Synchronous and virtual classroom

Potential activities, [recommended tool] and notes for the synchronous phase and implementation in a virtual classroom

Presentation [Provide access to video and audio via Zoom screen-sharing]

  • You still have the option to hold lectures live via Zoom.
  • Instructions on how to do so are available in the Tales guide Online Teaching (chapter titled Hold lectures and seminars online.

Questions from students during the lecture [Chat function in Zoom]

  • Students should have the opportunity to ask questions in Zoom meetings and, in particular, during live lectures.
  • The chat function in Zoom is a good way to collect such questions. You can then pause the class at specific points to answer the questions entered by students in the chat.

Motivating students using questions and quizzes [Survey/poll features in Zoom]

  • Engage your students and actively involve them in the teaching process by using brief questions and quizzes. Collect feedback from your students on the course as a whole or on individual sessions. Use control questions to assess the extent to which the students have understood the content.
  • Issue simple yes/no questions verbally. Zoom enables participants to answer via mouse click on “reactions”.
    Note: Anonymous answers are not possible in this case.
  • Use the embedded poll feature if you wish to pose anonymous yes/no questions or more complex questions.
    1. This tool allows you to ask both single-choice and multiple-choice questions.
    2. An option is available for anonymous participation.
    3. It is not possible to ask open questions using the poll function. The chat function should be used for this. However, these answers cannot be made anonymously.
  • Zoom polls can be created relatively quickly and easily, and can even be created during a meeting. Nevertheless, it is recommended that the polls are prepared in advance, so no time is lost during the lecture itself.
    1. If you wish to prepare questions in advance of a scheduled lecture, please log in to
    2. Click on “Meetings” and select the relevant date (or add one). Scroll down to the end of the page to find the “Poll” option. Then click on “Add” to create the survey.
  • More information is available on the Zoom support page.

Plenary discussion [Zoom with audio and video support and whiteboard as required]

  • Organize plenary discussions to allow students to ask questions and share ideas.
  • Make it clear from the outset how to request the opportunity to speak. In small groups, this could be as simple as raising a hand. If students are participating in the session but have no video function enabled, ask them to use the “Raise hand” feature in Zoom.
  • Use the whiteboard when gathering key words or ideas or sketching diagrams. The whiteboard is available via “Share Screen” in the Zoom video-conferencing tool bar at the bottom. Participants can also write on the whiteboard (by clicking on the options “View Options” followed by “Annotate” in the graphic interface). The whiteboard can be saved as a PNG image file afterwards.

Brainstorming [Zoom with whiteboard feature, Etherpad module in ADAM]

  • Brainstorming is one of the plenary discussion formats in Zoom, allowing a group to develop new ideas together. The whiteboard feature is useful in this instance, too.
  • Alternatively, the group can share their findings using the Zoom chat function (see above).
  • If the aim is to collaborate on a text, you can set up collaborative real-time editors. The open-source software Etherpad is integrated into the ADAM learning platform (see above).

Discussion in small groups with the option of intervention by the lecturer [Zoom with breakout rooms]

  • Some students prefer to share their thoughts in smaller groups rather than in a plenary discussion. One approach is to give the students a task (discuss a case, analyze an image, solve a problem) and allow them to work on it in groups.
  • You can use the breakout room function on Zoom for this. These are effectively small Zoom meetings within an overarching Zoom meeting: the students can see and hear only the people they are working with for the duration of the group work. They can invite the lecturer to join the group if they have a question. As the host, you can access all the groups.
  • To use this function:
    1. In your online Zoom account, go to the Settings page. Click on “Meeting”. You will find “Breakout-Rooms” under “In Meeting (Advanced)”. Activate this function.
    2. “Breakout Session” will now be displayed in the Zoom video-conferencing tool bar at the bottom.
    3. Click here for the Zoom support page.

Individual tasks with the option to speak to the lecturer one to one [Zoom with breakout rooms]

  • You can assign the students individual tasks instead of relying on group work.
  • Follow the instructions above for discussions in small groups, and then create a breakout room for each participant. In small groups, you can successively switch between rooms, have a brief discussion with the student and answer any questions.
  • At the end of this individual session, you can provide the answers in a plenary session or facilitate a discussion (see above).