Articulate face-to-face, distance and blended learning

Teachers' FAQ


On-site or in-person learning (students attend class sessions on university premises) differ from the general terms distance or online learning comprising a range of technology-enabled remote learning options (e.g., learning via the Moodle platform, watching short videos clips, participating in virtual class webinars via Zoom, watching live broadcasts on Mediaserver, etc.). which do not require students’ actual presence in the classroom. 

More specifically, other terms are commonly used to refer to those learning modalities that combine in-person and distance learning. Blended learning (referred to as enseignement hybride in French), refers to how online learning supplements in-person learning. This consists for example of alternating between in-person classes and online exercises for the same course during the semester. However, in Hybrid Learning (referred to as co-modal in French), online learning is an alternative to classroom learning. This consists of classes being given simultaneously in-person and online. The students may join the class either in person or via a videoconferencing tool and should ideally be able to interact with the class and the instructor regardless of whether they are physically in class or attending the class remotely. 

At its most advanced level, hybrid learning consists of the Hybrid Flexible course format (“HyFlex”), where each class session and learning activity is offered in-person, synchronously online (live) and asynchronously online (after the class took place). The HyFlex model follows the key principle that learning should be equivalent, regardless of the mode.

On the use of video/streaming and video recording, note the key distinction between synchronous and asynchronous approaches. UNIGE proposes tools that enable synchronous live broadcasting of a class, for instance using live streaming with Mediaserver or Zoom. In this scenario, students may follow the course remotely and synchronously while it is livestreamed and participate/interact using tools such as the Chat, SpeakUp. On the other hand, a class may be recorded with Mediaserver or Zoom and made available to students after the class. In this case, students have access to the class asynchronously. 

UNIGE’s institutional Learning Management System (LMS) is the Moodle@UNIGE platform, which you can access on

To secure the e-assessment (exams and trial exams online), there is another Moodle platform called Moodle-exam. Its use is exclusively reserved to e-assessment, the reason they can be accessed only with a strict supervision, and they contain modules related to exam coordination. Two types of exam activities can be distinguished: the first Devoir/Homework, that allows uploading of the papers, and the second Test/Quiz that enables instructors to create Multiple Choice Quizzes online. These two types of activities are also available on Moodle@UNIGE.

The SPOC, or Small Private Online Course, is a type of MOOC that has been voluntarily restricted to a specific audience. Most SPOCs proposed to the students at UNIGE are based on existing MOOCs and complemented with supplementary resources and activities. Unlike MOOCs, the completion of SPOCs provides students with the opportunity to acquire ECTS credits.


All the classes in which the learning objectives are related to acquiring knowledge or know-how-to-be can be given online. Those with learning objectives consisting of know-how skills transfer that implies practical activities or laboratory procedures for example, will be more difficult to transfer/transpose online (though we could imagine situation where the instructor alternates online demonstration sessions or methods presentation with exercises on Moodle).

Lectures can be provided on Zoom, with use of the share screen option if a projection of PowerPoint or video is needed: do not forget that following a course during two consecutive hours (or more) in front of a screen is quite tedious, it is therefore recommended to integrate interactive element into the course s (e.g., Q&A through a polling tool, for example Wooclap or SpeakUp, or the integrated tool on Zoom). The courses should be always recorded and made available for students on Mediaserver.

The seminars can be provided entirely online or in hybrid version. Depending on the intended modalities and activities, the flipped classroom model can be used: alternating for example weekly courses online on Moodle (provision of documents, cases to be treated or problems to be solved, text studies or preparation for the next session) and sessions in classroom (discussions in small groups, presentations, mini-conferences), in presence or online on Zoom).

In summary, the choice of the teaching format depends on the one hand, on learning objectives, and on the other hand on instructors’ knowledge and level of comfort using various online learning tools.

This question needs to be discussed and validated with the concerned faculty authority. Technically, it is possible; specific resources have been made available via the Portal, for instance, please check under the tile “Integrate e-learning in my teaching”. Examples are also proposed under the tile “integrate a MOOC”.

