Please note: This website is a work in progress, as it exists in the midst of a changing situation. We will update the page as we obtain new information, policies, and resource links.
Last updated: April 20, 2020
(Added link to new resource guide for effective teaching in Summer 2020.)
- Penn State Coronavirus information: https://sites.psu.edu/virusinfo/
- Includes frequently asked questions here: FAQ.
- Graduate Students: http://gradschool.psu.edu/covid19.
- Researchers: https://www.research.psu.edu/covid.
- Information includes new standards for Human Subjects research at https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_irb
- Employees: https://it.la.psu.edu/work-from-home-assistance
- University Libraries are closed. Visit the libraries’ Remote Resources page for information about available library resources and services related to remote learning. The Online Resources section details several options for accessing digital copies of materials, including expanded access to vendor and publisher resources as well as materials in Hathi Trust. More information about changes to Libraries operations can be found on their COVID-19 page.
General Remote Teaching Help Resources
- Resource guide for effective teaching in Summer 2020 – describes options available for synchronous and asynchronous online teaching.
- The document PSU Classroom Management provides PSU guidance about student behavior in the classroom, including posting in discussion groups and other online venues. Students are expected to behave online in the same appropriate manner that they would if classes were held in person.
- Remote learning information and resources to share with students: https://remotelearning.psu.edu
- This site includes important information on the synchronous component of transferring courses to remote online teaching. It also lists several considerations for assessment online, including a process for proctoring exams using Zoom.
- The College’s Office of Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship and the Filippelli Institute are available to assist with questions about course set-up, preparation, coordination, or management.
- Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship: https://digital.la.psu.edu/resources-for-recovering-lost-class-time/
- The Filippelli Institute: https://la.psu.edu/online/faculty-resources/campus-disruption-assistance
- For a consultation request, please go to la.psu.edu/contact/
- Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology: https://tlt.psu.edu/continuity/
- If you need one-on-one help from a TLT Instructional Designer, please use this link to book a consultation.
- Tech TAs: Penn State has developed a service called “Tech TAs.” Penn State students will serve as Tech TAs and be the technology gurus during the synchronous portion of a class, with possible support including things like muting/unmuting students, offering support to students with audio/video issues, moderating the chat, polling, setting up and monitoring breakout rooms, and sharing whiteboards. Faculty can request the help of a Tech TA by completing this Tech TA faculty request form.
- Liberal Arts Teaching Group, “Teaching Remotely Community” (a faculty-to-faculty space for questions and support in Teams chat).
- Academic Integrity is always important to Penn Staters. The document “Academic Integrity Reminders” offers information and suggestions about addressing academic integrity in our current virtual environment.
- Guide to share with students on Adjusting Your Study Habits During COVID-19
LA Teaching Group Q and A Sessions
The Liberal Arts Teaching Group, in collaboration with the Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship and the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence hosts regular Zoom discussions on topics related to remote teaching and learning. Recordings of these sessions are linked from this page.
Session 1: Remote Teaching Q and A
Tips and best practices for remote teaching with Zoom and Canvas.
Session 2: Online Assessments
Strategies for assessment in remote classrooms. This video references our “Academic Integrity Reminders” document.
Session 3: Student Engagement
Tips and best practices for engaging students through remote teaching tools.
Session 4: Student Support
Resources and best practices around providing student support. Kate Staley from CAPS joined the session to share how CAPS is still supporting students remotely.
Session 5: Faculty and Student Challenges
Tips for managing large classes and preventing Zoom-booming. Lindsey Kiraly and Amanda Jones, both from IT Learning and Development, joined the conversation to talk about Tech TA’s and Tech Tutors. This video references our “Faculty and Student Challenges” document.
Session 6: Liberal Arts Teaching General Questions
General questions with Associate Dean, Richard Page. This video references our “General Q and A Meeting Notes” document.
- Remoteteaching.psu.edu includes a guide to Adapting Assessments which details a variety of approaches you might take to move assessments online, as well as supporting tools to consider. In addition, the Exam Proctoring Options guide details considerations and options for maintaining the security of your exams in the new remote learning environment.
- Schreyer Institute consultants are offering Zoom office hours focused on effective ways to assess student learning in remote contexts. Faculty and grad students who teach are invited to join these conversations at https://psu.zoom.us/j/120154158
- You may find it useful to use the “Quiz Audit Log” feature in Canvas. This log captures when students viewed quiz pages, answered questions, changed answers, or stopped viewing quiz pages. Students should take the quiz on a laptop or desktop using Chrome or Firefox; the log does not seem to track correctly when students are using the Canvas iOS app or Safari Web browser.
College Statement about Synchronous Teaching
We request that faculty do the best they can to implement synchronous class teaching whenever and wherever possible, and to use asynchronous methods when and where necessary (e.g., by recording lectures and making sure that PowerPoint and similar static materials are readily available to students, digitally or otherwise). If practical and possible, faculty should teach synchronously at the scheduled class time. But please note that while courses are required to have a synchronous component, the form of this can vary by class, and faculty should do what works best for the students in their class. Our priority is to deliver content in such a way that our courses will be successful in a new and changing environment.
