Bringing Remote Teaching Strategies Forward to In-Person Classes

Bringing Remote Teaching Strategies Forward to In-Person Classes

To engage students in remote learning, many instructors adopted new strategies or innovated existing practices in creative ways.  As we transition forward to in-person classrooms again, we can bring many remote teaching strategies along with us, providing us a bevy of dynamic options for invigorating our teaching practices.   

Below are just some of many ways to engage students in remote contexts that also have great potential to enhance and enliven in-person teaching in the future, as chosen by four members of TEP’s Teaching Leaders CAIT - Katy Brundan (Comparative Literature), Philip Matern (Human Physiology), Mohsen Manesh (Law), and Alison Schmitke (Educational Foundations).

We are excited to curate such great strategies and invite you to contact us with more ideas for possible inclusion as we evolve this resource!


Class Introductions and Connection

Instructor Introduction
Record a short video personally introducing yourself and your course to students. Videos can be easily recorded via Panopto and seamlessly embedded into a Canvas Page. The relevant Page could be either your course’s Canvas home page or a part of the introductory module in your Canvas course. In your video, motivate the course subject matter and personalize yourself by sharing a bit of your personal and professional background. Require students to view your introduction video on Canvas before unlocking other pages or modules on the Canvas course site.   

Tools/Resources Needed: Panopto and Canvas Pages   


Student Introductions
Require students to briefly introduce themselves to the class. Set up a Canvas Discussion on your Canvas course page for students to share their introductions. Structure student introductions by asking each student to answer a few specific questions about themselves. Some example questions might include:  

  1. What is your first and last name?What are your pronouns? If you preferred to be called something other than your first name, please also tell us your preferred name.  
  2. Where did you go to undergrad, what was your major, and what year did you graduate?  
  3. Why are you enrolled in this course? What is your goal here?  
  4. Have you had any relevant upper-level coursework or work experience relevant to this course?  
  5. What else should we know about you?

Please share anything that will be useful to know to make this the best learning experience possible for you. And if you prefer to share something privately with me only, please send me an email.  

Personalize student introductions and put faces to names by asking students to include along with their responses to the provided questions a recent picture or selfie of themselves. You can break the ice by submitting the first response to the Discussion by answering the question prompts and sharing a recent photo of yourself. To further personalize introductions, you can also encourage or require students to submit a video response on Canvas Discussions, rather than a text-based response. After the drop/add deadline, remove introductions for students who dropped.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas Discussion


Self-Scheduled Office Hours  
Use Canvas Calendar feature to block out time windows during which student may self-schedule a one-on-one appointment. Once a student self-schedules a particular time-slot, it will be unavailable for other students to reserve. The Canvas Calendar may also be used to share the Zoom link for the appointment. Note: only effective for a single class, so each class would need its own distinct time slots. Sign up using Google docs is also simple and easy-to-access.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas Calendar; Google docs  




Recorded (Asynchronous) Lecture through Panopto for Flipped Classroom Experience
Record lectures that students may view on their own time, either before live class time as preparation for live class discussion (i.e. a flipped classroom) or after class to summarize or emphasize key concepts. Share your lecture slides or screen while lecturing (e.g. a simple Word document that can serve as a digital dry erase board). Videos can be easily recorded via Panopto and seamlessly integrated into a Canvas Page.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas Pages and Panopto  


Real-time Additions to Lecture Slide 
Encourage student participation in lecture by showing a lecture slide in class (in the class-room, or on Zoom) and record student responses on the slide in real-time. Instead of hitting “play” for your PowerPoint presentation, bring up the slide so it can be edited. Add student responses to lists and questions. Make a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation to retain student responses for future reference.  

Tools/Resources Needed: PowerPoint and Keynote slide presentations, or Google docs  


Use Word Document as a White Board   
For any online or recorded lecture, you can screenshare a simple Word document to use as your whiteboard. The Word document can be pre-populated with diagrams, keywords, roadmap. As the lecture proceeds, you can add to or edit the screenshared Word document, just as you would on physical whiteboard.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Word  


Using Zoom Polls or Break Out Room Check-in Questions 
Opening questions to affirm the learning community are commonly used to launch in-person class sessions.  To re-work this practice during remote instruction, anonymous Zoom Polls provided the instructor and participants information related to topics such as content prior knowledge, student interest in specific points of content, or general well-being.  This information provided the instructor helpful, informed, and supportive angles into daily content.  To add variety to the opening ritual, a check-in question was shared to all students, break-out rooms launched, and students returned to share to the large group.  Later in the class meetings, students returned to the same break-out rooms for discussion.  The familiarity of the groups supported engagement and discussion.      

