Skip to the main content

Faculty: Live Online (Remote Instructions) Resources


Welcome faculty

In an effort to support your online learning environments, attached are the guidelines Student Services has used to address the virtual learning environment.



Our Statement of Purpose

Palm Beach State College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated quickly transitioning all face-to-face courses to Live Online (Live Online (Remote)) delivery.

Live Online (Remote) Instruction Guides:

  • Live Online (Remote) Instruction Checklist
  • Transitioning to the Live Online (Remote) Teaching Environment
  • Communicating with students in Live Online (Remote) Learning
  • Tips to increase student engagement
  • Assessments in Live Online (Remote) Learning
  • Inclusive Teaching Practices
  • Resources for Live Online (Remote) Teaching


Where to Begin

  • Clearly state when and how often students should expect to interact with you.
  • Describe how you will deliver content to your students.
  • Create a place where students can ask questions about course format and logistics.
  • Develop a plan for creating behavioral norms within the class.

Building and Sustaining Community

  • Articulate requirements for student engagement.
  • Create opportunities for human connection.
  • Review your course materials and content delivery
  • Align your course materials with your learning objectives.
  • Review the available technology and make choices.
  • Use clear video labels and descriptions.
  • Explain how students should review materials timing.
  • Review policies for time zone considerations.
  • Create a rhythm and consistency with due dates and expectations.

Create opportunities for engagement and discussion

  • Explain how students should engage.
  • Communicate how students should expect the instructor to engage in discussions.
  • Set discussion expectations.

Revising Assignments for Live Online (Remote) Teaching and Delivering Assessments and Exams Online

  • Create frequent opportunities for students to get feedback on their work.
  • Alter face-to-face assessments for Live Online (Remote) teaching.
  • Clearly articulate how and when students will be assessed.
  • Review assessments for accessibility barriers.
  • Use "due dates" in Blackboard/LMS

Communicating with Students and Office Hours

  • Clearly share links for office hours.
  • Clearly share links for class sessions.
  • Ensure that all the links students will need, for meetings or recordings, etc. are available on your Blackboard/LMS homepage.


Thank you to Dartmouth University Online (Remote)/Live Online (Remote)-teaching-readiness-checklist/

As you are migrating your classes to the Live Online (Remote) teaching environment, one of the early decisions that you will need to make is whether you will deliver your lessons synchronously (where everyone logs in at the same time) or asynchronously (where students can view the lessons and complete assignments at a time most convenient for them). 

This decision will partly depend on the subject area that you teach, as well as the technology (WIFI access and bandwidth restrictions) available to you and your students.

Which brings us to the best of both worlds: A blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. 

With this model, you as the instructor can deliver the lesson at the preset class times, while recording the class session. Later the recordings can be made available to your students through a link provided in Blackboard. 

Additional asynchronous activities such as discussion board, lecture notes, practice worksheets etc. can also be made available to your students. Assignments and tests can also be delivered asynchronously, to give students flexibility in completing them. 

Given the fact that many of our students are going through major life disruptions due to COVID19, giving them the convenience to complete their class work within a window of time will help arrange their schedule in a way that maximizes their learning.

If your class is suitable for synchronous delivery, and provided that you have access to WIFI with sufficient bandwidth, encouraging your students to attend the synchronous lessons and giving those students who are unable to do so the flexibility to attend class at a time more convenient for them would be the most effective way to reach all the students.

Another possible approach is to have students watch the pre-recorded mini lectures in advance of class time while using the synchronous meetings for discussions, group work, and various activities that invite student participation and interaction.

Tools for Synchronous Sessions:

Both Collaborate Ultra and Zoom are videoconferencing platforms that are supported by PBSC and are integrated inside a Blackboard course.  (See instructions from PBSC Instructional Design and Technology for adding Zoom in a Blackboard course.)

These tools enable you to have live meetings with your classes to deliver a lesson through sharing a screen or uploading a PowerPoint or a pdf file, visiting a weblink, showing a video and doing most of the things that you would normally be able to do in a typical lecture class setting.  Students can also be given the permission to share their screen to do class presentations.  They can participate in discussions through audio/video or chat features.

Even if you may decide not to use these platforms for lesson delivery, at the very least, consider using this technology for holding office hours, small group discussions, and/or encouraging students to form their own study groups.

Tools for Asynchronous Delivery:

If you will not be having synchronous lessons, it will be especially important to have a site with a wealth of resources that is also easy to navigate.

One of the easiest ways to build a site is to first create a content area, and then add weekly folders.  Within each of the weekly folders add the outcomes for the lesson, lecture notes in pdf form, links to the videos of the lessons you may have recorded or videos that you have located through the web, link to the ebook and any special handouts you may have.

You can also add a link to the discussions board (if utilized) and include a link to an assignment or quiz.  In addition, providing  a weekly schedule document indicating which topics they should be studying for any given week, when the major assignments/tests are due, etc. will help students manage their time efficiently.

To add interactivity for the asynchronous class, it will be especially important to utilize a discussions board, and if at all possible, Zoom or Collaborate office hours. (For more information on setting up and managing discussions, see the section on Discussions Board in Blackboard.)

Then each week, you can send an announcement/email introducing students to the material for that week, and give them some tips about upcoming assignments etc.

Please visit the Support tab on the right side of any Blackboard shell to see the e-learning tutorials on adding assignments or quizzes to a BB site.

Establishing lines of communications with your students in a Live Online (Remote) learning environment

In a face-to-face class,  during each class session, not only do you deliver your lesson but also get an opportunity to  learn student names, to explain any concepts that need clarification, to remind students about upcoming assignments and deadlines, and to interact a bit informally with them before or after class.

When  transitioning to an online or Live Online (Remote) teaching environment, the initial tendency might be to only provide the course content through videos and/or lecture notes.  But, students need those reminders and interactions with the professor now more than ever, since they need to stay motivated as independent learners to view the recordings, to read the notes or to even show up in a synchronous session.  Research also shows that student interactions with the instructor in an online class is critical to student success.

What are some options that instructors have to regularly communicate with the students?

Email is the simplest form of communication in a Live Online (Remote) learning environment.  Faculty can start emailing students as early as one week prior to the start of the semester, by providing a welcoming message, that may include links to the syllabus, a reminder about the first day of the semester, links to the Blackboard website where the course can be accessed (especially helpful for students who are taking a class at PBSC for the first time) and any other relevant material.

Once the semester starts, weekly emails sent to the entire class can help students stay on track and keep them focused about the material they need to complete in the near future.  Individual emails sent to students who appear to be missing assignments or quizzes, or have not logged in to the course website for more than 4-5 days can help them realize that you care about their success and will give them a chance to explain why they are falling behind. This can give the instructor an opportunity for course correction,  to encourage the student that it is not too late to succeed in the class, and to point out academic support type of services available to them.

