In the event that you need to teach a course off campus, there are a variety of ways you can complete typical classroom tasks in a virtual environment. Whether due to illness, weather, unanticipated travel delays, or a personal emergency, it’s always a good idea to have a back up plan that minimizes disruption for your students.
The resources listed here can help you make quick adaptations, or, serve as a starting point for integrating Canvas and other available technology into your courses. Each DU course is already set up with a Canvas shell that you can activate at any time!
- Prepare for working remotely: Do you have access to all the resources you will need if you must shift from your physical office to a virtual one? Set up Zoom, Canvas, and ensure you can access any other tools like DU portfolio. Do you have a device with a good internet connection, webcam, and microphone?
- Consult with your department: What departmental or unit requirements or supports are in place? Who is your local Canvas administrator? If you are responding to a campus-wide closure, your department may have more details or want class changes handled in a uniform way.
- Communicate with student and set expectations: Do this early and frequently! Be sure to set up structures that allow for easy updates and communicate your presence even if it is a virtual one. Let students know how you plan to communicate with them. Will you be using traditional email or Canvas? How will you let them know if due dates or activities have changed?
- Focus on learning outcomes: if an unexpected closure or absence means that activities need to be adjusted, ensure they are moving students toward the desired learning outcomes. Avoid busy work.
- Prioritize and rearrange if necessary: focus on the activities that have the most significant impact on student learning. And, be flexible with rearranging certain activities if necessary.
Planning ahead for a new quarter
- Identify plans early:Consider addressing emergencies and expectations up front in your syllabus, so students know what will happen if classes are cancelled, including procedures you will implement. Consider doing this each quarter, so you are ready in case of an emergency.
- Send a welcome email: At the beginning of the quarter, send your students a welcome email that includes your contact information. Suggest they hold on to the message until the end of the course in case they need to get in touch with you.
- Activate your Zoom account and introduce students to the tool: Consider having a short, optional Zoom session early in the quarter to help familiarize students in case you need this tool later.
- Replace physical resources with digital resources where possible. Digitize readings and upload handouts. Aside from contingency planning, this is a good habit to adopt for creating a greener classroom.
- Start the quarter “contingency-ready”:
Minimally, instructors should consider doing the following in Canvas:
This Setting Up Your Canvas Course video gives you step-by-step instructions for accomplishing those tasks.
Did you know that we have 24/7 Canvas support?Call:
- Canvas Support Hotline for Faculty: 1-833-291-3240
- Canvas Support Hotline for Students: 1-855-712-9770
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Resources by Teaching Task
Typically the first order of business when classes are cancelled but must carry on virtually would be communicating your plan to your students. Here are your options for connecting beyond your DU email.
If you need to hold a lecture from a distance, there are synchronous (live/interactive) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) options for doing so. Both options allow you to show your screen or lecture slides.
- Kaltura (asynchronous)
- Zoom (synchronous)
- Canvas (asynchronous)
If you need to provide access to your syllabus, share assignment requirements or rubrics, or push out any other files to your students while away from campus, there are options to help.
If you need to hold a discussion among small or large groups, here are the ways that can be facilitated.
If an assignment was due on a day where classes are cancelled, here are your options for accepting their work virtually.
For final exams THIS QUARTER, DSP/LEP is available to assist.
DU uses Kurzweil, which provides literacy solutions, tools and training for those with learning differences and challenges, or people with blindness or partially sighted. Students should email firstname.lastname@example.org to get an account.
Respondus is a lockdown browser that restricts access during test taking to curtail use of unauthorized resources. the Respondus Student Quick Start Guide.
- If you are using Respondus for your exams, it is not compatible with Kurzweil. There is an alternate software, NDVA, The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) provides some of the best YouTube NVDA Tutorials but tutorials are also available on the AFB webpage Learn NVDA. Those preferring a text guide can access the NVDA User Guide as well.
- Respondus and Mac Users: Mac version of LockDown Browser works with VoiceOver (the standard screen reader that comes with the Mac OS). LockDown Browser’s functions and security remain the same when VoiceOver is used. Be sure you are using LockDown Browser version 2.0.3.03 or newer.
Without the proper equipment, labs can be difficult to reproduce in a distance setting. Below are a few recommendations for making this work during a campus closure.
- Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work), and save the physical practice parts of the labs until access is restored. The quarter might get disjointed by splitting up lab experiences, but it might get you through a short campus closure.
- Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but check with your textbook publisher for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency. Explore online options like Chem Collective.
- Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure. See the Open Science Framework for research projects around the world and access to open data sets.
Password Resets – through IT
IT phone number – 303-871-4700
Telecommuting Resources at DU – this is an IT curated list of resources and links for everything from accessing email and voicemail to document collaboration
Community Engagement and Remote Teaching: Reflections and Resources – Faculty across campus and the country are working to adapt courses for remote learning – including many of us teaching community-engaged courses. At this time of transition, our colleagues at the Center for Community Engagement to Advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) offer some reflections and resources to support remote community-engaged teaching.
OTL Canvas page – this is a good overview of the basics of getting started
Learning Canvas course – this is a LinkedIn Learning overview of Canvas. It is broken up into chapters so faculty can skip to the information they need at the moment. They will have to log-in to LinkedIn Learning with their DU credentials.
Canvas Instructor Guides – these are step-by-step guides created by Canvas. They include screenshots, and are also broken up into chapters so that they can jump to what they need. You can also access a pdf version.
Textbooks through DU Bookstore
Textbooks available through the DU bookstore can be delivered by mail to students not staying on campus. The DU Libraries are not able to procure textbooks for students.
The Libraries has a vast collection of online journal articles and ebooks, and we urge you to use our licensed electronic resources whenever possible, even if this means substituting one resource for another. Many of the Libraries’ articles, videos, and e-books are available online. Search Compass from the main library page or view our complete list of databases. The majority of online library articles and ebooks have a stable URL which can be included in your Canvas course. For more information on how to find stable URLs for articles and ebooks, please see our Off Campus Research guide. For directions on adding links in Canvas, please see the guides provided by the Office of Teaching and Learning.
We can help you determine whether your assigned readings are available electronically and/or explore alternatives. Please contact your subject librarian for help with this. Also, please know that the Libraries will continue to build robust collections in print, and formats you’ve deemed best for your discipline, once this emergency is past us.
Many publishers are making additional electronic content available for free. A national list is being compiled, and we are working to collate these resources and provide them to you in a more useful way.
Reserves through the Libraries
The Electronic Reserves service provides online access to course materials such as articles, book chapters, and other electronic documents. Enrolled students and faculty may access course materials online at any time of day. Electronic reserves are posted in Canvas via a link to the library’s e-reserve system, Leganto.
Since not all materials are available online, the Fair Use exception to US Copyright law allows us to digitize some materials for educational purposes. Please see the Libraries guidelines on Fair Use for more information. Under normal circumstances, we are restricted in the amount of material that we may digitize for courses. However, we have consulted a copyright attorney, and believe that in this particular moment, because we are in an emergency situation that has forced all of us to radically change the way we provide instruction, we can adopt a far more liberal interpretation of fair use. The fair use factors are always weighed based upon the circumstances, and under these current and very unique circumstances, we can be more aggressive in asserting that the scales weigh in favor of fair use. And with respect to the fair use factor regarding the “amount and substantiality of the work used,” the current unique circumstances give rise to a credible argument that we can assert fair use exists for a greater amount of the work being used than is typically acceptable. This will allow us to, as a last resort, digitize more of a work than we would typically.
If you are unable to find online alternative materials for your course, please submit a course reserves request as soon as possible to email@example.com. Please provide us with a list of the resources needed for your Spring Quarter course. We will work with you to determine how much printed material we are able to scan, if an online resource is not available.
We will prioritize requests by following these guidelines.
- We will only process course material requests for essential, core readings, not supplemental materials for Spring Quarter.
- We will only provide course materials for items which we already own in print or electronic format or items that may be purchased quickly in an online format.
- Any digitized materials that fall outside our usual Fair Use Guidelines will only be available during Spring Quarter while courses are temporarily online and cannot be reused in other quarters.
- We are not able to digitize DVDs in this process but can provide consultation for finding existing streaming media and work-arounds for your course. Please see this page for more information about our streaming collections. Lamont School of Music Faculty: Please copy firstname.lastname@example.org on any Reserves requests.
Please be aware that digitization takes a large amount of time and requires physical access to both materials and digitization equipment. We are constrained by limited staffing and restrictions that inhibit our ability to work on campus. Our goal is to balance the educational needs of faculty and students along with the need to protect the health and safety of our staff.
The Libraries already have an existing and robust virtual service delivery model with a host of online services and resources. We have been working continuously to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and we invite you to visit our DU Libraries and COVID-19 webpage for continuing updates on library services, operations, and collections.