You will find the available resources to guide you in developing your projects depending on your objectives or a specific context in the Portal under the tile “integrate e-learning in my teaching”. Some ideas and examples of scripting are also proposed under the tile “integrate a MOOC”. Please also check the tile “Toolbox, reference documents/material and resources”, and especially the article « Deux outils pour scénariser son enseignement » (D. Scherly, Blog Ciel, 15 Mai 2019).

Developing a MOOC/ SPOC course requires a considerable amount of work. In general, at least 9 months of preparation should be considered to complete all the necessary phases (pedagogical conception – course planning, evaluations, etc.; recordings preparation, scripts redaction, participation in the workshops, etc.). All the MOOC projects must be supported by the Faculty or Interfaculty Centre director and must be validated by the Rectorate.

The SPOC, or Small Private Online Course, is a kind of MOOC voluntarily open for a restricted audience. Most SPOCs offered to UNIGE students are based on existing MOOCs while completed with supplementary resources and activities. Unlike MOOCs, their completion gives the students university credits. The MOOCs are intended for an external and larger audience, while Moodle is reserved for UNIGE students.  

The transformation of a course or part of a course in an e-learning format is done primarily on the Moodle platform, the LMS (Learning Management System) used at UNIGE. You can benefit from the guidance and support of UNIGE's central services that constitute the institutional Taskforce that is behind the Portal for Distance and Blended Learning.

The flipped classroom approach consists of asking students to undertake some learning activities autonomously (ex.: reading articles, view videos and prepare questions) prior to the in-person course or synchronous online takes place. The course with the instructor then enables students to refine the notions learned autonomously and focus more on collaborative activities. This tends to have a positive impact on students’ capacity to focus and assimilate content. An example of a class based on a flipped class approach as well as a testimony of the teacher regarding the approach is available under the tile “integrate MOOC” (under the “example of flipped classroom”).

Everything depends on the proportion of two concerned populations of students.

If there are fewer participants online than onsite, one of the possibilities (already tested in various faculties) is to divide students onsite in groups, assigning to each group one or two participants online that will connect/communicate with the group through another channel (e.g., WhatsApp). This approach works well when the ratio of students online is 1 for 3 students onsite (or 2 versus 4), if the responsibility (or a part of responsibility) concerning the presentation is given to participants online. In such a case, it is only a question of slightly adapting an in-person course.

If/when there are more participants online than participants onsite, an approach consists of:

  • Creating as many groups as there are participants on-site
  • Assigning online participants to each group (different classrooms/ break-out rooms on Zoom)
  • The role of on-site participants is to facilitate and guide the group on Zoom
  • This configuration/ scenario changes the students’ roles. Participants onsite should be advised and prepared in advance for what is expected of them.

The above examples only introduce a few suggestions. Other pedagogical approaches are possible. It should be noted however that this type of organisation requires considerable scripting and to reverse students’ traditional roles as learners. On the other hand, students are provided with more flexibility and initiative regarding their choices.

Finally, the synchronous group work is not always a feasible solution. Among other reasons when online students are in different time zones. In such a case, providing asynchronous exercises is a good option, for example via on Moodle.  

Caution: Be careful with the use of microphones and sounds during group activities/group work when some students are on-site and others online.

Cases of “zoom bombing” have been reported at UNIGE. External interventions have strongly disturbed some online courses that had not been secured enough beforehand by the instructor. It is important to follow the protection protocol explained in this guide.




When you teach in a classroom equipped with live broadcasting via Mediaserver (list of the equipped classrooms), please connect on Mediaserver and fil up the recording request.  

If the course is given in a place outside of UNIGE premises or in a classroom that is not equipped, the use of Zoom platform is recommended. Please find the guide explaining appropriate procedures in such a case.

