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This website is updated with new content regularly. Page last updated 12:43 p.m. 3/27/2020.

The following resources will assist faculty to continue instruction during the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

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The University Center for Teaching and Learning advises faculty to consider activities that enable continuity of instruction in the event of high student/faculty absenteeism or changes to normal campus operations due to pandemic illness, natural disaster, unsafe conditions, or unforeseen emergencies. During such an event, it is prudent to minimize disruption to the essential processes of teaching and learning, while maintaining the health and safety of the campus community. The following resources will assist faculty in continuing instruction in the event of an extended disruption to standard University operations.

The Teaching Center will deliver remote office hours and specialized instructional continuity workshops via Zoom all week. Please expand the accordions below to see a specific list of programming. Please note that dates and times may change and we will update this list daily. All times are EDT.

Pitt is preparing for the resumption of classes and the shift to remote teaching, beginning Monday, March 23. Ideally, you’ve had a chance to communicate already with your students regarding the shift. If you haven’t, you should contact them immediately, at the very least to indicate that classes will be shifting to remote instruction, and that you’ll be following up with more specific information. As your own classes resume, you’ll want to touch base to communicate a few items, whether in a Blackboard/Canvas announcement, an email, or a synchronous Zoom/Blackboard session. We suggest that in your communication to your students that you …

  1. Acknowledge the exceptional nature of the circumstances.
  2. Convey that your goal remains your students’ success in the course. You’re there to support them, and success will be possible if: you maintain open communication with each other, set realistic goals, and remain understanding and flexible given the challenges you’re all encountering.
  3. Manage expectations. This isn’t an online course. At the beginning of the semester, neither you nor they anticipated the need to move the course to an online format. This is a mid-semester shift to remote learning, to address exceptional circumstances.
    • How often will students be expected to “check in” to the course?
    • How often will you be checking and responding to emails? (Can students expect a response within 24 hours? 48 hours?)
    • Will instruction be conducted asynchronously (e.g. recorded lectures and discussion boards), synchronously (e.g. Zoom sessions), or a combination?
    • Communicate that any recorded student participation (e.g., a Zoom session) will only be available to students in this semester’s class.
    • Will you be holding office hours, e.g., via Zoom, phone? Regularly scheduled or by appointment?
    • Remind students that you may need to alter the course schedule or assignments for the purposes of remote teaching. Moreover, they should not assume that the course will remain exactly as outline in the original face-to-face syllabus.
    • Note that students should anticipate that there may be unexpected challenges along the way but remaining flexible and in regular communication with one another will help address those challenges.
  4. Convey specific plans for the remainder of the term, as you’re able.
    • Begin with what remains the same: think instructional continuity (e.g., “You were already submitting your weekly reflections online, you’ll continue to do so now.” or “You’ll still continue to hand in your daily reading questions, just in the ‘Assignments’ area of Blackboard, instead of in-person.”
    • Communicate changes to assignments, exams, instructional format, etc. Provide specifics of assignment locations (i.e., not “online” but in the “Assignments” area of Blackboard/Canvas)
    • When are weekly due dates? (for e.g., discussion board posts, homework submission, journal reflections)
    • Will you be administering the final in the same format, just shifted to the Blackboard/Canvas site, or will the final assessment take a new form (e.g., take-home essay)?
  5. Identify the educational technology tools you will expect students to use, and provide resources for problems students may encounter with technology
  6. Try to anticipate some common tech issues students may encounter and possible solutions:
Problem Potential Solution
Students can’t access a synchronous Zoom session for scheduling/tech reasons Record the session and permit them to access later
Students don’t have a webcam to upload a student presentation Allow them to skip the video and just record audio, or instruct them to present to someone in their house and write a reflective piece on the experience
Students missed a deadline due to lack of tech access Consider granting an extension
Students weren’t able to finish an online quiz due to loss of internet Allow them to take a make-up
A student doesn’t have the capability to use/access specific technology Pitt IT’s 24/7 IT Help Desk can assist students day or night and is available to  help students who cannot access the technology because they do not have needed equipment or access to internet service

We hope that you and your students will find these suggestions useful as you resume classes, develop your communication to successfully complete your course this term.

