Technology & Accommodations
Yes, in a digital environment, students with accommodations might have different needs. Please consult Student Disability Resources for more information and ways to help students with special accommodations. As a starting point, as much as possible, offer your content in multiple formats with text options for audio and video. As an example, in Kaltura, our video hosting software, you can turn on computer-generated captions for videos.
The University has several tools available to instructors including:
- Canvas (learning management system)
- Zoom (Video Conferencing)
- Kaltura (Video uploading and hosting)
- Respondus Lockdown and Monitor (Exam proctoring)
- Microsoft Teams (Team collaboration)
- Box (File storage)
- Poll Everywhere / Qualtrics (Polling)
If you are using synchronous Zoom meetings, you can easily download a participant list from the Zoom Report feature located in your Zoom profile. This will tell you what students were in attendance and when they logged into and out of the meeting. If you are providing instructional content online and doing an asynchronous class option, consider adding a low-stakes assignment or activities to hold students accountable to the content.
There are a few options for Canvas support, as detailed on MyCanvas Faculty/Support.
- The most comprehensive and immediate Canvas support will be offered by 24/7 Canvas Support. Canvas offers technical support 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to all faculty, staff and students. Log into WashU’s MyCanvas, and click the Help button. Help is customized for faculty, staff and students.
- From within Help, you can also review Canvas Guides or report a problem.
- If you cannot find an answer from the resources above, reach out to your designated Canvas support contact; this will vary by school and department. See the School-Level Support page.
Zoom offers a comprehensive help site at support.zoom.us. We highly recommend consulting this site first for any questions and troubleshooting needs. Additionally, schools and departments will handle Zoom support differently; please contact your designated information technology or education specialists within your school.
Zoom’s support site support.zoom.us is the best resource for students who are having issues with Zoom. The most common issues are generally connecting with audio and video tools native to the student’s computer. Encourage students to test logging into Zoom to ensure that their hardware and software are working properly.
WashU has set up a page to provide information to students during remote learning. Please direct them to our Strategies for Learning Remotely page for students. Keeping an open line of communication with your students will be critical in the success of any remote instruction. Consider asking students about any concerns or questions that they have about transferring to remote instruction and address concerns and questions in class.
Flexibility is going to be key for remote learning. For students who are completing course work from home, ensure that they are able to access all course materials via Canvas and that they have the hardware needed to participate in any synchronous meetings. Be cognizant of how time zones may affect a students’ ability to turn in work. This may require greater flexibility with assignment deadlines and providing recorded versions of any synchronous class times.
Tip: Always be sure to note assignment or exam deadlines in terms of day, date, time and time zone. For example, “Please submit Assignment 1 within Canvas by Wed., March 10, at 3pm Central.” Stay away from “midnight” deadlines as this causes confusion!
Online Assignments & Activities
Information for in-class and out-of-class scenarios:
- For group work that you might have previously done in class, consider using the Zoom Breakout Room feature to facilitate small group discussion during a synchronous session. You can use this feature to create either random or specific groups.
- For group work outside of class, advise students to use virtual tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams (all students have their own account as well). Hold students accountable to group work by asking them to submit reports of work done in group meetings. You can also have students record and submit their meetings on Zoom or Teams.
In either instance, clearly written directions will be key to communicating group expectations and deliverables. Canvas allows you to create group assignments using the settings found in the Assignment tool. Using this tool, you can have groups submit one assignment file and you can grade for the group as a whole.
Work with your department to determine if your lab is a good candidate for online instruction. Consider whether students can acquire lab materials at home and what kind of progress review is required for assessment. Students can provide progress updates through photos or videos for you to review. If you believe it will be difficult for students to complete your lab sessions, work with your department on alternative options for credit.
No, however, if you were planning to collect papers or projects in class, you may need to plan for an online assignment submission. See these instructions for how to create an assignment on Canvas. Students should be able to complete papers and projects as planned (see related questions on group work and student presentation for more information).
Student presentations can be delivered via digital methods. If you want your students to present synchronously to the class, use a Zoom meeting and allow students to share their screens and slides. If you would like to collect and review student presentations asynchronously, have students record their presentations via Zoom or Kaltura and provide the video file to you in a submission on Canvas (alternatively you can have students upload their videos to your course Kaltura Gallery). Please consult with instructional staff in your department or school on details for presentation submissions.