Letting your students know in advance of when they can expect to get a reply from you will help them not feel ignored.  If you cannot provide a detailed response within 24 hours, one alternative is to respond to simply let them know when a more detailed response will be sent out.

Some tools, besides regular email, that faculty members can use to reach out to individual students are Remind, Google Voice, and the BB app (ask students to download the app.)  All of these tools can be used to send messages directly to students’ cellphones, and therefore will potentially reach them instantly.

Announcements created in Blackboard can also be sent as an email (just check the appropriate box in the announcement window), and have the added advantage that they will remain in the course site for easy access, whereas emails tend to get lost in students' inbox.  Other than the initial email sent to all students prior to the start of the semester, all future communication sent to the entire class can be done in the form of Announcement/email.

Office Hours in a Live Online (Remote) class can take various forms.  In the simplest case, you can let your students know when you will be available, and that students will get quicker replies to their emails during those windows.

Another option is to use the Course Room in Collaborate (or to set up a session in Zoom), to meet with students synchronously using the chat and/or video feature.  Yet another possibility is arriving to the synchronous classes a bit early or staying late to chat with the students and to answer any questions they may have.

When using Collaborate for office hours, if there are many students who have questions, the instructor can first answer the most general questions for the entire group.  For individual, private questions the instructor can use breakout groups by assigning each student to a group of 1.  This will create private spaces where the instructor can go from "group" to "group" to answer the individual questions privately.

Some instructors have reported using a web based tool called Calendly, to give students the opportunity to book 15-minute appointments with the professor.  The professor indicates which time slots are available for appointments, and students choose from those slots.  Calendly integrates with Outlook calendar as well as Zoom (those require downloading additional plugins), so that when the student creates the appointment, a Zoom meeting is  automatically created and placed on the Outlook calendar.

Another option that PBSC faculty has to connect with students, to send kudos, referrals and flags is Starfish.  This early warning system can be accessed from the main page of Blackboard (upper left) where all the Blackbaord courses are listed.

Setting up a Discussion Board and Participating in Discussions:

Discussion forums are especially helpful for asynchronous classes, to add student-student and student-instructor interactions. Discussion boards can also enhance student engagement in a synchronous class, since it will provide a forum for the students to interact with their classmates outside of the regular class time.

In addition to setting up Discussion Boards where student can discuss the course materials, you can also set up forums in the following categories:  (From Online Learning Consortium)

  1. Introduction forum - A place where students can get to know one another and where they can get to know you. Helpful for identifying students’ educational backgrounds, what requisite knowledge they bring to the course, and for identifying specific educational interests they have.  (Asking students to include an optional photo or using a video-based board such as FlipGrid might help create a community even more effectively.)
  2. Virtual watercooler forum - A place for students to informally interact with one another to share ideas, ask questions, or get to know one other better. Can help to keep other discussion boards focused on the topic at hand.  You can name these creatively such as Course Café.
  3. Help forum - A place for students to post questions or seek further clarification about a topic not explicitly addressed in another course discussion or in the course syllabus. Here you can encourage students to post questions, and also to answer any questions for which they know the answers. You as the instructor can also provide answers when no one else seems to know the answer.  Especially during the first few weeks of the class, students tend to have many questions, but may not want to "bother" the instructor. This is a great place where students can help students and instructors chiming in as needed.

Discussion Boards about the course content can be graded or based on the instructor design of the course.  Typically, to encourage student participation you may find that designating at least small number of points for the discussions component will do the trick.  On the other hand, if discussions will be graded, one needs to create clear guidelines (rubrics) about expectations for what constitutes as a quality post.

The following facilitation techniques,  were taken from Wayne State University's guide on Creating and Facilitating Effective Discussion Boards

  1. Provide an introduction for each discussion board topic to frame the conversation and the steer your students in the right direction.
  2. Be present in your discussion but be mindful of how frequently you post. In general, you should post more often in early discussions, so as to draw attention to effective responses and to address any misconceptions; as the course gets closer to the end, however, you should allow students to lead the conversation.
  3. Your role as the instructor is to facilitate and guide the conversation. Allow students to converse freely and only jump in when the conversation gets off topic, when an idea needs to be further clarified (you might address that by posing a question), and when there is an issue of Netiquette.
  4. If you notice certain students not participating regularly, reach out to them privately to encourage participation. Publicly addressing these students in the discussion board itself may lead to further withdrawal.
  5. Similarly, you may need to rein in dominate students who post far too long responses and/or provide so much content that they suffocate the opinions and input of others. Again, a private email or message should be sent to this type of student to address their behavior and to provide alternative solutions, such as assigning the student a unique role, such as summarizer or facilitator.

While there are many possible ways to set up the protocol for a discussions board, two interesting approaches are listed in the same document from Wayne State University for setting up discussions boards in an online class.

Chain-linked: Chain-linked discussions are started by asking one specific question. The first person to respond answers the original question, and then they must ask a new question for the second person to answer, and so on. Each student has the responsibility to do both parts; answer a question and think critically enough to apply the content in order to formulate

Save the last word: Half of the students are instructed to post a quote from the reading that they didn’t really understand or would like more clarification on. [For a math class, half the class could post problems that they found challenging from a homework set or from the lecture.] Then the other half of the students must offer their ideas, interpretations, and understandings of the quote. The key is that every quote must have at least two responses from two different students. After a certain amount of time, the original student who posted the quote must explain what they learned from the discussion of their quote. Then the students switch roles.

Checking in with the students one-on-one or in small groups

The importance of checking in with students in helping them complete the course successfully has been established in several studies.  It may be possible to set up 10 min or 15 min appointments in Collaborate or Zoom to meet with all the students one on one, early on in the semester, to discuss any concerns and to make sure they are progressing in the course with no unintended barriers.

Many instructors with heavy teaching loads and large classes may find the above strategy impractical.  An acceptable substitute might be to meet with smaller groups of students.  For example in a class of 30 students, it may be possible to have 5 groups of 6, where each group could meet for about 20 minutes.  Or maybe even three groups of 10 students, where each group is given about 30 minutes.  In smaller groups, students may be more likely to speak up, and express their thoughts.  This would also be a good way to bring a more personalized approach to an online or Live Online (Remote) class.  Students can be encouraged to use their webcams in these meetings to help the instructor get to know them.

Another possibility it to create a checking-in survey for students to take periodically during the semester, to see how things are going with each student, and then to follow up with one-on-one meetings with those who seem to be struggling or having issues with the class.  In addition, being proactive about reaching out to students with missing assignments or lack or activity in Blackboard, whether through email or a phone call can go a long way in bringing those students back on track with the course.

