Instructor Resources for Online Teaching

A professor teaching a course with online resources


In an effort to be prepared, you are strongly urged to consider ways to teach remotely and to familiarize yourself with tools to assist you in doing this. Here you will find a range of strategies for synchronous and asynchronous teaching. As well as strategies for different teaching styles. For reasons of student safety and FERPA, it is best to use University supported technology.

Classes may be affected in different ways. You and/or students may become ill; you and/or students may be quarantined, decide to self-quarantine, self-isolate, or be unable to travel. You should check-in with students (and members of your teaching team) to assess what their needs are, what type of access they have to networks and technology away from campus.

To ensure that your course remains accessible, please consult the Disability Resource Center -

Simpler is better. Each course is different, so the solutions you adopt may also be unique. The goal is not to replicate every facet of in-class instruction in the online environment. This is an emergency. Focus on the course goals/outcomes you wrote. Then think about what kind of materials and activities can reasonably meet some or all of these.  You will do some new things, some different things, and learn along the way. There are people available to assist you, see Instructional Technology Support Contact List and Resources below.

To get started

Communicate with students about changes. (Refer to Communicate with students below.)


Can students get/find the materials and instructions that they need?

Do students have a way to turn in or show their work?

Have deadlines changed, been updated, and are these prominently posted?

Do you/teaching assistants/graders have a way to grade and give feedback?

Adapted from Miller, 2020


Use D2L

This is a central place for communication with students, as well as for course materials, online learning activities, testing, and grading. Via D2L, you and your students can access tools such as Zoom and Panopto. 

  • If your course does not have a D2L site, request D2L site: 

  • Manage due dates, meeting schedule, etc. in D2L Calendar

Communicate with students

Provide information about course operations and assignments. Students are likely to be worried if in-person classes are suspended, or if they are sick or isolated. They may also be concerned about their friends and families.

  • Communicate new expectations, including adjustments for insufficient technical infrastructure, anxiety, and illness.

  • Check-in with/Survey students in your courses to get a sense of their levels of connectivity, and how the cancellation of on-campus meetings might impact their ability to engage with your course. You can use the D2L Survey tool - or Google Forms -  to accomplish this.


Planning Questions for Students (D. Glabau, Tandon School of Engineering, NYU)

Check-in Assignment (J. Wernimont, Dartmouth College)

Read one of the following articles about how avoiding large gatherings helps to reduce infection rates.  In a written or video comment, share your thoughts about moving classes online.

Barclay, Eliza. “How Canceled Events and Self-Quarantines Save Lives, in One Chart.” Vox, 10 Mar. 2020,
Wiles, Siouxsie. “The Three Phases of Covid-19 – and How We Can Make It Manageable.” The Spinoff, 9 Mar. 2020,

D2L Announcements - - are in a central location visible to all students as soon as they access your course site.

The Instructor Center in UAccess provides a way for you to see the names and email addresses of students for each class you teach. You can use these classlists to contact all students enrolled in each class. To do this, log into UAccess and click on Instructor Center. After logging in with your UA Net ID and password, you’ll see a list of all your active classes. Click on the roster for each class (left-most column, looks like tiny figures) to get the full class list. At the bottom of that page are buttons that allow you to email selected students or all students. 

Announce your virtual office schedule, specifying the time zone. Create a recurring Zoom meeting that students can join to talk with you real-time.

If you have a D2L course site, see Instructors: Zoom in D2L -  Share instructions for students to join Zoom in D2L -

  • All students and employees can Zoom with anyone, anywhere, anytime
    Go to  and log in with your NetID to create and manage meetings.

  • If you are a member of the Arizona Health Sciences Center you can go to  and log in with your NetID. For meetings discussing healthcare, health education, or health data research use the HIPAA Zoom Login - 

Lectures/Meetings at a Distance

Create link to uploaded notes and slides in Content area of D2L site -

For assistance with digitizing materials, contact your Departmental Librarian -

UArizona Libraries have quite a bit of streaming video, e-books, and other resources that might align with your teaching goals. See the Libraries page for Instructors -

Search for open educational resources:

In a Zoom meeting, both instructors and students can share audio, video, screen presentations and files. Students can join an in-person class from a distance. Or everyone including the teacher can join a Zoom meeting from remote locations. Zoom has break-out rooms for small group discussions/pair work during a meeting. Up to 500 participants can be in a meeting. Zoom meetings may be recorded, captioned, and links to the recordings shared in D2L or email.

Caution: It takes practice to get used to Zoom. It would be wise to supplement Zoom meetings with asynchronously available activities. Live (synchronous) meetings are challenging to schedule at times good for all students and instructors. There may be technical difficulties if participants do not have fast network connections.

  • If you use a Whiteboard during class meetings, you can join the meeting with or connect to your computer a drawing tablet such as Wacom or iPad--and screenshare. Apple mirroring works on newer devices.

If you have a D2L course site, see Instructors: Zoom in D2L- Provide instructions for students to join Zoom in D2L - 

If you are not recording live in-class lectures, it is best to segment your lecture into shorter “chunks” of 15 minutes or less.  Short didactic presentations interspersed with activities wherein students are asked to think, write, recall, explain, analyze is an effective way to keep students engaged and for you to monitor their progress.

Panopto one can record lectures from any location. You can capture video, audio and/or anything on your computer screen. You can also upload a media file. Panopto automatically creates captions. Quiz questions may be inserted into the recording. Panopto’s statistics show who has watched the recording.

If you use a Whiteboard, you can connect to your computer a drawing tablet such as Wacom or iPad or use a drawing application and capture your screen.

Panopto Examples:  Geometry Lesson (TCS Fairfax) PowerPoint Presentation (UArizona)

How to instructions for Panopto -  

VoiceThread is a “visual discussion board” that allows you to combine recorded lecture (video or audio) with opportunities for students to record their feedback through text entry, audio, or video. It is a good way to maintain the “community” feel of a class even though participants are in separate locations and access the materials at different times.

 VoiceThread Example: 20th Century Art (M. Pocansky-Brock, Channel Islands College)

Contact InTech support to get started - 

Participation & Interaction

There are a variety of ways for you to monitor student activities at a distance and for students to get guidance and feedback from you, as well as  interact with content and each other.

A single short written response question in a  D2L Quiz can engage students, as well as allow you to check-in with and assess student thinking. Anonymous surveys in D2L can help you to “take the temperature” of your class around a content-related issue or about the thinking and feelings of the group. See D2L Help for Instructors: Quizzes - 

The question options are very limited, but you can gain and keep attention with multiple-choice and multiple select questions. See How to add a Quiz to a Panopto Video - 

Discussions are flexible and very stable environments in which you and students can easily use text, multimedia, hyperlinks, and attachments to present information and communicate with each other. You can even speak to each other asynchronously in recordings of less than 10 minutes using Video Note. Link Discussions  to D2L Grades to ease time spent grading. See D2L Discussions Help Pages for Instructors -

All students have access to the G Suite of tools via their UA NetID account. Many students already use these tools to do their work. Up to 50 people at a time can edit and comment in a Google Doc at once. Participation can be tracked.  Google Drive Help -


Information for faculty and staff to create a G Suite for Education account associated with UA business - 

Groups work best when they have a concrete task to tackle. Use a shared document in Google drive or Doodle to assist with scheduling at mutually agreeable times.

  • Use D2L Discussions & D2L Groups for group work

  • Use VoiceThread for smaller group work

  • Students can create Zoom meetings anytime with anyone via D2L site or by going to and logging in with UA NetID. (Other free, secure synchronous meeting tools for students are Google Hangouts and Whereby)

Testing, Collecting Assignments, Assessment

Remote testing will challenge all of us to think creatively. Generally, it would be best to consider remote tests as learning activities (formative assessment). 

Protect academic integrity

Design “open book” exams containing questions that address higher-order thinking (application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis). Focusing beyond recall and comprehension minimizes the impact of use of outside resources and requires students to make and reinforce connections more. Allowing students to use resource materials (diagrams, figures, textbook, websites, etc.) under these circumstances can help them explore ideas and put them together in ways that are unique and not easily found as a “right answer.” Similarly consider 

Have students make recorded presentations or explanations using Video Note, VoiceThread, or Panopto assignments folder so that you may see and verify the identity of the student.

Consider using Examity only if you must administer high-stakes assessments. (Refer to Strategy 17 below.)

In a two-stage collaborative exam, students first take the exam individually, turn in their answers, then form small groups and immediately re-take the same exam (possibly with the addition of a few more challenging questions) to submit a single team response. By engaging in discussion to come to a consensus for their team’s answer, students receive immediate feedback about their reasoning. The grade each student receives is a combination of their individual score and the group score. See, Carl Weiman at Stanford Teaching Commons -

Create dropbox folders in the D2L course site so that students can submit assignments remotely and you can annotate, provide feedback, and grade digitally. See D2L Help Essentials -

Questions you would ask in class, checks for understanding of reading or video material, shorter written assignments, and “worksheets” can be administered via D2L quizzes. Some instructors also administer exams in D2L. See D2L Quizzes Help Pages to get started - 

If a high-stakes assessment is necessary, the use of Examity is available to large courses for their final exams. Examity is the University of Arizona's online proctoring service and has two levels of security: auto-proctored and auto-proctored with audit. An onboarding meeting with each instructor is required to make the most out of the application and promote good student experiences. It may take several days to set up an Examity account prior to exam administration. When adopting Examity, the communication with students about what to expect is critical. Students will need a laptop or desktop equipped with a camera and microphone, as well as access to a fast, uninterrupted internet connection. To learn more about Examity, see the InTech Examity page - 



Attendance Policy

As soon as possible, students who need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness, are responsible for emailing their course instructor, with copy to the Dean of Students - DOS- deanofstudents@email.arizona.eduNote: There  is NO need for a medical excuse to be provided, unless a student misses more than one week of classes in a semester. (UA Provost Liesl Folks Letter to faculty, March 3, 2020).

Students who are ill (or who are learning how to learn online) may need some flexibility in completing course assignments. This will be a big lift for everyone. To help students keep deadlines in mind, use the D2L calendar so that they can view all due dates at a glance; but try to be flexible (e.g. due date is Thursday at 11:59 pm, but can be turned in with no penalty until Friday at 11:59 pm), especially if students have reported that they are sick or have limited access to the network.

Students may miss aspects of class that cannot be made up (for example, a Zoom discussion during Thursday afternoon’s class session that was not recorded). Prepare a few alternative assignments that can help students who miss work to achieve the desired learning outcome(s). 

An efficient way to keep track of and communicate feedback and grades. D2L Help for Grades -