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.

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.

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.

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 email address.

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

Workshop Schedule

Autumn Week Eighteen (29/06/2020-03/07/2020)

StreamWorkshopAbilityDateTime Web Link
TLTThe Anatomy of the Cortex vUWSBeginner Tuesday
30 June
12pm-12.30pm Zoom Link: 
OTAEngaging Students in Active Online Learning All Tuesday
30 June
2pm-3pmZoom Link:
TLTSetting up Groups and Grade CentreAll Wednesday
1 July
10.30am-11.30amZoom Link: 
OTAWriting Marking RubricsAllWednesday
1 July
12pm-1pmZoom Link:
TLTSetting up TurnitinAllWednesday
1 July
2pm-3pmZoom Link:
TLTvUWS Test/QuizAllThursday
2 July
10am-11amZoom Link:

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?s
Check out our new site

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