Getting to know your students personally through a survey

Many face-to-face instructors ask their students to fill out a form with their major, interests, and access to technology and other basic questions. For Live Online (Remote) instruction, you can do the same by preparing a survey using the Blackboard quizzing tool, or using the Forms feature of Google Docs.  To get a head start in getting to know your students, you can even send the link to this survey with your initial email prior to the start of the semester. (BB survey won't be accessible until the start of the semester, but Google Docs can work.) 

Keeping a page of information on each one of your students

Getting to know the students in an online or Live Online (Remote) class takes significantly more time and energy than in a face-to-face class.  One has to be intentional about this.  Even though you may have the students fill out a survey at the beginning of class, introduce themselves in a discussions forum, and meet with them individually or in small groups, it is easy to forget what you have learned about those students, since you will not see them on a regular basis.

One possible approach is to keep a "rolodex" of index cards, or a notebook where each page is reserved for one student (or a digital equivalent in One Note or Word).  You can begin by writing the name of the student, clipping a photo from the roster, and adding any tidbits that you learn about that student throughout the semester to help create a profile about the student which will help you remember them as a person.  Then, using some of this information when you speak to the student or when you email them can go a long way in showing that you care about the students as individuals and that you care about their success.

Using Groups to encourage student-to-student interaction

While it is very important that the instructor establishes lines of communication and support with the students, it is equally important to provide opportunities for students to communicate and interact with one another. 

Discussion board is one of those tools, and so is the small group office hours or study sessions.  Another option is to incorporate the Groups feature of Blackboard, accessed through the course tools menu, where you can randomly (or manually) assign students into groups. Students in each group will then have their own area for discussions, Collaborate and messaging options.  Whether you assign group projects or not, enabling this feature for the students and encouraging its use for forming study groups will help students gain additional student-student interaction opportunity within the Live Online (Remote) course.

Techniques to engage students during synchronous sessions:

Just as in a regular face-to-face class, if you were to lecture the entire class period, students would not be able to concentrate for such a long time.   When teaching through Zoom or Collaborate Ultra, it is essential to include activities where students have a chance to submit answers to questions, interact with fellow students and engage in the learning process.  Students in a Live Online (Remote) class might feel more apprehensive than usual speaking on camera without receiving any verbal or facial clues, and therefore instructors need be intentional in getting the students involved in the lesson and convincing them that they are an important part of the learning community.

Here are some possible ways to add interactivity elements to lessons:

Chat feature:

  • Chat feature can be used effectively to solicit participation periodically from the students.
  • You can start the class by asking everyone to submit an emoji about how their weekend was or how they are doing with the latest material taught, etc.
  • Throughout the class, you can ask questions, and have students submit their answers in the chat.
  • You can encourage students to type their questions in the chat area, and periodically stop and answer those questions.

3-2-1 method:

  • To get answers from all the students, and not just those who participate regularly, you can pose a question, have students type their responses in the chat line but not hit the enter key until you say 3-2-1, at which time everyone submits their answers at the same time.
  • To encourage participation from all students, and not just those who think fastest, you can ask students to take a minute to solve a given problem.  When the minute is up, they can be asked to submit their answers in the chat.

Raise hand feature:

  • Students can be asked to "raise their hand" by clicking on the appropriate icon, and be recognized to provide the answer to a question.  Encourage them to turn on their audio/video and to contribute through that medium if your bandwidth allows it.
  • Ask for at least 5 hands raised and then pick one person among the five.
  • Click on the attendees list, and call on five students (first 5 students listed in the attendees list) to answer a question, for the next question do the same with the next 5 students etc.  That way, instead of calling on just one student which may create high level of stress for some students, you are still helping all students get engaged in a lower pressure setting.
  • First give everyone a minute or two to write their answers, and then ask students to raise their hand.


  • Especially for smaller classes, you could ask every single person in the class to answer a question.  Start with the first person on the video grid or from the attendee list, and go down all the way to the last person.  Even though this may be a very short  answer, it will get everyone out of their shell.  If a student is not comfortable answering, you can allow them to say "pass" or " I yield my time to the next student".  You could always go back to that person for another question.

Warm Call: 

  • You can ask students to send you their answers through private chat.  Then, select someone who you know has the correct answer (but possibly did not participate at all until that point) by saying "Jemila - would you please share with the class what your answer is and how you got that."
  • Give students a problem to work on.  Ask them to raise their hand when they are done with the problem.  Do not go on to the next problem until you have at least 70-80% of the students raise their hand.  At that time, share with the entire class the solution to the problem and move on to the next problem without calling on anyone.

Breakout rooms:

  • Both Zoom and Collaborate Ultra have the breakout room feature.  It is best to start using these with a short and highly structured activity at first.  Over time, activities can be made longer, but structure will still be important.  Let the students know clearly what you expect them to do during the group time. For example: "Each student will take 2 minutes to explain their perspective on a discussion prompt, then the group will summarize and try to reach a consensus. When the entire class gathers again, the group members will brief the entire class."  Encourage the students to use their audio/video in the breakout groups.
  • While in groups, students will no longer see the instructions that you displayed with your shared screen. Remind the students to jot down the questions, or to take a picture of the screen before joining the groups.  Another possibility is to give them the link of the document placed in Blackboard, through the chat line. Or in Zoom, you can drop the file right in the chat area. (This had to be enabled in the settings first.)
  • Prior to starting the activity, tell the students exactly how long the group work will last, and that they will join the entire class automatically at the end of this time period.  If they get done with the activity sooner, remind them that they can use this time to stretch out or get a drink of water etc.
  • As an instructor, you can roam from group to group and join in the discussions, or simply observe and make sure that students are participating.  If a room is totally silent, you can get the conversation started by asking specific questions to each student.  Even if some students may not have a mic, they can still communicate through chat. (While they are in the groups, the chat feature  will work for messages within the group.)
  • For a quantitative class, students can write the solution on their own papers and then hold it to the camera to share their work with the rest of the group members.
  • Typically, when in breakout rooms, the default is for the students to be able to share a screen and place annotations on a shared white board.  But you would need to make them aware of those features and let them know where those icons are located prior to them going to the breakout rooms.
  • If you want to send a message to all the groups, just type a chat message to "everyone".  In Zoom, there is also the "broadcast" feature to send a chat message to all groups.


  • You can create a Google Doc or a Google Slides document and share the link with the students through the chat line.  Make sure to choose the correct settings so that everyone can edit the document, not just those with a Google account.  Students can click on the link and start typing their thoughts about a question posed.
  • A Google Doc can also be used within breakout groups.  In that case, label each page of the Google doc with the group#, and ask each group to place their work on the appropriate page.
  • Create a simple Google Form quiz and have everyone take it during class.  Then share the results using a screen share, showing class what % of the class got each question correctly, and going over the answers.

