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Tips for creating virtual lectures or online seminars


updated on September, 09, 2020



Use your OLAT course as usual for storing learning materials such as PowerPoint slides or PDF files. Your screen or podcasts are also best made available via OLAT.
Important: Upload larger video files to the SWITCHtube video platform first. Streaming videos via OLAT requires too much bandwidth and takes OLAT to its limits. But you can embed videos in OLAT very easily. The following video will show you how to do that:

Further information on OLAT’s features can be found in the OLAT manual:

Microsoft 365

With Office 365 you get a wide range of tools that you can use for your daily work, such as the latest Office programs. Additionally, you get tools for filing, sharing and collaborating on documents (OneDrive) or for collaboration in seminars or in groups (Microsoft Teams). Microsoft 365 is a cloud service by Microsoft and is offered by the UZH as a self-service, meaning that support from Central IT is limited to onboarding (account creation and license allocation).

Support requests can be made via the ServiceDesk (

Further information can be found under the following links:

Virtual lectures asynchronous

Scenario 1: Existing lecture recording

If you give recurring lectures with the same content (e.g. introductory lectures) and these have already been recorded, you can provide your students with lectures from previous semesters. Procedure: Log into your SWITCHcast account and locate the channel in which the old recordings are stored. Use an OLAT module to integrate the lecture recordings from SWITCHcast into your OLAT course.

Brief instructions on inserting and configuring SWITCHcast modules in OLAT:

If you have any questions, please contact:
Helmut Flitter ( | 044 63 45084)

Scenario 2:  Recording lectures in a room set up for this purpose

If your lecture takes place in a room that is equipped for lecture recording, you can have the lecture recorded. You will find the rooms provided for this purpose under the following link:

Please also read the accompanying „Information on Lecture Recording or Podcasts“ on the right-hand side and contact the persons responsible at the Multimedia and E-Learning Service (MELS) if you have any questions: Tel. 044 63 42451.

Scenario 3: Recording the lecture at home by means of screencasting

You can record your lecture at home in front of your laptop as a screencast and make it available to students via OLAT. The easiest method: recording directly with PowerPoint! PowerPoint offers simple functions to record your voice slide by slide and then make the recording available to students either as PPT file with integrated sound or as video. The versions for Apple and Windows systems differ slightly. The following two videos show you how to proceed.

Apple (OSX):


Additional information is available on the Microsoft help site (choose your PPT-Version beneath the video):

Make it available as a PPT file: Save file – done. If the presentation is now opened, each slide will be displayed for as long as the recorded sound takes.

Make available as video: Go to „File -> Export“ and select „mp4“ as format to create a video. You can upload the finished video to SWITCHtube and integrate it into OLAT as described below.

Other recording options:

Recording with an Apple computer:

  • Open the „QuickTime-Player“
  • Go to File -> New video recording
  • Press the red button to start the recording and again at the end to stop the recording

Tutorial: Recording your Classes with QuickTime

Recording with a Windows computer:

  • Record your video with the program „OBS“ (
  • Follow the instructions on this page:
  • Your audio and video installations will be auto-configured at first start of the program.
  • To record your screen, add „screen recording“ in the box „Sources“, your screen’s resolution will be auto-configured, too.
  • Start the recording with the button „Start Recording“
  • The recording will be saved into your user directory, folder Videos.

After recording, you need to upload the video to SWITCHtube and embed it in your OLAT course. This is important since the videos should not be uploaded to OLAT directly.

  1. Upload to SWITCHtube
    1. Important: Make sure that you have the so-called “producer” rights – only then can you create channels and upload videos. If you do not have this status yet, you can contact and apply for it.
    2. Go to and log in at the top right corner.
    3. Select „Channels“, click on „Create a new channel“ and give the new channel a name. Keep the default channel settings.
    4. In the next window, select who can access your videos. We recommend the setting „Anyone with the link to the video“. This ensures that the video will not be listed and thus not be easily found by all SWITCHtube users.
    5. In the following window you can upload your first video to the channel.
    6. The processing of your video by SWITCHtube takes a moment as the video is optimized for different devices (e.g. desktop, smartphones etc.) in the background.
    7. After processing is complete, you will find the video in the channel you created. Click on the video and select „Embed“ on the right side in the following window and copy the code displayed there.
  2. Embedding in OLAT
    1. Now switch to your OLAT course and insert a course element of type „Single page“.
    2. Give the page a name and save your entries.
    3. Now click on the tab „Page content“ and „Create page and open it in your editor“.
    4. In the editor, call up the source code view.
    5. Insert the iFrame code copied from SWITCHtube (see 1.1)
    6. Click on „Save and close“.
    7. Publish the course.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Lukas Loeffel ( | 044 63 45083)
Anita Holdener ( | 044 63 45086)
Helmut Flitter (Einbindung in OLAT) ( | 044 63 45084)

