Online Teaching Tools

Answers to frequently asked questions for the Arts & Sciences community

Tools for remote learning

This page provides helpful tools to support remote teaching and hybrid in-person/remote teaching. As new information becomes available about the form that Fall 2020 instruction will take, Arts & Sciences will add to the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.

University-wide information and support, including a quick-start guide for transitioning to remote teaching and learning, is available through the Center for Teaching and Learning

Planning for fall is underway. In Arts & Sciences, this work is being done by the Instructional Planning Task Force.

Visit the Teaching and Learning Continuity Website

New for Fall 2020

New software and equipment is available to instructors in Arts & Sciencs to help with online teaching.

Learn About New Tools 

Using Canvas

Most faculty will use Canvas as their overarching remote teaching and learning tool. 

How do I move my course fully to Canvas?

All online courses are automatically created in Canvas each semester. But, it’s the faculty member’s responsibility to add a syllabus, content, structure, etc. 

Guides are available on the WashU MyCanvas website

Who can I contact for additional support?

  • Canvas Support is available 24/7 from within the Canvas system. Visit the help section within Canvas for details and options. 
  • Canvas support specialists may also be reached via email at artscicanvas@wustl.edu.

How can I schedule an online Zoom meeting from within Canvas?

Zoom is a web conferencing tool that provides remote conferencing services. The Canvas-Zoom integration allows instructors to schedule online meetings from within Canvas and is available in all Canvas sites.

Download the Canvas-Zoom Tutorial (pdf)

How do I create a link in Canvas to a video that was recorded outside of Canvas?

For already-recorded materials that need to be shared, we usually recommend that you host video files in Box and share the link in Canvas or use the Kaltura video option within Canvas. 

Kaltura Canvas User Guide

How to upload and link to a video file in Box

  1. Upload your file to a folder in Box.

  2. Click the "Share" button 

  3. In the new window that opens, click the toggle for "Enable shared link"
  4. Click the drop-down menu below the link and select the option for "People with the link"
  5. Copy the link
  6. Go to your canvas course and highlight the text that you wish to use as link text. 
  7. Click the "link to url" tool and paste int he link you copied from Box.
  8. Save

Watch this 3-minute video demonstration

 

Using Zoom

Zoom is a web based video conferencing service available through WashU IT Media Services.  Zoom can host up to 300 concurrent users in any meeting with unlimited time and recording.  You can learn more on the Zoom website. 

To always stay in tune with the latest WashU-specific Zoom news, notes, quick guides, and updates, please visit the WashU IT Video Conferencing website.  A recording of a live online training session is available at that site.

What if my course requires more than 300 users?

If your course requires more than 300 users, contact Ken Keller with the course number and details.

How do I get started in Zoom?

To properly register for the full WUSTL Zoom license you must visit gozoom.wustl.edu and log in with your WUSTL Key (SSO) to create a new Zoom account. If you login some other way, you will create a ‘basic’ account with restrictions. If you have login questions, please contact the WashU IT Service Desk at 314-933-3333.

Do any countries block access to Zoom?

Yes, Zoom is blocked in the following countries: Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Darfur, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine (Crimea Region), United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

To ensure that all of your students have access to your content, plan to record your Zoom calls and make those available for students to watch later.

  • If you want to use Zoom in China, download the Zoom Client for Meetings from the Zoom Download Center (China)
  • Zoom also has an alternative Web Client; no download is necessary for this experience and only requires Meeting ID, Name and password, if applicable.

How can I edit my Zoom recording?

iMovie (for Mac users) and Open Shot (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) are free video editing tools you may want to try if the tools in Zoom are not robust enough for your needs.

Zoom makes it easy to trim the beginning and end of a cloud recording by limiting the playback range. Here are some tips:

  • When you click a video recording on the My Recordings page, the playback video launches in a new browser tab, which includes controls for Download and Share. You can also set a playback range for the shared video so that it starts and ends at the times you specify, removing unneeded portions from the beginning and end.
  • Playback range does not trim your recordings. If the recording is downloaded, it will still be the original length, regardless of the playback range you set. 
  • Note: Playback range will not apply to users viewing cloud recordings on Internet Explorer, Safari, or on mobile devices, if they view the recording using low bandwidth mode.

