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Online Teaching Quick Start Strategies

Quickly developing learning materials for online teaching will benefit from applying some strategy.

  • Identify familiar tools: Use familiar tools first such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, and Canvas or TRACS to create instructional materials that can be shared online. PowerPoint may include narration and recording lecture materials on a set of slides may be easily learned. Zoom (the university's recommended and free-to-use desktop videoconferencing software) will also allow easy recording of lecture materials and features a whiteboard. Both tools require access to a computer equipped with a microphone.
  • Learn the basics of Canvas or brush up on TRACS: If you're already familiar with TRACS but need to brush up on working with it, take a few moments to do so. TRACS will be available for teaching through the end of 2020. Canvas is the university's learning management system featuring a robust set of built-in tools which will allow posting of information, recording of grades, distributing documents, and delivering video and audio recordings. Using Canvas for teaching begins with creating a course in the system. From there, a recommended quick start (links are to tutorials) would include learning to:
    • Create Announcements for students TRACS or Canvas
    • Chat with students in real time in TRACS or Canvas
    • See People enrolled in the course and access their email addresses in TRACS or Canvas.
    • Build learning Modules to organize content to make it easy for students to find materials and access them in the correct order in TRACS or Canvas.
    • Create Pages in Canvas that function much like the web pages on a web site or Content in TRACS that operates in much the same way.
    • Upload Files to the course site so that students may access them in TRACS or Canvas.
    • Use Mediaflo to deliver video and audio files to students including lectures recorded using Zoom
    • Work with the Canvas or TRACS Gradebook to record student achievement
    • Develop online Quizzes in Canvas or TRACS to assess student learning
  • Determine synchronous and asynchronous activities: A tool such as Zoom can provide an opportunity to meet with students synchronously through desktop videoconferencing. Zoom even allows students without home computers or access to strong Internet connections to join meetings by phone or mobile device. As noted above, Zoom may also be used to create video recordings for students to access asynchronously. Either Canvas or TRACS provide an excellent platform for storing and providing student access to other asynchronous learning materials such as documents and recorded video and audio. Use a mix of synchronous and asynchronous materials to provide maximum flexibility for instruction and availability of learning to students.