Northwestern has resources to help faculty and students teach and learn remotely. This article contains guidance and resources to help you modify your teaching to work in an online format while achieving your planned learning objectives. It also connects you to tools that allow you to continue facilitating courses via Canvas and other online tools.The University continues to update the Coronavirus/COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ). To access answers related to school-specific questions and resources, teaching remotely, academic issues for faculty, and more, you can review the Academics section of the FAQ. You can also refer to the College and Schools Coronavirus Websites. Visit the Libraries website for updates on their services as well as resources for remote research, teaching, and learning. The Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching also offers support resources for faculty and teaching assistance on their website.
Training Resources for Faculty
Please sign-up for ongoing workshops and training with Teaching and Learning Technologies, as well as those offered through the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, the University Libraries, and the School of Professional Studies. Please refer to the Canvas Learning Center for in-depth information on Canvas.
Learn about support from the Center for Leadership, including a Teamwork Assessment that helps students apply research-based best practices, provides anonymous peer feedback during the project, and rates each student’s teamwork performance. For advice about teamwork or to use the assessment, contact the Center for Leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you think through the changes to your courses discussed here, consider the impact that the circumstances may have on students’ ability to meet expectations, including illness, lack of internet connectivity, or needing to care for family members. Also, keep in mind your own planning and preparation needs in adapting to a new way of teaching.
- Planning for Student Needs
- Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
- Planning for Faculty Needs
- Identify your priorities, such as providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, and collecting assignments.
- Prepare for your priorities by following recommendations and best practices for a successful quarter start from the Teaching and Learning Technologies team.
- Decide which activities are better rescheduled, and which can be done online.
- Consider which elements of your course can be delivered synchronously and which might be more successful in an asynchronous format. Review a Teaching and Learning Technologies blog post on this topic for guidance.
- 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.
- Communicate through Announcements
- Read the Update on Course Reserves
The Libraries will continue to provide links to electronic content for courses. Scanning of book chapters and capture of video content is temporarily suspended. These services will resume upon the return to campus. Previously digitized content remains available. Read the Libraries blog for more details on updates to course reserves.
Additional inforamtion for faculty on Free Resources in Response to COVID-19 is also available on the Libraries blog.
- Guidelines for Zoom and BlueJeans
- Review the Zoom Readiness Checklist.
- 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.
- Consider recording synchronous class sessions for students who are unable to attend class.
- Recording options are available both when scheduling the meeting in Canvas and during the session.
- 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."
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
- Share Lecture Video and Audio
Implement Flexible Exam Options
As the University continues to adapt in response to new and changing realities, design your courses with flexible exam options.
- Suggestions for Exam Flexibility
- Changing the exam to another kind of assessment, such as an essay.
- Changing the exam to a series of assessments worth fewer points, such as quizzes and presentations.
- Use Zoom or BlueJeans to host a virtual session for your students to give their presentations to the class.
- Offering the exam online. The University offers tools that allow instructors to lock down students’ web browsers so that they cannot leave the exam to look up information, as well as another tool that provides remote proctoring of the exam.
When an exam is administered online, students with accessibility accommodations may need extra time to complete the exam. Here’s how to add extra time to quizzes and exams in Canvas. For other accommodations questions, contact AccessibleNU.
A schedule of ongoing workshops and training with Teaching and Learning Technologies as well as trainings with the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching is available in addition to self-paced online resources.
- Help with Canvas
- Chat with Canvas Support (Instructors and Admins) - Live chat or call 833-879-0860
- Chat with Canvas Support (Students) - Live chat or call 855-680-0126
- Chat with a Canvas Support Chatbot (automated, 24x7 resource for all Canvas users) – Helps with enrollments, file storage increases, frequently asked questions, and escalates issues to IT Support
- Canvas Learning Center
- Canvas Student Center
- Help with Zoom
Zoom offers 24/7 live support, including national holidays. You will find Support in the upper-right-hand section of your account page or via the blue Help button on the bottom-right-hand side of your screen. We encourage you to bookmark Zoom Support and take advantage of the following support options.
- Help with Teaching Remotely
You may sign-up for a 45-minute consultation to get help with moving to remote instruction if you require additional assistance after using all immediately available resources.
- School-Specific Support
In some cases, Northwestern schools offer individualized or supplementary support for their faculty and students through their IT organizations. This online teaching and learning support is provided in addition to the resources offered centrally by Northwestern IT and may be most useful for applications and programs that are specific to a given school. Learn more about school-specific support options.