Teaching and Assessment FAQs for Faculty

Information UPDATED on Thursday 1 July 2021

Teaching and Learning Online

What supports are available to me preparing my online teaching?

UCD Teaching and Learning offers a recorded webinar series on online teaching, learning and assessment and an extensive range of Technology Enhanced Learning resources are available as follows:

UCD IT Services has a wide range of workshops available to support you using Brightspace and Virtual Classroom. Click here to view the list of scheduled workshops and to register.

Where your School/College has a local Educational Technologist/Team it is advisable to contact them directly and they will be only too happy to provide support and guidance. Some are also offering workshops in their Schools and across Colleges.

The TEL ALL (Technology Enhanced Learning for All) Series2020 includes a range of ‘Conversations’ with faculty about their experiences of teaching and assessing online and offers some useful tips to colleagues who are preparing to deliver blended and online learning for the upcoming trimester. The TEL All webinars are facilitated by Educational Technologists who share their pedagogical and technical expertise on various aspects of teaching online.

How do I set up live lectures to deliver online?

Collaborate Ultra is the virtual classroom tool used by UCD to facilitate real-time classes, it can be accessed directly from within your Brightspace module. You can also use Zoom, however Zoom is not integrated with Brightspace. UCD Teaching and Learning has a lecturers’ guide to the virtual classroom including details on how to set up, deliver and record in this online environment. You will also need to provide instructions to students on how to access the virtual classroom. A students’ guide is also available from UCD Teaching and Learning. It is also important that you contact and liaise closely with your College / School based Educational Technologist who will provide guidance and advice. 

I have never taught in an online forum before, how do I do this?

If you need information on how to support your students’ learning online refer to UCD Teaching and Learning Guidance for Online Delivery of Teaching and Learning. It is also important that you contact and liaise closely (where possible) with your College / School based Educational Technologist who will provide guidance and advice.

Where are Faculty Virtual Classroom Guidelines located?

Faculty guidelines are available on the UCD Teaching and Learning website:

Guidelines for Faculty on Using the Virtual Classroom 

Where are Student Virtual Classroom Guidelines located?

All students have been provided with a copy of the guidelines on their Brightspace. Student guidelines are available on the UCD Teaching and Learning website:

Guidelines for Students on Using the Virtual Classroom

I have never used a discussion forum. What is it?

Discussion forums are often used in modules to encourage collaboration between students on a topic or task within the module, where they can chat about module materials, ask questions and participate in group work. You can establish the discussion forum within your Brightspace module. If you need information on how to support your students’ learning through discussion forums refer to UCD Teaching and Learning Guidance for Online Delivery of Teaching and Learning.

Can I use Zoom for teaching?

Yes, Zoom can be used for teaching. Collaborate Ultra remains the system of choice. https://www.ucd.ie/itservices/ourservices/emailcalendarcollaboration/videocallsandconf/zoomvideoconferencing/#d.en.488293

Do I have to offer my online classes at fixed times?

Yes. The University timetable must be adhered to so that students can develop a structured approach to their learning and be available to participate in all learning activities both online and face to face. Where you are running a synchronous ‘live’ online session you should record it to facilitate students who cannot attend.

Can I deliver my class online over a 3-hour consecutive period?

It is very important that students have the opportunity to engage in a range of learning activities in a structured way allowing them to attend all of their modules. It is recommended that a more active learning approach is taken in ‘live’ online classes. It is not advisable, and runs contrary to best practice pedagogy, to engage in prolonged online live engagement (without appropriate breaks and diverse activities) with students in order to cover content.

Do I have to contact students about my module?

Yes. You should contact your students directly to communicate your plans for teaching delivery and explain the approach that you have outlined in your module descriptor.

Do I have to record my lectures, or should students be expected to attend live sessions?

It is recommended that you record all ‘live’ sessions and make them available afterwards to students for purposes of catch-up, revision and where English is not a student’s first language. If this is not possible, you should ensure that equivalent learning materials are available for students.

