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Teaching Remotely: Home

A Guide for Penn Librarians Teaching Online


If you are transitioning a session for the first time from in-person to remote teaching, here are three tips to help:

  • Keep it simple. There are many bells-and-whistles in online learning, but the most important thing is to know your learning objectives and make sure that students get the content, practice, and feedback they need to succeed.  This might mean having a session where you video-conference with the group briefly and then answer questions by email or where you send them a PDF/guide and remind them of your online office hours.
  • Be kind to yourself and to students. Adding in technology means things may malfunction or take longer than they usually do. Someone might feel awkward or scared. We are all in this together, so take a deep breath and, if you can, practice with the tech first and mute the microphones of everyone who isn't speaking in large group situations.
  • Take advantage of help. There is a lot of good documentation out there about Canvas, BlueJeans, and Zoom. Many people have been writing about how to teach online courses well. Use their knowledge. Also make use of your colleagues. Contact Katie Rawson for assistance. 
Finally, if you know a great tip or technique for this guide, please email Katie Rawson.

Pre-Recorded Lecture

Recommended Tech.
In Canvas, you can use Panopto for record lectures. Even if the professor is not using Panopto, if you are in the course as a librarian, you still can. Here are directions for using Panopto.

If you want to have students follow along, you can record your screen or powerpoint in Panopto. Directions for screencasting with Panopto are here.

Short videos that cover a single element of content are the most effective.

If you are going to show activity on your screen, make sure it is large enough and slow enough for users to see.

Feel free to use our Library Lounge templates to make a storyboard before recording. Or just present as you normally would -- relax and know that everyone misspeaks sometimes, so you don't need to worry about "messing up."

Other options. If you are comfortable recording with another software, you can do so and upload the media to Canvas. Just remember there are storage limits.

Live Lecture

Recommended Tech.
There are two options for synchronous presentation.

For presentations, you might want to show folks what is on your screen. There are directions to screenshare in BlueJeans and in Zoom (click on your operating system in the list to get step by step instructions).

Be yourself!

Keep everyone muted. (Sound issues are the quickest way to have everyone running / not learning in a session.)




Discussion Boards in Canvas

Chat in BlueJeans or Zoom

  • Both BlueJeans and Zoom allow participants to message everyone in the room. This can be particularly helpful for posing a question and having students respond or for having students ask questions. Because it doesn't require sound and everyone can see the chat, it reduces the kind of noise-and-chaos issues that live audio discussion can have.
  • Directions for chat in BlueJeans or chat in Zoom

Live Discussion in BlueJeans or Zoom

  • You can ask questions, have students present, or have students ask questions, just like you would in person.
  • Keep in mind that you probably want to control people's microphones or encourage them to mute themselves after speaking.
  • Students will be able to share their screens as well as having whiteboard options (whiteboard in BlueJeans, whiteboard in Zoom).

Breakout Rooms in BlueJeans or Zoom

  • If you would normally put students into groups to discuss aspects of the lesson, you can still do that by using breakout rooms. You have either have students randomly assigned, or you can manually assign them to groups.
  • Directions for breakout rooms in BlueJeans or breakout rooms in Zoom.

Activities and Assessment

Quizzes and Tutorials in LibWizard
You can use LibWizard to make quizzes or tutorials for your sessions.  This is a way to see what students know or have learned. Springshare provides information on how to use LibWizard.

Collective Writing and Sharing Responses with Google
You can use Google docs or sheets to have students write together or share works.  Collective notetaking through a Google doc can also be helpful to engage students (and for you to be able to see what they are taking away) -- share a link that allows those with it to edit. Directions for Google file sharing.

Polling in Zoom and BlueJeans
Polling allows you to ask a question to gauge student's previous knowledge, thoughts, or understanding during a synchronous session. Directions for polling in BlueJeans and for polling in Zoom.






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Katie Rawson
Subjects: Communication
Penn Libraries Home Franklin Home
(215) 898-7555