Quickstart Guide to Remote Teaching Options

As the university considers its policies for dealing with unscheduled closures, we reaffirm the importance of maintaining instructional continuity for the benefit of our students’ learning experience.  We are committed to offering modes of remote instruction to maintain continuity of instruction. However, before you begin to create any remote instruction for your students, you should begin your planning be reviewing this item on "Pedagogy in times of disruption".

Next, please familiarize yourself with the preparation checklist and consider the following guidance related to instructional continuity and unscheduled closures:

  1. At the beginning of the term, establish a plan for communicating with your students in the event of a closure. Share those plans in class and electronically via e-mail and Canvas.
  2. In the event of a closure, reach out to students in a timely manner to communicate your plans to hold the session online if that is what you are planning to do.
  3. Then consider your options for synchronous (i.e., real time) and asynchronous (i.e., time-shifted) instruction and interaction.

It’s as simple as 1-2-3...

1. Communicate with Your Students

The fastest way to communicate with your entire class from within Canvas is to post an Announcement. There will then be a record on the Announcements page of your message. Suggest to students that they check their notifications settings to allow for copies of Announcements to be forwarded to their email address. (Students receive email Announcement notifications by default; this suggestion would alert students, who may have opted out, to opt back into this notification.)

For future terms, plan ahead and include a statement on your syllabus so students know to head to Canvas if classes are cancelled. Here's a sample syllabus text:

Cancellations & Campus Closings: In the event that class is cancelled due to inclement weather, please log in to Canvas prior to our class time to see if an alternate, online activity or online class meeting has been posted. As long as electricity is available, an attempt will be made to make up for lost class time using online tools.

2. Synchronous Tools in Canvas

Zoom with Your Class

It's easy to include Zoom sessions in your Canvas course. Here is a basic guide for how to use Zoom for remote synchronous instruction.

Real-time Chat

For a simple, text-based chat with students, consider taking advantage of Canvas’s Chat feature. With Chat you can answer student questions in real time and facilitate a discussion. Canvas also keeps a record of chat history so that you can refer to it later.

3. Asynchronous Tools in Canvas

From posting readings to submitting homework, the bulk of Canvas features support asynchronous course activity. Here are some to consider using if you can't meet with your class face-to-face:

Creating Discussion boardsassignments, and quizzes may also help make up for lost class time.

Consider using Kaltura to quickly create and share videos with your class or create video assignments for your students.


Some of the factors involved in teaching remotely are:

  • Learning is about human interaction – learning at a distance is structurally more isolating that meeting in a classroom, so instructors need to be human and welcoming through the computer interface as well as structure learning and teaching so students can interact.
  • Structured delivery of learning resources – things need to be presented in order, just like in any class, and in way that is understandable to students and in appropriately small ‘chunks’ or sections.
  • Clarity of expectations – shifting to a new mode of learning will be defamiliarizing to students, so it is essential that the learning climate, expectations of behaviors, and academic content, including learning outcomes and assessments, are clearly communicated by instructors, and that communication by staff is clear, consistent, and helps with learning.
  • Links to external resources/content – you need to support your ‘lesson’ with more materials, just like in a face-to-face class, which might mean mixing some of the content from the lecture and tutorial, a suggestion here is to have different resources for students leveled according to increasing student understand, so there might be very basic information for students who are catching-up, appropriate material for students constructing understanding; and challenging materials for students who get it and now want to apply it.
  • Support for communications e.g. forums, chat rooms, e- mail, etc. – the main difference between live and online learning is that people feel the distance and disconnection more when online, which can have an impact on motivation. Creating spaces for students to ‘turn and talk’ or to communicate about learning, both with one another and with you, is essential. This is something you will have to manage and participate in – it is not sufficient to post or dump content on Canvas and think teaching is done.
  • Self-assessment activities – many modules have workbooks, etc. so creating self-assessment activities should not be too difficult; however, students cannot monitor their learning and you cannot monitor your teaching without giving students opportunities to check their learning.

Additional Readings:


Examples of In-Person Class Sessions Transformed To Online

A question that may come up a lot as you plan and tweak your approach to remote teaching is whether your program will be synchronous or asynchronous. That is, whether it will be conducted in real-time or whether students will complete tasks according to their own schedules.

You might find a mix of both is a useful strategy. Your own unique situation might have a big impact on this decision too. For example, some students may find asynchronous learning to be more convenient as they can complete activities on their own time. However, other students may find synchronous instruction to be more meaningful because of the real time interaction that can occur. The table below includes a variety of in class activities that you might undertake with your students and some basic ways that you can provide similar instruction using online tool.

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In Person Activity Synchronous Alternatives Asynchronous Alternatives
In class lecture Present lecture in real time using Zoom

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Record lecture using Kaltura

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Guest speaker You can send guests a URL to access your Zoom

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Guests record their content using another platform, such as Screencast-o-matic, they upload to YouTube and/or you can import with Kaltura

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Student presentations Students present in real time using Zoom

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Students record presentation using Kaltura

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Small group work/discussions Small group work (assigned groups) using Zoom breakout rooms

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Create a prompt for students to respond to individually or in small groups by posting to a discussion board in Canvas

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Exam Schedule oral exams with students using Zoom

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Convert your paper quiz to an online quizusing Canvas or ExamSoft

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Peer review writing session Assign break out groups or pairs using Zoom breakout groupsdecorative rocket shipdecorative rocket ship decorative clock Organize students into groups or pairs in Canvas and have students communicate feedback through discussion boardsdecorative rocket ship decorative clock

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY


Guides for Instructional Tools

Tool Technical Guides Pedagogical Guides
Zoom TUC Videos

Guides from Zoom

  • Be sure to test your audiovideo and equipment well before the start of class and do not conduct these tests from a classroom.. If you are facing a low bandwidth signal, shutting off your video will help. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, there are always call-in number options (with international options).
  • Share your screen to show slides or other materials and ask students to share their screens to present
  • Annotate and mark on the screen, or draw on a whiteboard
  • Break your class into groups for discussions or projects using the Breakout Rooms feature
  • Use the chat feature to answer questions or share learning resources
  • Record your class so students can review materials
  • Poll your students to check for understanding
  • Host virtual office hours
  • Meet with students
  • Engage with small groups or project teams
Teaching Guides from Zoom

Kaltura TUC Videos

Guides from Kaltura


Screencast-o-matic Instructional Videos


Box TUC Videos

Canvas Instructor Guides from Instructure



Quizzes (if you do not have New Quizzes turned on)



New Quizzes




Quizzes/New Quizzes

ExamSoft Instructor Guides from Examsoft

Question banking


Reporting and Scoring



It is understood that many of the suggested activities and instructional tools described above are of the more standard variety in terms of developing remote instruction. However, there are also many creative ways to engage your students remotely. For example, you could Add an Escape Room to Your Online Course. There are many, many other options like this that you could incorporate into your remote teaching. Please feel free to engage with the Center for Innovative Learning and Teaching to discuss additional ideas.

Touro College and University Systems has also created a "Working & Teaching Remotely - Touro College New York" that can be accessed at:


If there are additional tools or instructional resources that you would like to have added, please contact Michael Barbour at michael.barbour@tu.edu

The site was developed using content from American University, Arizona State University, EduBlogs, Emory University, George Washington University, University of Sydney, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.