As you develop your plan for teaching remotely, find out what the expectations are for you and your course. Visit ufl.edu 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.
Step 1: Communicate
Communicate with your students right away via email, Listserv, or through e-Learning (Canvas), even if you don’t yet have a plan. You can communicate that changes are coming.
Establish Communication: Share your expectations and tell students how to reach you. Be specific about times you are available and encourage students to stay engaged. Communicate proactively and let students know how quickly they can expect a response from you.
- Email your class. You can email all students enrolled in your class by emailing the class Listserv address. Your class email Listserv address is located in One.UF, and you can follow these instructions to find it.
- If you are already using Canvas, you can send class announcements.
Share Information: Create a place for students to ask and answer questions. You can create a shared document to collect questions, preferences for office hours, or synchronous meetings. Just be sure students know they should contact you privately with personal or grade related questions. Here are a few of your options for accomplishing this:
- Share a Word document in Microsoft OneDrive
- Sign in with your UF account and share a Google Doc in Google Drive
- If using Canvas, you can create discussion boards for 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 (for example, must students schedule ahead of time, and if so, is there a shared document where students can sign up?).
- Zoom is a video-conferencing platform that allows instructors to capture their screen and engage in live interactions with up to 300 students using audio, video, and text-based chat features that can be recorded and shared. Follow these instructions to record and share a lecture.
- Start a Google Hangouts Meet and send students an invitation link
Provide Access to Support: Be aware that students may experience technology or connectivity challenges. Let them know they can seek help from the UF Computing Help Desk.
- Students should contact 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 (including changes to assignments, due dates, goals, or class schedule).
- Evaluate your teaching needs and think about how you will adapt your course content quickly for a different delivery method.
- Evaluate your technology needs now so you are prepared. Do you and your students have reliable access to the internet when not on campus? Do you and your students have a computer or other device to complete course content?
- Set reasonable goals for continuing instruction. What can you accomplish? How close to your original syllabus, goals, and schedule can you stay?
Choose Method of Instruction - When moving your class online, you have two options for delivery of instruction:
- Asynchronous (recommended) - instructors pre-record and share lectures, presentations, and/or readings for students to access at their chosen time.
Asynchronous classes allow for greater flexibility and accessibility for students, while also providing an archive of past material for students to review. Students will also have more time to adjust and engage with course material that is delivered asynchronously.
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 gather and interact in “real-time” virtual environments.
Synchronous sessions allow for a greater sense of community and direct engagement with the instructor, reducing possible miscommunications, and allowing instructors to be more responsive to students’ needs/concerns.
Examples of teaching synchronously include scheduling Zoom sessions at a time that everyone can join, requiring live participation in Canvas chats or discussion boards, 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 the information that you might normally share in a face-to-face class. Provide access to readings, videos, or other resources that give students the ability to meet your course objectives.
- Asynchronous courses with recorded lectures - Use Zoom, PowerPoint, or on-campus options (if campus is open) to record lectures. On-campus recording services include the Academic Media Productions studios and the UF Video and Collaboration Services. Online instruction capable learning spaces are available in buildings across campus, and lecture recording can be accomplished in these spaces if preferred.
If recording on your own, record yourself giving a “lecture” using the screen-recording functionality of Zoom or PowerPoint. Videos can be uploaded to cloud storage and shared with students. If you record using on-campus resources, video links will be provided.
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. Be aware that connectivity issues may arise during peak usage. An asynchronous option for students may be necessary, especially for large enrollment classes.
Assess Learning - Here are some suggestions for adapting different assessment types:
- Written assignments - essays or research papers may not need modification unless students are expected to collaborate or use library resources. Students may use Google Docs or OneDrive documents to collaborate. 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. The academic integrity of exams offered through Canvas can be enhanced through the use of HonorLock, an online proctoring service. View Online Proctoring in Canvas Using Honorlock for details. For student questions about privacy concerns please reference the Honorlock Statements on Privacy.
- Participation and discussions - If attendance or participation are required, consider requiring participation in Canvas discussion boards, Canvas chat, or other collaboration tools. Participation may not need to be synchronous in these cases.
- In-class activities - Labs and classroom activities 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. Online resources such as MERLOT may be used to locate materials for some lab experiences. Check with textbook publishers to look for additional free materials as well. Your subject specialist librarian may also be able to assist you in locating open source lab content.
Use Familiar Tools: Avoid introducing unnecessary new tools. Low-tech solutions are ok! If email works best for you, use it. Be sure to test any tool that you want to use before trying it with students.
Ensure Accessibility: Course accessibility is not only required, but it is also helpful to all students. Ally in eLearning is a great resource to help ensure accessibility of course content. Remember that students should work with the Disability Resource Center when requesting accommodations.
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 small documents via listserv or announcement (in e-Learning). Lectures can be uploaded to Canvas as PowerPoints or shared via OneDrive or Google slides. Students can submit assignments via email, using cloud storage, or through Canvas.
Provide Interaction - Teaching remotely requires adaptation of face to face interaction. Here are some avenues for interaction in an online environment:
- Chat with students through Canvas Chat. Instructors and students can interact in real-time via this text-based conversation tool. Messages in Chat are archived and can be read by any member of the course at any time, so chats do not have to be attended synchronously. This is an easy way to keep all conversations within Canvas without introducing additional tools.
- Asynchronous discussions are collaborative documents that students can contribute to online, ensuring students can interact and engage with peers. 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 objectives and require students to reflect, analyze, and apply course concepts.
- Set content and communication expectations so that students understand minimum expectations for their responses, and interact respectfully while addressing the prompt.
- Be present to facilitate or further 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 and considerations 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. The automatic transcription of Zoom cloud recordings is not perfect. Speak clearly and not too quickly to make the content as accurate as possible.
- Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Canvas discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion.
Grading: It is the responsibility of the instructor to keep student grades up to date.
Student records are considered restricted data, and only approved platforms should be used. Grades can be communicated privately using the Microsoft, Google, or Canvas platforms.
Some of your options at the University of Florida include, but are not limited to:
- Quick Start Canvas Guide
- Collect assignments via email
- Cloud storage through Office 365 / Google G Suite
- UFApps for access to specialized software
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.