Blackboard Discussions and Quizzes:

  • Have students open Blackboard in a new tab and direct them to the discussions section.  Have them post an answer to a question and a reply to someone else's post.  If you prefer, you can have the discussions set up so that students need to first post a message first, prior to seeing everyone else's replies.
  • Create a short quiz in Blackboard and at the beginning/middle/end of the lesson, have students take it in Blackboard.  Then everyone comes back to the main session to discuss the answers.  You can make the quiz worth very few points or no points at all.

Use of Emojis

  • After covering an important idea, ask students how they are feeling about it.  Students can use thumbs up/down, or smiley face/frown face icons.  In collaborate Ultra, if they click on their avatar at the bottom of the page, additional  icons about how they are feeling will be revealed.  You can see at a glance how everyone feels by clicking on the attendees list and looking at the icon that is preceding the name.


  • In Collaborate Ultra there is no way of entering a poll in advance. You would need to type in the poll while teaching the class.  Alternatively, you can enter the question in your PowerPoint, and only enter the answer choices in the poll to save time.
  • In Zoom, you can load the polls prior to the start of the session and run them whenever needed.  To do that you would need to look under the settings tab for the scheduled meeting.


  • If you are accustomed to using NearPod in your face-to-face lessons, you can still use it in Collaborate or Zoom.  Just copy and paste the link to the lesson in the chat area.  Students can simply click on the link to open it in a new tab and to join the Nearpod lesson.  You can still run all the activities through Nearpod and students can participate in them.  Remember to share your screen for Nearpod also.

Adjusting your assessments to the Live Online (Remote) learning environment will likely create unique set of challenges.  Unless you are planning to use a proctoring service such as Respondus Monitor, one can assume that these are going to be open book and open notes assessments.  How can you adjust your tests so that students can demonstrate that they have mastered the course outcomes and  not submit answers found from an online source?

Depending on the subject area you teach and the type of assessments that you use in your face-to-face class, some of these options might be more suitable than others.  Some instructors may use a combination of several tools, whereas others might decide to take this opportunity to recreate more authentic assessments.

Ultimately, just like in a face-to-face class, it is important for the assessments to be aligned with the course learning outcomes, to be clear and transparent in terms of what students are being asked to accomplish.  Also, it is necessary  that the instructor  provide any rubrics or criteria for grading in advance and provide prompt, detailed feedback to the students so that they can use the assessment results to improve.

  • As you adjust your assessments for the Live Online (Remote) learning environment, one possibility is to try to replace questions  that require a simple recall, by questions that require higher order thinking skills.  Bloom's taxonomy may help in identifying the type of questions that require higher order skills.
  • Another possibility is to use alternative assessment techniques, and to replace some of the  tests/quizzes  by assessments such as group presentations, videos explaining how to solve a problem, debates, e-portfolios, peer assessments, and other authentic assessments (such as creating a survey and analyzing the data gathered in a statistics class, or a shark-tank style business idea creation and sales pitch in a business class etc.) Adding these interactive and richer forms of assessments will make your Live Online (Remote) learning course more interesting and engaging, and may provide a deeper learning experience for the students.

Here is a link to an article from Tufts University on  alternative assessments for Live Online (Remote) learning classes: Online (Remote)-teaching/

A sample alternative exam from Dartmouth University.

  • Yet another approach is to break up high stakes tests into a series of smaller quizzes. Assignments or quizzes that are worth just a small percentage of the overall grade that may also incorporate multiple attempts provide a great learning opportunity without all the stress. Assessments with multiple attempts work especially well in the online learning environment. You can set the gradebook to take the average  score of the attempts to give students an incentive to review the results of the first attempt on a quiz, to redo the ones they have missed and to correct those problems on the 2nd attempt.
  • No matter what type of assessment is used, providing timely and meaningful feedback for student work using detailed instructions on how to improve will make the assessment an excellent learning opportunity for the student.
  • Assignments tool, where students can submit a Word file, such as an essay, a PowerPoint project, or a handwritten and scanned work for a problem set.  (Sometimes this is also referred to as Assignment dropbox.)  When an assignment is created, automatically a column for that assignment is created in Blackboard, and you can open the students' submitted assignments directly from the grade book.  One can grade the work in BB without having to first download the paper.  The feedback and the grade for the assignment automatically go in the same column.  This option works much more efficiently  than having each student email their work to their professor one by one.
  • The Assignments tool also has a multiple attempt option, which allows for multiple revisions of the same assignment.  It can also work in conjunction with groups, where a single paper can be submitted for the entire group. Assignments can have a due date, but cannot be timed.
  • Quizzes tool in Blackboard is another type of assessment, where one can select from a variety of problem types including multiple choice, true/false, short answer, essay, file upload, multiple answer and more.  You can also use several type of questions within the same quiz.
  • Quiz questions can be selected from a pool of questions (self-created or publisher created) and question sets can be formed where each student will get one out of 5 (or any number of) questions at random for problem #1, etc.  This will ensure that every student will get a different but similar set of questions.
  • Quizzes can have a deadline and can be timed.  You can also require the use of Respondus Lockdown and Respondus monitor, by selecting this option from the course tools menu and applying it to your test.
  • A version of a quiz is a survey, where there are no points attached to it, and it can be taken anonymously.  Instructors can take advantage of this feature to provide self -check items for students, or to gather feedback about how things are going.
  • A traditional paper and pencil test can be converted to a Blackboard quiz, by creating a single file-upload type of question, where the test questions would be placed as an attachment and students would need to write all the answers by hand or in a Word document, and then submit a pdf of the handwritten answers.  Students can download an app such as genius scanner to take a photo of their work and to convert it to a single pdf file.  The advantage of doing it this way as opposed to an assignment is that one can limit how much time the students will have to do this type of test, which is not possible to do with the assignment tool.
  • Other graded assignment types in Blackboard include graded discussions, wikis, blogs and  groupwork.  In addition, graded homework provided through a publisher website such as WebAssign or MyMathlab  can be synced with Blackboard so that grades will be populated in Blackboard gradebook automatically.

If you decide to continue to use timed exams/quizzes, please see the advice from Tufts University on  adapting traditional exams/quizzes for the Live Online (Remote) learning environment: Online (Remote)ly/

One possible way to increase the integrity of a Blackboard test/quiz is to require  tools such as Respondus Lockdown (RL) and Respondus Monitor (RM) for online/ Live Online (Remote) learning classes.  PBSC has made both of these tools available for both Live Online (Remote) and fully online classes.  Students will need to download a software (RL) and have a webcam to enable Live Online (Remote) proctoring.  On the instructor side, the feature can be enabled through the Course Tools menu, and by checking off the box for the  quiz/test where students will be required to use RL and/or RM.

