Provision for students in areas where internet access is restricted

This page aims to provide additional guidance on the accessibility of online teaching and learning for students in areas where internet access might be restricted. 

As part of Curriculum Shift 2020/21, an increasing part of our delivery became online. When planning your delivery method, please consider the information below, including the technical considerations. 

Student access to Moodle and other resources is dependent on their computer set up, speed of their internet connection and location.  Therefore, students should be advised to, where possible, use a wired, stable, high speed internet connection.

Access to Moodle and other websites and content in China

Students should be able to access LSE Moodle in most areas but access is dependent on the quality of the internet connection.

You may need to review the content of your Moodle courses as certain embedded sites may be blocked. Similarly, licencing restrictions may restrict student access to content from some publishers. For example, video content from Box of Broadcasts is only licenced for use within the UK. 

In China, blocked websites include Google, YouTube and Vimeo. Online search engines are available to check if a website is blocked in China. An online search for phrases such as “China firewall test” will return a range of such search engines.

Turnitin (via Moodle) should be available in most areas but students may encounter difficulties if their internet connection is unstable.

Access to third party apps, such as Padlet, Slido, Mentimeter etc., cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, in addition to  the considerations outlined in our guidance on using third part apps, it is worth checking their accessibility through an online search engine before designing activities using them.

Recording audio and video content

Recording lectures and other teaching events enables students to access the recordings in their own time and manage their local conditions accordingly. You can create these recordings using in variety of ways, as outlined elsewhere on the Curriculum Shift website. Once recorded, videos published through Echo360 should be accessible in most areas.

Seminars/Collaboration/Group Discussion

Discussion Forums

Synchronous or asynchronous discussions using the Forum activity in Moodle should prove to be the most reliable way of allowing students with restricted internet access to contribute to class discussions. For specific guidance on how to facilitate a class through Discussion forums (asynchronous communication), for structured activities and assigned group work, please read the following resource.

Web conferencing / webinars

There may also be regional variations in access to Zoom and other web conferencing tools and it is important to consider this as part of your planning.  Zoom publishes details of countries where users are unable to access its services for regulatory reasons. You should also consider that students in some areas may experience difficulties with their internet connection and may only be able to make contributions through the Zoom chat function.  Alternatively, If connectivity is an issue, students can dial into Zoom meetings using their phone.

Technical considerations

Web Browsers

Students in China may access online materials using local browsers, such as QQ, which may present compatibility issues with Moodle and Turnitin. 

Mobile Devices

Students may access Moodle using a mobile device, either via the Moodle App or through a web browser.

The Moodle App has some limitations and students may need to move between app and browser view to access all content.  You can learn more about what is supported by the app on the Moodle app features page

Using WiFi or Mobile Data can result in internet speed issues so students should be encouraged to use a wired internet connection with a desktop or laptop.

File sizes

Because internet connectivity can be slow and inconsistent in some areas, it is advisable to keep file sizes to a minimum. The University of Reading has produced a useful guide on reducing media file sizes.

For further information about LSE supported  technologies, use the updated LSE Moodle guides and Lecture recording (ECHO 360) guides.

We would like to thank our colleagues at University of Reading for sharing information with us.