Navigation auf


Studium Biologie For lecturers

Teaching Advices

UZH guidelines:


Create a learning environment that supports the learning activities appropriate to achieving the desired learning outcomes.

Instructional Design


1. Objectives / Intended Outcomes 

Defining the intended learning outcomes (ILOs)

Intended learning outcomes

Intended learning outcome is a statement describing what and how a student is expected to learn after exposure to teaching. Such an outcome statement can be made at three levels:

  • the institutional level, as a statement of what the graduates of the university are supposed to be able to do
  • the degree programme level, as a statement of what graduates from particular degree programmes should be able to do
  • the course level, as a statement of what students should be able to do at the completion of a given course.


Intended learning outcomes (ILO) at the course level

The main reason for teaching a course usually amount to no more than five or six. Each ILO might be regarded as one of these reasons. The more ILOs, the more difficult it becomes to align teaching/learning activities and assessment tasks to each.

When writing course ILOs, we need specifically to:

  1. decide what kind of knowledge is to be involved
  2. select the topics to teach and decide the level of understanding desirable for students to achieve and how it is be displayed.

Finally, we address the question of alignment itself, involving all three levels of institution, programme, and course outcomes.

Writing course ILOs

Consider the course aim and write the course ILOs by identifying:

  1. the content or topic to be learned
  2. the level of understanding or performance to be achieved (outcome verb)


Students should be able to:

ILO1: ...







Review your ILOs to see if:

  1. the kind of knowledge, content and level of understanding or performance are relevant to achieve the course aim
  2. they cover all the main reasons for teaching the course
  3. they are clearly written, especially in identifying the level of understanding or performance to be achieved by the students
  4. the number is manageable for designing aligned teaching/learning activities and assessment tasks



2. Possible Online Teaching Activities

Choosing teaching / learning activities likely to lead to the ILOs

- Online live Zoom lectures

The Zoom meetings are scheduled according to the course catalogue.

How you could structure your Zoom meetings and increase the participation of your students:

Teaching methods for the introduction

  • Concept map (sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Overview of session content (verbal, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Intended learning goals of the session (verbal, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Brief repetition of the last session (quiz / polling)

Teaching methods for the main part

  • Presenting session content  (verbal, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Question session (verbal / quiz / polling)
  • Key concept session (verbal / quiz / polling / whiteboard)
  • Buzz groups (breakout rooms, polling) 
  • Discussion session (verbal in plenum or in breakout room)
  • Task sessions (breakout room, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Students' presentation session (verbal, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Brainstorming session (verbal, collaborative note taking on whiteboard)

Teaching methods for the conclusion

  • Summary of the session (verbal sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • Clarification of questions (verbal in plenum, chat)
  • Take Home Message (verbal, sharing screen, whiteboard)
  • CATs / Surveys (chat, polling, asynchronous feedback via OLAT survey...)
Didactics Tools
Concept Mapping Video conferences – virtual classroom 
Key Concept Questions Tips and Tricks educating on Zoom (PDF, 437 KB)
Online Discussion  

- Pre-recorded lectures combined with zoom live discussions

The Zoom live discussions are scheduled according to the course catalogue.

Flipped Classroom: Lecturers can prepare all lecture material before the session and make it available in the Learning Management System (e.g. OLAT or OpenEdx...). In OLAT it is possible to schedule when each content should automatically appear for the students. These allows the lecturers to prepare the content before the beginning of the semester and even reuse learning material (movies, simulations, animations or elaborated scripts). The students prepare themselves before the actual session. The time during the session is used for a live Zoom meeting in order to discuss topics, clarify questions or to solve problems. 

Didactics Tools
Flipped Classroom Video conferences – virtual classroom 
  Screen recording
  Embed your movies in OLAT

- Mixed - Lecture hall & Livestream & Recording

Probably, the solution for the careful return to on-site teaching in the HS 2021.

The lecturer teaches in the lecture hall with a reduced number of students while adhering the safety concept of the UZH, offers a livestream via SWITCHlivestream (available from fall 2021) or Zoom and the recordings are published after the lecture.

It is preferable, that the students at home have the chance to address questions during the lecture. For large lectures a chat with a moderating assistant would be ideal.


Didactics Tools
Blended Learning  
Problem Based Learning  
  Lecture hall registration via OLAT - allowed occupancy HS21 (soon available)

- Ghost lectures in the lecture hall

Not recommended because of the delay of the content and missing interaction.

The lecturers record their sessions in the lecture hall without any students. With a delay of 2-5 hours the hold session will be automatically available on OLAT for the students' learning. 

- Self-organised learning with weekly tasks by choice

At semester start, all learning content and information is at the students' disposal.

At the beginning of the semester, the lecturer makes available all learning material together with the intended learning outcomes and exam information.

Students learn at their own pace and self-organised. 

Optionally, students have weekly tasks which they can upload online for correction. Some weeks before the exam there will be a live zoom session where all tasks are discussed. An optional formative online assessment prepares further for the final online exam (the formative exam should have the same format as the summative exam).

An online forum where the students can write all their questions should help them during the semester to advance in learning. Teaching assistants could coach such a forum.