Do I have to pre-record learning materials?

It is recommended that you pre-record some of your learning materials as is appropriate to your module as an alternative to face-to-face teaching. Chunk learning materials as appropriate, it Is recommended that recordings are no longer than 10-15mins. For further info see; TEL Quick Guide – Prerecording Lectures and Screencasts


I want to deliver a live lecture on campus so how will this be recorded?

There are 15 lecture theatres in the shared teaching spaces that are equipped with lecture capture solutions. The lecture capture solutions either record to a USB drive, to a dedicated server, or to the server of the software used on the PC e.g. Blackboard Collaborate.

In the case of solutions with a dedicated server, access to the server will be provided to a nominated School contact to schedule the recording and generate a link for Brightspace.

Those allocated into these spaces, or those who make a once-off booking to use the space, can request a demonstration of the equipment in the room by submitting a Teaching Support Request to Estate Services (estates@ucd.ie).

Are there any facilities for pre-recording my lectures?

A number of smaller shared teaching spaces have been equipped to allow pre-recording of content for sharing online. These recording studios are equipped with a PC, camera, desk-based microphone, document camera and graphics pad (digital whiteboard). The lecturer should bring any pre-prepared files for use on a USB drive e.g. PowerPoint slides, or access via cloud storage such as Google Drive. Lecturers can bring their own headset microphone to use with the PC if favoured.

The recording studios will be available from 14 September and can be booked for use via Room Allocations (room.allocations@ucd.ie). Users can request a demonstration of the equipment in the room by submitting a Teaching Support Request to Estate Services (estates@ucd.ie).

There are additional recording facilities in the Quinn School of Business and the Daedalus building which are supported by local teams in the relevant Unit. These recording booths are not part of the shared teaching portfolio and access to the rooms and recordings are locally managed. Requests to use these recording studios can be made via:

1) Quinn School of Business – email business.elearning@ucd.ie

2) Daedalus Booth – email ithelpdesk@ucd.ie or contact 01-7162700

Where do I make my lectures and materials available for students?

All lectures and learning materials must be made available in Brightspace. These include module information, learning materials, activities and assessments. For module design and structural considerations refer to the UCD Teaching and Learning guide on Module Design in Brightspace For support with the most common tasks in Brightspace please click this link:


What types of materials do I make available to students on Brightspace?

You should make available the materials that will best support your students’ learning during this period. This will include some of the following examples pre-recorded lectures/videos, narrated PowerPoint slides, case studies, readings, discussion forums, quizzes, online group activities. See Guidance of Online Delivery of Teaching and Learning

Will faculty retain the right to destroy any online teaching materials (recorded lectures/notes etc.) that are prepared as part of COVID-19 delivery?

The UCD Intellectual Property Policy recognises that UCD owns “copyright in software, apps, data, databases, database rights or to any online teaching materials (including courses captured in video, or in other digital forms) existing or new and UCD shall own all copyright in such works and publications created by the UCD Community in the course of their activities at UCD”. In the context of material produced by faculty solely for the purpose of the provision of distance learning in light of the COVID-19 University response, the University will waive its rights to ownership of the material in its altered form. Faculty will have the right to destroy any material specifically produced as part of the response once the University COVID-19 response concludes.

I require specific software in order to support my online teaching. Who do I contact about this?

UCD has a range of software licences that can be used. A central fund of €100K was provided to Colleges (pro rata by faculty) to be matched by the Colleges to allow for priority decision making within Colleges in relation to the purchase of software and materials to support teaching. Contact your School Head of Teaching and Learning and your Vice-Principal for Teaching and Learning in relation to this funding.

I want to conduct Peer to Peer Assessment online. Can I do that through Brightspace?

Yes you can now do this through Brightspace using a tool called peerScholar which will be available by the start of term as part of a one-year site-wide pilot. More information is available here.

