on setting up for online recordings is here

For more discussion and examples of producing content using different combinations of devices, please check the discussion in the Remote Teaching team here and here.

Short videos on aspects of setting up the technology for synchronous online teaching sessions have been produced by the FOE Edtech team and can be found here

Guidance on using Panopto Personal Recorder software

Collected guidance can be found in the introductory Panopto powerpoint the FONS AV team have produced.

Guidance on using Panopto Personal Recorder software

Installing Panopto Personal Recorder

Link below to Central ICT website on how to install Personal Panopto Recorder. 

Please email the FONS Edtech team at if you have any problems with setting a folder for recordings to be uploaded to.

Recording/editing recordings

Text-based instructions produced by the FONS Edtech team can be found here:

The FONS AV team have produced recordings on how-to videos: 

Moving/copying recordings

FONS Edtech team have created wiki documentation pages with instructions on how to move, copy recordings over: 

To get started with recording your own content you should also contact the FONS Learning Technology team ( to request a personal, named Panopto folder with creator access and also to confirm that you have the necessary permissions to make recordings in the general departmental holding folder.

The FoNS AV team are available to answer questions relating to recording lecture content.  Please email Niels and the team at

The EdTech team (  can advise on how to get your course up and running on Blackboard. You can ask them technology questions relating to the online format, especially ones related to Blackboard and other features used in Blackboard, embedding Panopto videos, adaptive release etc.

Kayleigh and Amy in the undergraduate office are able to assist you with configuring your course on Blackboard, including arranging video content on Panopto and Blackboard and scheduling release dates for content.  Please contact them on