Learning Futures Support for Online Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

The Learning Futures Portfolio is providing support for academics teaching online during the period of social distancing through online workshops and consultations. These workshops will be conducted via Zoom or Collaborate Ultra and facilitated by a Learning Futures staff member.

Our offerings for support and professional development for the transition to online learning are expanding to accommodate the diverse needs of our teaching staff.

From Monday 23 March, we will be offering three streams of professional development workshops;

  1. Online Teaching and Learning Tools (TLT)
  2. Online Teaching and Assessment (OTA), and
  3. Online Exams

Want to know more about the TLT Workshops?

The Online Teaching & Learning Tools (TLT) Workshops focus primarily on the tools available at Western. Brief descriptions of the workshops currently in cycle are available below.


A brief overview of Panopto tools and functionalities.

Zoom Orientation

This session focuses on the functionality of Zoom, and will cover the basic navigation's and settings, scheduling, breakout rooms, polls and the whiteboard.

Groups Using Allocate Plus

This workshop explains how to create groups in vUWS  using data from Allocate+ tutorial registration.

vUWS Orientation

This session focuses on performing basic edits to a vUWS site including uploading files, editing an item, moving and copying items, adding resources such as images, videos, links along with some tools available in vUWS.

Getting the most out of the Polling Tool in Zoom

This workshop looks at creating quick poll questions in Zoom, from creating a poll to launching and downloading a report.

A closer look at vUWS Assignments and Turnitin Rubric

There are a few important settings and features you need to know about when using assignments and rubrics.  Come along to this mini workshop to find out how to make the most of these vUWS tools.

vUWS express – Panopto in-video quiz

This session outlines Panopto, how to add links and upload a video, how to create an in-video quiz as well as embedding a Panopto video in vUWS.

Wikis for group work: tips to get students participating

Wikis are a useful tool for collaborative group work.  This mini workshop will show you simple strategies for setting up and engaging students in a wiki activity.

Tips for running a vUWS Test requiring Handwritten Answers

Are your students expected to submit handwritten answers through an online test in vUWS? Come join us as we discuss tips and tricks to enhance success.

Video Assignments

This session covers three ways to use Blackboard tools to allow students to submit video content. Whether students are creating presentations, recording performances or sharing a video, this session covers how content can be marked, shared and discussed.    

vUWS Drop-In Breakout Session

The session will be divided into breakout rooms to answer questions on quizzes, Turnitin, vUWS Assignments and Panopto-in-Video Quizzes.

The Anatomy of the Cortex vUWS Template

Dissect the Cortex vUWS template. In this session we look at why the Cortex template was implemented at Western, Quality Matters overview, the migration process and walking through the template.


This session focuses on creating and uploading quiz questions using the DFT spreadsheet, creating pool questions within vUWS, creating and editing tests in vUWS and implementing test options.

Using Zoom for Online Collaboration

This session focuses on the functionality of Zoom, and will cover the basic navigations and settings, scheduling, breakout rooms, polls, and the whiteboard.

Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

This session focuses on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, a real-time video conferencing tool available to all staff and integrated within vUWS. This workshop covers the central functions of Collaborate Ultra, including chats and breakout rooms, file sharing, polls and quizzes, and recording.

Managing the Grade Centre

This session focuses on column organisation, creating smart views and favourites, creating and editing different types of columns for grade calculation and downloading Grade Centre.

vUWS Turnitin

This Zoom session focuses on creating a Turnitin assessment, creating and attaching a rubric and providing feedback. As Turnitin is a widely used tool in vUWS, this session will be beneficial to all academics setting up and marking Turnitin assessments.

Getting the Most out of Tutorial Groups Online

The session focuses on creating Groups in vUWS, setting up Smart Views to manage student cohorts according to different criteria and generating groups from Allocate+ data.

vUWS Express

vUWS Express workshops can cover a range of topics in 15 minutes. These workshops may focus on specific features found in other more detailed workshops lists above.

vUWS express – Collaborate Ultra break out rooms

This short workshop covers the central function of Collaborate Ultra, breakout rooms for teaching.

Yam Jam – Social Media in Online Teaching

Approaches and experiences using social media for online teaching and learning: Opportunities, challenges and rethinking social media ‘distractions’.

vUWS Assessment Tools Drop-In Session

Got any burning questions about how to use the assessment tools in vUWS. Join us in our drop-in session to have your questions answered by our expert team.