Tools/Resources Needed: Zoom



Class Discussions and Group Activities

Use Online Docs to Facilitate and Record Student Responses to Class Discussion 
Use Office PowerPoint or Word or Google docs to foster small-group interaction by having either the instructor or student leaders post questions on the docs (enable “edit” for everyone who has the link). The docs document can contain questions, text, images etc. for students to respond to. Students discuss their responses in small groups and record their responses on the class docs. Students can copy quotes etc. to the document which remains as a record of the class discussion for future reference.   

One further option is to conduct a written-only session in real time during class, by everyone responding to questions and comments in written form.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Office 365 PowerPoint or Word or Google docs  


Have Students to Engage Their Classmates in Canvas  
Use Canvas Discussion to foster student-to-student engagement by assigning students to either post a discussion question or respond to a discussion question posted by a fellow student. Personalize student discussions by encouraging or requiring students use Canvas Discussion’s native video-recording functionality to post a question or reply as a video-recording, rather than in text.   

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas Discussion  


Reading Engagement

Students connect image archive to text
Students make links between visual and written texts, fostering close reading of texts and images. The instructor assembles a group of images (paintings, photographs, artifacts etc.) on a Canvas webpage that have some relevance to the class reading. Students are assigned an activity, such as a post to Canvas discussion board or a group in-class activity. Students choose one image and discuss this image in relation to a specific part of the text that they think the image connects with in some way. Canvas discussion board allows students to post a small thumb-nail image along with their comment. Students can engage with each other’s posts. Enables close engagement with text and peer-to-peer discussion.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas site, Canvas discussion board   

View a 30-minute video on engaging students with annotations, images and infographics


Student annotations using online tools
Students annotate texts either together in class or as an assignment outside of class, using online tools. This activity fosters student interaction with each other and close analysis of texts. Students highlight words in a text and then add their comment to the document; they can see others’ comments and respond to others. Small groups can do this in real time and talk about their annotations together. Or it can be assigned as a close-reading homework assignment. The instructor can annotate in real-time by asking students for responses and recording their comments on-screen. Practical matters: either use a public text document or convert a PDF to text using a PDF-to-text converter.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Word, Hypothesis, Perusall (pilot happening spring 2020); optional PDF-to-text converter (eg. PDFelement)  

View a 30-minute video on engaging students with annotations, images and infographics


Literature Circles and Flipgrid 
Students selected a book from a menu of options.  Three times during the term, assignments were set up on Flipgrid for students to share about their books by responding to a specific prompt.  Once the first video was posted, students commented (text or video) on four other classmates’ videos outside of their book.  Prompts asked students to make connections to course readings, describe how the book furthered their understanding, and provide a recommendation of the book for classmates.   

Tools/Resources Needed: Flipgrid


Assignments, Exams and Projects

Infographic Assignment
Students collect and analyze data/texts, and present these in an easy-to-read visual format as an Infographic. This activity also fosters student-to-student interaction as it works well with small groups. It is a good lead-in assignment to a larger final project, since students collect evidence that can be drawn on in a final paper. Student groups choose (or are assigned) a topic and make a 2-3 page Infographic presentation of their theme using data, quotes, and images. The whole class can respond to each Infographic as a final piece of the assignment.  

Tools/Resources Needed: free toolssuch as;;  

View a 30-minute video on engaging students with annotations, images and infographics


Video Assignments
Having students submit video-based assignments can promote more creative student contributions, build important skills, and stimulate more lively class engagement. 

Tools/Resources Needed: Panopto; any video recording software 

View a 30-minute video on video assignments and video feedback


Multiple Choice Quizzes on Canvas
Use Canvas Quizzes for formative assessment through multiple choice quizzes. Canvas Quiz settings can be set so that students can review which questions were marked correct or incorrect immediately after submitting the quiz. You can provide detailed explanations for the correct and incorrect responses to reaffirm students’ understanding or clarify students’ confusion or gap in knowledge. To address academic integrity concerns, the order and selection of quiz questions can be randomized for each student using the Canvas Quiz Question Group feature, and multiple choice answers can also be randomized for each quiz. Finally, providing multiple, graded, but low-stakes or no-stakes quizzes reduces the potential payoff (or incentive) to engage in academic dishonesty.  

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas Quizzes  


Using Video for Student Feedback
Use the video tools in Canvas to personalize feedback, build more direct relationships with students, and streamline the grading and feedback process. 

Tools/Resources Needed: Canvas video tool in SpeedGrader; Panopto; any video recording software 

View a 30-minute video on video assignments and video feedback