Learn how to put classroom activities online

Learn more about technologies available to help support common classroom activities in a remote or blended teaching environment.

Announcements should be posted in Canvas, which will notify students when they access Canvas and may generate a notification to users depending on their preferences. 

For other communications, CWRU Webmail or Canvas’s Inbox are both available.

Regardless of your communication method, you should set communication expectations for your class.

For courses with asynchronous classes, creating recordings of lectures is paramount. Recordings can be made using Zoom or Echo360 Universal Capture, and should be distributed to students using Canvas; see the “Post materials & videos” section on this page for additional information on sharing videos via Canvas.

There are few options for tracking attendance:

  • Have students type their name in the Zoom chat, then download the chat or have it auto-save to your computer
  • Create a Google Form for students to complete at the start of each class meeting.
  • Build a Canvas Quiz for students to complete during each class.
  • For smaller classes, go back to basics: keep track of who has attended class by checking off student names on a piece of paper. For a paper-free alternative, the attendance tool in Canvas can also be used.

Canvas discussion boards offer a place to facilitate discussions among students. Students can make posts and respond to posts made by classmates. Discussion boards can also be limited to groups to facilitate small group discussions.

Grading can be set-up in Canvas with the Gradebook feature, which supports most common grading schemes. Various items in Canvas can be graded, including assignments, quizzes, attendance, and discussions. The top tips for grading in Canvas:

Grades entered in the Canvas Gradebook can be sent to SIS for midterm and final grade recording.

Live presentations can be made via Zoom by allowing participants to share their screens. Students can share their screen, open their presentation, and unmute themselves to present. 

For recorded presentations, students can make recordings in Zoom, Echo360’s Universal Capture, or the Canvas media tool. Once the video has been created, students can share them on a Canvas discussion board or submit them to an assignment on Canvas.

There are a number of things you can do to engage students via Zoom, including:

Several departments around campus have identified alternatives for lab activities, so please check with your department to see if they have a recommended suggestion. Additional suggestions have been identified in this Teaching College Science Classes When Resources are Limited resource.

Office hours can be held virtually using Zoom. We recommend using the waiting room feature to monitor who joins your meeting.

Canvas is the best option to distribute materials to students, regardless of teaching method. While there are several options for organizing your content within Canvas, we recommend using the Modules area of your Canvas course. Modules offer several advantages, such as organizing content by topics and supporting a variety of content types. Teaching + Learning Technologies has designed a Canvas course template for dual delivery courses, that focuses on using Modules and provides placeholders for supplying course policies and materials. If you’re interested in this template, please let us know!

If you are posting video content, we also recommend doing so through Canvas. You’ve got a few options for this, depending on the type of video you’ve made:

The Quizzes feature in Canvas lets instructors build and distribute online assessments. There are some considerations for online quizzes built in Canvas:

  • All times set on quizzes are based in the Eastern time zone (Cleveland local time). Keep this in mind when choosing an access window for your quiz, as students may be in different time zones.
  • Do not set an “Until” date, as it can prematurely submit student quiz attempts. Instead, use the “Due” date. Submissions made past that time will be marked as late, so you’ll know who missed the due date.
  • Extra time can be granted for individual students. 
  • Students can leave a quiz and resume it at a later time. If you’ve set a timer, the timer will not stop during this time. At the end of the timer time limit, any attempts will save and automatically submit answers.

If you determine that a high-stakes exam is required for your class, CWRU does offer secure testing tools. No matter which tool you decide to use, there are limitations and considerations to take into account. Please review the Secure Online Testing Tools for Faculty guide for more information about both tools.

Canvas and Zoom are good options to support small group work.

Canvas allows you to create groups, which provide an area in Canvas for group members to share documents, post discussions, and communicate. This is a good option for asynchronous group work.

Zoom supports breakout rooms, which create smaller meeting rooms within your main meeting. Students can share their screens, chat, and collaborate with other students in their breakout rooms. They can also make recordings! This is a good option if all group members are joining the class via Zoom, or if you can pair one in-classroom student with one remote student.

With either Canvas or Zoom, Google Apps support collaboration for group work, allowing for multiple collaborators and live editing of shared documents. The Collaborations tool in Canvas provides a quick way to create Google Docs for your students. 

The Assignments feature in Canvas should be used to collect student work. Students can upload files from their computer, select documents from Google Drive, or create videos using Canvas or Echo360 Universal Capture.

Using Zoom to connect remote students together is the solution for synchronous courses, for both fully remote and blended classes. You can use Zoom to share your screen and monitor interactions of remote students. If you need to record your class session, you can record to the cloud using Zoom

If you are teaching a blended course, with some students participating remotely along with students in the classroom, you may also choose to record your class with Echo360.

For blended courses, here are some tips for maximizing Zoom meetings held in CWRU classrooms:

  • Discourage students in the classroom from joining the Zoom meeting. If they do join, it is important that everyone in the classroom keep themselves muted to avoid audio feedback.
  • Students in the classroom will be able to hear students on Zoom, but the opposite may not be true. If questions are asked in the classroom, repeat them so students on Zoom can also hear them before you answer.
  • Be mindful not to wander away from the microphone and camera. 
  • Most rooms will support document cameras being shared on Zoom and on the classroom projector simultaneously.


These resources have been built with great influence from University of Washington, Iowa State University, and Carnegie Mellon University.