These are drop-in style, question-and-answer discussions via Zoom.

These workshops are just-in-time, focused discussions on a specific topic related to teaching remotely. All workshops will be conducted via Zoom, are approximately one hour in length, and all times are EST.

The Teaching Online @ Pitt (TOP) course is now available. This is a self-paced, à la carte online course and instructors are free to explore what modules and topics are most relevant to their needs. These resources are designed to help instructors expand their pedagogical understanding of the practices that make for successful online teaching and learning. You can enroll in the Teaching Online @ Pitt course today.

Zoom Video Conferencing is now available to all University faculty, staff, and students. You can access the conferencing tool by visiting Pitt’s Zoom webpage and creating an account or logging in with your University credentials.

If you previously created a Zoom account using your Pitt email address, you may want to switch it to a Pitt enterprise Zoom account. Please see the Pitt IT Using Your University Zoom Account with an Existing Zoom Account page for more information.

Important Notes:

  • Zoom is compatible with CourseWeb/Blackboard and we anticipate that it will be compatible with Canvas very soon.
  • The Zoom Help Center contains a variety of resources to help you get started with using this video conferencing tool. We encourage you to view these resources for assistance with audio and video sharing, scheduling class meetings, and for a general overview of how you can use the tool to conduct synchronous meeting sessions.
  • The Teaching Center has a Getting Started with Zoom page as an additional resource repository.
  • Pitt Information Technology’s Zoom Video Conferencing page provides information about Zoom’s capabilities and links to a variety of help resources.

The Teaching Center hosted a series of virtual workshops on instructional continuity starting on March 16. These virtual workshops focus on a specific topic related to teaching remotely. Please note that captioning is an ongoing process and some presentations contain audio only.

Recorded Virtual Workshops

Stay informed: Gather information to inform and guide your course modification plans and to stay abreast of changing information, guidelines and recommendations. You will need to know if groups of students or faculty members have been asked to voluntarily self-quarantine or if face-to-face class meetings have been temporarily suspended.

Assess and Plan: In the event of alternations to normal campus operations, large numbers of student absences, or the suspension of face-to-face classes, you are encouraged establish and maintain instructional continuity and minimize disruption to course progression and completion. In most instances, this will involve transitioning your course to a temporary online/remote delivery format. To accomplish this, you will need to consider your familiarity with and current use of relevant instructional technologies (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas, Panopto, Skype, etc.), the structure and level of your course, the requirements of your discipline, the assignments and assessments you will need to deliver, and the particular needs of your students. It will be important to identify reasonable expectations given the point of the semester at which you are transitioning, and the limitations imposed by resource availability, scalability, and time-frame.

  • Given the size of your class, where you are in the semester, and the nature of your content, determine realistic goals regarding what can be accomplished.
    • What learning outcomes need to be accomplished? What knowledge, skill or abilities do student still need to develop?
    • What aspects of your original syllabus can you maintain in an online version of the course?
    • Which assignments should you keep, and which should you modify or omit?
    • What assessments or exams will you need to administer? How will you administer them?
  • Determine your familiarity with the University’s LMS platforms. (Blackboard/CourseWeb and Canvas)
    • How do you currently use Blackboard/CourseWeb or Canvas?
    • Will you need support in setting up or putting your course materials into the LMS?
    • What access do you have to the internet and to necessary educational technologies?
    • What new technologies do you need to learn?
    • Do you know where to get support and assistance with educational technologies?
  • Evaluate your students’ access to technology.
    • Do your students have access to the internet?
    • Do your students have access to the devices necessary to participate in online/remote class activities, assignments and assessments?
  • Determine how your course will be delivered.
    • How will content best be delivered (synchronous vs asynchronous)?
    • What technologies will you use (e.g., live video, web conferencing, Panopto recorded lectures, readings, discussion boards)?
    • Can you use existing resources (e.g., Open Educational Resources (OER), YouTube Videos, Lynda.com, Kahn Academy, Ted Talks)?
    • What new materials do you need to develop or create?
    • Can you make any of your remaining assignments optional?
  • Determine how you will assess your students?
    • Will you need to administer quizzes, tests, final exams?
    • Will students be completing final projects or presentations?
    • Will you need to change your grading structure?
    • Should you consider alternative weighting for assessments and grades?
    • Should you adjust the timelines for assignments, exams and other course deliverables?

These are some useful strategies to share with your students to help them be successful in the remote environment.

Student Strategies for Success in the Remote Environment

Acknowledge the Obvious
This isn’t a normal semester and your classes may not turn out quite like you expected. That’s okay. Your instructors are working to ensure instructional continuity during this shift to remote instruction, but your classes are going to be different in a number of ways. While it’s important to acknowledge the challenges associated with this adjustment, it’s also important to identify strategies than can help you address and adapt to the changes you are facing.

Make a Plan
Make a detailed list of the assignments, projects, quizzes, and exams that you will need to complete for the rest of the semester. Be sure to read due date, instructions, and details carefully. With these tasks in mind, create a weekly schedule, blocking sufficient chunks of time during which you can make progress and complete tasks.  Create written, calendar, or smart phone reminders to remind you to begin important projects and assignments with ample time before the deadline.

Find a Place to Study
If possible, set aside a separate area in which to do school work. It’s best to have separate work and leisure areas, otherwise you may find it hard to “get away from school work” or conversely, be distracted while trying to do school work. You will want enough space to comfortably accommodate your devices, books, and other materials, but not so comfortable that you have difficulty remaining attentive or awake. If possible, use a wired connection and a headset with a microphone while on live video streams. If your internet connection is unstable, try working during low-volume times (e.g., early in the morning).

Limit Distractions
To make the most of your study time, try to limit:

  • Interruptions from friends, family, and pets.
  • Noise and potential distractions. Turn off cell phones, TV, social media, and let others know you are studying. Apps like Forest, Hocus Focus, and Freedom can help you block out distractions while you work.

Manage Your Learning
Remote learning requires that you take an active role in managing your own learning. To support this effort:

  • Monitor your email and your CourseWeb/Blackboard and Canvas courses daily.
  • Schedule regular blocks of time each day to complete your course work.
  • Participate and engage in course activities. Watch course videos. Respond to discussion boards. Review PowerPoint presentations. Complete readings and assignments. Attend virtual office hours and help sessions. These activities have been designed to help you learn. Active participation supports and enhances your learning.
  • Stay in contact with your instructors. They want to provide you with resources to help you succeed in the course. If you are confused or have questions about something, don’t hesitate to ask for immediate clarification or help.
  • Keep up. DO NOT wait until the last minute to begin or complete assignments, readings, discussion posts, projects, or other course work. Do not fall behind, as catching-up is often difficult and causes additional stress.
  • Make studying enjoyable. What do you need to keep yourself alert and in a good mood? Snacks? Coffee? Music? Natural light? Short breaks (e.g., 10 minutes every hour block?)  Figure out what works for you to remain engaged, be safe, and stay healthy.

Actively Participate
The remote/online environment does not provide the same type of interactions and collaboration as the face-to-face classroom. Engaging with your classmates and instructors in an online setting may require you to practice some new ways of connecting.

  • Proactively reach out to your instructors if you have questions or need assistance.
  • Review your instructors’ feedback carefully and take steps to use feedback to improve.
  • Communicate with classmates in the course via discussion board, group project, or web conferencing.
  • Make connections with classmates on social media, by text, or email and be welcoming to those reaching out to connect with you.
  • Be respectful. Recognize that there is a human being on the other end of your communications.
  • Start or join a virtual (Zoom) study group.
  • Stay virtually connected to the university communities to which you already belong.

These strategies should provide you with a number of useful tools to support a satisfying and successful semester.

Strategies for Faculty to Communicate with Students

Communicate with Students: To reduce student anxiety, confusion, and misinformation, communicate with students early and often. Highlight changes to the University’s status, policies, and specific details about your course.

  • Showing Students Love in the Time of Coronavirus: 5 Instructional Compassion and Equity Reminders
  • Let your students know how they will hear from you (e.g., email, LMS announcements, text messages) and how often (e.g., daily, weekly) they will hear from you.
  • Tell students how best to communicate with you (e.g., email, LMS inbox, text message, phone).
  • Advise students of the expectations for attendance and participation under your modified teaching plan.
  • Outline for students how the class will operate during the period of instructional modification.
  • Direct students to appropriate campus resources for technology-related questions or problems.
  • Direct students to appropriate campus resources for non-instructional needs (e.g., health and wellness, transportation).
  • Encourage students to monitor official campus communication resources for updates: University of Pittsburgh Office of Public Safety & Emergency Management.
  • Urge students, teaching assistants, and colleagues to practice preventative care: Wash/disinfect hands frequently. Avoid touching face, mouth, nose, or eyes. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, and school.

Basic Considerations for Teaching Online

Important Information About Recording Your Classes

NOTE: In order to facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if a faculty member intends to record their lecture with student participation, they must advise the students, via e-mail and at the beginning of the lecture, that the lecture, including their participation, is being recorded.  Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encourage to ask questions off-line.  Further, the recorded lecture may be used by the faculty member and the registered students only for internal class purposes and only during the term  in which the course is being offered. Faculty who have questions should contact faculty@pitt.edu.

Consult the University policies for additional information on copyright.

These items identify the fundamental issues you will need to consider in order to deliver your course(s) from home or an off-campus location.

Access your CourseWeb (Blackboard) or Canvas course shell

Blackboard course shells can be accessed through MyPitt using your University email and password

Canvas course shells can be accessed at the Pitt Canvas site using your University email and password

Have you posted course content on your CourseWeb (Blackboard) or Canvas sites?

Setting up a new course in Blackboard

Setting up a new course in Canvas

Establish a mode of communication

University Phone

University Email

Blackboard Announcements

Canvas Announcements

Canvas Inbox

Zoom Web Conference

Decide how to deliver your course content in the online environment Synchronous/Asynchronous

Syncrhonous

Description: Learning that takes place when the instructor and students interact in real-time (at a scheduled time) using video conferencing, audio conference calling, or other web-based technologies.

Useful contexts: Courses that are smaller, use discussion-based formats, and have content that is more complex in nature

Relevant Tools: Telephone, Audio Conferences, Web-based video sessions, and chats

Asyncrhonous

Description: Learning takes place through instruction and activities that are delivered through the University’s LMS. Students interact with content and complete assignments independently, at a time and pace of their choosing.

Useful contexts: Courses that are larger, use lecture-based formats, and have content that is less complex in nature

Relevant Tools: Blackboard, Canvas, Email, Video lectures, Discussion boards, Voice-annotated PowerPoint, Social Networking, Podcasts

Communicate expectations to students regarding class requirements during an emergency Emergency Preparedness for the University of Pittsburgh
Confirm technical capacity to deliver your course from home or a location outside the classroom

PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure Client)

Cloud Collaboration

Accessibility

Instructional Accessibility at Pitt

OCR Short Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility

Fact Sheet on Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students

Administering Course Surveys OMET Teaching Surveys

Course Delivery Options

These items provide pointers to help you prepare course content and activities that align with the type of course you teach.

Consider how you will deliver content in a lecture-based course 1. Post documents, presentations, readings, and assignments the Learning Management System

2. Provide alternative activities such as additional readings or viewing online resources that cover relevant course content

3. Record and post class lectures for students to view

4. Use the Assignments tool in the Learning Management System to have students submit reports, papers or projects

Consider how you will deliver content in a discussion-based course 1. Use the Learning Management System’s discussions boards

2. Use web conferencing to hold online real-time meetings

3. Use the Assignments tool in the Learning Management System to have students submit reports, papers or projects

4. Use telephone audio conferencing

Consider how you will administer assessments and assignments

Using the Assignment Tool in Blackboard

Using Grade Center in Blackboard

Using Rubrics in Blackboard

Using the Assignment Tool in Canvas

Using the Gradebook in Canvas

Setting up Quizzes in Canvas

Adding and Managing Rubrics in Canvas

Using the SpeedGrader in Canvas

Consider how to conduct lab-based activities 1. Record and post class demonstrations for students to view

2. Consider alternate lab activities that can be performed at home

3. Locate virtual labs online for students to complete

4. Use the Assignments tool in the Learning Management System to have students submit reports, papers or projects

Holding virtual office hours

Using Collaborate in Blackboard

Creating a Conference in Canvas

Zoom Web Conferencing

Learn how to make video content for your course

Guidelines for Creating Instructional Recordings

Recording Video and Audio in Canvas

Learn how to make digital copies of course materials and documents

How to Create a Portable Document Format File (PDF) in Windows

How to Create a Portable Document File (PDF) on Mac

Learn how to conduct an audio conference call

Skype for Business

Microsoft Teams

Zoom Web Conferencing

Learn how to conduct a web-based conference session

Using Web Conferencing in Blackboard

Using Web Conferencing in Canvas

Zoom Web Conferencing

Assessments, Exams, and Finals in the Online Environment

As you consider ways to ensure instructional continuity in your courses, you may be contemplating if and how you might need to modify your finals, exams, and other assessments as you move to a temporary online/remote delivery format. Many assessments (e.g., research papers, written projects, essays) can be administered through one of the University’s LMS (CourseWeb/Blackboard or Canvas) or other web-based technologies (e.g., email). Often, these may need little or no modification.

However, some assessments (e.g., multiple-choice exams, finals) often require the instructor, TAs or a proctor to be present. If that is the case, it may be helpful for you to think about alternative ways to assess your students in the event that traditional face-to-face administration of exams is not available. Below are some key considerations for thinking about course-level assessments (particularly, multiple-choice exams) in a modified instructional environment and some alternative formats for assessing student learning that may be helpful if you suddenly have to move your class online.

Remote administration and proctoring of exams. Social distancing and the avoidance of gathering in groups is an important directive in the current disruptive context. Therefore, proctoring of exams at the University of Pittsburgh Testing Center will not be available.

Set realistic expectations to help both you and your students. If circumstances are such that you need to move your course to an online or remote delivery format, it may be helpful to remind students that the situation may require some flexibility on everyone’s part. Let students know that you may need to make changes that will help them continue to learn, and that these changes may require some adjustment from instructors, TAs and students. Communicate with your students early and often about any changes you may make and reassure students that you are taking into account any unusual external circumstances in assessing their work in the class.

Recognize that learning can be demonstrated in many ways. Multiple-choice exams are a common method of assessing student learning in higher education, and they have many advantages. It may be helpful, however, to explore other assessments you can assign to allow students to demonstrate their learning.  Multiple-choice exams tend to be very effective for committing key concepts to memory and for prompting recall, both of which are fundamental to learning.  However, assessments that call on students to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and apply information are also very effective, though they may require more time from instructors to plan and evaluate.

Evaluate course changes for impacts on equity and inclusivity. Changes made to your teaching should not adversely impact students. When considering a possible change, ask yourself if the change has the potential to disadvantage any particular group of students in your class.

Recognize that each assessment method has both advantages and disadvantages.  Each of the methods identified below has strengths and weaknesses that you will need to determine and assess based on your instructional context.  Weigh your concerns about integrity of the testing process against the possible consequences for students from changing your tests/assessments. You may also want to consider the amount of time you and your TAs (as relevant) will need to modify the tests/assessments and to grade or give feedback on them.

Is a Final Examination required or necessary?

The first question to consider is whether or not a final examination is required or necessary. It may be that students have produced sufficient content to demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities for your course. In such instances, a final exam may not be necessary. Check with your department chair or dean to identify appropriate policies and guidelines regarding the administration of final exams.

What alternatives exist to face-to-face finals and exams?

The following suggestions assume that a face-to-face administration of exams is not available. These suggestions are designed to address issues of academic integrity that can arise when exams are administered outside of the classroom.

Shift to an Open Book exam format.  This format promotes student learning and can help to neutralize the possibility that students will inappropriately rely on other resources to complete the exam by allowing them to consult other resources.  The following elements can be added to the exam (alone or in combination) to help ensure that students maintain academic integrity when course assessments happen outside of the classroom.

  • Add a section to the exam that requires students to give the course-related sources they used to answer each question (including page numbers, where appropriate), as well as the citation information of any other resources they used. Consider telling students they can use outside sources if they also give a well-considered recommendation as to whether the outside sources should be incorporated into the class in future quarters.
  • Add a question that asks students to write a short reflection on what they learned either about the content or about their own learning processes from the process of researching the questions.
  • Have students choose one question or problem on the exam that was difficult and explain the process they went through to find the answer and/or to solve it.
  • Have students choose the most interesting question or section on the exam and write a short paragraph explaining why they think it was interesting. A variation on this: Have students choose the question or section of the exam that targets information they feel is most applicable to their future careers and explain why they feel it is valuable for them to know this information.

Using the Closed-Book format, you may find the following suggestions helpful. Consider reducing the number of single-choice answers (e.g., multiple-choice questions) in order to add:

  • Short answer questions.  Adding several short answer questions that have been tailored to information presented in lectures gives students a chance to display what they have learned. It also encourages students to maintain academic integrity by tying their responses to what they learned by attending your class.
  • A metacognition task. Insert a section where students look at errors on a past exam and explain the correct answer to earn a certain number of points determined in advance by the instructor. This develops metacognition, helps students improve their learning, and makes connections to students’ past class performance.
  • A transformative reflection. Provide a question asking students to write a short reflection on how the course has changed their thinking about the course topic or about a course sub-topic. This helps students to become more aware of the effect your class has had on them intellectually.
  • Resource recommendations. Have students give a recommendation for two scholarly articles, news articles, videos, or other instructional media that the students have researched by writing a short (1-2 paragraph) explanation of how these pieces could help future students understand the course material.
  • An application task. Have students choose a question from the exam and explain how the knowledge it tests is important when applied to the field. Make sure you have discussed applications in class, and if not, it may be helpful to let students know that you encourage innovation on this task. If application is something you have not discussed in class, you may want to modify your grading criteria to reflect this.
  • Move to an entirely short-essay exam format.  If possible, convert your multiple-choice questions to a series of questions that require students to write one-to-two-paragraph responses synthesizing course content.  Tailor the questions to your course’s specific content to encourage students to produce their own work and to discourage inappropriate reliance on outside sources (i.e., plagiarism).  Be sure to let students know the criteria you’ll use to evaluate their responses (e.g., a rubric) before they take the exam. If students have been expecting a multiple-choice test throughout the quarter, you may want to be mindful of the effect a sudden change in format can have on students’ ability to be successful on the exam, and weigh this against any changes you might make. If you feel the change is warranted, explain to students the reason for the change, and reassure them of your concern for their learning.
  • Assign an annotated bibliography.  If a traditional exam is not possible, and it serves your learning outcomes for your students,  you might consider having students write an annotated bibliography in which they choose 5-10 key scholarly articles from the course readings and write a short critical summary for each, explaining what the article is about and then giving their assessment of the article’s value to the field. Initially, students may think this is a difficult task, especially if they have never encountered such an assignment. Giving students a model for the task can be helpful and reminding students that it builds on skills they likely already possess (writing summaries, for example) can go a long way to ease their anxiety. If this is a novel task for students that is being introduced, due to external circumstances affecting your course, you may want to adjust your grading criteria accordingly.
  • Assign an application task. Give students a real-world problem-based application of the concepts (or just a single key concept) from your course and ask them to explain they would use the information learned in your class to solve the problem. This would require students to analyze the problem and then synthesize a response to it by revisiting the concepts learned in your course and applying them to the scenario you have described. This, again, could be difficult for some students. If application is something you have not discussed in class, you may want to modify your grading criteria to reflect this.

If I decide to administer a multiple-choice exam, how do I do it online?

Consider how you will administer tests and assessments online.

Tests and Quizzes in Blackboard

Creating Test in Blackboard Using Word or Text Documents

Using the Assignment Tool in Blackboard

Using Grade Center in Blackboard

Using Rubrics in Blackboard

Setting up Quizzes in Canvas

Using the Assignment Tool in Canvas

Using the Gradebook in Canvas

Adding and Managing Rubrics in Canvas

Common Educational Technology Tools

The Teaching Center and Pitt IT have full support resources available for:

Blackboard – Teacher Help
Blackboard – Student Help
Canvas
Panopto (Lecture Capture and Video Streaming Platform)
Zoom (Web Conferencing Platform)
* Tips for Keeping Your Zoom Conference Private and Secure

Help for Beginners

Where should you start when moving your class to a remote delivery format using the technology tools available at Pitt? Currently most courses at the university are still using Blackboard as the learning management system (LMS), so these help resources will focus on Blackboard. If you’ve never used Blackboard to deliver course materials before, you can log in to it at Pitt’s Blackboard website or from the link located on the My Pitt Portal.

Help for Delivering Courses Asynchronously

Asynchronous course delivery refers to delivering your course in a way that is not bound to a particular time or location. Course content and assessments delivered asynchronously leaves it up to the students when they participate in your class. Students who have other responsibilities or less frequent access to technology will benefit from asynchronous course delivery methods such as:

Help for Delivering Courses Synchronously

Synchronous course delivery refers to delivering course material to students at a particular time, all together. Course content and assessments delivered synchronously require students to participate in your class at a particular set time or window of time. Students who have other responsibilities or less frequent access to technology may need special accommodations such as recording live sessions for later viewing by those who were unable to participate.

NOTE: In order to facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if a faculty member intends to record their lecture with student participation, they must advise the students, via e-mail and at the beginning of the lecture, that the lecture, including their participation, is being recorded.  Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encourage to ask questions off-line.  Further, the recorded lecture may be used by the faculty member and the registered students only for internal class purposes and only during the term in which the course is being offered. Faculty who have questions should contact faculty@pitt.edu.

  • Getting Started with Zoom
    Zoom is an online and mobile meeting solution that combines real-time chat, content sharing, and video in an easy-to-use interface to enrich teaching and learning. It integrates with Blackboard and Canvas to facilitate remote teaching and learning. Tips for Keeping Your Zoom Conference Private and Secure
  • Using Blackboard Collaborate 
    Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing platform accessible directly inside Blackboard. Collaborate features screensharing, breakout rooms, polling, and collaborative whiteboards and can even be accessed by users who do not have Pitt logins (i.e., guest speakers).
  • Using Panopto to Livestream 
    Panopto’s livestream function is less fully-featured than Blackboard Collaborate (chat is available, but there are no breakout rooms or other features) but can be used to broadcast lectures and presentations live.

Help for Canvas Users

As always, 24/7 help for these tools is available via the Help button in the global navigation menu.

  • Creating discussion boards 
    The Canvas Discussions tool can be used for student-to-student interaction, as well as instructor-led discussions or a Q&A forum where students can ask questions about practical considerations, dates and scheduling, etc….
  • Creating groups of students 
    Creating groups in Canvas for students to work on projects together has the advantage of allowing you to view what they are working on .
  • Using Panopto with Canvas
    You can use Panopto to create and give students access to recorded lectures and other multimedia resources.
  • Synchronous classes using the Conferences tool 
    Canvas is currently configured to use Big Blue Button as its web conference tool. You can use Big Blue Button to hold synchronous online lectures and discussions, or virtual office hours. Note: Our license with BBB keeps recordings available for 14 days and does not permit downloading. For a more fully featured tool, consider using the Zoom Canvas integration.

Guidelines and Best Practices for Quality and Accessibility

Other University Technology Tools and Services

These tools and services are managed out of Pitt IT and help for them can be had 24/7/365 from the Pitt IT Help Desk.

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Common Educational Technology Tools

The Teaching Center and Pitt IT have full support resources available for:

Blackboard – Teacher Help
Blackboard – Student Help
Canvas
Panopto (Lecture Capture and Video Streaming Platform)
Zoom (Web Conferencing Platform)

Help for Beginners

Where should you start when moving your class to a remote delivery format using the technology tools available at Pitt? Currently most courses at the university are still using Blackboard as the learning management system (LMS), so these help resources will focus on Blackboard. If you’ve never used Blackboard to deliver course materials before, you can log in to it the Pitt Blackboard site or from the link located on the My Pitt website.

Help for Delivering Courses Asynchronously

Asynchronous course delivery refers to delivering your course in a way that is not bound to a particular time or location. Course content and assessments delivered asynchronously leaves it up to the students when they participate in your class. Students who have other responsibilities or less frequent access to technology will benefit from asynchronous course delivery methods such as:

Help for Delivering Courses Synchronously

Synchronous course delivery refers to delivering course material to students at a particular time, all together. Course content and assessments delivered synchronously require students to participate in your class at a particular set time or window of time. Students who have other responsibilities or less frequent access to technology may need special accommodations such as recording live sessions for later viewing by those who were unable to participate.

NOTE: In order to facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if a faculty member intends to record their lecture with student participation, they must advise the students, via e-mail and at the beginning of the lecture, that the lecture, including their participation, is being recorded.  Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encourage to ask questions off-line.  Further, the recorded lecture may be used by the faculty member and the registered students only for internal class purposes and only during the term in which the course is being offered. Faculty who have questions should contact teaching@pitt.edu.

  • Getting Started with Zoom
    Zoom is an online and mobile meeting solution that combines real-time chat, content sharing, and video in an easy-to-use interface to enrich teaching and learning. It integrates with Blackboard and Canvas to facilitate remote teaching and learning.
  • Using Blackboard Collaborate 
    Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing platform accessible directly inside Blackboard. Collaborate features screensharing, breakout rooms, polling, and collaborative whiteboards and can even be accessed by users who do not have Pitt logins (i.e., guest speakers).
  • Using Panopto to Livestream 
    Panopto’s livestream function is less full featured than Blackboard Collaborate (chat is available, but there are no breakout rooms or other features) but can be used to broadcast lectures and presentations live.

Help for Canvas Users

As always, 24/7 help for these tools is available via the Help button in the global navigation menu.

Guidelines and Best Practices for Quality and Accessibility

Additional Blackboard Resources

Other University Technology Tools and Services
These tools and services are managed out of Pitt IT and help for them can be had 24/7/365 from the Pitt IT Help Desk.

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Announcements

Blackboard Announcements

Canvas Announcements

Assessments

Using Grade Center in Blackboard

Using Rubrics in Blackboard

Using the Gradebook in Canvas

Setting up Quizzes in Canvas

Adding and Managing Rubrics in Canvas

Using the SpeedGrader in Canvas

Assignments

Using the Assignment Tool in Blackboard

Using the Assignment Tool in Canvas

Audio Recording

Guidelines for Creating Instructional Recordings

Recording Video and Audio in Canvas

Archiving Your Course

Exporting or Archiving a Blackboard Course (use Archive)

Exporting a Canvas Course

Downloading Student Submissions in Canvas

Exporting Grades in Canvas

Content Management

Managing Content in Blackboard

Managing Content in Canvas

Discussion Boards

Using Discussion Boards in Blackboard

Using Discussion Boards in Canvas

Email

Canvas Inbox

Pitt Email and Calendar (Outlook)

Gradescope Gradescope Grading Software
Portable Document Files (PDFs)

How to Create a Portable Document Format File (PDF) in Windows

How to Create a Portable Document File (PDF) on Mac

SensusAccess

What is SensusAccess?

SensusAccess 2019 Document Remediation and Alternate Media Conversion

SensusAccess E-learning Course

SensusAccess Support

Pitt SensusAccess File Converter Tool

Teleconference

Skype for Business

Microsoft Teams

Zoom Web Conferencing

Tests

Tests in Blackboard

Tests (or quizzes) in Canvas

Video Recording

Guidelines for Creating Instructional Recordings

Recording Video and Audio in Canvas

Getting Started with Zoom Web Conferencing

VPN PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure Client)
Web Conferencing

Collaborate: Web Conference in Blackboard

Using Web Conferencing in Canvas

Zoom Web Conferencing

Pitt IT HomePage for Zoom

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Resources

Pitt Information Technology maintains a list of IT resources to support remote work.

Important information and updates relevant to the University community will be posted at the Office of Public Safety & Emergency Management.

For student health concerns: Pitt Student Health Service

For those traveling or abroad: Pitt Global Operations Support

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on COVID-19 and travel alerts

U.S. Department of State travel advisories

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