Working and Teaching Remotely

Please remember that the goal is to modify your current course material and instructional strategies for remote instruction to keep teaching and not necessarily to build an online course. Approach the transition online with flexibility, creativity, and patience.


1. Make sure to publish the course site to allow student access. Note, once published the site cannot be unpublished. (Canvas Site Publishing Resource Here)

2. Use the following suggested tools to facilitate instruction and student activity:

3. Communicate with students immediately and regularly.

 Quick Links: Strategies for Transitioning Online


Communicating with your students

What if my students do not have access to technology and/or the Internet? 

  • If a student does not have access to technology and/or the Internet, please consult with your department chair for guidance on how to handle such cases.

How do I keep my students up to date about our course schedule (e.g. assignments, due dates, readings)?

  • We cannot assume that students will be continuously monitoring their email account. Outline where your students should check for course updates (e.g. Canvas announcements and email).
  • We recommend using the announcement tool to communicate with your students to avoid your email being lost among other emails.
  • Post a communication plan that details when students can expect to hear from you via Canvas announcements and email. Consider posting and holding virtual office hours.
  • Students may not have access to computers and will rely heavily on their phones. For this reason, when sharing documents and PowerPoint presentations, please include a PDF option, since these are generally mobile-friendly.
    • Note from Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources: Handouts and other physical materials used may not be accessible to students that use assistive technology (e.g. screen readers). These materials should be offered in an accessible MS Word or PDF format. Make sure that the text contained in the PDF or MS Word document is not a scanned image. MS Word contains an Accessibility Checker by pressing Alt + Q, type in “Accessibility” and it will advise if your document is accessible and how to fix it. You can also use MS word to convert documents into PDF files after addressing the accessibility issues in MS Word.
    • For questions regarding accommodations and accessible documents, please email Disability Services.

 How often should I communicate with my students?

  • Try to communicate early in the campus closure event and as often as possible. Your students will likely email you with questions. Consider creating a “Frequently Asked Questions” page in your course. Keep this page updated and repeatedly share the page with students and encourage them to visit this page before emailing you.

 How do I hold office hours?

  • Set a time for virtual office hours and share this time with your students.
  • Use Zoom to host online meetings.  Zoom is a great platform accessible to people using screen readers.
  • Create a discussion page in Canvas. The benefit of hosting public office hours is that many students may have the same question. The drawback is that you should also offer the option for students to ask private questions via email through Canvas.

Assignments, Deadlines, Finals & Grading

 Should I keep my course schedule the same?

  • Review your course schedule to determine priorities. What activities are easily translated to an online format? Which activities are better rescheduled?
  • Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction. What can you accomplish? What assignments (e.g. reading logs, short ‘understanding’ quizzes) can you add to make sure the students keep up with the reading? What assignments can be dropped to replace these new assignments?
  • Always keep in mind there will be students who may not have access to internet or a phone. These situations will be responded to on a case by case basis. If you have a student who fits these criteria, please speak with your department chair.

 What should I do with my syllabus? 

  • Review your syllabus for grades that may need to be dropped or averaged. Which policies will be changed (e.g. communication plan, due dates, how assignments will be turned in, taking tests)? Create a disaster plan for your course policies. Reduce your students’ stress and notify your students of this new syllabus with all changed policies in highlighted, bold font.
    • Note from Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources: Some students with disabilities may reach out to you requesting extension to assignment deadlines due to their disability and the course transition. Please encourage those students to contact the Office of Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources (251) 460-7212.
  • Share your new expectations with your students. What level of participation will you expect from your students? When revising your expectations, keep in mind how this situation may impact students’ ability to meet your expectations, such as illness, taking care of others at home, absence of internet connections. Be prepared to be flexible!
  • Students may not have access to computers and will rely heavily on their phones. For this reason, when sharing documents and PowerPoints, please convert to a PDF since these are generally mobile-friendly.
    • Note from Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources: Handouts and other physical materials used may not be accessible to students that use assistive technology (e.g. screen readers). These materials should be offered in an accessible MS Word or PDF format.
    • If you have a student with a visual impairment, please add Mike Evers as a student to your Canvas course.

 How do I collect and give feedback on assignments?

  • Develop and share an assignment plan. Include your expectations for how you will collect assignments. For example, to organize assignment submissions, ask students to label each assignment with their last name (e.g. Essay1_Jones.doc). You may also require a type of assignment submission, such as doc. or pdf. Be clear about where the assignments should be uploaded, but also allow for flexibility for students who may be working from a mobile device.
  • Maintain an updated gradebook to show the students how they are doing in the course and identify potential areas for improvement.
  • Provide detailed feedback (e.g. annotations in Canvas) on first drafts or any student submissions.
  • Alternative assignment collection method: use Qualtrics to create a question with a text box. Students can type their responses into the text box. This can be used for the whole class or offered to students who only have access to cell phones.

 How do I assign a participation grade?

  • If you assign a participation grade, consider adding or changing your student engagement activities. For example, in-class discussions can take place by creating a discussion page in Canvas. Students can respond to short quizzes (in Canvas or Panopto) after reading or watching a lecture. Group assignments can be organized and assigned via group discussions in Canvas.  

 How do I assess my students? How do I ensure academic integrity?

  • Please submit online proctoring requests using the request form.
  • Set a time limit for online quizzes and tests. Make sure the students are aware of the time limit ahead of time.
  • Make a question bank to randomize the questions for different students.  
    Randomize quiz questions in Canvas.  
  • Consider alternative assessments. Instead of testing the students, accept a project or portfolio that exhibits the students’ mastery of the learning objectives.

Class Time

How do I normally use in-class time?

  • Reflect on how you normally present the material and check for understanding. How are the students engaged with the content? How are they engaged with each other? Now, think about how you can translate your course online. Will you create a synchronous course through Zoom meetings at your regular scheduled class time? Or, will you develop an asynchronous course with videos and resources for the students to access on their own time? Or, will you combine the two options?

 How do I share my lectures with my students?

  • If you plan to offer lectures at your regular scheduled class time (e.g. Wednesdays at 10:10), use Zoom to record and post your lectures after class. Recording your lectures will allow those students who were not able to watch during regular class time due to a child at home or taking care of family to view your lecture at a later time.
  • To ensure accessibility, please make sure to upload copies of your presentation in PDF format, even if you plan to share your screen. 

 What are some other options of online “class time”?

  • Another option is to create and/or upload shorter video lectures for the students to view on their own schedule.
  • Review the lectures remaining for this semester. Identify and create a list of the main themes of these lectures (e.g. What are the most important parts of the lecture?).
  • For each theme, check out what is already freely available in terms of lecture or discussion on this topic (e.g. Khan Academy). If you find a description that fits your need, consider using this video to replace your lecture. Upload the video to Canvas and include a post-viewing activity to check for understanding.
  • If you do not find a video that fits your objectives, you may opt to create a 3 to 5-minute video for each theme, using Panopto.
  • Remember to add captions to make the video more accessible to students!
  • Consider alternatives to the video lecture. Provide the students with resources (e.g. uploaded readings, websites). Ask the students to complete a guided research task/scavenger hunt. In this task, students answer questions based on the resources that allow them to explore the target theme.


Please click here for a downloadable PDF of the
Online Learning Pandemic Preparedness Plan