I want to use polling in my online lectures, how can I do that? * Updated Friday 6 November

Yes, you can use Poll Everywhere. More information on using this service is available here

There are also some polling functionalities currently available via Collaborate Ultra and Zoom which can be utilised in an online ‘live’ session/lecture.

What supports can I offer students with additional needs in terms of online lectures?

Please see UCD Access and Lifelong Learning's FAQs for information on this. ALL can also provide additional support and guidance as required.

One of my students has a disability and feels overwhelmed by the new technologies. What do I advise them?

UCD Access and Lifelong Learning is developing resources to assist students to adapt to this new working environment. Students can contact support staff for help by emailing disability@ucd.ie.

One of my students has told me that they have a learning difficulty and cannot type fast enough or process information quickly enough to show that they are participating in online discussions. What can I do?

Access and Lifelong Learning has prepared some advice for students with learning difficulties who have difficulties with typing and/or processing information. These can be found on the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning FAQ page or you can contact staff for advice by emailing disability@ucd.ie

What are virtual office hours?

When students are remotely located, it is essential that they know your availability and how to contact you. Virtual Office Hours can replace face-to-face office hours. Once you set-up Google Meets or other methods such as Zoom, you should provide the link to students through your Brightspace module.

I lecture more than 500 students how am I expected to maintain contact and answer all of their queries using Virtual Office Hours? What supports will be available to me?

When lecturing large student groups, it will not be possible to be in contact with each individual student. Using alternatives in Brightspace will allow you to get information to your student cohort, for example, you could set-up a FAQs discussion forum and encourage students to ask and answer one another’s common issues/dilemmas relating to the module. For more information on communicating with your students through Brightspace please refer to the guide on Communicating Effectively in Brightspace. It is also important that you contact and liaise closely with your College / School based Educational Technologist (where possible) who will provide guidance and advice.

Students are emailing me with queries and I cannot keep up. What am I supposed to do?

Where the queries are not specific to your module, you should refer students to the University FAQ linked on the Brightspace home page. You can post a module level FAQ in Brightspace addressing common queries and inform the class to consult these in the first instance. They should be updated as additional questions arise.

I lecture a large number of international students. How do I address their needs across different time zones?

Acknowledging that not all students will be able to participate in ‘live’ sessions it is important that core content is available in other formats on Brightspace and that students are reassured on this point so that their core learning will not be disadvantaged. You should ensure that you record the session and make it available to all students post-delivery. Where live activity does takes place it will be in line with the University timetable and follow local UCD time.

On Campus Teaching 

Will I be provided with PPE throughout the trimester when I am teaching face to face?

An individual allocation of reusable face coverings, hand sanitiser, sanitising wipes and other hygiene products will be provided by the University to students and staff.  Two reusable face coverings per person for UCD staff and students will be made available. 

A staff personal hygiene pack containing hand sanitiser and wipes for individual use can be collected by prior arrangement via the online request form from one of the collection points [(Building 71, Campus Services (Agriculture Building), Mail Room (Newstead Block A) and Blackrock Services desk) from Monday (except Bank Holidays) to Friday between 08:00 and 17:00].

  • A face shield for individual personal use can also be collected by prior arrangement from all collection points - one face shield per staff member per application will be provided.
  • Bulk collections by locally appointed COVID 19 coordinators on behalf of a number of colleagues can be facilitated on application.
  • Hygiene packs contain one pack of wipes and one bottle of sanitiser per staff member. Face shields are limited to one shield per staff member per application.
  • Requests for additional hygiene packs, replacement face shields or additional cleaning material must be submitted to Estates via a new request.

I am very concerned about teaching on campus. What measures are in place in classrooms? 

Every classroom will have signage indicating:

  • Capacity at 1M and 2M physical distancing.
    • A request not to move any flexible furniture from its set position.
    • That when the room reaches capacity no additional people should enter the room.
    • When entering the room, seats should be occupied in sequence beginning at the furthest point from the entrance, at 2M distancing in the first instance and thereafter at 1M.
    • A reminder to individuals to sanitise their workspace before use. Note: cleaning materials, for example wipes or blue paper and sanitising spray, will be provided at key locations in each teaching space.
    • At conclusion of the class, students should exit in sequence beginning at the nearest point to the exit door.

Seating designated for use under physical distancing will be clearly indicated. A floor marking will indicate a 2M distance to the first row of occupied seating.  If there are multiple entry/exit doors to a classroom, doors will be designated for use as entry or exit only with signage to this effect.

Do I have to explain all these rules to students?

Yes, it would be good practice to explain the signage and rules around physical distancing at the start of class.

How do I stop students coming in when the room is full?

You inform them that the room is full and they cannot enter.

Will there be adequate seats in each classroom that reflects the physical distancing rules?

Classrooms have been configured under physical distancing rules to have the correct number of chairs set out in each location and marked by floor markings, i.e. in a classroom with a maximum occupancy of 20, there will be 20 chairs set out. Any excess chairs will be neatly stacked in the corner of the room or removed. In the event that a seat has been moved by a previous occupant, the user is asked to return the seat to its correct position as designated by the floor markings before sitting.

Can I still use the PC Teaching Labs on campus?

There are seven PC teaching labs on campus. As with other shared teaching spaces on campus, the rooms have been set up to accommodate students at a minimum of 1M physical distancing, noting that as with all learning spaces, rooms should be filled and used at 2M physical distancing where possible.

How will teaching labs be configured?

In circumstances in labs where 2M cannot be used face coverings may be used at no less than 1M. Where faculty may be required to be closer than 2M they should wear face shield. Normal laboratory PPE requirements will also be maintained. Positions that can be used should be indicated. This will also include access to shared equipment such as fume cupboards. Use of high-touch items and shared equipment should be limited where possible. Teaching labs will be cleaned during set-up times and individuals should clean equipment and their workspace before and after each use in research labs. Specific local protocols will be put in place by lab managers.

Am I responsible for ensuring physical distancing between students in my class?

No, you should ensure that you keep at least 2M from the nearest student.

Am I required to keep a class attendance record?

Staff are not required to take attendance at classes unless the module assessment strategy includes components that require a student’s presence to complete or in situations where class attendance is normally required. (Note: Academic regulations do not permit giving students grades for attending).

Attendance records for laboratory, workshop and other practical type classes should be kept.

Who can I refer incidents of inappropriate student behaviour to? * updated 18 November

Where a student is belligerent, disrespectful or is engaged in unsafe behaviour in face to face or online settings,  this can be reported to the Head of School and disciplinary process may be invoked through the UCD Student Code.

Is UCD going to contact trace students?

In the event of a positive case of COVID-19 in the University community the role of contact tracing will be undertaken by the HSE. In such a scenario, it is the responsibility of each member of the University community to be in a position to provide the HSE with details of their contacts, if requested.

To assist with contact tracing, every member of the University community is strongly advised to download and use the Government’s Tracker App.

In addition, staff and students are encouraged to keep their own paper or digital COVID-19 Contact Diary. This contact diary should be used to record details of the owner’s activities when on campus, including what locations they accessed, who they had contact with and for how long in each case. Students attending lectures are also asked to record in their diaries their seat number for each teaching activity.

Staff and post-graduate research students are required to log their attendance on campus on a daily basis via the Estate Services website using the sign-in/sign-out form. Third-party companies, minor works contractors and service providers to the University are also required to log their on-campus activities via the Estate Services website on a daily basis.

Contact diaries and any information held centrally by UCD can be made available to the HSE for contact tracing purposes in the event of a positive COVID- 19 case on campus. Personal data is deleted after a period of 28 days unless a formal request is received from a relevant statutory body.

Do I have to wear a face covering when teaching?

No, although you may choose to wear a face visor. The exception is in a laboratory, workshop or similar type setting when face coverings may be required as part of mandated personal protective equipment.If your teaching brings you within 2M of others, then a face covering should be worn.

Are members of faculty required to enforce face covering wearing during class? * Updated 18 November

No, some students may have valid reasons for not wearing a face covering. It is recommended that a reminder to students about the need to wear a face covering during class. This should be sufficient to remind those who should be wearing a face-covering to do so. You should ensure that during teaching activities you are at least 2M from the nearest student.

The exception is when the wearing of a face covering is part of mandated personal protective equipment in a laboratory, workshop, or similar type setting, in which case students can be excluded from the session if they are not wearing the required PPE.

What do I do if I cannot maintain 2M physical distancing in my classroom due to the nature of the learning activities?

In class and other teaching environments, staff will be positioned at least 2M from students. Current guidelines permit 1M physical distancing between students in lectures, tutorials, practical classes and other teaching activities, in conjunction with the use of face coverings where 2M physical distancing is not possible. In class and other teaching environments, staff should be positioned at least 2M from students.

What is the approach to cleaning classrooms?

There will be an enhanced cleaning regime in place whereby student and teaching desk surfaces will be cleaned twice daily, once in the morning and once later in the day. To complement the work of cleaning staff, all members of the University community are asked to adopt a ‘clean as you go’ approach.

What materials are available in the classroom to sanitise my work area?

Cleaning products, for example wipes, or blue paper and sanitising spray, will be available at the teaching desk for use by the lecturer and at key locations in the rooms for use by students or other users.

How will computer keyboards in classrooms be cleaned?

All PC keyboards in use at the teaching lectern in shared teaching spaces will be covered with a waterproof keyboard cover that can be cleaned with the cleaning materials available at the lectern.

How will ventilation in the teaching spaces be managed?

Classrooms in UCD will have windows and / or grilles for natural ventilation. All internal UCD building spaces have been designed to provide adequate air exchange rates whether through passively ventilated means or mechanically ventilation systems.

  • Passively ventilated offices and classrooms are ventilated by opening windows.
  • Windows should be opened when entering the room and closed at the end of the day for security purposes.
  • It is recommended to actively open windows, even if this causes some discomfort, as it may feel colder.
  • Larger teaching rooms, labs, workshops and theatres are generally all mechanically ventilated, with grilles fitted to the ceiling or walls.
  • Mechanical ventilation systems have been modified to eliminate air recirculation. i.e. to only provide fresh air.
  • Ventilation systems have been programmed to operate for longer periods where appropriate, i.e. before and after classes to purge air within the spaces. 
  • Estate Services will carry out periodic checks of carbon dioxide levels in classrooms and lecture theatres during this period.

What UCD Library facilities are available? 

The James Joyce Library is open to UCD staff and postgraduates with limited services, Tuesday-Thursdays 10.00-16.00 until 17 September. Advance registration is required. There is no access for other user groups at this time. All UCD libraries reopen on 21 September.


Does the late submission of coursework penalty still apply?


Can I still use IA grades?

IA grades can be used in the contexts as outlined in the current UCD Regulations. See Regulation 4.31 (page28-29).

Am I still expected to give feedback to students within a 20-day time frame as per the regulations?


If an end-trimester terminal examination is being replaced by another kind of assessment – e.g. a learning journal – is there still a requirement for feedback?

Yes. There are a range of feedback options in Brightspace that facilitates feedback. UCD Teaching and Learning provides very good resources in relation to giving Technology Enhanced Feedback. They can be accessed at this link http://www.ucd.ie/teaching/t4media/technology_enhanced_feedback.pdf

When do I run resits? How do I let students know about these?

Resits involving assignments that have been scheduled for resolution during the teaching term should proceed as normal. 

I am worried about preparing for our Subject Extern Examiners. Who do I contact for advice? Updated 19/2/2021

UCD Assessment can be contacted about the processes involved in relation to Subject Extern Examiners. You can contact externexaminer@ucd.ie with any specific queries.