As you develop your plan for teaching remotely, find out what the expectations are for you and your course. Visit for the latest information during campus-wide events. Check with colleagues and your department chair as well; they may provide more details, guidelines, and expectations for class continuity. The guidance provided here is intended to facilitate moving a class online in response to an emergency situation.


Emergency remote teaching is different from courses that have been designed and developed for online delivery. For quick transitions that are not immediate, see Adapting to Online Teaching, Resources for online course delivery, and consultation and webinar resources. Reach out to folks who are dedicated to supporting the instructional mission, listed on the Support page.

Step 1: Communicate

Communicate with your students right away via email, or through eLearning (Canvas), even if you don’t yet have a plan.

  • Establish Communication: Share your expectations and tell students how to reach you. Be specific about times you are available, and communicate proactively to let students know how quickly they can expect a response from you.
  • Share Information: Create a place for students to ask and answer questions. You can create a shared document in OneDrive or Google Drive or just use a discussion board within Canvas. Just be sure students know they should contact you privately with personal or grade related questions.
  • Create Virtual Office Hours: Make yourself available to students using tools such as email, Zoom, or Google Meet. Be sure to communicate your schedule and expectations about office hours.
  • Provide Access to Support: Students may experience technology or connectivity challenges. Let them know they can seek help from the UF Computing Help Desk at (352) 392-4357.

Step 2: Create a Plan

Flexibility is key when moving your course online quickly. Focus on your course goals and try to minimize the use of new tools.

Update Syllabus: Update your syllabus as you create a plan to include details of how the course will change. Include changes to assignments, due dates, or class schedule and any new technology you will use.

Choose Method of Instruction: When moving your class online, you have two options for delivery of instruction:

  • Asynchronous: instructors pre-record and share lectures, presentations, and/or readings for students to access at their chosen time. This can allow students to interact with the content more consistently.

Examples of teaching asynchronously include uploading slides and readings for students to review, pre-recording video lectures by recording your screen with Zoom or PowerPoint, or holding discussions through Canvas or cloud collaboration tools.

  • Synchronous: instructors and students interact in “real-time” virtual environments. This can allow for a greater sense of community and direct engagement with the instructor.

Examples of teaching synchronously include scheduling Zoom sessions at a time that everyone can join, requiring live participation in Canvas chats, or asking for live collaboration on Google Documents.

Adapt Lectures: Here are three options that you have for adapting your face to face lectures to an online environment:

  • Asynchronous courses without recorded lectures: Upload files to Canvas or cloud storage for your students to access. Add notes to your PowerPoints, your lecture materials, and your readings to convey additional context and details.
  • Asynchronous courses with recorded lectures: Use Zoom, PowerPoint, or campus services (such as Academic Media Productions studios and the UF Video and Collaboration Services) to record lectures. Videos can be uploaded in Canvas.
  • Synchronous courses taught through the Zoom platform: Schedule a Zoom session for your regular class time and share the link to join via email or a Canvas announcement.

Assess Learning: Here are some suggestions for adapting different assessment types:

  • Written assignments: essays or research papers may not need modification unless students need to collaborate online instead of in class. Students can use any electronic library resources via the UF Libraries website, but they must log in using the VPN in order to do so.
  • Quizzes and exams: Quizzes and exams can be adapted to be taken online via Quizzes in Canvas. Quizzes can be timed or scheduled for a certain day or time period. Students can be granted additional attempts or time based on accommodations.
  • Participation and discussions: If attendance or participation are required, consider requiring asynchronous participation in Canvas discussion boards, Canvas chat, or other collaboration tools.
  • Labs: Labs may need significant adaptation for use in an online environment. Consider which aspects of labs can be completed remotely, and search for online experiment tools or software that can replicate parts of your activities. Check with textbook publishers and your subject specialist librarian as well.
  • Use Familiar Tools: Avoid introducing unnecessary new tools. Be sure to test any tool that you want to use before trying it with students.
  • Ensure Accessibility: Course accessibility is both required and helpful to all students. Ally in eLearning is a great resource to help ensure accessibility of course content.

Step 3: Deliver

As you implement your plan, remember to be flexible and communicate often. If possible, use the applications that you have already been using in your course to maintain continuity.

Share and Collect Materials: Share documents and collect student assignments via email, Canvas, or cloud storage.

Provide Interaction: Teaching remotely requires adaptation of face-to-face interaction.

  • Chat with students in real-time or asynchronously through Canvas Chat. Messages in Chat are archived and can be read by any member of the course at any time.
  • Asynchronous discussions are collaborative documents similar to an online forum. Create a Canvas Discussion to facilitate communication, encourage student interaction, pose questions, and reply to discussion posts.
  • Collaborate on shared documents using cloud storage.
  • Live meetings can be conducted using Zoom or Google Meet to facilitate office hours, small-class instruction, or student group meetings.

Pedagogical Recommendations for Interactions:

  • Craft discussion questions that clearly align to course goals and require students to reflect, analyze, and apply course concepts.
  • Set content and communication expectations so that students understand minimum expectations and etiquette for their responses.
  • Be present to facilitate discussions, model appropriate responses, and intervene where necessary.
  • Review pedagogical best practices on using collaborative assessments such as Discussion Boards.

Pedagogical Recommendations for Videos:

  • Keep presentations engaging and succinct. Reference the 12 Principles of Multimedia Learning for suggestions for lecture content.
  • Test microphone and video on your device to ensure that you have good sound/video quality. Headsets with external microphones typically have better sound quality.
  • Consider ADA compliance. Automatic transcription of Zoom cloud recordings is not perfect. Speak clearly to make the content as accurate as possible, and edit it later.
  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Canvas discussion board with specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session.

Grading: Student records are considered restricted data, and only approved platforms should be used. Grades can be communicated privately using Microsoft, Google, or Canvas.

Learn more about best practices for online pedagogy or request a consultation from an instructional designer from UFIT’s Center for Instructional Technology and Training.

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