While Zoom has assured PSU that it can handle the increased load of running all courses online, we expect that we may encounter some difficulties. Penn State IT has recommended using the audio features of Zoom rather than video meetings, as the former will better preserve bandwidth, at least until we are sure of the capacity of our systems. In case of internet or Zoom slowdowns, you may wish to consider making recordings at odd hours, and then use chat, email or discussion boards during the actual class. Faculty should stay within platforms that Penn State supports.
Student Conduct During Remote Teaching
- Class conduct expectations: All students are expected to behave with respect in classes, no matter the format or delivery mode of the class.
- Handling students who are disruptive in remote classes: Students who are disruptive in a remote class should be handled in the same way that they are in a face-to-face class. You should set clear standards of behavior and communicate your expectations. If disruptive behavior occurs you should confront the behavior and, if it continues, ask the student to leave the class. (See the directions below within Zoom for how to mute students, place them on “hold,” or remove them from the Zoom session.) If the student continues to be disruptive, you should notify your unit head and file a report online with the Office of Student Conduct. Staff in the Office of Student Conduct also are available to discuss your concern at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment may not be permitted to return to class until University procedures have been completed.
- Training sessions on Canvas, Kaltura, and Zoom, as well as informal Q&A sessions, are available through Penn State IT Learning and Development.
- Use to deliver lectures synchronously: https://itld.psu.edu/learning-path/zoom-learning-path-hosts
- For help with either Zoom or Microsoft Office products, submit a ticket to https://it.la.psu.edu.
- Muting participants: We recommend that instructors mute all of their students until you are seeking questions or other input. While muted, students can us chat or raise their hand for the faculty member to unmute them. Steps for muting all participants are here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/203435537-Mute-All-And-Unmute-All
- “Attendee On Hold” allows the host to stop video and audio transmission to a participant or participants. This allows others to continue the meeting while temporarily preventing “held” participants from seeing and hearing others. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362813-Attendee-On-Hold
- Removing Attendee from Zoom: You can remove a participant or unwanted attendee. Click “Manage Participant” at the bottom of the zoom window. Next to the person you want to remove, click “more.” From the list that appears, click “remove.”
- For added security in Zoom meetings, you should consider enabling authentication. Penn State IT’s guide on Preventing and Managing Meeting Disruptions outlines the steps for requiring students to sign in using their official Penn State login information.
- Penn State Abington has made available a student guide for Attending Class via Zoom, which includes steps for how students should log into Zoom as well as other useful information. Please share with your students.
We recommend using Canvas as your online teaching platform. If you choose not to work with Canvas, we recommend that you use another online platform supported by Penn State to manage teaching, grading, and grade-keeping duties.
Note that slides with audio can be uploaded to CANVAS. While this doesn’t necessarily support synchronous classes directly, if you have the slides up, students can work through them while you hold a synchronous discussion board chat, also in CANVAS.
- Online Training (for starting out): https://itld.psu.edu/training/canvas-kaltura-and-zoom-resource-enabling-continuity-instruction
- Penn State Canvas Learning Center: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1741795
- Canvas Discussion (to potentially replace in-class discussion): https://sites.psu.edu/pedagogicalpractices/discussion/
- Canvas Conferences work for live lectures and discussion only. Canvas recommends limiting conference sessions to 100 people at a time, and recordings are deleted after 14 days.): https://sites.psu.edu/eta/2017/01/16/canvas-conferences
- Also see https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10738-67952724138
Importing Question Pools
- Question pools of peer-reviewed questions are available for entry-level courses in certain Liberal Arts disciplines. These are questions created through the Unizin Consortium
- Liberal Arts Disciplines with questions available:
- Political Science – American Government
- Psychology – Introduction to Psychology
- Economics – Principles of Macroeconomics
- Economics – Principles of Microeconomics
- Spanish – Basic Spanish (present-tense only)
- History – American History to 1877
- For more information about available questions and/or assistance with adding questions into your Canvas space, contact TLT at email@example.com
Importing questions from MS Word documents into Canvas
- There are two options available for quickly uploading text versions of your questions to Canvas, without needing to copy and paste into the Canvas creation tools: Uploading with Excel and Uploading with Respondus
- Using the Excel method: Kansas State University offers detailed steps for arranging your question information in a spreadsheet, then uploading your question data as a CSV file to create an import file Canvas can read.
- Using Respondus: Respondus is a Windows-based application that allows you to import questions from a MS Word file. From there, you can export entire question banks in a file that Canvas can read.
- Web-based multimedia management tool — integrated with Zoom and Canvas. One can embed interactive quizzes with Kaltura. https://itld.psu.edu/learning-path/kaltura-learning-path-teachers-and-instructional-content-creators
- Part of Office 365 package. Helpful for organizing communications with and among students, particularly if students need to collaborate in groups.
