Jan 02, 2021

Online Teaching in Covid-19 Times

The COVID-19 pandemic hit us in March 2020, locked down almost everything in Germany within days, and caused us to work from home since. As part of my employment at the University of Passau I have the duty of teaching several exercise courses. The upcoming summer term caused an almost immediate change of the teaching format—from traditional class-room style to online teaching using a video-conference application.

Not everything went well in the beginning but we were able to constantly improve and make the best out of it. In this post, I want to show my current setup I am using at my home. This setup evolved over the last nine months, of course. I am only presenting the latest stuff, I am using, skipping all intermediate steps. Note: I do not get any money to name these products here!


I am using a 2018 15” MacBook Pro here sitting on a Macally ASTAND connected to an elgato dock. The two screens are hp EliteDisplay E241i displays, which I have in use for a couple of years now. They are great, since they can be adjusted in height and rotated, which I am using for my left screen. The advantage of this rotated screen is that it automatically limits line length of, for example, web pages like Wikipedia, without having to rescale the browser all the time.

The mouse is an old Logitech one, the keyboard an ergonomic one from a company called “x-bows”, which I bought during their Kickstarter campaign (they are now available through their regular online store). The advantage of this keyboard to me is that it is ergonomic on the one side, lowering the risk of RSI, carpal tunnel, an other stress injuries related to typing. On the other side it has mechanical keys (brown Cherry-like in my case), which give me an amazing feeling while typing. The web cam is one provided by the University for online teaching, from Logitech.

As a replacement for a white or black board during teaching, I use an iPad together with a Pencil. After playing around with a couple of apps I found ZoomNotes being the one that fits my needs as a board replacement best. These components interact greatly with each other, allowing to work as smooth as possible. They are also well-supported by Zoom, the video-conferencing system we are forced to use.

I am using an IKEA BEKANT, who’s height can be changed, such that I can work either standing or sitting in front of the desk. Finally, I was also able to have my whiteboard again next to my desk mounted on the wall.