On the downside, this adds more complications on the instructor side, and could potentially cause additional stress for the students.  Requiring RM also requires that students have a webcam; therefore, it would be important to list a webcam under required materials in the syllabus prior to the start of the semester. Tablets or phones are not suitable for using RL and RM system.

If you decide to use RL and RM effectively in quantitative courses, where there are many internet based services that easily provide answers, it is important that the webcam captures both the face and the work area including the students' hands as they are working out the problems.  Since it is possible for students to look up answers on a cell phone even when no other tabs can be opened on the computer, for the Respondus system to work properly, you would need to instruct students either to use a webcam that connects with a wire or to keep the computer at a sufficient distance away.  This will capture students' work area and hands as they are writing their answers on paper, and can detect any cell-phone usage.

In addition, you can require that the hand-written work be submitted as a separate assignment-upload shortly after completing the test. (While RL and RM are in progress, students will not be able to access their cell-phones to take a photo of their work, nor be able to upload a file, since that will require access to their email.  But the moment the test is submitted, they can take a photo of the work and submit within a time frame that you can indicate.)  Yes, this is a bit complicated, but some instructors may find that it is worth the effort to maintain the integrity of the test.  Seeing the work of the students, and commenting on that will also provide more detailed feedback and possibly award partial credit. 


Finally, some professors have reported giving the test synchronously using Zoom, where they required all students to turn their cameras on, and proctored students during the regularly scheduled class period.  This may be an option for classes with a relatively small number of students. Providing flexibility to those who cannot make it to the synchronous test would be recommended. 


Additional Resources on Increasing Test Integrity in Live Online (Remote)/online classes: 

Special advice on open book assessments in quantitative courses

(Taken from a Rutgers University guide on increasing test integrity)

STEM and other quantitative courses face a particular challenge in creating effective online exams, in part because it's so easy to cheat and in part because so many questions are computational.


  • Ask more conceptual questions (e.g., "what is the next step in this problem?", "state the definition of...", "explain why this hypothesis in the theorem is necessary"). 
  • Ask students to identify an error in a proof or computation (this is particularly effective since it can't be googled). 
  • Eliminate multiple-choice and fill-in questions in favor of show-all-work questions where students have to scan and upload their work. 
  • If using problems from a textbook, change not only the numbers but also the names (e.g., John to Alice) and the scenario (e.g., pulling a boat in to letting a kite string out). The reason for this is that popular textbooks will probably have many of their problems already solved online somewhere, for example, on Chegg. 
  • Use letters and variables in place of specific numbers. 
  • When randomizing the exam, don't just randomize numbers. Also randomize discrete parts of the problem. For instance, one version might have a problem like "maximize the volume of the box given its surface area" whereas another version might have "minimize the surface area of a box given its volume". (The numbers can even be the same for the two versions.) 
  • Avoid questions that consist of only simple computations. For example, instead of "calculate this integral", present students with some application in which they also have to set up a proper integral. "Write an integral expression that is equal to the probability that..." or "write a triple integral which is equal to the mass of the region" are good alternatives. There are online calculators that will not only solve many computational problems, but also give step by step solutions. Adding more words and applications to a problem makes it more difficult to cheat and also tests the real learning goal: do students know how to apply basic principles? (Ultimately, anyone can use a calculator, but only if you know what you want to calculate.) 

This  Faculty Focus Article   includes additional tips on how to reduce cheating on online tests.

Unfortunately, some of the techniques described in the above Faculty Focus article also prohibit students from using the test as a learning opportunity.  Therefore one will need to think carefully about designing assessments that can strike a balance between protecting the integrity of the test and making it a valuable learning opportunity for the students.  

Inclusive pedagogy underscores the importance of helping all students succeed, and presents a set of principles and strategies to achieve that goal.  These principles include: creating a welcoming and supporting environment to help students gain a sense of belonging, reaching out to struggling students to provide extra support, providing an inclusive curriculum, and using a learner-centered approach where students have plenty of chances to interact with one-another to form a learning community.   
How can we incorporate an inclusive pedagogy in our Live Online (Remote) classrooms? 

The following tips provide some guidelines for creating an inclusive online environment. 

1) Administer a survey before the semester begins to get a sense of your students’ situations.

  • One of the best ways to learn what your students need is to ask them! As instructors prepare to move classes online during periods of Live Online (Remote) teaching, consider sending all students a survey prior to the start of the semester to better understand their needs and preferences for Live Online (Remote) instruction.  
  • It may not be possible to accommodate all of their needs or requests, but the results can be used to find out who the students with greatest needs are, and to inform them about the services that are available to assist them.  (Libraries have laptops for checking out, some companies are providing free wifi, the College provides counseling services, Panther Pantry etc.) 

2)Ensure course materials are accessible.

3) Design an easy to navigate site.

  • Create a “Start Here” module on your Blackboard home page, which contains important course documents, important course information, and basic guidelines for navigating the course site. 
  • Organize weekly modules/learning units into folders that contain the materials and assignment information students will need for that week. 
  • If possible, create a predictable schedule where assignments are always due on the same day of the week. 

4) Be deliberate about ensuring equitable class participation

  •  Represent individuals of varied race, gender, religion, ability, etc. in your course slides, course site, and other course materials. 
  • After you pose questions, give students silent time to think and write individually before opening the floor to discussion. 
  • Rather than calling on students who raise their hands over video or allowing students to speak without being called on, request students use the handraising icon over Zoom. Wait for the total number of respondents you would like, before you call on the first one. 
  • Rather than always convening as a whole class, break students up into smaller discussion/working groups, each with its own Zoom breakout room to give all students space to contribute. 
  • Assign roles to students in breakout room activities, such as Timekeeper, Recorder, Facilitator, Synthesizer, and Reporter. 
  • If you want a student to share a contribution that you overheard in a breakout room or saw in an assignment, ‘warm call’ the student. That is, contact them in advance, or over private messaging in the Zoom live chat function, to ask if they would feel comfortable sharing their contribution with others when you reconvene as a whole class. 
  • Create opportunities for every student to shape the course, for example, have each student submit a song to a course playlist that is played over Zoom before class or during breaks, or have every student lead a discussion online or offline. 

5) Create a learning environment that includes and values all students

  • Students may face a variety of physical, emotional, cognitive, and financial challenges that can impact motivation, concentration, learning, and performance. Remember that students don’t have to be directly impacted by a crisis for it to have a significant impact on their health, well-being, and stress levels, and that some students will be impacted in ways that they may not want to share with you. 
  • When possible, offer all students additional flexibility to meet deadlines, adjust workloads, and the necessary time to adapt to their own changing situations.  

6) Provide a mix of synchronous, and asynchronous, course activities.

