Table of Contents
Internet access is a prerequisite of successfully working remotely. Contact your local internet provider if you are having issues, and have your students do the same. If it is unresolved, follow suggestions on ISU’s Working Remotely site.
It is vitally important to recognize that our students may not have internet access at their location – consider how you will accommodate them, review our Be Flexible page.
1. Use Canvas
Canvas is the primary learning management system (LMS) at the university. It gives you the ability to quickly share course materials, provide easy-to-use tools to communicate and collaborate with students, co-instructors, and Teaching Assistants (TAs).
There are a few checks you will want to perform to ensure success in your course(s):
- What are Canvas’s technical requirements? Visit the What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas? web guide.
- Which browser should I use for Canvas? Visit the Which browsers does Canvas support? web guide.
Extend your learning in 6 or 30 minutes
- Take six minutes to watch the Canvas Overview for Instructors video (5m 47s).
- Take 30-minutes to learn more about Canvas, visit the Canvas Set up your Canvas course in 30 minutes or less page, and watch the five videos.
How to access Canvas at ISU
Step One: Login credentials
You will need to have your ISU Net-ID and password to log into Canvas. If you do not, please visit the IT Accounts and Passwords website or contact The Solution Center at 515-294-4000.
Step Two: Choose how to interact with Canvas
There are three options for finding the Canvas login page:
- Option one: Open a web browser, type the Canvas web address directly into the browser’s address bar. The Canvas web address is http://canvas.iastate.edu
- Option two: Open a web browser, navigate to the Iowa State University homepage, locate the “Sign Ons” link found on the upper right corner (above the search box), and then select “Canvas” from the menu
- Option three: Use the Mobile Canvas App on your mobile device:
Step Three: Logging into Canvas
Use your Net-ID and password to login to Canvas. Once logged in, you should see your Canvas Dashboard. If you have an issue logging in, contact The Solution Center at 515-294-4000.
Note: You have access to the Canvas-ISU page that contains information on how to use Canvas.
Create your course, preload the ISU Template, specify course settings, choose a homepage, enroll students, and make it available.
- To see if you already have a course, log in to Canvas.
- If the course doesn’t appear in your Dashboard – check if your course is on the list in Courses > All Courses, and you should ensure to mark it as a favorite in All Courses.
- If any of your classes do not have a Canvas course, create one now using step one in this Start of Semester checklist guide.
- When requesting a new course shell, choose to pre-load your course with the ISU Course Template. Whether a course is taught entirely online or as a combination of face-to-face lecture with online instructional materials, activities, and assessments, it can benefit from including these essential components and the ISU Course Template.
If you still cannot locate the course, contact the ISU Solution Center.
2. Communicate with your students
You need to communicate with your students promptly, even if you do not have a full semester plan in place. Inform them what your expectations are for checking email or Canvas (ISU’s learning management system).
One-on-one communications between students and their instructors and/or advisers can be particularly challenging in a virtual environment. It is imperative that Instructors follow all Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) guidance on the Registrar’s Policies website.
In particular, review and bookmark the Sharing Sensitive Student Info-FERPA page. This page outlines which software may be used to communicate private information.
- Don’t assume students are on email all the time. Establish shared expectations about when and where students should check for announcements or other communications. Let them know if you are using the Canvas Inbox tool since they may need to update their notification preferences
- To communicate with the whole class, use Canvas Announcements. Canvas includes a set of default notification preferences you can receive for your courses sent as one of four delivery types: notify me right away, daily summary, weekly summary, or don’t send. To select your notification preferences, read through the How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor? web guide or view the Notification Preferences video.
- Double check that ALL of your upcoming assignments (during the duration listed on the ISU Safety page) are on Canvas and published so students can access them from home.
- Promote the ISU Principles of Community, use Netiquette at ISU (PDF).
