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Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Rapid Remote Teaching Resources

Three things faculty can do to help students succeed NOW

 ​Increase communication to improve connection and motivation.

  • ​Send 2-3 weekly emails communicating your confidence in students' ability to learn and your willingness to support them during this stressful time.
  • Reach out directly to any student that hasn't been participating in your course without judgment and offer to connect them to resources. 

​​Increase flexibility.

  • ​Implement flexible deadlines.
  • Be flexible about how students demonstrate their learning. Consider accepting audio voice recordings, photo documentation or other ways that students can show they have learned what you want them to learn.
  • Record your lectures or class presentations and allow student to engage either synchronously or asynchronously.  Remember that students may not be able to “attend” your class at the regularly scheduled time because of new family commitments, new work commitments, or new living situations.
  • Allow students to reach you by phone and email, not just by video chat. 

Create predictability in your course
  • Create modules that follow a clear pattern.​

  • Let students know how much time they should be spending on specific tasks.

  • Provide grading rubrics or criteria for all assignments in advance.

For further support visit OIT Remote Teaching​

 Shifting Your Classes for Remote Delivery Online


 Synchronous vs. Asynchronous?

There are two options for instructors to facilitate class sessions remotely:
  1. Synchronous: Instructors and students gather at the same time and interact in "real time" with a very short or "near-real time" exchange between instructors and students.
  2. Asynchronous: Instructors prepare course materials for students in advance of students' access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each over a longer period of time.
Instructors may choose to engage their students synchronously or asynchronously depending on the course content or material that needs to be taught.

You have many tools at your disposal (see links below) to deliver your class synchronously or aschronously. While synchronous tools can help you easily replicate what you do in the regular classroom, there might be content or activities that are better left in an asynchronous format, such as readings or discussions. Consider balancing your synchronous and asynchronous strategies as you move forward.

Also keep in mind that many students may not have computers or internet access. Rather, they may be compelled to access your content using their phones.  In this case video content may be inconsistent and choppy and may also carry with it data charges for the student. 

 Run Your Class Live with Zoom

Zoom is a video-conferencing platform for which CU Denver owns a license. Zoom allows you to engage in live Web conversations with your students using audio, video, and text-based chat features.
Tech Considerations:
  • Integrate a Zoom video conference session into your Canvas course shell (if you use Canvas for your course)
  • You can also sign directly into Zoom​ to set up a video conference session for your class.
  • Keep in mind that not all students may have reliable internet access or a computer. 
  • Be sure to post slides and notes in your Canvas shell or via email so students can access the content in alternative ways.
  • Position your computer so that students can see and hear you as well as possible.
  • Use a headset with a microphone if possible.
Pedagogical Considerations:
  • Use slides and screen sharing within Zoom (look for "share screen" at bottom)
  • Solicit input from Zoom participants.
  • Ask students to use "chat" function to ask questions and contribute to discussion.
  • If you are feeling fancy, use Zoom "Breakout Rooms" ​to divide students into small groups for discussion. 
  • Share handouts and slides in advance in your Canvas course or via email.
  • Rethink classroom activities;
    • ​Use Office 365 and Microsoft to encourage students to collaborate and interact.​

 Pre-Record Your Class Presentation with TechSmith Relay or Zoom

If you are not comfortable presenting live, another good option is to pre-record any lecture material and upload it into your Canvas course.  We recommend that you pre-record lectures using TechSmith Relay or Zoom. TechSmith Relay is a platform for creating educational videos.

Tech Considerations:

Pedagogical Considerations:
  • Post your notes or script so that students who do not have a computer or internet access (or have trouble viewing the video) can access the content in written form.
  • Keep videos SHORT (4-5 minutes) and lively. Chunk up the content of your lecture into smaller bits that become the topics of several video presentations.
  • Integrate interaction with lecture material. Set up a quiz in TechSmith Relay or in Canvas to break up the work related to listening to lectures and to allow students to test their knowledge.
  • Support your lecture material with other online resources like TedTalks, online labs, or other virtual learning materials.
  • Rethink classroom activities:
    • ​Use Office 365 and Microsoft to encourage students to collaborate and interact.

 Skip the Video

Many online courses do not have a video component at all. If you are not sure you have the right tools and are uncomfortable with the tech setup, this might be a good option, at least for the short term.

Pedagogical Recommendations
  • ​Annotate​ your PowerPoint slides with notes and share this with students using Canvas or email.
  • Set up a discussion for students in Canvas. Use specific, structured questions, and let students know expectations for their responses.
  • Share links to outside resoures. Encourage students to watch videos, read articles, solve problems etc.
  • Use Chat to have a live, text-based chat session with students.

 Office Hours

Set up virtual office hours to meet with students using your webcam, share your computer screen or collaborate using Zoom's whiteboard feature. If you are more comfortable, you can also give students your phone number to call, or you can set up an online chat in Canvas.

Tech Considerations:
  • ​Integrate Zoom into your Canvas shell and use this to set up meetings with students.
  • Set up a standing Zoom Personal Meeting ID ​for yourself that you can use for office hours.


There are a variety of tools available that will help you to deliver your course content remotely.
  • ​Canvas is the Learning Management System CU Denver uses for all our classes.  There are tools within canvas that will help you deliver your content, communicate with students, and share materials.

  • Zoom is a video conferencing tool you can use to meet with your class or record you class presentations.

  • TechSmith Relay is an easy to use educational video platform that you can use to create videos for your class.

 Best Practices and Advice

  • ​Communicate with students and reassure them that learning will continue in this new format using announcements in Canvas or via email.
  • Communicate regularly with students so they understand what is expected from them and they continue to feel attached to the course and learning.
  • Be flexible with students as we all transition to the new formats. 
  • Extend due dates on assignments.
  • Reconsider assignments that require a student to use a computer and/or keyboard. Many may be working from their phones. Some students may not have access to a computer. Consider accepting audio or video recording that reflect student learning instead.
  • Alternate your delivery of content. Use some video, and provide other information in written format.
  • Keep videos short (4-5 minutes) by chunking up your content into smaller bits.
  • Encourage students to work together on projects using Zoom or Office 365 and Microsoft to encourage students to collaborate and interact.​
  • Engage students in virtual participation through discussion​ and chat functions in Canvas
  • Online Teaching Best Practices (Office of Digital Education)
  • Design Effective Discussion Questions​ (Stanford University)


 Resources from Other Universities

  • Digital learning resource center from the University of Central Florida
  • Guide to assist faculty in maintaining instructional continuity from CUNY
  •  Digital teaching toolkit from NYU Shanghai
  • Academic continuity plan for teaching and learning, including strategies and tools for alternate instructional structures, from Pepperdine University
  • Resources related to the “Keep on Teaching” campaign to promote and support faculty providing online instruction during emergencies from Pepperdine University
  • Instructions and resources for holding classes during emergency closures at Northwestern
  • Statements on plans for continuing instruction and advising during closures from NYU’s Shanghai and Florence campuses
  • Plans for alternate teaching and learning arrangements at the University of Hong Kong
  • Plan to close all schools for one day to train staff on remote instruction techniques and disinfect campuses from Northshore School District
  • Explanation of changes to excused student absence policy and limitations of remote instruction from Mercer Island School District
  • Suggestions for quickly expanding online instruction capacity from Campus Technology
  • Explanation of online learning contingency plan from Cherokee County School District
  • Resources for academic planning and teaching online from McMaster University
  • eLearning Resource Center from Miami Dade County Public Schools
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