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Resources and Recommendations for Teaching Online

In 2020, the university switched to online teaching and testing during the height of the pandemic. Some courses may still be using online or hybrid modes for part or all of their instruction. The Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) team shared the following tips for teaching online in 2020, and some may be useful now. Contact the TLOS team at tlos@vt.edu if you have questions or want to share an idea. 

1. Adapting Testing and Assessment to Online or Remote format
Moving face-to-face exams to an online format may require modifications beyond the transfer of the exam content to Canvas. When adapting your assessments, consider what you hope students will be able to demonstrate by the end of your course and in what ways they can show their skills and knowledge. CETL has gathered remote testing and assessment resources.

2. Carefully Consider the Use of Webcams 
There are many sound reasons to use cameras during remote instruction, but requiring students to turn on their cameras can have unintended consequences. The TLOS webcam guidelines can help you consider the use of cameras to support your instructional objectives and find the right balance in using video in your teaching.

3. Secure your Zoom Meetings
The first step in protecting your Zoom meetings is to remain signed in to Zoom through virginiatech.zoom.us. Then, as a host, you can remove uninvited attendees and block inappropriate content by actively managing the participants. You can keep your Zoom meeting private by restricting participants to specified authentication profiles and by using a waiting room or passcode. Never share a Zoom meeting URL or meeting number on social media, posters, or other public media. Instead, share a link to a Canvas page where you can manage access, or require participants to register for the meeting in advance. For more information, review the guidelines for securing Zoom meetings in the 4Help Knowledge Base and on Zoom’s website.

4. Choose Accessible Course Materials
Use Ally to improve the accessibility of Canvas course materials. Ally scans your uploaded content within Canvas and gives you suggestions to improve file accessibility. Students can use Ally to download alternate formats of documents that best suit their learning preferences.

5. Submit Final Grades
The final step of every semester is submitting final grades. You can export HokieSPA-compatible grades from Canvas, but before exporting, you must correctly configure the Grades tool. Once you have the grade file, you can upload it by following the registrar’s grade submission instructions.

6. Learn Through Self-Paced Training
You can find several self-paced training options for assessment and evaluation tools on TLOS’ On-Demand Training website. If you have questions about any of these tools, submit a 4Help incident referencing the specific tool and providing as much information as possible. For a full list of workshops, visit the TLOS Professional Development Network catalog.

7. Request a Consultation 
For assistance with designing online instruction and assessments, request a consultation with CETL, or schedule an appointment with a TLOS consultant. For assistance with the technology applications used for assessment, submit a 4Help incident, referencing the specific tool and relevant details.

Updated January 12, 2022.