Recommendations, course types and concepts for digital education at KTH
This page contains recommendations for digital education at KTH. Digital education is a joint term for campus education and distance education that uses digital tools. Each educational situation is unique and as a teacher you should therefore critically relate to these recommendations and consider how they are, or are not, relevant to your particular course. The content on this page is created by Stefan Hrastinski and Stefan Stenbom at the Department of Learning and approved by the Basic Education Committee.
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Start by trying out teaching methods and digital tools that you feel are not too complicated. When you feel comfortable with these, you can then move on and try something new.
Base your work on knowledge
Teaching methods and digital tools that you are considering have probably already been used and evaluated by many others. Ask colleagues, search the internet, and read literature and articles.
Provide clear instructions
It is important that you communicate clearly to your students what is expected of them, what should be done, how and when. Students often feel lonelier in distance studies and need particularly clear instructions, which also avoids misunderstandings.
Communicate your expectations to your students
Students usually have less experience in digital education as compared to campus courses. Therefore, it is a good idea that you as a teacher explain how the course is organized when the course starts and what students are expected to do to complete the course.
Be available for your students
Distance studies should not be confused with self-studies. At KTH, teachers are expected to schedule lessons on campus or through a web meeting. Be clear to students about how and when teachers and teaching assistants will be available to answer questions. A good idea might be to answer questions in a discussion forum as many students often have similar questions.
Encourage students to work together
Keep in mind that students are an important resource for each other. Encouraging students to help each other and work together contributes to both student learning and facilitates you as a teacher.
Create a social context
A common feedback on digital education is that students and teachers can feel more isolated. Therefore, try to build social presence by encouraging dialogue and creating a sense of belonging between teachers and students as well as between students. An effective way to increase the sense of social presence in web meetings is that both teachers and students use audio and webcam.
Use supplementary teaching methods
Different teaching methods and digital tools can be used to encourage learning in different ways. For example, discussion forums can be good for reflection, while scheduled teaching via web meetings can be good for creating continuity and social context. Avoid basing your course too much on lectures. An alternative might be to record short lectures or create study material and use the time when you meet your students (e.g. in classrooms or via web meeting) for problem solving and discussion.
Use different assessment methods
There are many different ways to conduct assessment and examination. Use as much formative assessment as possible, which means that students should continuously perform and receive feedback on assignments during the course. Think about whether you can replace, for example, a physical exam with continuing assignments, home exams or oral examination. Often, assessment activities that use digital tools, which are in line with engineering practice, can be created, since much of the work that engineers do today is computerized.
Share your teaching material
KTH is mainly financed by public funds. If your educational material may be of benefit for others, please consider to make it openly available. Remember, as always, that it is important to follow copyright laws.
Reflect and evaluate
Reflect and evaluate both continuously during the course and when the course is completed. Collect evidence that helps you understand how your use of digital tools to support student learning can be further developed. Discuss the course structure with your students, with the team of teachers, and with colleagues.
Primarily use the digital tools supported by KTH
You can also use other digital tools that complement KTH’s offerings if you are comfortable with them. In this case, make sure that you follow laws and regulations (e.g. GDPR). You should also be aware that KTH does not provide support for digital tools that are not supported by KTH.
Use educational support resources
KTH has well-developed educational resources and materials on the intranet, a self-study course (Canvas@KTH), webinars, personal supervision, and support. If you want assistance on how to develop an aspect described in this document, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
These types of courses are a further development of Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2010). Class Differences: Online Education in the United States. Sloan Consortium.
0 % online
All course activities are carried out in physical meetings.
Courses of this format can use digital tools (such as the learning platform) to share documents or other information, but no learning or assessment activities are done using digital tools.
Campus with web support
1-25 % online
The vast majority of the course activities are carried out as physical meetings, but digital activities are also in use.
The course design includes completing what is basically a campus course with digital elements where some activities are done online.
Courses of this format typically use the learning platform to share documents and administer examination but can also make use of asynchronous learning activities (e.g. discussion forums) or synchronous learning activities (e.g. web meetings).
The course activities are carried out with both digital and physical meetings.
The course design has its starting point in that teachers for each activity make an active choice as to whether it should be carried out digitally or physically. The choice is based on which method that is best suited for the course content and learning objectives.
Courses of this format typically have a balance between physical and digital activities and have reduced the number of physical meetings. The learning platform and surrounding tools are used for information, communication, and administration. The physical meetings are often used for discussions rather than for lectures.
Distance with campus meetings
75-99 % online
A majority of the course activities are carried out online, but physical meetings are also in use.
The course design includes completing what is basically a distance course with some activities that are done using physical meetings.
Courses of this format typically use the learning platform, web meetings and surrounding tools used to realize the digital activities. The courses have some occasional physical meetings that are used to build relationships between teachers and students. Other activities that are more difficult to carry out digitally also occur, such as labs, demonstrations, and exams. The course design makes it possible that as a participant you do not have to reside in the Stockholm area, but you can travel to KTH for the physical meetings. These courses often have more asynchronous activities to reach a wider target group of participants (e.g. participants who work professionally).
100 % online
All course activities are conducted online. The course has no physical meetings.
Courses of this format typically use the learning platform, web meetings and surrounding tools used to realize the digital activities.
These courses often have a larger element of asynchronous activities to reach a wider target group of participants (e.g. participants who work professionally). Courses can also be completely asynchronously where the participants complete the course at their own pace without interaction with other participants. It may be that the course has some physical meetings but they are not a requirement to participate in the course.
Common methods in digital education
A joint concept for courses of the different formats: campus with web support, hybrid, and distance with meetings on campus.
A method that is based on that students first complete asynchronous self-study tasks and then the synchronous teacher-led time is used for conversations and discussions about the course content. For example, students can read an article or watch videos that teachers have shared and then the students answer questions about the content. In the teacher-led time (which can take place either physically or as a web meeting) the uncertainties that the students have about the course content (which is shown by how they have answered the preparation tasks) is used as a starting point. The meeting therefore has a great deal of discussion and feedback.
Physical education with web conferencing or livestream
In a research context, the term blended-synchronous is used. Method which means that for each synchronous activity (meeting), participants can choose whether they want to participate physically or digitally. The teacher is in general in the physical room but has students attending the meeting both in the room and digitally (often through a web meeting or through live video).
Description of central concepts
Activities that a teacher has planned that a participant is expected to do in order to learn the course content (learning objectives).
Activities that a teacher has planned that a participant is expected to do in order to show an understanding of the course content (learning objectives).
Synchronous learning and assessment activities
Learning and assessment activities carried out at a certain time. This means that your students interact with each other, educational materials, and/or you as a teacher in real-time. Examples are physical lectures, web meetings, chats, or exams. Generally, it is easier to create continuity with synchronous activities.
Asynchronous learning and assessment activities
Learning and assessment activities carried out within a time interval but not at a specific time. This means that your students interact with each other, educational materials, and/or you with a time offset. Examples are self-study material, video lessons and discussion forums.