- Webex – online conferencing tool in Canvas, use the how-to connect Webex to your course guide
- Conferences (ISU no longer recommends this Canvas tool)
- Inbox (Canvas) – used to send questions, answers and information to your students
- Discussion Board (Canvas) – communication tool for class assignments and collaboration
- CyBox – is the FERPA compliant file storage system at ISU
- Google Suite – used to create documents, papers by individual students or groups
3. Deliver course content
Instruct your students about how and when you will deliver course content along with hosting meetings, holding their office “student” hours, and more.
Students may not have ready Internet access. Consider the best way to communicate information to students and the best ways for them to interact with course content.
Examples of In-Person Class Sessions Transformed to Online
Tool and Description
Tool, Descriptions, & Support
Outlook or CyMail email
Canvas Announcements or Inbox
Choose one form of communication, and communicate weekly with students. This communication can include an update or feedback on assignments.
When sharing grades and other sensitive student information, follow guidance from the Registrar’s Sharing Sensitive Student Info-FERPA page.
Record short lectures.
Embed discipline-specific videos from YouTube or existing video streaming resources.
PowerPoint slides with notes coupled with low-stakes quizzes.
Asynchronous (not at the same time) short videos are best for delivering complex material or setting the stage for active learning.
Ensure you watch the entirety of the YouTube or other video to ensure the correct information is presented.
Short lectures can also be posted in the form of PowerPoint slides with notes or PowerPoint file and a PDF of notes in the document. To ensure accountability, couple the PowerPoint with low-stake quizzes or student reflections.
Canvas Assignments and Quizzes
Transfer in-class assignments to virtual assignments. This can include a file upload, problem set, student reflection, or quiz.
Webex for live collaboration, G-Suite or CyBox for document collaboration, Canvas Collaborations, One Note is part of MS Office 360 available to all students and faculty.
Assign different problems to groups to examine and come up with solutions.
Have the group create and post a presentation/video/chart/infographic in the course’s discussion area. Other groups could share their thoughts, questions and opinions.
Canvas Assignments and Quizzes
LockDown Browser locks down the testing environment within Canvas
Respondus Monitor supplements the LockDown Browser with a fully automated process that uses student webcams.
Written scripts of presentation
Ask students to record their presentation using a cell phone or their computer to upload to Canvas.
A lower-tech option is to ask students to submit a written script of their presentation to assess content knowledge and other skills like persuasive thinking.
4. Establish methods for collecting assignments/submissions
You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.
5. Activities, Assessments, Quizzes, and More
You have many options for online activities, assignments, and assessments (quizzes).
6. Grading in Canvas
The Grades function within Canvas allows you to maintain all of your grades online. It provides a robust tool for tasks typically done in a spreadsheet application, making it possible to keep all grading online.
The fantastic part? You can submit your midterm and end of term grades through the ISU Admin Tools in Canvas.
- If you are using Canvas to distribute grades to students throughout the semester, carefully read through each section of the Key Concepts for Grading in Canvas guide to ensure that you are using the gradebook appropriately.
- It is important to note that Canvas uses a grading scheme to assign letters to percentages. Once this is in place, the score is calculated based on all points accumulated in the course or on a weighted total of the assignment groups.
- Additionally, specific how -to information on the sections below may be found in the Canvas Instructor Guide.
If anything is unclear or confusing, please contact Canvas Support – Canvas offers 24/7 support options listed in the ? Help icon on the Global Navigation to the far left or call the Canvas Support Line (call 515-294-4000 then follow the prompts to connect to Canvas).
As an instructor, SpeedGrader allows you to view and grade student assignment submissions in one place using a simple point scale or complex rubric. Canvas accepts a variety of document formats and even URLs as assignment submissions. Some document assignments can be marked up for feedback directly within the submission. You may also provide feedback to your students with text or media comments.
Providing multiple ways for students to gain knowledge, demonstrate knowledge, and interact goes a long way toward making a course accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. Shifting courses online is an opportunity to build in accessibility from the beginning.