- Function and layout are similar to Facebook, but Teams spaces are restricted to Penn State learning community.
- Teams can be private or searchable.
- Includes Skype for video-conference calls with individual students or groups (similar to Zoom).
- To learn more review the Microsoft Teams Quick-start guide
- Alternative tool to Zoom. Can be used for live video-conference calls with individual students or groups.
- To learn more, review the Getting started information
- If you have a recent version of PowerPoint, you can record narration through the Slide Show menu and then save as a video. Good for lectures.
- In PowerPoint, select “Slide Show” and then “Record Slide Show”. You’ll likely want to turn off “timings” by un-clicking it and not use timings if you rerecord. Do this with “Record Slide Show” then “Clear” and then clear the timings on all slides or the current one. You can also delete narrations on all slides with these steps.
- Next, instead of saving as a pptx file, save as an mp4 file. This can take a few minutes, so check the progress bar at the bottom of the PowerPoint window. The resulting file can be uploaded into Canvas. Note that any extra slides in your deck will be recorded as well, so you’ll want your deck to only contain the slides for the intended video.
- You’ll also likely want to check out keyboard shortcuts for writing with a “pen” on your slides as you’re talking, using a “laser” pointer to illustrate points, blanking the screen, and so on.
- VoiceThread is a web-based tool that allows for asynchronous conversation around different types of media files, such as still photos, documents, or videos.
- Users can upload slides and then record an accompanying video as they move through them. Then export as a video file, a link, or post directly in Canvas.
- Students can upload audio as well (for example if you are evaluating speeches), using VoiceThread or Kaltura Capture. Both integrated with Canvas.
- To enable Kaltura Capture:
- In Canvas go to: Settings/Navigation/My Media and click on enable
- Download Kaltura Capture – this is now on the list of PSU Self Service software.
- Students will need to download the software individually, once they record their speeches they can be uploaded
- To upload such assignments. Instructors needs to click on media file to allow for uploads within the assignment itself.
Legal Requirements for Recording Classes
The original FAQ on remoteteaching.psu.edu incorrectly stated that we are required to obtain student consent to record a live class. Here is the updated question and response:
- Q: Can I record my class via Zoom?
- A: Yes, you may do this, but you need to securely store the recordings and destroy them at the end of the semester. If you intend to use the recordings after the end of the semester, any type of identifying information must be removed. In addition, you must inform students that they are being recorded by sharing the following language with them: “Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and only may be made available to all students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class session/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.
Using Copyrighted Material in Remote Courses
- For information about copyright law and considerations for using copyrighted materials in remote teaching, visit the remote teaching page on the University Libraries Copyright Information website.
- In general, use of any materials in your remote course should be in compliance as long as you follow two general guidelines:
- Limit access to copyrighted material to only students registered for your course. (Sharing materials through Canvas keeps them password protected, and helps to ensure that only registered students have access.)
- Provide only those copyrighted materials that students need in order to complete the course.
- Copyright officers are available to answer questions and provide further guidance during virtual office hours and by email. Please visit the remote teaching page for more contact information.
Internet Access and Accessibility
- Support around accessibility and the transition to remote teaching is available. Please submit the Accessibility Consultation Form for assistance with accessible digital course materials, lecture technology, Canvas, captioning, or any other accessibility questions.
- Students with computer/Wi-Fi/accessibility needs should contact the IT Service Desk (ITservicedesk@psu.edu).
- Service options: Information about some free, extended, and discounted services for internet access are on this page: https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/att-t-mobile-comcast-cox-verizon-and-more-take-fccs-pledge-to-maintain-customer-service-during-coronavirus-pandemic/. In particular, AT&T and T-Mobile have removed data caps for home internet customers, and Comcast is Updating its Internet Essentials plan to increase speeds and offering 60 days of free service for new customers.
Helpful Suggestions from Instructors for Using Zoom:
- Make sure your own video/audio equipment is working!
- Make sure you’re the host of the meeting. This gives you the ability to do all necessary functions. Look up on Zoom how to find and use your host key.
- MUTE everyone, and don’t allow them to unmute themselves (this may be better advice for large classes than for small discussion-based courses, but if participants are unmuted, noise can be a major disruption). While muted, students can chat or electronically raise their hand for the faculty member to unmute them. Steps for muting all participants are here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/203435537-Mute-All-And-Unmute-All
- Don’t allow students to annotate, or they can scribble on the screen.
- The chat function is very useful. I even had students helping other students who were having audio troubles.
- Mention to the students that the chat is publicly viewable (so they post appropriately).
- Keep the chat window viewable to you while you’re doing the lecture.
- Ask “the chat” for feedback. From my experience, students are more likely to give quick answers in the chat compared to raising a hand in class.
Selected Articles and Reading Material
“Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption” (Stanford):
“Resources for Just-in-Time Online Teaching” (Vanderbilt):