Instructions for setting the playback range on a cloud recording in Zoom

How can my students use the "Raise Hand" feature in Zoom?

As the host, you will not be able to see this button. Students should open the Participants panel from the bottom of their Zoom window to see the "Raise Hand" button.

How can I improve the quality of my video and audio in Zoom?

Zoom works best with a strong internet signal, particularly when teaching. If you have a slow signal, your video or the other participants’ videos will freeze or buffer and it might be hard to hear.

  • Use a wired, not a wireless connection. That is, attach your computer via an ethernet cord to the router if possible.
  • If connecting from a laptop, plug in to wall power. Battery use can adversely affect video quality.
  • If you don’t have an ethernet cord (and you are not able to get one now), you have to maximize the Wi-Fi signal. To do so:
    • Locate your router and move it to the center of the house or apartment. Keep it off the floor and out of any closets.
    • Download the app Wi-Fi SweetSpots (Apple or Android) to your phone. After opening the app, walk around your house with your phone and find the place with the strongest Wi-Fi signal. It is likely close to the router. Set up your work station there.
  • If your Wi-Fi appears slow during a class or presentation, have other participants shut off their videos
  • Always provide participants with PowerPoints or materials after a class or meeting.

Additional resources:

Using Box

Box is a powerful tool for sharing files, allowing students to turn files in to you, and tracking updates to shared files. 

Can I access all of my Box documents from my desktop?

You can! Just download Box Drive for Mac or Windows from the Box support website.

Download Box Drive

How to upload and link to a video file in Box

  1. Upload your file to a folder in Box.
  2. Click the "Share" button
  3. In the new window that opens, click the toggle for "Enable shared link"
  4. Click the drop-down menu below the link and select the option for "People with the link"
  5. Copy the link
  6. Go to your canvas course and highlight the text that you wish to use as link text. 
  7. Click the "link to url" tool and paste int he link you copied from Box.
  8. Save

Watch this 3-minute video demonstration

Changes to Courses and Sections

Instructors may need to make changes to their course content and/or organization.

If I teach a course with multiple sections, will I be able to collapse them into a single section?

Yes, instructors may choose to collapse a course with multiple sections into a single online section. If the content of sections varies, instructors should consider adjusting the syllabi and content of sections so that they are able to teach just one section. If the course involves multiple recitation sections, lab components, and other ancillary features, consider condensing multiple sections of these components as well. This may free up valuable instructor time and simplify online logistics, such as Zoom recordings and Canvas entries.

What if the learning goals of my course cannot be met remotely?

For courses where an instructor feels that current learning goals cannot be meet remotely — for example, ensemble music, glassblowing, or makerspace courses — instructors should consider whether it is possible to adjust content and goals so that the course maintains the spirit of its original concept but can function in an online format. For example, could students in a jazz ensemble course engage in the history of, or critiques of, jazz ensembles rather than physically performing in a jazz ensemble? 

What if there is no reasonable way to move my course online, and students will be unable to complete it this semester?

If an instructor truly feels they cannot move their course, or a reasonable alternate version of it, online, their students will receive a reduced credit count. Instructors can award students partial credit for completing a partial semester, but students should be given the option to have that credit be Pass/Fail. A procedure for doing this will be posted at a later date. If an instructor selects this option, we will ask the instructor to consider offering a remote course for the remaining portion of the semester on a different topic that lends itself to remote learning so that students are able to earn the credits they were expecting to earn.

Accommodating Student Needs

What if a student does not have adequate internet access?

We know that some of our students have limited access to high-quality, high-speed internet services at home. Contact Student Technology Services for any technical assistance by emailing student.technology@wustl.edu or by calling 314-933-3333.

What if a student needs accommodations?

Adjustments to students accommodations may be appropriate because of the transition to an online platform.  Students should provide a copy of their  WashU Accommodation letter to instructors and follow up individually to confirm how accommodations will be met in the online environment. Individualized assistance is available through Disability Resources, both through email and virtual meetings. 

Online Accommodations FAQ

Exams

Exams can be effectively administered digitally in many ways but will require some changes to how you would administer an exam in person.  

Can you postpone your exam or include the content on the next exam?

Providing that contingencies are only needed for a short amount of time, postponing your exam or incorporating the content on the next exam is the easiest option. 

