Teaching with synchronous online formats

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Teaching with synchronous online formats


Synchronous online formats are used for simultaneous participation of students and lecturers. These formats can also be used to facilitate online learning situations that are characterised by a high degree of interactivity. However, this form of online learning requires a reliable technical infrastructure, which is currently not always guaranteed. Use synchronous online formats with caution and consider asynchronous alternatives.

Text-based communication

Audio- and video-based communication

Working on texts collaboratively in real time

In order to get in touch with your students quickly and easily, the use of text-based means of communication is a good idea. These require considerably fewer technical resources than audio- or video-based alternatives.

Audio and video conferences offer the possibility of organising a live event with students from any location. However, due to the high impact on the technical infrastructure, this option is only an alternative for urgent cases in the current situation.

Online writing tools enable scenarios in which several participants collaborate on a text and create content. This option can be used, for example, to better coordinate group work.


  • Direct interaction between lecturers and students
  • Information on learning materials and work assignments that are equally relevant to ALL can be communicated in this way
  • Students have the opportunity to ask questions directly in order to forestall problems of understanding
  • In joint discussions and interactions (through live chats, surveys and collaborative content creation during a video conference, e.g. through integrated whiteboards), learning content can be conveyed in an understandable way and learning successes can be assessed and demonstrated
  • All students can be involved in the learning process simultaneously and equitably


  • Access to computers with cameras, microphones, and speakers
  • Modern laptops are usually equipped accordingly, alternatively, stationary workstations can be supplemented with webcams and headsets (headphones with microphone)
  • Provide technical access to video conferences ( links and/or passwords)
  • Make yourself familiar with the use of these tools
  • Inform the students about the technical requirements and practice the handling of them
  • Provide information on where and from whom help can be found for technical problems
    • for lecturers: LLZ-Wiki, contact persons in service facilities of the university
    • for students: possibly involve technically experienced students who are available as contact persons for problems


  • It does not make sense to try and replace previous face-to-face seminar meetings as video or audio conferences
  • Please consider carefully which aspects of a course need to be offered as synchronous online formats and which parts can be replaced with self-directed learning
  • It is advisable to organise and carry out synchronous online formats at specified times during the semester, such as at the beginning of the course, at the end of a content unit or thematic block - or alternatively after half the course and towards the end of the semester.
    • At the beginning:
      • Presentation of the learning objectives and the course plan
      • General thematic introduction
      • Interactive surveys and mapping of previous experiences
      • Distribution and discussion of work assignments
      • References to learning materials for self-directed learning
    • At the end of a thematic unit and at the beginning of a new topic:
      • Short review of content and comparison with learning objectives
      • Presentation of work results of self-directed learning or group work
      • Learning success monitoring through anonymous surveys and interactive tasks
      • Feedback possibilities for students, short evaluation and if necessary adjustment of the course
      • General introduction to a new topic area
    • At the end of a semester:
      • Short review of content and comparison with learning objectives
      • Preparation for the examination work to be done
      • Possibilities for questions on learning content from students
      • Evaluation of the course
  • Lectures are generally not suitable for synchronous online formats via video conference. For this purpose, use the possibilities of lecture recording and supplement the recording with digital consultation hours in chats, forums, or by email.
  • Asynchronous learning formats complement synchronous online formats. These forms of learning usually cover the greater part of a course during the semester. In addition, they are more suitable for taking individual learning needs such as time and workload into account and do not require all participants to meet at the same time and in the same (virtual) place. These include:
    • Individual reading of scientific literature
    • Individual analysis of learning videos and other working materials
    • Individual practice and the development of individual study achievements and their upload to learning platforms such as ILIAS or in Wikis
    • Group work and communication within the group
    • Collaborative text production, which does not have to take place simultaneously
    • Individual enquiries and agreements between individual students and lecturers
    • Communication between small groups and the lecturers
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