Teaching Remotely

FAQs on Teaching Remotely for Instructors
(Spring Quarter 2020)

As the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, please check back frequently for the latest FAQs and any updated guidance.
These FAQs are intended to address questions specific to all instructors of record for the Spring Quarter 2020.

For tips on how to stay secure while using Zoom, go to Secure Zoom Meetings and Webinars.


What platforms should I use for teaching remotely? May I use any platforms besides those recommended by the University?

The University strongly encourages instructors to use Zoom, Canvas, Panopto and their embedded tools for remote teaching. IT Services will provide training and technical support for these tools. If instructors choose to use other tools for remote teaching, they must be FERPA compliant, include features for accessibility and allow for recording or other means of asynchronous distribution. Due to resource limitations related to supporting the transition to remote teaching and learning, IT Services will not be able to support alternate tools for remote learning.

The University has contracts for the following products, which meet University requirements for FERPA and include features for accessibility: Microsoft O365 (including Teams), Google G Suite, and Box.

Posted: March 26, 2020

How do I access my Zoom account? Where can I go with questions about Zoom or to access Zoom resources?

Zoom accounts have been set up for instructors for Spring Quarter 2020. Some instructors may not have previously used this platform and will need training. For resources on using Zoom and Canvas, please see the Teaching Remotely training page or IT Services’ web conferencing resources.

Online training options will be available until the start of Spring quarter on Monday, April 6, 2020. Please register for Remote Teaching Training soon. Additionally, you may review general Zoom training videos and tutorials.

For individual support on setting up your remote teaching, please complete this brief Contact Us form.

Posted: March 26, 2020

What should I do first to set up my remote course?

If you have not already done so, please create your Canvas Course. A selection of resources about Canvas is also available.

Faculty and graduate student instructors of record, please see the Zoom section on Course Set-Up.

Posted: March 26, 2020

How can I find information about Panopto and how best to use it for remote teaching?

Panopto is the University’s video management platform. It is a tool for recording, organizing, embedding, and live streaming video. For more information on its features and functionality, visit UChicago’s Panopto site. Additional tutorials and documentation can be found on Panopto’s website; see the Panopto Getting Started guides or their video tutorials. You can create your Panopto account by logging into Panopto with your CNetID and password.

For individual support on setting up your remote teaching via Panopto, please complete this brief Contact Us form.

Posted: March 26, 2020

What if I don’t have access to the technology needed for teaching remotely?

If you do not have a camera-ready computer, tablet, or mobile device, please contact your Department Chair, Program Director, or your unit’s Dean’s Office. Please note that supplies are limited, so your unit administrators will do their best to accommodate your request.

Posted: April 1, 2020

How can I improve my internet access at home?

If you are teaching remotely from your home and you experience internet access issues, start by contacting your local internet Service Provider (ISP) for more information about services, pricing, and estimated installation dates. Many ISPs have modified their rates and bandwidth in response to COVID-19, so they are now offering free or reduced-cost access and expanded data caps (see this article on ISP responses to COVID-19 for reference)

If you need further support or these options don’t provide you with adequate internet access, please contact your Department Chair, Program Director, or your unit’s Dean’s Office to discuss alternative options.

Posted: March 26, 2020

Who can I contact centrally or in my unit for tech support?

If you typically contact your school or divisional IT services for support, then please contact them first. If you typically contact central IT Services, please do continue to do so. You may also complete a request for support regarding teaching remotely , and someone will get back to you in a timely manner. This list of IT contacts in each unit may also be helpful.

Posted: March 26, 2020

How will the course shopping period work during Spring Quarter 2020?

The College is requesting that all Spring Quarter 2020 instructors teaching College courses publish their Canvas courses and post their syllabi on their Canvas Syllabus pages during week 1 of classes (April 6-13, 2020). Students will access these syllabi in Canvas (but will not see the rest of the Canvas site unless registered) and may reference the syllabi to shop for classes until April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Please note that instructors have discretion about whether to participate in shopping period and the information they post on their syllabi for students. Academic units serving graduate students are offering shopping periods based on the needs of their unit or program. Please contact your Department Chair, Program Director, or Dean’s Office with any additional questions about shopping periods in your unit or program.

Posted: April 3, 2020

Do I have the option of teaching my class on campus?

The vast majority of Spring Quarter 2020 courses will be taught remotely. On March 30, 2020, Provost Ka Yee Lee wrote to the University community about restricted access to University facilities. Beginning on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 5 p.m., all academic and administrative campus buildings moved to secure key card access, whereby only those individuals deemed essential personnel who must be on campus can access the facility. Provost Lee noted that because some instructors have particular situations that make teaching remotely from home very difficult, the University will consider designating instructors as essential personnel at the request of deans, on a very limited case-by-case basis and for teaching purposes only. In these cases, we will identify specific classrooms for teaching and recording course sessions, and those classrooms will be cleaned after each use. With further questions, contact your unit Dean’s Office.

Posted: April 1, 2020

How do I start Zoom class meetings from Canvas?