Didactics Tools
  OLAT forum (you can subscribe and receive an e-mail in case of a new forum entry)

- Semester work, Reports, Project works, Problem Based Learning

Reduced number of Zoom sessions scheduled according to the course catalogue.

The students write a semester work or report during the semester. They receive an introductory and some advisory lectures via zoom at the beginning and in between of the semester. Online Peer Review or the inclusion of Teaching Assistants could reduce the load of correction for the lecturers. 

Didactics Tools
Problem Based Learning  

- Remote group work

Students work together virtually using videoconferencing tools or instant messaging. Some experts suggest that one individual serves as a team coach and makes sure that every participant has a role and complete different components of the group project by established deadlines. The coaches can test their ability to act as a coach and team member.

The students... the lecturers' instructions as well as the guidelines and note all deadlines.

...should take some time to know each other.

...check which online-tools work for them appropriately for their group work.

...set regular meetings and stick to them. They agree on the agenda in advance.

...take notes in a shared document, refer back to the group notes and share ideas.

- Remote (laboratory) practicals

Try to cover the different competences that the students should achieve.

Nothing can replace the experiences of an on-site lab class or a practical. Nevertheless, you can try to cover the different competences that the students should achieve with remote teaching as far as possible.

Possible Competences:

Planning experiments: The preparation for upcoming experiments may also can be done via remote online tools. Elaborated scripts and protocols could be made available in your online course where you can easily build students' group with different task assignments. In these groups, the students could use Zoom for discussions and brainstorming, so that they can discuss advantages and disadvantages of their approaches. 

Designing experiments: If students design their experiments individually they could have teaching assistants as coaches who scaffold with their experiences. Students' group work could be done via Zoom. In the end, the students could upload their result on the learning management system (e.g. OLAT - task assignment) which will be corrected by Teaching Assistants. Worthy feedback helps the students to rethink and improve the design of their experiment. In plenum you could hold a Zoom discussion and clarify questions, discuss pitfalls and summarise interesting aspects.

Performing experiments and collecting data: Create movies where the single experiments are carefully filmed and annotated with hints. Either the students only watch these movies together with the reading of elaborated scripts or if possible you provide them laboratory material with wich they can imitate the experiment and collect their data. Eventually, the students could prepare themselves online and watch the movies and then work in small and permanent groups on-site together with their teaching assistant (lab rotation class). Students could even film and comment their experiment (smart phone) for which they will receive a feedback. This film material could serve for your future teaching material. Another possibility is, that the students do field work and collect data individually or in small and permanent groups.  

Analysing data: Data analysis could be done either with data that the students collected themselves or with a data sets from former experiments that you provide them. You could use live Zoom sessions and teach the process of data analysis or create an online learning environment (e.g. in OLAT) with recordings that you could reuse and improve each year. The students could upload their results via OLAT task assignment and the lecturers or teaching assistants are able to provide valuable written feedback for the individual student or for groups.

Drawing conclusions / Making recommendations: Lab reports could be written and transmitted via OLAT. Online Peer Review (available from fall 2021 in OLAT) could not only provide the students with reciprocal feedback but also with expert feedback (teaching assistants or lecturers). 

- Excursions (real-world guided walks)

Real-world guided walks in small independent groups

Actionbound is an app for playing digitally interactive scavenger hunts to lead the learner on a path of discovery. 

Create your app-based digital timeline of events or a places of interest tour. Elements and tools like GPS locations, directions, maps, compass, pictures, videos, quizzes, missions, tournaments, QR codes and much more are available to create fun and exciting mobile app-based adventures. 

Link to the website


3. Assessments

Assessing students' actual learning outcomes to see how well they match what was intended (ILOs)

Summative Assessment


4. Evaluation

Evidence from the students' perspective

A characteristic of good university teachers is their willingness to collect student feedback on their teaching, in order to see where their teaching might be improved (Dunkin and Precians 1992). Expert teachers continually reflect on how they might teach even better.

A questionnaire could tell you:

  • Were the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) clear?
  • Did the Teaching Learning Activities help them achieve the ILOs?
  • Which did not?
  • Did the assessment tasks address the ILOs?
  • Were the grading rubrics understood?

Focus group interviews are also valuable sources of evidence. Selected students could be asked to keep reflective diaries in which they comment on their learning environment.


A survey could also be undertaken during the semester, so that the students benefit from immediate adaptations and feedback. Assessing...

  • prior knowledge, recall, and understanding.
  • skill in analysis and critical thinking.
  • skill in synthesis and creative thinking.
  • skill in problem solving.
  • skill in application and performance.
  • student's awareness of their attitudes and values.
  • students' self-awareness as learners.
  • course-related learning and study skills, strategies, and behaviours.
  • learner reactions to teachers and teaching.
  • learner reactions to class activities, assignments, and materials.
Didactics Tools
  OLAT survey
CATs (survey during the semester)  

Evidence from the teacher's perspective

Reflection is often not best carried out alone. Therefore, it is helpful to have a critical friend. It is a complex role, part partner, part consultant, but most of all a mirror to facilitate reflection (Stenhouse 1975).


Weiterführende Informationen

Teaching Tools

Office of the Vice President Education and Student Affairs

Digital Teaching

Teaching Tools