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Build & Deliver

Choose the right technology

  • For classes up to 50, Canvas covers most needs – announcements, live lectures, discussions, small group work, and grade tracking. You will still need to use GradePage to submit grades to the registrar.
  • For classes larger than 50, Zoom is ideal to host lectures.
  • For classes of any size, Panopto Lecture Capture allows you to record lectures and post them online for students to review outside of class time.
  • For FERPA compliance POLICY, use UW-supported technologies including Panopto, Zoom, Canvas, Office365 and Google G Suite. These technologies have comprehensive agreements in place to help the UW protect the privacy of personal data and manage information security risks. Please be cautious about using other technologies, which may not include an appropriate agreement or adequately protect individuals’ privacy. See IT Connect for information about UW-supported technology.
  • Lastly, while the UW offers other online tools — Office 365 Microsoft Teams and Google G Suite — try to minimize the number of tools you and your students must learn.
  • There are special considerations for connecting to students working outside the U.S.

What tools support synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction?

A variety of online tools are available for instructors to deliver content online to suit your course’s needs:

  • Synchronous delivery: There are a number of tools available to UW instructors to engage students real-time, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Docs/Slides, Canvas Conferences, Skype, and others. Learning Technologies and UW-IT have documentation and training available to support instructors.
  • Asynchronous delivery: UW supports a number of tools that can be used to engage students asynchronously including email, Panopto (for recorded lectures), Canvas, Piazza, Google Docs/Slides.

Organize your Canvas course

Organize well to support learning

Course website organization will either hinder or support students in their learning pursuits. Students at UW have been consistent in their feedback about how important a factor this is.

It is clear that well-implemented organizational features like a clearly laid out syllabus and Canvas modules organized for each week, with consistent due dates, reduce frustration and allow students to focus on the course material.

In addition to following good information chunking practices by using headings, subheadings, short paragraphs, bullets, images, and spacing, there are many other strategies you can employ for organizing your Canvas course (UW netID required).

Canvas course models and templates

You don’t have to start from scratch! UW provides models and templates you can use:

  • UW model courses in Canvas demonstrate the wide range of evidence-based online teaching practices that can be used with learning technologies support at the University of Washington.
  • A Canvas course template was developed by UW-IT and UW Learning Technologies to help instructors quickly create courses that are easy for students to navigate. The template, which organizes course content within modules, is designed to accommodate a range of disciplines and teaching approaches.
  • The Canvas “Getting Started” module can be imported into your Canvas course and is designed to help you orient your remote learners to your course and to learning online. The module was collaboratively developed by UWS, UWB, and UWT.

Deliver classroom activities

Identify technologies that work best for delivering common classroom activities. You can find more guidance on how to deliver classroom activities in the Teaching with UW Technologies Canvas course (UW NetID required).

Common activities

Use Canvas to put materials online. Course sites are automatically created for each course in Canvas each quarter.

  • Use Canvas Announcements instead of email to communicate with students.
  • POLICY For social media, consider using UW Yammer, which is FERPA-and HIPAA-compliant. SnapChat, Twitter, and Facebook are not FERPA– and HIPAA-compliant.
  • Lastly, establish clear expectations for how frequently and where students should check for announcements and other communications.

Use Canvas Conferences or Zoom to hold class sessions, depending on the number of participants, and whether you require specific features.

  • With Zoom, each class session (“meeting,” in Zoom-speak) is assigned a specific link, which you share with your students in advance. At the time/day of the class session, students click the link to join you in Zoom.
  • Use Panopto to record your lecture to post ahead of time or after class
  • Survey students with Poll Everywhere for in-class responses.

For group work, organize groups with Zoom’s breakout rooms or Canvas Student Groups.

  • With Zoom’s breakout rooms, students can also schedule their own online study groups.
  • Canvas Student Groups are like a smaller version of your course and are used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on group projects and assignments. Learn more about Canvas student groups.
  • Consider these differences between Zoom and Canvas.
    • In Zoom:
      • Breakout rooms are unlimited and can be pre-assigned.
      • Sessions can be recorded but only for sessions taking place in the main room, not breakout rooms.
    • In Canvas Conferences:
      • Breakout groups are limited to eight groups.
      • Screen share isn’t available on Safari.
      • Sessions can be recorded, but recordings are only available for 14 days and cannot be saved offline.
  • For real-time collaboration on documents, consider using Office 365 Microsoft Teams or Google G Suite.
    • POLICY UW Office 365 Microsoft Teams provides chat-based workspaces for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, and file and app sharing. It is both HIPAA- and FERPA-aligned.
    • POLICY Google G Suite allows for real-time collaboration, communication, and file creation and sharing. The G Suite includes Hangouts, Docs, Drive, Sheets, and Presentations, Gmail, Calendar, and Sites. Note that many, but not all, G Suite apps are FERPA-aligned.

Students can give live presentations using Zoom. They also can record videos of their presentations using their smartphones, Panopto, or Zoom, and then upload them to Canvas.

Students can submit work (homework, final papers, or projects) through Canvas, Google Drive, Dropbox, or email.

Virtual office hours, through Canvas Conferences and Zoom, allow you to meet with students one-on-one or in groups.

  • Video or chat?Creating a Canvas Conference allows you to broadcast real-time audio and video, access a digital whiteboard, upload files (.ppt, .doc, .pdf, etc.), and to share your desktop screen to demonstrate applications and online resources. Conferences can be created with as many users as needed, though we recommend a limit of 100 users.
    • Canvas Chat stores written conversations so that students can review them asynchronously after the conversations have ended.
  • Drop-in vs. scheduled? Students can drop in to a conference or chat you host during set office hours. To schedule appointments, you may use Canvas Scheduler.
  • Leverage asynchronous discussionsCanvas Discussions support ongoing dialogue within different topic threads, the most important of which can be pinned to the top. Discussions can be especially useful for posting FAQs in large courses to reduce repeat question-and-answer emails.

  • Canvas Gradebook allows you to easily record student scores, track student progress and calculate final grades. Grades for each assignment can be calculated in points, percentages, complete or incomplete, credit/non-credit, GPA scale, and letter grades. Gradebook provides secure access to co-instructors and TAs and can publish scores for students to view securely.
  • GradePage allows you to submit quarterly grades, regardless of whether you used GradeBook, Canvas, or other software, or a traditional approach to track grades throughout the quarter.

Technology How-to Guides

The Technology How-To Guides page provides resources to get you started building your course. Find in-depth guidance in the Teaching with UW Technologies Canvas course (UW NetID required). This Canvas course was developed by UW Learning Technologies and includes videos, reflection exercises, and interactive self-assessments.