Instructors should navigate to the Zoom page (use the Zoom navigation item) in the Canvas course. Under the “Upcoming Meetings” tab, there will be a “Start” Button for upcoming meetings. Click this button to launch Zoom and the class meeting. Students registered for a course will receive a message in their Canvas Inbox with the Zoom link when meetings are scheduled. Students may also navigate to their Canvas course site, click on the Zoom navigation item, and see a “Join” button for each of their class meetings under the “Upcoming Meetings” tab.

Will I be asked to record my course sessions?

Instructors have the discretion to record course sessions, except when recording is required to meet the needs of students granted an accommodation by the Office of Student Disability Services and in accordance with the Spring Quarter 2020 Recording Policy.

Posted: April 3, 2020

If I choose to record course sessions, how will students access those recordings?

Instructors who record course sessions should post those recordings on the course’s Canvas site. Students attending the course session will be able to access recorded course sessions posted on the course’s Canvas site.

Posted: April 3, 2020

Will students be asked for their consent prior to being recorded on Zoom?

When an instructor selects “Record,” all students in the Zoom course session will see a message that states, “This meeting is being recorded. By continuing to be in the meeting, you are consenting to be recorded.” Students must select “Continue” to remain in the Zoom course session or select “Leave Meeting” if they don’t consent to be recorded. If a student selects “Leave Meeting,” the student will not be able to participate synchronously in the course session.

Posted: April 3, 2020

How will I know if any students need accommodations for my remote class?

Instructors of record should first confirm if they have received formal notification of a student’s approved accommodations via an emailed accommodation determination letter from Student Disability Services (SDS). The notification will provide details regarding how the accommodation applies to a class and what accommodations may need to be implemented. If a student indicates that they need an accommodation for a disability but does not have a determination letter from SDS, please ask the student to contact SDS.

We recommend engaging early with students who have submitted accommodation requests to understand their needs and set reasonable expectations. It is important to remember this is a challenging time, filled with uncertainty, and our students may need a little more support. If you have questions or need assistance implementing a learning plan for a student, please contact SDS at disabilities@uchicago.edu or via phone at 773-702-6000. You may also visit our FAQ’s for faculty about Student Disability Services.

Posted: March 26, 2020

How can I adapt my course to be taught remotely in Spring 2020 for students with disabilities?

That depends on the structure of your course and the specific needs of your students. If you will be administering timed tests, students with exam accommodations of extended time will still be eligible for the use of this accommodation. Students with flexibility on deadlines may still need this accommodation as well. SDS will work with you to complete the Attendance Flexibility and Deadline Extension Accommodation Agreement Form (PDF). Other typical accommodations may not be necessary, but given the change in class structure, additional accommodations may be needed for some types of disabilities. Contact SDS for questions about accommodation implementation at disabilities@uchicago.edu or via phone at 773-702-6000.

In addition, all course materials must be accessible. Please review the resources below:

Posted: March 26, 2020

Can I evaluate learning and progress (such as giving quizzes or exams) using Canvas or Zoom? What is Gradescope and how can I use it?

You can find helpful resources to prepare you for remote teaching at Course Set-Up for Teaching Remotely. Also, the Chicago Center for Teaching has provided the Pedagogical Guidance for Remote Teaching (PDF). Additional resources may be available through your units. IT Services has a useful guide for using online quizzes and surveys in Canvas (PDF). Additional Canvas resources are also available.

Gradescope is a tool that facilitates the grading of hand-written work, such as assignments or exams involving formulas, in an easier, more efficient, and more consistent way; it also integrates with Canvas. See Gradescope information and links on IT Services’ Academic Technology Teaching Tools page.

Posted: March 26, 2020

What if my Spring quarter course is an experiential, studio- or lab-based class and does not lend itself to being taught remotely?

Divisions and schools are working closely with their instructors to address concerns related to experiential, studio-, or lab-based courses and to develop solutions for Spring Quarter 2020 courses. In most cases, instructors’ courses can be adapted to a remote learning environment, but please contact your unit’s Dean’s Office, your Department Chair, or your Program Director to discuss your specific course and needs for Spring Quarter 2020.

For additional information, please consult Pedagogical Guidance for Remote Teaching (PDF) from the Chicago Center for Teaching.

Posted: March 26, 2020

What if I get sick and cannot continue to teach my course?

Your health is most important during this time. Please first seek any medical attention you require, remembering that clinics and doctors’ offices are advising people to call before coming in. More information about steps to take can be found in the University’s coronavirus updates. If you are the instructor of record for your course and it is not possible to adapt your teaching plan with minimal disruption to the course, contact your Department Chair, Dean’s Office, Collegiate Master, or relevant administrator and also reach out to any supporting teaching assistants (TAs), course assistants (CAs), or graders so that they can be notified about revised course plans for the coming class sessions. It might be helpful to set expectations with the students in your course and any TAs/CAs/graders at the start of the course to address contingencies for any health or other concerns that those in your course might face during Spring Quarter 2020.

We advise all instructors to prepare their Canvas course site with as much material as possible in advance so the readings and other course materials are available online should you need to miss any class sessions. First and foremost, we ask that you care for yourself and those around you. You may also complete a request for support for teaching remotely and someone will get back to you shortly.

You may wish to consult the University’s Medical Leave policies for faculty, the Medical Leave policies for other academic appointees, or the sick leave policy for graduate students.

Posted: April 1, 2020