  • Hold synchronous sessions at times your course would’ve met in person. 
  • Record all common Zoom sessions and post to Blackboard afterwards for students to view. 
  • Allow students to submit work outside of designated synchronous class sessions. 

7) Provide opportunities throughout the course, not just at the beginning, for students to get to know one another in pairs or small groups.

  • Encourage students to use Collaborate Course Room for study groups or set up Zoom times where students can talk without the instructor present. 
  • Have at least a few assignments that are completed in pairs or small groups. 
  • Integrate short ‘ice-breaker’ activities during live class sessions, and/or as offline assignments that students can complete together outside of class sessions. 
  • Enable the groups feature in Blackboard. 

8) Get frequent feedback from students on their experience in the class.

  • You can use polls, or anonymous surveys or have students write on a google doc comments on how things are going for them. 

9) Use Proactive Teaching Practices

  • On a regular basis, go through your gradebook to identify students who have missed assignments or have done poorly on recent assessments.   
  • You can also identify who have been absent by glancing at the 'last date of access' column.  If you click at the top that column, the entries will be sorted, and you can see right away  who has not been logging in the course.   
  • You can then send emails to those students directly from the Blackboard gradebook (where everyone on the email will get a bcc) to connect them to academic support services, to remind them about office hours and simply show that you care about their success.   Sometimes simply sending an email and explaining that there is still time to turn things around may provide the simple nudge a student needs to get back in the course.   
  • Proactive strategies may be especially effective when utilized within the first two weeks, and then periodically throughout the semester.  
  • The retention center in Blackboard can also help identify students who have low online activity or who have not logged in for a while.   


Adapted by CTLE from Stanford University site on Creating Inclusive & Equitable Online Learning Environments with some modifications. 


  • Presentation by PBSC professor and CTLE Include Fellow, Dr. Eliana Mukherjee, on "Supporting Our Most Vulnerable Students in Live Online (Remote) Learning" 

Link to the PowerPoint for the above presentation: 


To support instructors needing to make a quick transition to utilizing an online environment, ACUE is offering resources and recommendations that can be immediately put to use by instructors, to benefit both faculty and their students. 

These resources are divided into six key topic areas for teaching Live Online (Remote)ly: 


Welcome Students 

Recommendation 1. Create a welcome video.

Create a welcome message designed to calm student fears and let them know that you are “in this together” and ready to fully support their continued learning.


Recommendation 2. Create Q&A and social forums.

Create a question-and-answer forum in which students can post general questions about the course and assignments. If you think it would be helpful, you can also create a social forum for students to connect with one another. Monitor the Q&A forum to ensure that correct information is being shared and to address any unanswered questions (Darby & Lang, 2019, p. 29).


Recommendation 3. Create an online orientation video.

Create a video that takes your students on a tour of your course in the online environment. Try to include the following on your tour: (a) how to prepare for online learning, (b) directions for navigating the course, and (c) weekly communication expectations.


Manage Your Online Presence 

Recommendation. Establish clear expectations for your teaching presence.

One of the most important aspects—if not the most important aspect—of any student’s learning is you, the instructor. Students look for you to be involved in discussions, respond to questions, provide feedback and encouragement, and reach out when you notice they may need additional assistance. This does not mean that you need to be online 24/7. Establishing expectations and routines around your online time can help students feel more supported and engaged in your course. 


Organize Your Course 

Recommendation 1. Organize your course content from a student’s point of view.

Online students can become confused, frustrated, or disengaged if they find it challenging to simply navigate a course learning environment. Try to make the organization of your course as clear and intuitive as possible, ensuring students have more time and cognitive resources to engage with course content and activities (Darby, 2019). 


Recommendation 2. Provide a module roadmap.

Learning modules, or units of study, are the building blocks of an online course. Ensuring consistency in module design helps students more quickly understand your expectations and plan their work time more effectively. 


Recommendation 3. Create a predictable rhythm.

Establishing a weekly pace for your online modules, or units of study, helps students manage their time to meet course expectations. A standard rhythm often reduces stress, because the structure answers questions such as “What’s next?” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016). 


Plan and Facilitate Effective Discussions 

Recommendation 1. Provide a rubric.

To help students get the most out of discussions, set clear expectations for their participation. Providing students with discussion forum grading rubrics helps them understand, and therefore better meet, your expectations for thoughtful participation. 


Recommendation 2. Assign a reflection activity.

Assign a self-reflection activity, aligned to your discussion forum rubrics, to help students evaluate their participation in an online discussion. 


Recommendation 3. Provide strategic feedback. 

The type and amount of feedback you provide at key points in a discussion should be strategic, to ensure quality discussions are taking place (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016, p. 167). 


Record Effective Microlectures 

Recommendation. Create a microlecture video.

Microlectures are short (6 minutes or less), instructor-produced videos that are designed using a structured format to provide effective explanations of a single key concept or specific skill set. Use this format to help maintain student attention and allow students to reengage with the content when and if needed. 


Engage Students in Readings and Microlectures 

strong>Recommendation 1. Create engaging assignments with accountability. 

There are a variety of ways to keep students engaged in the content and help them focus their attention on what is most important.  We can also use a variety of practices to assess how well they are learning and making key connections. Try a few of these out to find the process or set of processes that work best for you and your students. 


Recommendation 2. Provide skeletal outlines. 

Provide students with a skeletal outline to support their learning and help them track the concepts and issues of highest importance. 



Special thanks to our incredibly talented and gracious contributors: 


 “How to Be a Better Online Teacher,” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.   Flower Darby, Director of Teaching for Student Success, Northern Arizona University, and author, with James M. Lang, of Small Teaching Online 



The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence is committed to supporting faculty efforts in providing high quality, inclusive, student-centered instruction resulting in the success of all students.  CTLE provides professional development opportunities for faculty centered around Pillars of Instructional Excellence throughout the academic year. 

Faculty Development LibGuide

Synchronous videoconferencing tools

All Collaborate resources are available within Blackboard. There is a blue Support tab located on the right hand side of the screen. That tab opens the Support Center.

There, faculty has to select the Collaborate Ultra button and they will be able to see six tutorials and a LIVE recorded session explaining how to use Collaborate Ultra


Using Zoom for Live Class Sessions

Zoom & Blackboard


Logging into Zoom and Installing the Zoom App

  1. Navigate to Palm Beach State and log in with your NetID credentials. Palm Beach State College has a subscription to Zoom Pro Meetings which allows for up to 300 participants. Palm Beach State College also has a limited number of webinar licenses available upon request by contacting Palm Beach State College Help desk. To learn more about Webinars versus Meetings, refer to this Zoom comparison guide.
  2. Install the Zoom Meetings app from Zoom's download page.

Zoom Recording Account Settings

From your Palm Beach State meetings panel, click on Settings in the left menu, then click Recording in the top menu. Each of the settings you elect here will apply to all recordings on your Zoom account by default, going forward.

