Three Primary Options

You have three basic approaches to temporarily conducting remote classes. 

Option 1: Run Your Class Live with Zoom (Synchronous)

Do you teach a lecture-based class that includes in-class activities?  Do you teach small, discussion-based classes? Do you have Assistants in Instruction who could serve as moderators as you conduct a large-class discussion? If you answered yes to any of these teaching situations, you may wish to consider holding real-time Zoom meetings.

Zoom is a web-based video conferencing system that allows faculty to present lessons as well as facilitate discussions and break-out groups with students.

At WashU, Zoom is also integrated within Canvas for teaching continuity. To learn more, read the Guide to Using Zoom in Canvas at WashU IT’s Tools for Teaching & Learning Continuity

Tip: Zoom can host up to 300 concurrent users in any meeting with unlimited time and recording. If you teach more than 300 concurrent users in a meeting, contact WashU IT Media Services to request a special license.

An Important Note on Zoom (HIPAA) in Canvas

Washington University in St. Louis has two versions of the Zoom-Canvas integration that appear in your Canvas course navigation menu: “Zoom” and “Zoom (HIPAA).

Meeting hosts will only be able to launch Zoom from one link or the other, although attendees can attend meetings from either link. The “Zoom (HIPAA)” link is primarily intended for School of Medicine employees, but some others may also be required to use this link to host a meeting. If you’re unsure which link to try, try the “Zoom” link first. If you get a “User not found” error, shift to the “Zoom (HIPAA)” link.

Option 2: Pre-Record Your Lectures (Asynchronous)

If you are not comfortable presenting live, another good option is to pre-record lecture material and upload it to Canvas. We recommend that you pre-record lectures using Kaltura (or Zoom), as this will generate automatic closed-captions that are needed for accessibility reasons. 

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.
  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio. 
  • 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. 

Technology Options for Recording Video

Kaltura is a video tool available for teaching.  It offers the ability for faculty to easily record and upload video in their courses.  Using this tool, faculty can access analytics on student use of video resources and engage students in video content by incorporating comments, questions, and even quizzes.  

Additional instructional and pedagogical resources are available from Kaltura

Links and Resources for Kaltura

Option 3: Skip the Video & Keep Instruction Textual

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

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Annotate your slideshow with notes, and share this with students using Canvas.
  • Set up discussion forums for students in Canvas. Use specific, structured questions, and let students know expectations for their responses. See the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence’s instructor recommendations for Fostering Effective Discussions
  • Share links to external resources. Encourage students to watch or read these curated videos, articles, etc. 
  • Set up live, text-based chat sessions with students. Microsoft Teams is a good institutional chat technology with minimal set-up for faculty and students. To learn more about setting up a class chat in Microsoft Teams, visit WashU IT’s Microsoft Teams page.

Tips to Get Started

Review the following guidance and tips to get started on your transition to remote classes.

Get Connected to the WashU Campus

Get started by visiting WashU IT’s Connect page.

Host Virtual Office Hours

You and/or your Assistants in Instruction can use web-conferencing, chat and old-fashioned phone or free VoIP providers to conduct “virtual” office hours during campus disruptions. 

Step 1: Choose a tool, such as Zoom web-conferencing, Microsoft Teams chat, or establish an office-hour specific number using free VoIP providers. 

Step 2: Determine a set time when you can be available online. For instance, Fridays from 1-3 p.m. Announce this time on Canvas and give instructions for how to connect to your tool of choice. 

Step 3: Confirm that students know when office hours are and how they can participate with you online or by phone. 

Learn more about Zoom meetings and video conferencing, Microsoft Teams, and Google Voice

Important Note on Intellectual Property

Pursuant to the Chancellor’s recent announcement, due to COVID-19 all Danforth classes will shift to online instruction until at least April 30, 2020. During this time, we anticipate that faculty and instructors will use Canvas or Zoom to provide instruction. According to those software provider’s Terms of Use, course content that you post in connection with such instructions remains your sole property. Likewise, Washington University will not assert ownership rights in any instructional materials you create (including, but not limited to, class recordings) as a result of the temporary suspension of face-to-face classroom teaching due to COVID-19.