To find out how best to help our students with disabilities during a disruption, review ISU’s Student Accessibility Service’s Message Regarding COVID-19 page.
Below are recent posts, and basic accessible teaching strategies:
Shifting courses online is an opportunity to build in accessibility from the beginning. This resource provides tips for basic accessible teaching strategies and ways of checking in with your students. In addition to the tips provided, consider encouraging students to use text-to-speech apps if there are concerns about so much “screen time”. Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19 (Mapping Access)
Image descriptions and alt-text for all images and videos
Captions and/or transcripts for all videos, learn more from Your Questions, Answered post
Checking for screen reader accessibility with a tool such as Webaim
- Use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor in Canvas
9. Promote a sense of belonging
During this unprecedented time, it is helpful to survey your students about their needs, challenges, and concerns moving face-to-face instruction online. Your questions can include those related to course materials, as well as factors that may influence students’ participation.
Survey distribution options include: Qualtrics, Canvas Quiz, Email, or importing the quiz from Canvas Commons, preview the Check-in Survey in Canvas (PDF).
Note: Some students may receive a version of this survey from multiple sources. Therefore, recognize that you may not receive a high response rate, but rather that you will hear from students that need to communicate with you.
To import from Canvas Commons:
- Log in to Canvas site
- Locate the ISU “survey” (quiz) in Canvas Commons, via the Check -in for the shift to online course delivery Canvas Commons link.
- Then follow the steps in the How do I import and view a Commons resource in Canvas? guide.
- Once it is imported in your course, set it up using the What options can I set in a quiz? web guide.
- Publish it for your students, How do I publish or unpublish a quiz as an instructor? guide.
- Once you receive responses, use the How do I view survey results in a course? guide. Pay particular attention to the View Student Analysis Report area of that document. The results will download into a .csv file that you can open up in your spreadsheet.
If you become aware of a student’s specific needs,
- If students are seeking help, contact Student Assistance (Dean of Students Office) via email email@example.com
- If it is an accommodation question, contact Student Accessibility Services, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This resource is an adaptation of the extensive work of Lauren Cagle’s COVID-19 Online Teaching Contingency Planning along with the Mapping Access website with input from Megan Myers (World Languages and Cultures) and Jeremy Best (History), ISU Student Accessibility Services, and ISU Student Assistance.
As CELT starts to build information about inclusive online course delivery, we are sharing key resources:
- Quick Shift to Teaching Online: Protecting Diverse Faculty and Students website
- Supporting Students During COVID-19: The #RealCollege Guide (PDF)
- Teaching Inclusively, Transitioning to Online Teaching, and Supporting Educators during the COVID-19 crisis (Aspire – National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse Faculty)
- Permission & Advice to Reduce the Burden & Stress Please Do a Bad Job of Putting Your Courses Online (Rebecca Barrett-Fox)
10. Additional resources
ISU Library Digital Content
The ISU Library makes it possible for faculty teaching remote classes to connect seamlessly through direct engagement with library staff, access to digital content, and collaboration across the University.
- Discipline-Specific Resources: Populate your course with discipline-specific resources and databases, enable a chat with subject librarians and use discipline-specific FAQs.
- To begin use the ISU Library’s Step-by-step instructions web guide.
- Streaming Media: Explore ISU’s streaming media collections of documentaries, news programs and news clips, instructional material, and selected feature films on many subjects.
- To determine the best options for your course, use the Ask a Librarian page.
For assistance with digital course material needs, conversion from print to digital, or additional support with the RedShelf platform or publisher content during the Spring 2020 online instruction period, contact Iowa State University Book Store team via:
Read the most up-to-date information about publishers, access, and more on the Digital Course Materials ISU Book Store webpage.
Find out how you can best advise your students remotely; as well as, additional resources on the SVPP’s Academic Advising COVID-19 page.
This CELT Course Continuity (Students) page is a derivative of the following pages: