Tools for distance teaching
This is an overview of tools, which can be used for remote teaching at computer science departments. You can use other tools in your lectures, but if these are sufficient, please prefer them. This way, our students will not be overwhelmed by a plethora of tools to learn.
If you have any questions, please write an e-mail to Martin Mareš.
See also the MFF-wide manual on distance teaching.
Zoom is a video-conferencing tool, which supports meetings with up to 300 participants, screen sharing, and recording of meetings. It is the preferred tool for audio/video interaction with students and broadcasting of lectures.
Zoom is available as a web application (it seems to work better in Chrome than in Firefox) and as a native application for common operating systems, including Android and iOS. Some features are available only in the native apps.
We have a site-wide license with 8 shared accounts for the computer science school. You can use accounts email@example.com to zoom-8 at matfyz.zoom.us, you should have received the password by e-mail. On each account, there can be only one meeting at a given time. We are using Zoom's scheduling mechanism for allocation of time; you might need to find an account which is free at your preferred time. If your conference corresponds to a regularly scheduled lecture, please select the account by your lecture hall if possible (e.g., zoom-4 for S4). Please do not change per-account settings, only per-meeting ones.
In addition to the licensed accounts, you can create personal unlicensed accounts, which allow group meetings for up 40 minutes and unlimited individual meetings.
- You can view the schedule of all shared accounts. Here you can easily find a free account for a given time. It also detects meeting collisions (Zoom's user interface doesn't!).
- On shared accounts, schedule all meetings beforehand (i.e., no instant meetings).
- On shared accounts, include your name in the meeting's topic.
- Scheduling of recurring meetings (e.g., classes) is more comfortable in the web interface.
- While it seems that meeting start times have granularity of 30 minutes, in fact they do not. However, the web interface needs a little convincing to enter other times. On the contrary, meeting durations always have 15 minute granularity.
- Meetings can be recorded either in the Zoom cloud (and later downloaded) or locally at your machine. As of 2020-03-19, cloud recording is overloaded and unreliable.
- Meeting participants can send "yes/no/raise hand" signals, which are visible in the participant list.
- Meetings also include a textual chat, which can be useful for asking questions during the class. If you record the meeting, a transcript of the chat is kept in a separate file; we have a tool for integrating the transcript to the video.
- When creating a meeting, you can allow joining of participants before the host. You can also create host key, which allows other participants to become the host by pressing the "Claim Host" button.
- Deleting a meeting only moves it to trash and the meeting still lingers in the schedule. It disappears fully in 7 days, but it is better to empty the trash manually to let everybody know that the time slot is already free.
If you want to record a lecture for later viewing by students, there are several possibilities:
- Use the video camera in S9 (see below)
- Record it in Zoom
- Use the department's video camera
- Use your own equipment
The recording can be published using the university streaming server, either for public viewing, or restricted to the academic community (i.e., anybody with a CAS login). If you want to upload your videos, please ask for access.
If you want any help with editing video, or transcoding it to a better compressed format, please consult the computer administrators of your department.
Recording in S9
The S9 lecture hall is equipped with a video camera and wireless microphones, which are suited for recording lectures. The camera is controlled from the panel at the teacher's desk (the one which also controls lights and window blinds).
The recordings can be downloaded via SFTP from avt.ms.mff.cuni.cz. The SFTP server is accessible only from the network at Malá Strana and it requires password authentication using an account either from CAS or from the MS computer labs. You can ask firstname.lastname@example.org for access rights.
Beware that you need to keep the AV equipment turned on before it finishes uploading the video.