Virtual meetings and lectures with web conferencing

Option 1: Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a virtual work environment that can be used for collaboration and communication within a group or team. Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365 and integrates several different services such as chat, Skype for video conferencing, document exchange storage, and note-taking tools for brainstorming or meetings.
In a team, various channels are available, in which, for example, students can talk and exchange in groups. A team can include up to 200 channels.
People outside the organization can also be invited to teams.

Microsoft Teams can be used through the browser, but it’s better to install the app:

For login to Microsoft Teams, the Office 365 login credentials of the UZH must be used:

Get started with Microsoft Teams

Option 2: ZOOM (UZH campus license)

The University of Zurich has acquired a campus license for ZOOM, in particular to conduct lectures and seminars online. Since 8 April, ZOOM has been available for all UZH members under the following URL:
Important information and instructions can be found at:

According to the data protection officer of the Canton of Zurich, ZOOM can be used in the education sector for the time of the Corona crisis. When setting up and conducting meetings via ZOOM, make sure that the recommended settings are made according to instructions in order to minimize the risks associated with the use of ZOOM as much as possible. For privacy and security considerations, you want to continue using Microsoft Teams for internal meetings. Zoom may also not be used for seminars and lectures in which sensitive data is exchanged (e.g. patient data in the context of clinical seminars of the Faculty of Medicine, supervisions of psychologists). Private licenses should no longer be used for data protection and security considerations. Existing accounts can be converted to the campus license of the University of Zurich (see instructions).
For support requests for ZOOM, please contact MELS/AV Services via

Digital collaboration

Option 1: Microsoft 365

The University of Zurich allows all its members the use of Office 365. That means that you can use almost the entire range of Office 365 apps. The selection includes the latest version of the Office products Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Many functions of the apps, such as the translation service or layout design, make use of artificial intelligence or contain a simple function for recording screencasts, as in the case of PowerPoint. Other products in the selection include OneNote, a digital notebook whose contents can be shared and made public; Forms, a survey tool; Video, a video platform that can be used as an alternative to SWITCHtube in the event of congestion; Teams, a workspace for collaboration and OneDrive, the cloud storage for storing, sharing and editing documents in the cloud. The advantage of OneDrive is that all Office documents can be edited directly in the browser and can be accessed by several people at the same time. Even people without an Office 365 account can be granted access to documents and folders via a link.

Since students can also use it, Office 365 opens new opportunities for exchange, interaction and collaboration. Office 365 is also suitable for research groups or departments to ensure access to common documents and to share work.

Option 2: SWITCHdrive


SWITCHdrive is a cloud-based online file storage system. You can upload files here, synchronize them with the files on your computer and make individual files and directories available to selected people. It is also possible to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly in SWITCHdrive.

Descriptions and help for all functions can be found here:

Option 3: UZH Connect

Login: In UZH Connect you can network and communicate with other users of the platform and you can create joint working groups, so-called „communities“, and invite people to join these working groups. Within the communities you can

  • Create and share documents
  • Start joint activities, e.g. team meetings
  • Upload files and make them available to all members
  • Create shared wikis
  • Send mails to all members
  • Chat with members

For descriptions and help with all functions, click on the question mark at the top right and search for the appropriate entry.

Didactic support

Teaching Tools

The Prorectorate for Teaching and Studies now provides the central online platform Teaching Tools. It contains concrete technical and didactic tips and instructions as well as selection aids for applications and formats for teaching. In this first beta release, the focus is entirely on the current situation and the needs that the changeover brings about. New tools will be continuously created and added in the coming days and weeks. Many good hints and manuals also come from the lecturers, institutes and faculties.

Teaching Tools

Learning Design Cards

Learning Design Cards support lecturers in the conception of digital learning settings and the implementation of appropriate teaching and learning activities.  The Learning Design Cards help to better keep an eye on important aspects of student learning activities; they help to transform abstract ideas step by step into concrete learning steps and make the right selection for the use of digital tools.
The cards are based on the eight learning events from Leclerq & Poumay (2005). A learning event integrates the characteristics of similar learning activities.

Introduction to Learning Design Cards
Designing for Great Teaching with Learning Design Cards