For remote instruction, Northwestern encourages the use of the following tools: Zoom, Canvas, and the attendant software integrated into Canvas, such as Course Reserves, GradeSync, and Panopto. This website and the Canvas Learning Center provide many resources for learning about the techniques of teaching online and about the tools Northwestern supports.
Canvas is a cloud-hosted learning management system (LMS), powered by Instructure, that allows Northwestern instructors and students to deliver course materials, submit assignments and tests, view grades, and create learning activities. Additional Canvas features include full-featured mobile apps for both iOS and Android, a global calendar, and tools that enable two-way communications between instructor and students including text, video, audio, and attachments.
- Get Started with Canvas
- Review the Teaching Remotely Readiness Checklist to gather the materials necessary to begin teaching remotely in Canvas.
- Review the Accessibility Recommendations for Remote Teaching to learn more about accessible documents; text equivalents for audio, video, and images; holding a live meeting, and more.
- Read about best practices for leveraging Canvas and Zoom as tools for virtual teamwork. For help setting up remote group or team projects, sign up for a consultation.
- Set Up a Class Discussion
- Share Course Documents
- Allow Students to Submit Assignments Online
Assignments in Canvas allows students to submit assignments online and also permits instructors to grade and provide feedback online. One point to consider when adapting your course is that some students may be depending on their phones as their primary source of internet access. Students can easily submit assignments on a mobile device by using the Canvas Student app. If you have a large class, avoid collecting assignments via email attachment; instead, use Canvas Assignments to collect submissions.
- Learn how to create an Assignment for online submission in Canvas.
- Learn about implementing Turnitin to check for plagiarism.
- Learn how to grade student work and offer feedback through SpeedGrader.
- Learn how to use Crowdmark software for collaborative online grading, optimal for large classes with paper exams and multiple graders.
- Communicate through Announcements
- Share Lecture Video and Audio
This cloud-based audio/video/content sharing conferencing service works through your web browser (Chrome only) or an app that can be downloaded for most desktop and mobile operating systems. It supports HD videoconferencing, screen sharing, breakout rooms, and real-time video sharing. Live chat is available during meetings, and meetings can be recorded. Zoom encrypts all presentation content and telephone audio.
- Sign in to Zoom
- Get started with Zoom
Zoom is available to anyone with a valid Northwestern NetID. Visit the Zoom Conferencing Service page to learn all about options for using this tool.
- Protect against “Zoombombing”
- Tips for Protecting Your Meeting from Zoombombing (Northwestern IT news article)
- Understanding Zoom privacy and security settings (Northwestern IT knowledge base article)
- Setting Zoom meetings so only authenticated users can join (Northwestern IT knowledge base article)
- Guidelines for using Zoom
- Set up a virtual meeting in your course using Zoom. Consider using a Northwestern Zoom virtual background.
- Post an Announcement in your course notifying students of the date and time of the meeting. Let them know they can access the meeting through the Zoom tab in your Canvas course.
- As many faculty are recording their classes and exploring the use of video in their classes, follow the "Guidelines for Video in Remote Courses" under the "Development" tab on the Digital Learning site's, Instructor Resources page, provided for effectively incorporating video in your teaching. In addition, recommended syllabus language concerning course recording has been updated on the Provost’s policy page.
- University policies on Zoom recordings
- Review the guidelines for recording synchronous remote class content to ensure you are consistent with University policies.
- Note that by default, recordings are not available for download. To adjust that setting, please visit the Understanding Zoom Privacy and Security Settings Knowledge Base article and click on "Post-Meeting Recording Controls."
- Zoom and Accessibility
Examine closed captioning options for live classes.
- Captioning can be added by a captioner typing directly in Zoom. If you don't have a captioner, the best option is Alternative Communication Services (ACS), an organization AccessibleNU and Northwestern IT work with on a regular basis. ACS can arrange for captioners to join your meetings. View contact information and pricing details.
- AccessibleNU also has instructor information for remote learning and can help make accommodations for students with disabilities. Should a student require live captioning as an accommodation, please ask them to contact AccessibleNU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note that if you are recording classes, Zoom will automatically generate a transcript that can be used as closed captioning. This transcript is generally accurate, but not perfect, so there is still a need to make some edits. View instructions for generating and editing Zoom's auto transcription.
- Displaying handwriting during Zoom meetings
Writing on a chalkboard or whiteboard is used extensively as part of the teaching process in the classroom. How can this practice best be moved online? This article breaks down the hardware and software needed for three solutions to this problem.
- Group work using Zoom
For in-class activities, consider using Zoom breakout rooms. You can divide students into small groups to work together in real-time, then bring the class together as a whole. The guidelines here will help you set these up
You can use Panopto to record and edit video lectures, including narrated slide shows and screencasts. Here’s a brief overview of using Panopto to record a video presentation.
You can also add questions to a video recording to check for student understanding. Here are some guidelines on adding questions to a Panopto video recording.