Your WOS replacement options

The WOS alternative training workshop is a beginners guide to desktop lecture capture. The workshop will run through how to make a pre-recorded PowerPoint lecture, pre-recorded zoom lecture and how to share your pre-recorded lectures in Panopto.

Want to know more about the OTA Workshops?

The Online Teaching and Assessment (OTA) Workshops focus more broadly on teaching approaches and practices best suited to the online space. Brief descriptions of these workshops currently in cycle are available below.

Designing and Assessing Groupwork Online

In this workshop, we will discuss tips on designing and assessing group projects for online delivery. There will be an opportunity to share experiences and practical advice with other WSU staff about groupwork development and implementation.

Using Analytics to Improve the Evaluation of Learning

This workshop builds on a previous workshop that focussed on how to access and use the learning analytics tools in vUWS. In this workshop, we will look at the different types of student engagement and focus on design strategies to help you use vUWS learning analytics tools to help you evaluate your students' behavioural and cognitive engagement in your unit. This is a beginner and intermediate level workshop.

Creating an Online Community

In this workshop you will be introduced to the concept of an online learning community and we will explore ways that the student learning experience can be supported. There will also be a range of practical tips to help you create and sustain an inclusive and supportive online learning environment.

Strategies for Teaching Large Classes Online

In the current COVID-19 situation, some online ‘live’ tutorials/classes will have a larger number of students and may need some changes to the way you interact with students and the way students interact with each other. This workshop will present three strategies for you to consider for your online teaching and illustrate aspects of these through activities.  The three strategies are: manage the technology; structure and integrate synchronous and asynchronous activities; and promote a culture of learning. Overall, the aim of the workshop is to provide you with ways to focus more on encouraging student participation/interaction given the affordances of the technology.

Teaching Online

The sudden transition to online teaching has been challenging for many people – staff and students. In this workshop you will consider ways of enhancing approaches to teaching online to achieve effective student engagement and better outcomes for students and staff.

Engaging Students in Active Online Learning

This workshop will focus on active learning design and techniques for online engagement that build student capabilities in achieving the desired learning outcomes.

Online Assignment Feedback for Learning

Why don’t students pay more attention to feedback on assessment tasks?  This workshop articulates ways of focusing attention on feedback, using feedback to guide student learning, and how to use online resources to engage students with feedback.

Academic Integrity and online assessment

What issues are students facing and what might be the impact of these on academic integrity? This workshop considers risks and strategies to address these in your online unit. Find out how to embed the student academic integrity module in your unit and bring your academic integrity questions to discuss in a Q&A session.

Labs & Experiential Learning Online

In this session we consider transitioning practical sessions online and the different approaches you might take. Associate Professor Gaetano Gargiulo will provide valuable insights of his online teaching in electrical engineering. A resource list of virtual & remotes labs, simulations, tools, and videos will be made available.

Alternative Assessment Options

In this workshop, we will discuss key challenges and strategies related to the implementation of alternative e-assessment. There will be an opportunity to get practical advice from other academics who have made the move.

Marking consistently and efficiently  – rubrics, written and voice feedback, tips and tool options

In this workshop, we discuss strategies and practical tips related to marking consistency and efficiency in an online environment, including utilising rubrics that meet your marking needs and choosing tools to provide both written and/or verbal feedback. There will also be an opportunity to get practical advice from other Western colleagues who are experienced in online assessment design, rubrics development and implementation.

Authentic Assessment

The key questions to address in this session are: what are authentic assessments, why we care, and how to design them? Building on principles of reliable and valid measurements of student learning, we discuss ways to enhance learning to develop analytical skills and generative (design, innovate) skills which are needed to become a good professional. One key aspect of authentic assessments is the context of learning in relation to the subject and/or discipline. It provides the component often missing in traditional assessments needed for meaningful assessment and learning and needed for a more coherent curriculum.

Interpretation of vUWS Analytics

This workshop starts with a brief overview of learning analytics. The focus of the workshop is placed on technical aspects of using learning analytics tools on vUWS. You will have an opportunity to explore tools, such as course analytics, course reports, performance dashboard and retention centre, and learn how to interpret system data and pre-populated reports on vUWS.

Pedagogical Considerations Using Quizzes

Do you use online quizzes? Learn how to get the most of them and practice good quiz writing in this workshop.

Teaching Online drop in break out session

Join us for an informal session to share ideas, discuss issues and connect with colleagues about your experiences and concerns so far with teaching online.

Want to know more about the Online Exams Workshops?

Brief descriptions of the workshops currently in cycle are available below.

Proctor U demo (Live + and Review +) and Q&A session

This session demonstrates what students and staff experience when they use services of ProctorU - a leading e-proctoring provider. We will demonstrate what steps students go through to take the online-proctored exam and what steps are taken by the Exam Team and Learning Futures to set up online invigilated exams. We will also cover the differences between live-proctored and fully-automated invigilated options in Blackboard.

Blackboard Tests (Quizzes): How to set up an exam in vUWS for beginners

Designed for those who have never created a quiz in vUWS, this session will provide an overview of the test tool in Blackboard: types of questions and what are the settings that accompany each.

The Online Teaching and Learning Tools workshops will cover the use of a range of tools offered at Western, including vUWS, Zoom, and Collaborate Ultra.

The Online Teaching and Assessment workshops will cover approaches and pedagogy around online teaching and assessment.

The Online Exams Workshops will cover advice on writing and preparing online exams and an insight into what students and staff experience when participating in them.

As part of Western's transition to online learning, Blackboard is offering a suite of more detailed workshops and short courses to complement our online workshop program. The link to these short courses can be found in the right-hand column of this page.

To access the Zoom-based workshops, you will just need to login through the link in the schedule at the scheduled time.

You will be asked to register with your name and your staff ID and email address.

Recordings of sessions and additional resources can be found in the right-hand menu.

Workshop Schedule

Spring Session - Week 10 (21/09/2020 - 25/09/2020)

Please ensure you check back regularly as we continue to add workshops to our schedule.

WorkshopDateTime Web Link
Open Q&A - Quizzes Tue 22 Sep         10.00am-11.00am Zoom Link:
Authentic Assessment Wed 23 Sep     3.00pm-4.00pm Zoom Link:
Panopto Thu 24 Sep 10.00am-11.00am Zoom Link:

Upcoming Workshops

Please ensure you check back regularly as we continue to add workshops to our schedule.

WorkshopDateTime Web Link
Writing Questions for Online ExamsThu 8 Oct          2.00pm-3.00pmZoom Link:
Writing Questions for Online ExamsWed 14 Oct   11.00am-12.00pmZoom Link:
Writing Marking RubricsThu 22 Oct1.00pm-2.00pmZoom Link:
Writing Marking RubricsTue 27 Oct1.00pm-2.00pmZoom Link:

Other Resources

Resources to assist with your online teaching and assessment design can be accessed by the below links or right hand menu on this page.

Online Professional Learning Modules
The Professional Learning and Recognition vUWS site offers a range of self-paced, online teaching and learning modules for Western staff across all roles and levels of responsibility, to complement other professional learning opportunities to enhance teaching practice and student learning experiences.

Active Learning Website
The Active Learning Website provides materials to help you design and facilitate active learning in your online setting or face-to-face classroom.

If you have any queries regarding available support, please contact LearningFutures@westernsydney.edu.au.

Need Help with the Workshops?

Want to Know More About Zoom?

Zoom is the most common synchronous audio-visual tool we use at Western. You may already be familiar with it and know it's key features.

To use Zoom, on any device, you will need to download the client application.

You can download the Zoom client at the Zoom Website (opens in a new window).

You can learn more about Zoom through the following document: Zoom Meetings and Webinars (PDF, 80.59 KB) (opens in a new window)

If you don't have time for one of our workshops, you can watch one record by Zoom.us: Getting Started with Zoom Meetings (opens in a new window)

Want to Know More About Collaborate Ultra?

Collaborate Ultra is a similar tool embedded in vUWS itself. This is tool is less commonly used, but has similar functionality to Zoom, but with the added benefits of being inside vUWS.

You should use whichever tool you are most comfortable with using.

Some workshops will be offered through Collaborate Ultra.

These sessions have been set up to allow "Guest Access" so all you will need is to provide a name and to give the program access to your microphone and camera.

If you are interested in learning more about Collaborate Ultra, you can find more information in this document: Collaborate Ultra Features (PDF, 94.44 KB) (opens in a new window)

Need Help with Other Issues?

Is something urgent/broken?
Contact ITDS for technical support

Need vUWS Support?
Try our self-help resources

Professional learning modules
Register now for immediate access

Attend a workshop
Learn more about online teaching

Making a WOS recording?
Learn more about our WOS Studios

Interested in flipped learning?
Check out our new site

If you have any questions or requests from the Learning Futures team, please contact: LearningFutures@Westernsydney.edu.au