Settings > Recording (direct link)

Local Recordings - Toggle OFF -- Recommended to prevent participants from recording and storing the video file of the session to their own device.

Automatic recording – You may either decide to enable automatic recording of all of your meetings here OR enable it individually at the meeting scheduling level.

Only authenticated users can view cloud recordings – Toggle ON --  Recommended to ensure that users must be logged into their Zoom account in order to view the recording of the session, and prevent those without a Zoom account from viewing it.

Recording disclaimer – Toggle ON

  • Ask participants for consent when a recording starts – Uncheck
  • Ask host to confirm before starting a recording – Check

Recommended to inform students that the session is being recorded, and enable them to protect their privacy if they wish (by exiting the meeting, turning off their camera, turning off their microphone).

Scheduling Meetings vs. Your Personal Meeting Room

Zoom allows for two ways to share meeting details: (1.) schedule meetings in advance using the Zoom meeting scheduler or (2.) share the details for your persistent Personal Meeting [Room] ID (PMI).

We recommend that you schedule your class sessions using the Meeting Scheduler and Recurring Meetings. 

  1. Navigate to the Meetings panel in Zoom.
  2. Click the button labeled Schedule a Meeting.
  3. Use the topic field to name your meeting after your course number. Skip over the When, Duration, and Time Zone fields. Check off Recurring Meeting.
  4. Click the Recurrence drop-down and select the option for No Fixed Time.
  5. Choose the option for Meeting ID that says Generate Automatically. Otherwise, you may select the option to use your PMI which will make it persistent across your other meetings that utilize your personal meeting room.
  6. Fill out the other options based on your desired preferences. Or refer to our Quick Reference in the next section.

Quick Reference: Settings to Enable on Your Meeting

Meetings > My Meetings > Schedule a Meeting (direct link)

  • For classrooms and office hours -- skip over all of the when, duration, and time zone options and select the option for Recurring Meeting > Recurrence No Fixed Time.
  • Meeting ID - Generate Automatically -- This will assign a single-use ID for the duration of your use of the recurring meeting. This will protect access to your personal meeting ID. Do this for both office hours and class sessions.
  • Video Host ON; Video Participant OFF
  • Audio -- enable both options so that students may join via phone if their internet connection is unreliable.
  • Enable Join Before Host - Make sure to allow Join Before Host arrives in you meeting settings so students can get in, get setup, and connect with each other.
  • (If Office Hours) Enable Waiting Room - this will allow you to accept a single student into the room at a time from the participants panel.
  • Only authenticated users can join - enable this to prevent others without Zoom accounts from joining your meetings. (Note: as of this writing, it does permit non-PBSC Zoom account holders to join).
  • Mute Participants upon entry
  • (for Class Sessions) Record the meeting automatically - enable this if you want meetings to be recorded automatically. Choose the option for the Cloud Recording. This will generate a link that you may directly place and stream in your Blackboard site.

Quick Reference: Managing Participants

Hosts can control the ways that participants can interact during a meeting or class. Using these options can help you better manage a meeting or class by minimizing excess distraction or disruptive participants.

  • Mute a participant. People often leave their microphones on by mistake, meaning everyone in the meeting can hear their background noise. You can mute participant microphones to stop this from happening or to simply prevent interruptions during a presentation.
  • Stop a participant’s video. If a participant’s video is distracting, or you think it’s causing them to have connection issues, you can switch it off for them.
  • Disable screen sharing. To ensure you control the meeting slides or content, hosts can prevent other participants from sharing their screen.
  • Remove participants. In the rare event that someone is in your meeting who shouldn't be, or if you need to remove them for any other reason, hosts can remove a participant and prevent them from being able to rejoin.

Troubleshooting With Zoom

If you need help with troubleshooting Zoom during a call, Palm Beach State College subscribes to support from Zoom. Contact 1-888-799-0125 for phone support. You can also click on the chat Help bubble on the bottom right hand corner of your meetings page.


Sharing Recordings from Zoom

Open Recordings > Cloud Recordings (direct link)

  1. Find the recording you would like to edit. By default, it will be named with your meeting title (and ID) with the start time as a time stamp. Click Share in line with that recording.
  2. The Share this cloud recording dialog box will allow you to alter the default options for the recording. Alter the link viewing (public vs. authenticated users) and "Viewers can download" options based on your risk tolerance and goals. You may copy the full invitation OR just the link beginning with:

Zoom for Live Class Sessions

The following are tips for virtual discussions and class sessions in Zoom. The rationale for using Zoom for virtual discussions is that it allows you to create an active student-centered learning environment with feedback/reactions from students. Without the non-verbal cues of the face-to-face classroom, active learning becomes an even more important tool to help students demonstrate learning progress and for us to provide feedback on their learning. Creating an active, student-centered classroom environment will also help keep students more engaged and motivated.

Promote Social Presence. Unlike teaching in a classroom, teaching Live Online (Remote)ly leaves us without many of the social connections and contexts we rely on to engage students. Online, we cannot look around the room and check whether students are paying attention or following along as we can face-to-face. Using zoom to form a sense of community, or social presence, is therefore even more important in this teaching context, and taking time to do so has been shown to improve students’ perception of their learning and satisfaction with the class.

Clarify online classroom expectations and roles through community agreements. If learning in an online environment is new for you and for your students, consider having a discussion with students about how to translate your classroom norms from the face-to-face classroom into your online space. By building these community agreements collaboratively with your students, you and your students will be more invested in using the online classroom as a shared space. Topics to address include use of microphones, webcams, and chat features; protocols for interacting and engaging during online activities; and ways to seek help with technology.

Encourage webcam use. Listening to a disembodied voice over slides can be very disengaging. Similarly, having a conversation without seeing the person on the other end removes many of the social cues we rely on to understand one another. For these basic reasons, using a webcam for discussions or other interactive activities can improve engagement and learner satisfaction. If a student feels uncomfortable with sharing their webcam, encourage adding an avatar to their Zoom user profile.

Create opportunities for students to interact informally as they would in a face-to-face classroom. These bits of small talk or fun can go a long way in helping build community over distances. This can be done quickly through icebreakers or activities that students can do as they enter the online classroom right before class or as class begins. Allow students to Join Before Host and not immediately ending your meeting when you finish are ways to promote this.

Translate your favorite face-to-face activities to the online space. Though not everything will translate directly, the online classroom provides opportunities for similar activities that you can use to get students to engage in their learning and with each other. For example, try using breakout rooms for small group discussions before thoughts are shared out over webcam in the main room; use polls in Zoom or via PollEverywhere as a digital clicker system; or use the chat for a class brainstorm. Introducing even small, informal activities throughout your class session helps keep students more engaged.