Can your exam be transformed into a project, paper, or alternative take-home format?

If “yes,” use the Canvas Assignment tool to create a submission for your exam and provide your students with the needed directions. 

Can your exam be taken as an open-book or open-note format?

If “yes,” use the Canvas Quiz tool to build your exam. Exams that ask more applied questions may be good candidates for an online open-book option. 

Are none of the above options feasible for your exam?

If you answered “no” to all three questions above, using an online exam with proctoring software is the best option for you. Washington University has purchased Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, a “fully-automated proctoring” system that uses a student’s webcam and video analytics to prevent cheating during non-proctored exams. 

In order to use Respondus Monitor, you must build your exam in Canvas using the Quiz tool. See the instructions below:

We realize that navigating the administration of online exams can be tricky. Please reach out to 24/7 Canvas Support for help. 

Training and Support

See below for information about training opportunities to help you make the transition to online teaching. The Teaching & Learning Center also offers 1-on-1 consultations about the different online teaching tools. Visit the Teaching & Learning Center website to learn more.

view training session videos

Microsoft Teams Training

Videorecording of MS Teams Training session

Log in to Microsfot Teams with your WUSTL Key

Qualtrics Training

Qualtrics is a research survey suite available for Washington University faculty and staff through a university-wide site license. This tool will make it easier for members of the campus community to build, share, distribute and collect results from online surveys.

Download the Qualtrics training session handout (pdf)

Videorecording of Qualtrics Training session

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 Videorecording of Qualtrics Training session

WashU Qualtrics site and login page

Box Training

Videorecording of Box Training

Box Training session 

 

How can I ask about technical equipment or services during this time?

A select number of our staff are authorized to come to campus to help with computer and AV equipment needs. You can reach a technician and arrange a drop-off or pick up time by sending an email to artscihelp@wustl.edu with the details of the problem you are experiencing. The drop off or pickup location will be in either Seigle Hall or Eads Hall and will be specified by the technician who responds to you.

Meet with a staff member

Trained staff members from all areas of Arts & Sciences are available to meet with faculty one-on-one to help you prepare to transition your courses to an online format.

How to add audio narration to your PowerPoint (MacOS)

Record audio and add it to a slide

You can record narration for a presentation right within PowerPoint.  To record and playback sound, your computer must be equipped with a sound card, microphone, and speakers. Make sure that you aren't running any other sound recording applications, such as Speech Recognition, while you are recording.

Record audio and add it to a slide

  1. In the navigation pane, click the slide that you want to add sound to.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Audio, and then select Record Audio. The Record Sound dialog box opens.
  3. To start recording, click Record.
  4. When you are finished, click Stop.
  5. To listen to the sound that you just recorded, click Play.
  6. In the Name box, type a name for the sound, then click Insert.

An audio icon appears on the slide.

Set the playback options

  • On the slide, select the audio clip icon.
  • On the PowerPoint ribbon, on the Playback tab, do the following, as needed:
    • Determine when the audio clip should start playing: In the Startlist, select Automatically or When clicked.
    • To play an audio clip continuously until stopped (rather than just playing once), select Loop Until Stopped.(Used alone, this option means the looping sound lasts while the slide it resides on is being shown. When Loop Until Stopped is used in tandem with Play Across Slides,the looping sound continues throughout the presentation.)
    • To play the audio clip as you click through the slides in your presentation, select Play Across Slides.
    • Select Hide During Show if you want the audio icon to be invisible during Slide Show.

Download an example PowerPoint with audio

How to add audio narration to your PowerPoint (Windows)

You can record narration for a presentation right within PowerPoint.

To record and play back sound, your computer must be equipped with a sound card, microphone, and speakers. Make sure that you aren't running any other sound recording applications, such as Speech Recognition, while you are recording.

Record audio and add it to a slide

  1. Select Insert > Audio
  2. Select Record Audio
  3. Type a name for you audio segment, select Record, and then being speaking
  4. When you are finished, click Stop
  5. To listen to the sound that you just recorded, click Play
  6. To move your clip, select and drag the audio icon to where you want it on the slide
  7. Select Play

Set the playback options

Select the audio icon and then select the Audio Tools Playback tab.  Then select which options you would like to use.

