Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Digital Teaching

Didactic Questions

  • Do you have any recommendations for an online 'netiquette' for teachers and students?

    Teaching and learning online and remotely in times of crisis is a great challenge for teachers and students. Treating each other with respect and understanding is always important and in the current situation even more so.

    All participants of online classes should be aware that digital classes will follow the same rules of conduct as classes on campus. For example, participants should use their own names. 
    It can be helpful to define some group rules at the beginning of the course and to refer to these rules, if necessary.

    The aim should be to prevent misunderstandings by communicating clearly from the very beginning and to create a productive learning atmosphere for all.

    The following basic rules might be helpful to establish:

    1. Digital classes follow the same standards of communication that are valid in classes on campus: Please restrain from insulting others or sharing private or inappropriate content. All participants should kepp an eye on their orthography and punctuation. Humour and Irony should be used with particular care in written communication as to prevent misunderstandings.
    2. Please respect copy rights and personal data: Do not share files and materials of others unless you have explicit permission to do so. Please make use of the academic citation rules and cite correctly. Please do not share screen shots or take pictures of teachers and students.
    3. Please unterstand that putting a course or a whole semester online is a big challenge for teachers and students. Mistakes and misunderstandings are inevitable. Do not led yourself (or your criticism) be led by a false feeling of anonymity. If you want to criticize something, do so in a professional and constructive way: reach out via e-mail, chat or zoom and also show empathy for each other and for the unusual situation.

    Further ideas for class rules, you can finde here:

  • Do I have to teach my weekly class now at the same time using Zoom?

    We strongly recommend to consider all other options first, before settling for this solution.
    Like all digital tools, Zoom has its advantages and disadvantages. Zoom's main advantage is that it enables direct communication. One disadvantage is that all participants need to be online at the same time and need to have technical equipment and a good Internet connection.

    This is why we recommend only using Zoom where direct communication is necessary.
    In many cases it makes more sense from a didactic point of view to share learning materials with the students (videos, audio files, texts, etc.). For this we recommend the use of Moodle.

    If you are setting up a Moodle course as a virtual classroom, you can share all your course materials in there during the whole semester. For students this is easier to use because they will find everything they need for the course in one place.

    In contrast, Zoom is a meeting option, not a virtual "classroom". You can share materials by screen sharing or posting them in the chat, but students will not be able to access them afterwards anymore.

    Also, when using only Zoom, keep in mind that you do not make use of one big advantage that Digital Teaching has to offer: Students can access their learning materials at any given time that works for them and be more flexible in their learning.

  • Where to start when planning an online course?

    A good starting point is the bologna.lab’s crash course (in German):

    Moodle course “Präsenzlehre in Online-Lehre übersetzen”


    In this course, teaching staff will get help to put their courses online.  By following the six chapters, teachers can adapt their their courses step by step.

    However, it is also possible to only read some chapters, do a few of the recommended  tasks or to register simply to get inspiration or find out about different methods.

    The course was developed for Higher Education teachers’ needs during CoVid-19 pandemic.

  • What do I need to pay attention to when planning an online class?

    Some suggestions:


    • Bear in mind that the semester is not going to take place under ideal circumstances. Please keep your expectations realistic. You do not need to create a 'perfect' online course.
    • You do not need to have your whole online course ready and perfectly set up on Moodle in the first week of the semester. It is okay to habe 2-3 weeks planned and to complete the materials one week at a time.
    • Because you cannot meet students to welcome everybody and guide them through your class, you need to give your students this organizational information explicitely at the beginning of the course. This information is important so students feel like they are really participating in a course. 
    • Pay attention to your welcoming announcements at the beginning: tell students what to expect from them, where to find course materials and how they can reach you. Make sure that you are available at times when you told them you would be.
    • Count in that students will need more time for the same tasks due to the online situation (reading on screen, typing instead of speaking etc.)
    • Also, checking that everything works ("Can you all hear me and see my video?") takes time. Diminish the work load of your class accordingly.
    • Be clear about how you will grade your class.  If you do not know yet, how to grade your class, tell students that you have not decided yet, but that this issue is on your to-do list and that you will come back to them on the issue soon.
  • Which trainings do HU offer for Digital Teaching?

    HU offers trainings, Moodle courses and exchange formats for further education and training on the topic of digital teaching.

    Please check out the information on our education and training website