To help you choose and use appropriate tools regarding the production of video clips, several guides are provided. However, it is important to distinguish pedagogical video clips from video teasers which consist of giving an overview of a program or promoting it, and the pedagogical podcasts. Pedagogical videos are meant to be integrated in a teaching sequence and require therefore a certain amount of scripting and pedagogical coherence.

Mediaserver allows to schedule an automatic recording of a course for the whole semester. In some classrooms, live-streaming a course (for students online) is also possible. Please find the list of equipped classrooms and sign up on Mediaserver to fil up the appropriate recording request. Please find here also the guide explaining the necessary procedures concerning teaching recording.

Different options exist for live-streaming a course, they are detailed in the guide “Use Zoom in the context of Live-Streaming teaching
Caution: Should you decide to use of a smartphone camera connected to Zoom, we recommend installing it on a tripod (view details and suggestions in the guide concerning such a case).  

Consider contacting the audio-visual technicians in your faculty to obtain technical support.



Several/Some ideas and examples regarding that matter are proposed under the tile “integrate a MOOC”.

In terms of structuring and organising content in your Moodle coursepage, different practical solutions by means of the tool sections are presented in our Moodle tutorials. For further information, please consult the documentation on Moodle@UNIGE.

The Faculty of Medicine at UNIGE provides pedagogical scripts, technological tools, worksheets, and information about human resources assisting instructors in the preparation and adaptation of online activities. Please consult the Faculty of Medecine’s specific page that centralises relevant information on that matter.



1 ECTS corresponds to 25-30 work hours completed by a student. This figure includes in class (or online) session hours, personal work and/or group work, evaluation preparation, the actual evaluations, mandatory internships, and supervision hours.  

Here is a very concrete example: Your teaching is worth 3 credits by semester, amounting to a total of 75 work hours

  • Subtract the number of course hours (onsite and/or online). For ex.: 28 hours (2 hours/week on 14 weeks in the semester)
  • Subtract time spent on one-on-one conversations with the instructor (questions or personalised feedback, etc.). For ex.: 2 hours
  • Subtract time spent on reviewing and passing the exam. For ex.: 10 hours

Time remaining: 35 hours of personal work throughout the semester (possible divided as follows: 1/3 of the hours in the classroom and 2/3 of time spent on activities outside of the classroom).
The semester calculator provided by the SEA Centre enables to estimate the necessary time for different activities and to verify that your syllabus project corresponds to an established framework.

Time management is often difficult for students: it is possible to guide them indicating the exact hours/time that should be spent on different activities.

For further information, please consult webinar recordings and resources related to estimer et équilibrer la charge de travail (estimating and balancing workload) and the thematic documentation of the SEA Centre on ECTS and workload.

The guide on Zoom regarding “Setting up groups for collaborative activities” explains how to set up the break-out rooms (slides 2-7).

Moodle allows to direct and supervise group work. For further information on different possible functionalities, please consult the documentation Moodle for the teacher-s.

Peers’ evaluation/assessment consists of one student evaluating another student’s or group of students’ work/paper or production (ex.: poster, podcast, project). This activity involves a complex process of a high-level learning. It is an opportunity for student-s to experiment different approaches, different perspectives on the same topic. To ensure a high-quality evaluation, the student-evaluator must receive clear and precise instructions regarding dimensions and independent criteria from one another necessary to carry out the to complete the evaluation (for further information, please consult la SEA documentation on evaluation grids). Finally, the second condition for the exercise to translate into a learning experience for the learner is to deliver constructive feedback, specifying potential sources of improvement. On Moodle, the tool “workshop” enables to set up a peer evaluation that is anonymous and randomized. In addition, the tool “Forum” can also be used with restricted access to 4 or 5 students. Here is an example of peer evaluation at UNIGE.

The tile “improve interactivity” lists a range of tools and provides guidance on how to best foster and support student motivation through interactive activities.

Caution: for joint programmes, consider anticipating potential problems related to tool access and management by instructors from different universities.

