Skip to main content

Quick Start Guide to Remote Teaching

Understanding that the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation may disrupt current teaching plans and many faculty members may need to pivot from their on-campus or blended courses to online or remote delivery methods, the Office of eLearning (OeL) is providing immediate training and resources to help faculty and students transition to these amended delivery modes.

We encourage faculty across the system to become familiar with tools and tips that can support teaching and communications online, in the event that it becomes necessary.

The Office of eLearning has collected resources and information for faculty, students and staff across all four universities:

Access guides and tips for quickly converting courses as well as webinar and training information.

Discover academic technology resources, such as how to request a Canvas class to be set up, lecture and presentation recording tools, assessment options, storage of assets and best practices for communication and interactivity in Canvas.

General tips:

  • Canvas: Canvas supports streamlined, online discussion via forums, quizzes, dissemination of content and more. If you don't have a canvas site set up for your class, start that process right away.
    • Use the Announcements feature of Canvas to keep students up-to-date on changes that are occurring as you move to teaching online. The Announcements feature can also be used to provide reminders of possible new formats for assignments.
    • Use the Modules feature of Canvas to help clearly and consistently organize content for your students.
  • Communicate quickly and regularly with your students even if you aren't finished planning your remote class experience.
  • Use Zoom if you would like to host synchronous discussions, facilitate conversations or lecture. Zoom allows you to share your screen, files and other documents with students in real-time.
  • Provide detailed information on assignments. Consider communicating anything you would say to your students in the classroom (assignment requirements, etc.) through other means, like written instructions or a short video posted to Canvas.

Using Zoom

Logging in to Zoom - new Zoom users only

  1. Go to and sign in using your campus username and password.
  2. Edit your Zoom account profile as desired
    1. Upload a professional profile picture. Participants in your meetings see your picture if video is not enabled.
    2. Personal Meeting ID: You may leave this as default or you may change it. We recommend using your university phone number as it’s easier to remember.
    3. Personal Link: You can create a custom link which can be shared with your meeting participants at any time.

Install Zoom on your desktop or laptop

  1. Download and install the Zoom client on your desktop or laptop:
  2. Sign in using the SSO sign in option.
  3. Enter umsystem as the domain.
  4. Enter your username and password to log in.
  5. Click the Start with video button. For more info, please see the Zoom topic at

Additional Learning Activities for Online or Hybrid Courses

External Videos

There are many pre-existing videos that cover a wide range of topics and subject matter. YouTube and TedTalks are just a couple of examples. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. If a video already exists in the public domain, use it.

Recorded Lectures

You can record lectures using Panopto (see for more information). Tips for creating lecture videos include:

  • Keep your lecture short (no longer than 10 minutes). It is okay to have multiple videos for one lecture.
  • Watch and listen to your first video to make sure that images and audio are clear and easy to see and understand.
  • If you are using PowerPoint, you do not need to record yourself in the video. This will sometimes make the video run slower.
  • Find a location that is well-lit. However, you do not want the primary light source to be behind you.

Discussion Boards

Discussion boards can be used in a variety of ways. For example: to facilitate peer-to-peer conversations, as a mini-blog or reflection, or as an explore and share assignment.

Discussion Boards as Peer-to-Peer Conversations

  • Clearly outline expectations for participation in the discussion board. For example, let your students know how many posts are required, as well as to whom they should direct posts and due dates for initial posts and reply posts.
  • Prompts should be broad enough to allow a variety of responses. Opinion prompts (including what would you do or how would you respond), examples and explanations of how events or situations relate to course content are types of prompts that work well to generate discussions. Questions that clearly have a right or wrong answer or very limited “correct” answers are difficult for students to respond and discuss.

Mini-Blogs or Reflection Assignments

These types of assignments do not necessarily require students to respond to other post. If the discussion board is used for these types of assignments, the reflection or blog should focus more on synthesizing course content rather than for personal or sensitive information, as all students will have access to the blog or reflection.

Explore and Share

These assignments require students to look for information outside of the course materials and share it with class via the discussion board. Again, there can be a requirement that students need to respond to other posts. However, it is not necessary.

Quizzing Tool

Quizzes are a great way to let students evaluate their understanding of the course materials. Many instructors create reading quizzes to encourage students to read the material. Objective quizzes can be autograded and are low stakes. You can create Self-Check quizzes that show right and wrong answers but are not required and or included in the grade book.


The quizzing tool can be used to create higher-stakes exams. Exams can have objective questions (multiple choice, true/false, matching ect.) or short answer essay questions. Tips to creating online exams include:

  • Put a time limit on the exam. If your in-class exam is 50 minutes, limit your online exam to 50 minutes.
  • Create question banks and pull questions from the question bank. For example, you want to have 50 questions on your exam, create 60 - 75 questions for the exam and have Canvas pull 50 of those 70 questions for the student. Students will receive most of the same questions. However, the order of the questions will be random. You can also randomize multiple-choice answers as long as you don’t use All of the Above, None of the Above or A & B-Type answers in your exam.


Canvas allows a variety of assignment submission (see for more information on how to set up assignments in Canvas).

A couple of important notes:

  • Canvas requires all assignments to have a point value.
  • Students can either upload files or use a textbox within the Assignment tool to submit assignments. Canvas allows either of these submission types to be graded through the SpeedGrader.
  • SpeedGrader is an internal grading tool you can use to provide comments, feedback and grades for assignments within Canvas so you do not have to download submitted files and re-upload graded assignment files.

For additional support, contact your local campus resources

University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Missouri S&T

University of Missouri-St. Louis


Reviewed 2020-03-12