Preparing for Alternative Course Delivery during Covid-19

The Center for Teaching Innovation has assembled an array of tools to help you move your classes online, engage students in distance learning, and meet course learning objectives. The links on the right take you to specific tools and resources, while the Readiness Quiz below will help you identify specific issues and solutions relevant to your particular courses.

Many of the actions you will likely want to take will be implemented through Canvas.  It serves as a powerful hub, providing access to a number of tools for communicating, teaching, and assessing online. If you have not used Canvas before, learn how with Getting Started with Canvas. Then log in to Canvas@Cornell. For an overview visit the Canvas Tutorials. Here you will find a robust set of walkthroughs and videos to help you make the most of engaging your students in learning.  For additional help, log into Canvas, and click "Help" on the left navigation bar to access Canvas 24/7 Support.

CTI will continue to develop and enhance this site in response to the situation and to answer instructors' questions as they emerge. The guidance provided here is focused on the process and technology of course conversion.  It is not meant to address the educational policy issues, such as attendance, that are certain to arise. The university, working with the deans and departments, will provide guidance on those matters.

Start Here: Readiness Quiz

Establish effective communication channels with your students


Yes No
I am prepared to communicate updates, changes, and other relevant information to my students.
I can create channels where students can respond to me
I can schedule live sessions
I can create opportunities for students to contact each other and collaborate online
I can hold online office hours

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, learn more in our guide to remote communication with students.

Put your course materials online

Question Yes No
I currently have a Canvas course site or course website that is up to date
I use Canvas to make course materials available to my students
I can pre-record my lecture materials and share them with students
I can set up course sessions via Zoom to deliver live lectures
I can record and share PowerPoint slides online

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, learn more in our guide to delivering course content online.

Assess your students online

Question Yes No
I can create quizzes in Canvas to verify that students understand the material
I can collect student submissions online
I can facilitate student presentations online
I can grade assignments, exams, problem-sets, etc. online

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, learn more in our guide to assessing student learning online.

This readiness quiz was inspired by information published by University of Washington Information Technology, Seattle.

Strategies & Resources

There are many ways to teach successfully online. The following tables list tools to immediately facilitate various online course activities. Each tool is identified as synchronous (tools that are used in real-time/live) or asynchronous (tools that facilitate learning free of time constraints).

Communicate with your students

Clear, consistent communication is an important part of successful online teaching. Your students will need information about how your class is changing and what they are expected to do. These tools help you communicate with your students and can help them communicate with each other.

Activity Tool Synchronous/
Communicate updates, changes, and other relevant information. If you plan to use Canvas Announcements, have students verify their settings to allow Announcements to be forwarded directly to their email address. That way, messages will reach students even if they are not signed into Canvas. Canvas Announcements Asynchronous
Communicate information and allow students to respond at any time. Canvas Conversations Asynchronous
Communicate information and allow a live response Zoom Synchronous

Facilitate written discussions among students and instructors

Canvas Discussions Asynchronous
Facilitate live discussions among students and instructors Zoom Synchronous
Hold remote office hours to provide an opportunity for live, one-on-one or small-group communication with you. Zoom Synchronous

To learn how to combine these communication strategies into a holistic online teaching approach, visit Remote Teaching Scenarios. For more on assistance available through the Cornell Libraries, visit Library Support for Remote Teaching.

Deliver your course content

There are a range of ways to share course content with your students, depending on whether you want, or need, to meet in real-time or not.

Activity Tool Synchronous/
Deliver live lectures (and record for later use) Zoom Synchronous
Pre-record lectures as videos including slides Panopto Asynchronous
Upload videos to stream to students (including Zoom recordings) Kaltura Asynchronous
Record a slide show with narration PowerPoint Voiceover Asynchronous
Share files with your students Canvas Files Asynchronous
Share a whiteboard session with your students Zoom Whiteboard Synchronous
To learn how to combine these course delivery strategies into a holistic online teaching approach, visit Remote Teaching Scenarios. For more on resources available through the Cornell Libraries, visit Library Support for Remote Teaching.

Assess student learning

Online tools can provide additional ways for students to demonstrate their learning. These tools help you collect student work online, create quizzes and exams, and grade digital submissions.

Activity Tool Synchronous/
Collect student submissions online Canvas Assignments Asynchronous
Check if students understand the material Canvas Quizzes Asynchronous
Facilitate student presentations  Zoom Synchronous
Grading assignments, exams, problem sets (etc.) Canvas SpeedGraderGradescope Asynchronous
Paper exam (requires students to print the exam, scan their work, and then submit) Gradescope Either
Term paper Box | Canvas Assignments Asynchronous
Recorded individual oral presentation or a transcript/annotated presentation Canvas Assignments Asynchronous
Portfolios (A series of smaller assignments might be an appropriate substitute for a final exam/project.)   Digication Asynchronous
Group paper

Canvas Assignments (supported by Canvas Discussion Forum)

Group Presentation Zoom Either