The supervision of the students’ dissertations consists of following the student’s work over an extended period, from one to several months. The supervision implies good planification by and with the student of all the work phases and providing the necessary tools to do so (e.g., detailed schedule with milestones or retro-planning).

Several aspects need to be specified for the supervision to be successful: communication channels, progress, the instructor’s expectations, and what the student can expect or what kind of support can be provided by the instructor. These aspects can be formalised in a document called “supervision agreement” or “learning contract”, which clarifies the framework and objectives of the supervision. During the coaching process, other important dimensions include: the student’s empowerment and initiative, work time optimisation, communication consistency, the feeling of belonging. Please see a concrete example of learning contract used by a UNIGE instructor.



A student who wishes to record a course for private use must first obtain the consent of the instructor/lecturer and any other participants.

Otherwise, the recording of the course may be considered unlawful under:

  • Criminal law, which punishes recordings made without the knowledge of the participants in an interview or non-public conversation (excluding speeches or monologues), within the meaning of Article 179ter of the Penal Code;
  • Personal rights, as the instructor/lecturer has a right to his/her own image and voice protected by Article 28 of the Civil Code;
  • Data protection, if the student intends to communicate the recording of the course to third parties, within the meaning of Article 12 paragraph 1 of the Federal Law on Data Protection; and
  • Copyright, if the student does not intend to make private use of the recording, i.e. use for personal purposes or in a circle of closely related persons, such as relatives or friends, within the meaning of Article 19 para. 1 letter a of the Federal Copyright Act.

No, the recording can only be used within the limits of the instructor/lecturer's permission. If permission has been given to assist the student's understanding of the course, the recording may not be used for any other purpose.

Students are only entitled to exchange recordings of courses they have made themselves if the instructors/lecturers and other participants concerned have consented to the exchange.

In the absence of consent, the recordings cannot be exchanged.

Provided that students respect the conditions of use of mediaserver (see: and any restrictions decided by the instructor/lecturer, there is nothing that prevents students from copying recordings provided on mediaserver onto their own PC.

No, students may not share recordings with people outside the University without the consent of the instructors/lecturers and participants featured on the recordings, subject to the terms of use of mediaserver.

In such a case, in the absence of consent, there will be an infringement of the instructor/lecturer's rights, in particular the personality rights of the instructor/lecturer concerned, who may notify Youtube of the illegal nature of the video so that the platform ceases to make it available. Furthermore, the instructor/lecturer in question may bring a civil action and ask for the recording to be stopped, its destruction and damages (in the event of damage) or moral harm. It is also possible to file a criminal complaint for the offence referred to in Article 179ter of the Criminal Code.

The student may be subject to disciplinary action by the University's Disciplinary Board. The student may also be subject to civil action by the instructor/lecturer and a criminal complaint.



Technical problems

  • The micro-cuts in internet connection or similar problems are covered by the automatic backups that are done every minute on Moodle.
  • It is challenging to solve, in real time, an IT problem that occurs at a student’s home.
  • It is possible to take an exam on UNIGE premises upon request by the student, to avoid potential technical problems.
  • The instructor can extend in a real time the duration of the exam on Moodle. The procedure is explained in the tutorials related to this matter.
  • However, this is not recommended, because it could penalise students who have several exams in a row.
  • The data saved on the Moodle server allows to verify that the student faced a network problem. It is useful to advise students to make a screenshot when they are faced with a technical problem during the exam to keep a trace/proof.
  • In case of a bug related to institutional infrastructure, the faculties must immediately inform the Rectorate, which commits to find an appropriate and satisfactory solution that is fair.
  • It is recommended that instructors running online exams have a way to contact all their students in case of a technical problem, for example a list of e-mail addresses
  • Sending an e-mail in case of a problem also allows to keep a trace and document the exact time of the incident and its duration, especially if the exam had to be interrupted
  • For instance, there is the possibility of providing students with a central telephone number (e.g., student secretariat) or general e-mail address to be used in case of a technical problem. During the exam, the instructor should be also available on Zoom. The group communication should be done only by the instructor.
  • If there are any concerns about the reliability of the IT equipment, instructors are invited to use the material provided by UNIGE. As a reminder, online exams can also be run from UNIGE premises during the exams’ session
  • If the specific equipment (for ex.: webcam, microphone) is not installed on the institutional computers, the IT contact person of every faculty/centre should be informed and asked to manage this matter. The reliability of the equipment should be tested before the beginning of the exams. 