  • To trim the audio, select Trim and then use the red and green sliders to trim the audio file accordingly.
  • To fade in or fade out audio, change the number in the Fade Duration boxes.
  • To adjust volume, select Volume and select the settings you prefer.
  • To choose how the audio file starts, select the Start drop-down arrow and select an option:
  • In Click Sequence
    • Plays the audio file automatically with a click. (This option is available in PowerPoint for Office 365 and PowerPoint 2019. It's also available in PowerPoint 2016 version 1709 or later.)
  • In Click Sequence
    • Plays automatically once you advance to the slide that the audio file is on.
  • When Clicked On
    • Plays audio only when the icon is clicked on.

To choose how the audio plays in your presentation, select an option:

  • Play Across Slides: Plays one audio file across slides.
  • Loop until Stopped: Plays an audio file repeatedly until it’s stopped manually by clicking the Play/Pause button.
  • To have the audio play continuously across all slides in the background, select Play in Background.

Where can I pick up new equipment that was ordered for me?

A select number of our staff are authorized to come to campus to help with computer and AV equipment needs. You can reach a technician and arrange a drop-off or pick up time by sending an email to artscihelp@wustl.edu with the details of the problem you are experiencing. The drop off or pickup location will be in either Seigle Hall or Eads Hall and will be specified by the technician who responds to you.

Facilities and Equipment for Online Teaching

What video conference-ready rooms are available?

  • Brookings 205
  • Rebstock 309 (90” TV, camera, ceiling microphones/speakers, room Mac Mini) seats 12-16
  • Bryan room b514 - has camera and microphone built in
  • McMillan 101 (projector, VGA, room laptop, speakers mounted on ceiling, seats 15-20)
  • McMillan 259 (Room has a camera (mounted to the wall), a microphone, speakers (in the ceiling), a Mac Mini computer, no ClickShare, a projector screen, room seats 16)
  • Duncker 121
  • Busch 18

What equipment is available for checkout?

A select number of our staff are authorized to come to campus to help with computer and AV equipment needs. You can reach a technician and arrange a drop-off or pick up time by sending an email to ARTSCIHELP@WUSTL.EDU with the item(s) you wish to check out. The drop off or pickup location will be in either Seigle Hall or Eads Hall and will be specified by the technician who responds to you.

  • 2 webcams
  • 2 speakerphones
  • 21 usb headsets
  • 3 various microphones
  • 5 tripods
  • 2 Windows laptops
  • 2 Apple laptops
  • 16 usb headsets 

 

VPN Access

As of 3/13/2020 All faculty and staff in Arts & Sciences have access to VPN. 

This connection will work for desktops, laptops, Android devices, and iOS devices. 

Login with your WUSTL Key at https://vpn.wustl.edu/artsci and follow the instructions to download the client software onto your home computer.

Instructions for Using VPN

I want to buy a microphone and camera. What do you recommend?

We recommend this webcam: https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/c930e-webcam?crid=34

This is the microphone we use for hosting multiple people at a table to transmit (multidirectional microphone): https://www.jabra.com/business/speakerphones/jabra-speak-series/jabra-speak-510#/#7510-209

If you’ll be on your own and everyone else will be connecting remotely, you might not need that multidirectional microphone but any kind of personal headset can help with noise cancellation and is generally better with microphone than the built-in audio on a laptop. Apple's standard issue earbuds work great.

Are there any deals to help faculty, staff, or students who need home internet access?

Comcast Internet Essentials

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Source: https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19

Charter Spectrum Broadband

Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

Source: https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more

What equipment should I have to teach from home?

  • A computer with audio (microphone and speakers)
  • An internet connection
  • A headset or airpods
  • A web camera
  • If you plan to use a digital whiteboard, you may want a tablet.

How can I access a tablet for use with a digital whiteboard?

You can request access to digital whiteboard software (A Web Whiteboard) and a Samsung Galaxy A tablet via the form linked below.

Request New Tools

Your safety is our greatest priority. 

Moving to online instruction is a huge task. Your time and flexibility is deeply appreciated as the university takes extraordinary steps to provide a safe learning and work environment. For ongoing updates about coronavirus and Washington University's response, please visit the COVID-19 Response and Recovery website. 

Covid-19 Information