Faculty Guide for Rapidly Transitioning to Online Teaching

Getting Started
Common Teaching Activities and How to Move them Online
Lecture Content
Communicate With and Support Students
Student Accommodations and Accessibility
Personalizing Your Online Teaching
Get Help

Preparing to Teach Online

Rather than thinking about how to convert your planned classroom activities for online delivery, it can be helpful to take a step back and think about the instructional goal you were trying to achieve with a given classroom activity - and then determine which asynchronous or synchronous teaching strategies will help you meet that goal. 

Get organized. Know where to get help. Have a plan. Make it happen.

 Preparation Checklist:


Getting Started

  1. Review planned your material and activities and consider what is “must know”, what is “important to know” and what is “nice to know.”
  2. Evaluate what activities and material require in synchronous interactions (same time, bot not the same place) between instructor and students or students and students vs. what could potentially be accomplished through asynchronous online activities (discussion boards, quizzes, assignment submission, mini-lectures etc.)
  3. Reprioritize the course based on these decisions so that you and your students are able to successfully meet the course goals.
  4. Adjust any deadline or due date in D2L for quizzes, assignment folders, discussions etc as needed.

Be Realistic

Your plan for the semester didn’t anticipate the coronavirus and you are your students are struggling to adapt to the “new normal.” Review your goals for the course and be prepared to identify aspects of your teaching that are the most critical to preserve versus what you may have to give up this semester. What are the teaching and learning activities you’ve done historically vs. ones that are imperative to meeting the goals of the course? Your students, your colleagues, and the IHP at large knows you are doing the best you can in a crisis – this is inherently not a carefully planned transition to online teaching that represents your best work. Be prepared to be flexible.


Common Teaching Activities and How to Move them Online

You are likely already using a D2L course to post your syllabus and course files for distribution to your students. Consider the following common course activities and how they’d existing in D2L:

Course materials you might have handed out in class

Post  notes, slides, handouts, or any other materials via PDF or link out to Library materials within D2L Content

Meet with students

Use Zoom for synchronous online class sessions

Collect student work electronically

Collect student work electronically via D2L Assignment Folders

Student discussions in small groups

Conduct class discussions online asynchronously via D2L Discussion Board and synchronously via Zoom Breakout Rooms

In-class quiz

Move your in class quiz online via a D2L Quiz

High stakes exam

Move your exam online via a D2L Quiz with Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor

Present a lecture

Record lecture content in Zoom or D2L Capture

Post grades and feedback to students

Collect and calculate grades all in one place with the D2L Gradebook


One you commit to a tool, try to stick with it even if it isn’t a perfect fit. Switching tools with potentially be confusing and distracting to students.



Class Sessions via Zoom

Zoom is the IHP’s web-based video conferencing and messaging solution and your recommended tool for handling synchronous online class sessions. In addition to holding class sessions online, Zoom can also be used for 1:1 meetings with students (office hours) or your faculty colleagues. For use with students we recommend setting up Zoom within D2L. Anyone with an email address can set up a “Pro” Zoom account which provides additional features beyond the basic version that can be particularly useful for course facilitation.

Zoom Basics:

  • Zoom is a web video conferencing tool similar to Skype and Adobe Connect.
  • An account is required to host a session but joining a Zoom session does not require a Zoom account.
  • Participants can share their screen to view files like PowerPoint, documents, spreadsheets etc.
  • Participants can interact via audio, video, and text based chat.
  • Zoom sessions can be recorded and shared afterwards. 
  • Guest lecturers can be brought into Zoom meetings via a URL, they don’t need a Zoom account.
  • Up to 300 people can participate in a Zoom session. 


Break Out Rooms

You can split your Zoom session into break out rooms for students discussions or active learning activities. Breakout groups are a great way to ask existing groups of students to work through a case or engage in Think-Pair-Share type activities.


You can use Polling in a Zoom session to pose Multiple Choice Style Questions to students and then see their responses. Polling can be a helpful feature for making your Zoom sessions with large numbers of students interactive and engaging. 

How to make Zoom Better

Sitting at a computer is often less engaging than being in the classroom. To keep your students engaged and on task consider:

  • Make sure you are presenting from a quiet location
  • Use headphones/earbud to minimize sounds looping from your speakers to your mic.
  • Lecture components of Zoom sessions should be short (20 min or less)
  • Use Classroom Assessment Technique style activities to engage student and evaluate their learning 
  • Give breaks

Zoom’s Tips and Tricks for Teachers Using Zoom


Lecture Content

D2L Capture is the recommended tool to create a pre-recorded lecture and upload it to your D2L class. With D2L Capture you can record video of your screen showing slides or any other documents combined with video of you. Installation and setup instructions for Capture can be found on our D2L Help Site. We recommend “chunking” traditional lectures into small pieces for the web (10-20 minutes per chunk if possible.)

Communicate with Students 

Keeping in touch with students is particularly important due to the many other factors of the current situation that is impacting their lives at home, in the clinic, and beyond. 

  • Communicate early and often.
  • Let students know where to look for future communications from you (email, D2L News, other?)
  • Let students know the best way for them to contact you
  • Set expectations for what your course activities will look like going forward
  • Be as transparent as you can
  • Mange your own communications – you are no doubt inundated with communications related to all the other commitments in your life beyond your courses, do what you can to triage. 

Supporting Our Students

We are in uncharted times and your students are going to be under a great deal of stress across multiple aspects of their lives. Do what you can to minimize the stress our course impose upon them. 

How can you help do that?

  • Reach out to your students ASAP to communicate your plans
  • Maintain clear and consistent communications over the remaining weeks of the semester
  • Be prepared to offer flexibility with deadlines
  • Take extra steps to cultivate a culture of support and respect
  • Refer students in need to their Academic Support Counselor and or Partner’s Employee Assistance Program
  • Remember that accommodations are still in effect, extended time on tests and other accommodations will apply in the online environment as they would in the classroom. 

Online learning and “social distancing” can be isolating; encourage students to set up study sessions, check-ins, and other socialization via Zoom

Student Accommodations and Accessibility

As you prepare to move your course(s) online it is important to note that current student accommodations pertain to all modalities of teaching and learning. If you need assistance please contact the OSAS Accessibility Office . Please see Guidelines for Online Accommodations put together by our Office of Student Services.

Personalizing Your Online Teaching

For both instructors and learners new to the online learning experience, there is the potential for things to feel very isolating which can cause demotivating behaviors like stress, anxiety, and disengagement to fester in students.

Especially in this challenging transition, do what you can to make sure the personal aspects of who you are still get represented in your online course. This can look like how you conduct Zoom sessions, your communications with students via email and D2L, and the look and feel of any materials you post. All learners want to make connection with ideas – endeavor to make sure the video version of your presentations doesn't lose the human elements that make you an engaging and interesting expert students want to learn from – whether it is humor, storytelling, or sharing from a career of clinical experiences, pause and think how you can be “present” for students in your online materials.  You can read more about Building Online Community on Faculty Compass.

Practicums, Labs, and other activities that can only happen in person: For activities that must happen in person, be in touch with your Academic Department leadership about how to schedule those sessions on campus. 

Get Help

To get help, do not hesitate to Submit a ticket to the Helpdesk Ticketing System for anything that the Instructional Technologists, Instructional Designer and Teaching Consultants, Information Technology Support Staff, and Librarians can help you with.