Exam types

  • For drawings, a computer, tablet, or a smartphone with a tactile screen may be used
  • The “white board” functionality on Zoom allows doing basic drawings and typing
  • Files can be transferred during the exam with the screen share option or by sending files in the “Conversation” tab on Zoom
  • Equal treatment being essential, a student who is equipped with better IT equipment should not have an advantage over his/her peers. Instructors should accept various modes of transmission, for instance showing a piece of paper during videoconference or sending the photo of a document with a smartphone
  • Products such as “magic whiteboard” are available online at a reasonable price and could be recorded during videoconferences
  • It is often more appropriate to adapt the exam format than trying to replicate the on-site exam conditions
  • Technically, instructors can only set up a specific number of lines for every question but cannot prevent student from writing longer answers
  • It is recommended to ask students to give answers containing a maximum of 3 lines, to prevent data or information loss due to operational errors/handling mistakes
  • It is nonetheless possible to enable longer answers. In such a case, students must be informed about instructor expectations regarding the answer’s length and all the existing associated risks
  • There is the option to use a word processing software to type answers and to copy-paste them afterwards onto Moodle.
  • It is important to find a balance between pedagogical objectives, fraud prevention and managing students’ stress. Please refer to the documents “good practices & recommendations” as well as the tutorials and webinars available on the Portal section dedicated to exams
  • It is recommended to assign/allocate enough time for answering every question
  • Possibility to adjust the difficulty of a question group to ensure consistency
    When students receive different questions during a written exam, it is important to let them know about it in advance, so they are informed that the questions will be different but equivalent.

Circumstances/conditions of the online exam should be similar to those of an equivalent onsite exam. For instance, if there were no breaks planned during an onsite exam of a certain duration, the same principle should apply to the correspondent online exam, if it remains appropriate.

Moodle Examens et Zoom, questions techniques

It is strongly recommended to use Moodle Exams for evaluations, even during the semester. Please note however that the e-assessment advisers and e-learning team should be informed beforehand, as it involves some work to implement.

The regular Moodle environment is not usually meant for formal evaluations, except for Continuing Education programmes. Its use is the instructor’s responsibility.

  • Technically speaking, the two-hour exam limit reduces the risk of exceeding the number of possible simultaneous connections. It also reduces risks related to network micro-cuts that may occur at a student’s house.
  • Academically speaking, short and intense exams reduce the possibility of interaction and fraud.  
  • In terms of organisation, shorter exams enable better equal treatment among students with different IT equipment and work conditions (workplace, schedule, etc.)

The student's secretariat will provide the e-assessment team with the complete lists of students’ and instructors’ names, as well as the course code corresponding to each exam. The matching Moodle exam space will be created based on this data and will be accessible only to those enrolled students.

