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​​​Updated: 2 September 2020



Expanded 12 Principles for Online Learning and Teaching: Principle 5 Mix Synchronous and Asynchronous


Principle 05 Mix Synchronous and Asynchronous

Though access to live video may be difficult for some students. Provide a small number of real-time opportunities for engagement but record them if possible. Use online tools for ongoing collaboration and engagement tasks and avoid broadcasting at students.


Sustained attention in an online environment is more difficult than when face-to-face. Use timetabled time selectively; you do not need to provide online teaching in real time to fill each slot. Synchronous sessions such as webinars can provide up to an hour of contact time which can help engagement and build connections between learners. Beware of one-way broadcasts where students are always passive. When running a webinar, use a mixture of presentation and activities using tools such as chat, whiteboard and annotations.

Live video may be difficult for some to access for various reasons; recording all or part of a session can help mitigate this, or alternatively provide PowerPoint slides with explanatory notes (not just bullet points). Think through, and design out, potential challenges that might face some students, for example, live chat typing might be off-putting for some dyslexic students, so encourage use of dictation options (see Tools and Support below). Provide handouts like case studies in advance for students who might have difficulties processing large amounts of text quickly. Consider how autistic students need additional support to engage with other students such as calibrating their tone, etc in break-out or chat room spaces, especially if they haven't yet met in person. Full access for non-medical personal helpers agency staff (note-takers and autism mentors) needs to be set up for any break-out spaces as well as main Moodle/Webex areas as requested by Disability and Inclusion Advisors in learning profiles. Running a preview practice session can be very helpful for all students, and especially for those students working with support from a British Sign Language interpreter and note-taker, or an autism mentor.


Moodle text chat provides a low bandwidth means of synchronous communication.


The majority of the online learning experience should be asynchronous; that is, the students can do it at a time of their choosing. Setting a clear timeline and small milestones can help keep a cohort on track. See Principle 6 Keep Moodle Simple for how to use Moodle tools for this.


Developing your Teaching and Support for Learning Online Moodle Community

Self enrol on this community site for staff to discuss and share online teaching practices and tools. DLTE also share webinar recordings and links to useful resources.


Principle 6: Keep Moodle Simple >>


[Download 12 Principles in PDF Format]​

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