Encourage collaboration through shared note taking using Google Docs and group generation of questions to be answered by instructors or other students via chat. Increasing opportunities for you and your students to exchange ideas in real time will help further motivate students to participate in your online class sessions. Model collaborative interactions for your students to help encourage productive participation. This can be particularly helpful with the technological unpredictabilities that might lead to sporadic information in sessions.

Define learning objectives and participation expectations. Communicating learning objectives to students helps to keep them focused on what they are learning, and will help you and your instructional team determine what is most important to do synchronously online. Use your objectives to consider what should or can only be done when your class is meeting and what might be movable to out-of-class videos, homework, or activities. Similarly, defining what participation looks like will help your students make progress towards these learning objectives, and allow for you to give feedback on engagement.

Teach as a team. If you are working with Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Learning Fellows (LFs) to facilitate your course, you can share responsibilities like communication, discussion facilitation, and possibly low level student technology support. If you have an instructional team (e.g. co-instructors or TAs), determine the roles that you will play during class. Two such roles include the instructor who leads the class (providing the main voice and being the person on camera throughout the learning experience) and the instructor who supports the lead instructor (helping to answer questions on chat, to set up any online tools (e.g., breakout rooms, polls), and to assist with troubleshooting if students have any problems). Tip: escalate to support via live chat or the support number and hand it to the pros (call Zoom 24/7 Support 1-888-799-0125). If you use breakout rooms, the supporting instructor or TAs can also help facilitate small group discussion. Making these roles clear to students is helpful so that they can engage the appropriate person if they need help.

Create a clear lesson plan and class outline. Creating a class outline that signals to your instructional team and to your students what technology, tools, or platforms they will be expected to use as part of class is also a good practice. This helps signpost to students what is coming up, and transparency about technology use gives them an opportunity to prepare so that they are ready to engage once the activities begin. Additionally, if you are shifting roles throughout the class period, a clear lesson plan will make sure that your team knows when and how these transitions occur, and when during class students may need assistance. A simple agenda/outline can help students to understand their expectations for learning and engage appropriately.

Check your tech and test your activities with your team. Making sure all technology is working well is even more important online, when the whole class is relying on technology to enable interaction. Test any external tools that you may be using on multiple devices, if possible. Also test out activities with your instructional team, and get their feedback in order to best assure success when running the activity with students and to help get your team all on the same page. Once you know how you would like your activities to work, encourage your students to check technology and practice using it so that the class experience can be as seamless as possible.

Start Small, Collect Feedback, and Reflect. Live Online (Remote) teaching is likely a new experience for you and your students, and will certainly not be without its challenges. Do not feel you need to use all the tools at once, as that would most likely be overwhelming for everyone. Instead, introduce tools and activities slowly to give you and your students practice. Encourage your students to provide feedback on their experience to help you to reflect, revise, and try again next class.

This guide was adapted from Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning’s guide on Synchronous Online Teaching: Tips and Strategies, Zoom’s resources for educators.

Tips on Facilitating Virtual Class Session

  • Encourage students to use the Zoom Meeting or test room to test their tech and connection. Make sure that students have an opportunity to test their Live Online (Remote) set up and connection speeds. In order to test the Zoom Meeting you’ve set up, make sure to allow students to join the room without the host being present
  • Consider using an external mic, headset, or headphones to improve audio quality. This can help to improve the sound and cut down on background noise.
  • Ask students to mute their mics or use Mute All to quickly cut back on background noise. Ask students to selectively turn on their microphones to contribute. If you run into persistent issues with it in a lecture course, consider a Webinar license instead of Meetings (email Palm Beach State College Help desk).
  • Share slides and other materials ahead of time in Blackboard. Bandwidth restrictions, connection issues, and access needs may prevent students from being in the Zoom Video part of the session.
  • Give an agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. Drop a copy of this outline in the chat for future reference. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered, and the activities they’ll engage in.
  • Record your meetings for playback later. This helps with any reason a student can’t make class or wants to revisit conversations.
  • Discuss online etiquette and expectations of the students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit the topics.
  • Utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document and let your students engage as well. When sharing a whiteboard, document, screen, or image, try whiteboarding math problems or have a student use annotation to highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.
  • Take time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to utilize reactions, write their questions in chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live.
  • Divide into smaller groups for a discussion on a certain topic. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time so they may discuss things together. This guide describes how to manage breakout rooms in a session.
  • Have students be the presenter and share projects with the class. This allows your students to show what they’re working on while practicing their presentation skills. It also allows students to hear from one another.
  • Ask students to introduce when they comment (e.g. “Hi, this is *name* speaking). Sometimes a student might be unable to tell who is speaking. This is a great way of promoting community in your sessions.
  • Share the invitation to the Zoom meeting link and phone number via Blackboard Announcements. This can be found from the invitation details or Copy Invitation prompt with your meeting. You can also find it in your meeting dashboard. This will help your students join or re-join easily.
  • Encourage breaks during longer classes or sessions. It can be difficult to find a natural breakpoint for longer sessions. Make sure to design that into your sessions. Ask students how they are doing and take a quick poll using meeting reactions.
  • Share links to recordings via Blackboard After sessions, make sure to share out the link to cloud recordings afterwards via Zoom.

These tips were adapted from Zoom’s Education Resources.

Thank you to Dartmouth University 



In Spring 2019, PBSC adopted Simple Syllabus: a centralized, template-driven platform that enables instructors to quickly personalize and publish interactive class syllabi. Please follow the link below to access helpful Simple Syllabus resources.


Make education more interactive, engaging, and accessible. Kaltura offers the broadest set of video management and creation tools on the market, integrated with the LMS. Instructors and students can easily create, upload, edit, manage, publish, discover and deliver high-quality videos to any device, live and on-demand. 


eLearning & Instructional design (IDT)

The eLearning Department is dedicated to serving the needs of our online learning faculty and student community. eLearning provides our faculty assistance/support with:

  • Development of online courses
  • LMS (Blackboard) support
  • Online video and PDF (on-demand) LMS tutorials
  • In-person LMS workshops
  • One-on-one LMS assistance
  • Student LMS support
  • Teaching students how to use the LMS and how best to learn online by providing/facilitating a student 'Intro to Online Learning' (ELO1000) course

The department provides faculty training, assists with the development of instructional multimedia, and supports technology which is essential to teaching and learning both online and in the classroom.

contact us

Live Online (Remote) Instructions support team
Dept/App Name Email | Phone | Web
CTLE Ira Rosenthal
Collaborate Ultra Eva Cruz
Zoom IT 561-868-3100 or
Simple Syllabus Mary Masi
Kaltura Mary Masi
eLearning Sid Beitler
Blackboard Sid Beitler
IDT Mary Masi




Print page