Obligatory, long-term online teaching forced by the COVID-19 pandemic has made academic teachers acquire the basic, and in some cases even advanced, methods, techniques and tools that enable this kind of teaching. However, didactics (including its online version) is an extremely complex phenomenon and thus many issues have remained unsolved. For example, the search for reliable online methods of verifying the learning outcomes is still in progress, many teachers keep complaining about lack of students’ engagement, and in case of such forms of classes as lectures they even express doubts if some students do participate in them at all or just present their creative avatars. Those doubts expressed on different occasions may lead to an impression that online teaching as such is a worse, less efficient type of teaching; in fact, such views are often presented by mass media. The importance of personal contacts between students and teachers must not be underestimated, but it cannot be treated as an argument proving online teaching wrong. Any initiatives aimed at showing the advantages of online teaching still seem to be extremely important.

The name TOOLBOX was created before the pandemic, when we believed that online teaching was not popular in the field of humanities because teachers were not familiar with appropriate tools. We have kept the name, but nowadays we are convinced that the key to effective online teaching is methodology, not technology. That is why we have focused on materials that show the methodology of online teaching and course planning instead of presenting selected digital tools and applications. We aim at promoting above all the idea of effective online teaching and not simply modern technologies.


Our TOOLBOX consists of three sections. The first one, MODULES WITH EXERCISES, contains information on planning courses and single classes in the online mode. Each module employs the same scheme: it begins with a short theoretical introduction explaining the importance of a particular didactic issue, which is followed by descriptions of efficient and attractive exercises. Each exercise description contains detailed information about the aims, the recommended tools, the part of the lesson or (if applicable) the course structure where it can be used, the advantages of using it as well as the risks that may occur and the suggested ways of avoiding or minimizing such risks. All exercises have been tested by teachers and students of the universities participating in the project – the information concerning advantages and risks results from the testing process. The essential part of each module consists of exercise descriptions: the exercises are presented step by step and thus can be easily used by every teacher. All exercises have been designed for online classes (in a synchronous or asynchronous mode, which is indicated in the MODE section), but many can be used during face-to-face classes as well if only students are provided with proper devices (for example cellphones) with Internet access. Many of the proposed exercises will also be effective while planning blended courses. The exercises included in different modules can be used in a variety of ways: they can be combined freely, thus enabling the preparation of a complete lesson plan, or they can be utilized separately to enrich the classes or make them more attractive.

The SCENARIOS section contains sample class scenarios/lesson plans that cover different subjects from the field of humanities. Each scenario includes a detailed description of the classes together with their aims and outcomes and all the necessary didactic materials. Every scenario also contains one or more exercises presented in the MODULES WITH EXERCISES section in order to help a potential user understand how the suggested exercises work. The scenarios can be strictly followed, or they may be modified to meet the individual needs of different teachers and learners.

The last section, VOICES ON ONLINE TEACHING, contains short videos with opinions, hints, and comments on teaching online with the use of our TOOLBOX. The teachers participating in the project have decided to share their experiences, suggest which exercises are particularly effective and explain how they help achieve more general didactic goals.

We have tried to make all the materials as condensed as possible. We have also given them clear structures and titles, so they are ready to be used “randomly” by picking what seems useful or inspiring for the user and leaving the rest untouched. It is a didactic “buffet lunch” – everybody is invited to choose whatever he/she likes.