2. Stranded Students?

It wasn’t only international conference speakers who couldn’t travel. Many faculties and departments expressed concern about the start of term and assisting those students and staff who may not be able to make it back in time. OUCS run a number of services which were used:

2.1. Using WebLearn

WebLearn offers many facilities which are useful if students are not able to return to attend lectures. WebLearn can be used host to learning materials (e.g. handouts, slides, recorded lectures) and access can be controlled. It is easy to set up a site with all members of a course or tutorial group listed as participants. The Sign- up tool can be used to arrange a series of online tutorials in much the same way as it can be used to organise face-to-face tutorials and /or the site Schedule (calendar) can be used to indicate when a tutor will be present in the Chat-room to answer student questions.

If lectures have been recorded then they can be housed in WebLearn via the internal ‘Podcasts’ tool - this tool allows a sequence of recordings to be made available via a single URL (an RSS feed). This feed can optionally be protected behind Oxford SSO authentication.

Step-by-step guides are available. If you cannot find what you are looking for then please contact weblearn@oucs.ox.ac.uk and ask for help.

2.2. Recording lectures

Some lecturers expressed an interest in recording their talks in order to make them available to those that can’t attend. If you are considering this, we have clear guides to help you with this process and to place the digital material on WebLearn. Recording a lecture can be as straightforward as using a portable mp3 recorder or smartphone with microphone. You may have equipment and support available in your department. The OUCS podcasting team has a limited number of digital audio recorders which we can offer on a short term loan. There is also advice and regular training available for the free editing Audacity software available for both Mac and PC.

For further support and advice contact podcasts@oucs.ox.ac.uk or see the Podcasting website.

2.3. Video Conferencing at your desk

OUCS offers a desktop video-conferencing service - Webex - that can easily be used for meetings or tutorials. From one to 200 attendees can be invited into one Webex session, and participants just need a computer (to view material) and a phone or a computer headset (to hear the audio). You can share a presentation, an application (Word, Excel, etc), a whiteboard or your entire desktop with the attendees. You can control who talks (useful in larger meetings) and give control of the whiteboard, application, etc, to specific participants to enable them to demonstrate skills or illustrate points of view. The University is currently running a free trial of this service. How-to guides are available. Please contact webex@ox.ac.uk to ask about an account or to request a demo.

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