  • Technical limitations in terms of exam duration are especially important for exams that demand a constant activity on Moodle (for example: module test; QCM)
  • If it is necessary academically speaking and possible in terms of connections, organizing QCM type exams that are longer than 2 hours is also possible. This allows to back-up all the results from one part of the exam before starting another part. To navigate freely between questions is furthermore possible, while reducing fraud risk or technical problems that are expected in long exams
  • When working on an assignment to be submitted through the “Homework” tool on Moodle, students can connect at the beginning of the exam to obtain the questions and then upload their paper after a given time. Connecting without activity does not overload the server.
  • For small class groups, sending the paper by e-mail is also possible
  • If the exam has been submitted before the reglementary/given time, an automatic message indicates that the exam has been successfully transmitted
  • Once the time is over, the exam is submitted automatically without a notification. In this case, the system only shows that the exam has been uploaded successfully. Instructors can advise students to make a screen shot of this notification, just in case.
  • Usually, the authentication is done with asking the student to show a student card/ID
  • When a student’s card is not valid or available, another proof of ID can be presented
  • In terms of the authentication during the supervision of a written exam on Moodle, relevant faculty-specific instructions/procedures apply
  • Yes, technically, it is possible by setting up virtual rooms on Zoom (for ex.: break-out rooms, waiting room, etc.)
  • Providing time for preparation adds complexity to exam coordination. Some faculties/centres recommend avoiding it by planning the exams without time of preparation or by providing a longer period of asynchronous preparation time (for example: sending the instructions/guidelines 1-2 days before the exam by e-mail)
  • Nonetheless, all the phases of the exam must be explicit and explained to the students and evaluation criteria must be adapted accordingly.
  • By analogy to requests for recording an in-person thesis defence, the presence of members of the public via videoconference is also possible, if the thesis jury agrees
  • In such a case, it is essential to follow the security guidelines explained in the tutorial “Zoom” on the Portal “Distance Learning” (e.g., setting up a password/access code, a waiting room, disabling the screen share option for participants)
  • This situation applies for example in some cases within the faculty of sciences, where students' notes are commonly considered part of the documentation included in oral onsite exam. This approach may therefore be adapted using screen shots if needed. Student should however be informed about this possibility.
  • It is advisable to avoid including the student’s face on the screenshot, as well as his/her name, or other personal data.  
  • These images/data can be only stored on instructor’s computer and not on the cloud, and they should be stored for the same amount of time as written notes are for onsite exams.
  • The “Forum” tool on Moodle may be set up in parallel to the exam and allows a direct written interaction between student-s and the instructor
  • Using Zoom (in parallel or not to Moodle) to supervise written exams enables instructors to oversee the exam and interact with the student-s if needed (e.g., questions/answers). Students should be informed beforehand of the interaction channels that will be used and for what purposes.
  • The exams are set up by instructors and their assistants
  • Faculties/centres have designated one or several IT as a contact point in case of problems
  • Issues arising should be first processed at the faculty/centre level. They should be transferred to the central division only if they cannot be resolved internaly.

If the grading system is indicated in the programme’s study regulations, it cannot be modified.

  • The exams (copies) completed on Moodle can be consulted online within the set deadlines.
  • The exams are stored in a digital format only; faculties/centres must give the permission for an exam to be printed.  
  • To discuss an exam with a student, an instructor may for example display a copy of it on Moodle and share it with the student on Zoom (by sharing his/her screen).
  • The potential risk of content distribution after such a consultation (e.g., with a student taking a screenshot) is covered by Honour Pledge document, where in the student commits that he/she will not reveal or give away/make public/share with exam questions with anybody.
  • Evaluations grids and scales can be shared with students online if that is the customary practice for on-site exams. Otherwise, it is recommended to avoid screen sharing of the marked-up exam.

No. To be able to count lines or signs or to use other text editor/word processing software functionalities, it is recommended to write/draft answers first in Word and then copy-paste the text on Moodle.

Individual problems and special needs

  • At the time of configuration of the test on Moodle, waivers granting sufficient time for individual students or groups of students can be arranged.
  • Such arrangements can be made either by the instructor or at faculty/central levels by the students’ secretariat.  
  • Such arrangements may have consequences on the time settings for all the students. Instructors manage this timing, but every exam must respect the time slot allocated.
  • Other specific needs (computer equipment, third party assistance, specific/particular exam presentation, etc) must be assessed on a case-by-case basis in coordination with the Pôle Santé of the DIFE division, as well as with the e-Learning Centre. Faculties/centres should raise awareness among instructors about these matters.

If you have more questions, contact us