In-Person to Remote Instruction

Moving from in-person teaching to remote instruction is challenging – the vast array of digital tools may seem overwhelming! Advance preparation for teaching online is key – as is setting reasonable expectations for yourself and students.

For a more in-depth look please visit Remote Instruction - Start Here.

This grid outlines ways you can transform some of the things you do in the classroom to remote instruction. These are guidelines and starting points. If you have any questions please reach out to

In-Person Instruction Activity
Remote Instruction Counterpart
Classroom Experience
Synchronous classes should use a combination of video conferences and Canvas to replicate the classroom. Follow these instructions to set up your video conferences.
There are a couple of options for recreating the spirited discussions you have in class:
  • The Chat feature in your video conference can be used by students to ask questions or make comments during class. When using chat, we recommend that:
    • A TA or student monitors chat and reports questions/issues for faculty. 
    • Faculty log into the meeting with another device so they can manage chat along with the TA or student monitor.
    • Outline your expectations for how you want chat to be used by your students.
  • Discussions in Canvas are discussion boards accessible by everyone in your class, or restricted to specific sections or groups...
Attendance + Participation

To track attendance or determine participation consider using:

  • Chat in your video conference - Have your students say something in the chat, and your TA (if you have one) take a tally.
  • Chat in Canvas can also be used.
  • Survey or Quiz in Canvas - Create a graded survey or quiz for attendance for students to complete. Consider using an access code to prevent students not attending the class from completing the assessment.
    • We're no longer recommending that faculty switch to Poll Everywhere for this purpose; if you teach using Poll Everywhere, be aware of these considerations
  • Discussion Boards in Canvas - Create a specific board for attendance and have students post to it as they watch the video/join the video conference.

Keep in mind that some students may be unable to participate live due to time zone differences, internet connection limitations, Coronavirus-related restrictions, and family or personal medical emergencies.  

Seeing Students

Within a video conference, there are several view options:
  • People view: Active speaker is seen on top, with the most recent participants displaying at the bottom. This is the default layout.
  • Speaker view: Current speaker takes up the entire screen
  • Gallery view: Participants are shown at the same time in a "Brady Bunch" format. The number of participants available in Gallery view varies according to the software being used.

Here are some common scenarios and the view we recommend for each:

Class Activity
Video Conference View
Speaker View
Whole Class Discussion
Gallery View
Screen Sharing 
Speaker or People View

Zoom offers Polling for Meetings which can be used in class, but must be created before the Zoom meeting starts.

Harmonize, a Canvas add-on tool, allows multiple-choice polls to be embedded in Canvas content, with optional grading for responding to the poll question.

One-on-One/Small Groups
Breakout Sessions in Zoom can be used by organizer to create rooms and assign students to them for randomized group discussion.

For  one-on-one meetings or specific small groups, curated video conferences should be scheduled.

Screensharing can be used to share an entire computer screen, or individual applications, including:

  • PowerPoint
  • Websites
  • Office Documents

If you choose to share your entire desktop, be aware that your whole desktop is being displayed, and make sure to minimize or close personal documents and disable personal notifications.


For more suggestions for whiteboard solutions please visit Student Engagement.


Use the annotation feature to mark up a slide or document during your presentation. 

Teaching Assistants
TAs can continue to hold office hours via video conferences.
Office Hours

We recommend using a recurring Zoom meeting scheduled through Canvas to host virtual office hours. 

For one-on-one meetings with specific students, we recommend setting these up as one-on-one video conferences.

These meetings do not need to be recorded, and signups can be handled via the Appointment Groups feature of Canvas.
Guest Speakers
Guest speakers can join a video conference session and students can interact with the speaker via the chat.
Final Exams
Midterm and final exams can be delivered through Canvas, either remotely or in-person. Please allow two weeks' advance notice to the Courseware Team if planning a Canvas-based remote exam.

For more information, please: