Teach Online

Use Canvas tools to deliver your course content and learning activities. 

Make sure your course site is published and you have shared the site link with your students. See the Connect page for more detailed information about publishing a Canvas course site.

Create and Share Course Content

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Upload and Post Course Content

Canvas is very flexible and accommodates a range of file formats. You can upload Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, videos and images, Google docs, etc.

Use Files

Find instructions on:

Add a Website or Google Doc/Presentation URL Link

Find instructions on How do I add an external URL as a module item?

Post an Existing Video

You can add a video in two ways.


Kaltura is a video platform in Canvas that allows you and your students to create and share videos.

For more information see:


Embed a YouTube video.

Put Course Readings on Library E-Reserve

The University of Minnesota Libraries offers essential teaching and research services.

Additionally, course reserves services provide for the creation and distribution of reading lists that are linked in your Canvas course site. This helps students find their course readings quickly and efficiently in one location. You can submit a request for Course Reserves using the link that corresponds to your campus below. Course reserves lists can be organized by weeks, sections, or alphabetical format. Course Reserves reading lists can include library licensed materials, lawful fair use claims, copyrighted materials, videos, ebooks licensed by the libraries, freely available materials, open textbooks, and open educational resources. Library staff can assist you in creating a reading list of affordable and high-quality materials for your students.

Record a Video for Students to Watch Online

Videos can be used to record lectures and can be embedded in pages, announcements, assignments, quizzes, and discussions.

Instructional videos do not need to have high production values to be effective. You can use the camera on your phone (or tablet) or the webcam and microphone built into your laptop.

We recommend using Kaltura: a University-supported tool that is integrated within Canvas. You can use Kaltura to record you talking and/or capture your desktop (including showing a PowerPoint).

For more information and options to record, see:

Set Up Online Assignments to Collect and Grade Student Work

Students can submit their work using Canvas Assignments. Once students have submitted assignments, Canvas Speedgrader offers a way for instructors to easily grade submissions. See the Assess and Evaluate page for more detailed information about using Canvas for assessment.

For more information see:

Note: When creating an online assignment, be sure to change the submission type to Online.

Additional Resources For Teaching with Writing

Teaching with Writing Online consultations: Teaching with Writing consultants are available to discuss topics including, creating writing assignments, synchronous or asynchronous models of virtual writing instruction, assignment-specific draft-response, and grading practices, etc. 

Teaching with Writing Blog provides practical strategies to instructors who teach with writing in undergraduate and graduate courses in all disciplinary areas.  

NEW: Teaching with Writing Online: a virtual short course 

Summer 2020 

Logistics: This short-course takes place over the course of one week and is organized into three modules. Each module is composed of a combination of interactive, synchronous meetings and independent, asynchronous activity. Asynchronous time (approx 7 hrs) will be dedicated to developing or revising course materials, reviewing resources, and experimenting with tools while synchronous meetings (1-hr sessions scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons for a total of 3 hrs) will be spent in structured discussion. Total time commitment: approx 10 hours.

Cap 30 faculty members/instructors. Registration opens soon.

  • Option 1:  August 3-7 with synchronous meetings on Monday, August 3, Wednesday, August 5, and Friday, August 7 from 2-3 p.m.
  • Option 2:  August 24-28 with synchronous meetings on Monday, August 24, Wednesday, August 26, and Friday, August 28 from 2-3 p.m.

NOTE: We will consider adding more sections of this course if need demands  

Description: With this modular short-course, the Teaching with Writing team offers University of Minnesota faculty members and instructors an opportunity to focus on course-specific online writing instruction. We define “writing” to include words, numbers, figures, sketches, and visuals, etc., which ensures that our discussions and tools are relevant and pragmatic to courses across the University curriculum. Throughout the week, we’ll take a case-study approach: participants will identify a single course that they will be modifying in order to move it into a partially or fully online venue. 

Aims: The course aims to support University of Minnesota instructors in…

  • Developing approaches to writing instruction that are realistic and contextually relevant.
  • Leveraging the affordances and minimizing the challenges associated with online writing and writing instruction
  • Devising (or revising) writing assignments and assessment tools appropriate for online learning.
  • Outcomes: By the end of the course, participants will have...
  • Sampled and discussed a variety of online writing tools and instructional modes in order to select those that will align well with course and student needs.
  • Devised or revised high-stakes and low-stakes writing assignments that are appropriate for online venues.
  • Given and received feedback on instructional materials.
  • Created assignment-specific grading schemes that ensure fair, constructive assessment of student writing.
  • Devised student-oriented inventory questions and reflective activities that will help align course tools, platforms, and instructional modes with students’ access to and proficiency with these tools.

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Create Online Quizzes or Exams

You can use Canvas Quizzes to create and administer quizzes and exams. You can add text, images and videos within quiz questions. Canvas allows many question formats to fit your assessment needs.

For more information see:

Safely Handle Student Education Records (FERPA)

FERPA Guidance related to COVID-19

FERPA is a broad law that covers all student education records. Everything in Canvas, the discussion board, assignments, and any communication to the student, is a part of a student’s education record and needs to be handled safely.

Academic Support Resources offers advice on how to comply with FERPA when you teach with technology tools, such as Canvas, Zoom, or Google Hangouts Meet. 

Interact with Students

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Offer Opportunities for Class/Group Discussions

You can use Canvas Discussions for student-to-student and instructor-to-student interaction. Discussions use text for asynchronous discussion. They can be graded or ungraded.

See How do I create a discussion as an instructor?

If you have a large class and want to use Canvas Discussions, create groups to help online discussion be more manageable for students.

See How do I create a group discussion in a course?

Conduct Live Online Class Sessions and Meetings

You can use Zoom, the University-supported online meeting tool, to deliver live lectures or for any occasion when you need to meet with your student(s) virtually, such as: 

  • Office hours
  • Consultations
  • Test preparation sessions
  • Guest speaker presentations 


Watch our Zoom tutorial video playlist. It includes:

  • *New* In-Meeting Tools to Secure your Zoom Meetings (3:14)
  • Hosting a Zoom Meeting Quickly (3:14 minutes)
  • Adding Zoom to Canvas Courses (1:31 minutes)
  • Schedule Zoom Meetings in Canvas (1:21 minutes)
  • Recording a Zoom Meeting and Adding it to a Canvas Course (5:06 minutes)

Secure Your Zoom Meeting

Learn how to change the access and sharing settings in Zoom to keep your meetings more secure.

Manage Disruptive Participants

As a result of the increased use of Zoom meetings globally, they have become a target for meeting hijackers. In many cases, these bad actors seek to cause disruption by posting or sharing inappropriate comments, images, or videos. In the event that an unwanted guest joins your Zoom meeting, you can take immediate action from the Zoom meeting interface: 

  • Lock your meeting. The Zoom host settings allow the host or co-host to lock the meeting after all the expected participants have joined. Click the Security icon and select Lock meeting. Note: If one of your participants leaves the meeting (e.g., their internet connection fails) after you have locked the meeting, they will not be able to rejoin unless you unlock the meeting.
  • Remove a participant or put on hold. If someone is disrupting your meeting, remove them from the session. Click on the Participant icon. From the participant pane, hover over the name of the disruptive participant. When the menu appears, select Remove. Another option is to put them on hold, during which time the attendee cannot see, hear, or share anything.
  • Restrict screen sharing. Click the Security icon to uncheck screen sharing permissions. 
  • Disable chat. Click the Security icon and click the checkmark next to chat to disable participants’ ability to use the chat function.

Use Auto-Transcripts 

Enhance the accessibility of online meetings by enabling Zoom’s Auto-Transcription feature for participants. This feature turns spoken words into text in real-time; increasing access to your material for people who:

  • are in a loud or public space
  • do not have access to headphones or speakers
  • are English language learners
  • benefit from hearing and reading content simultaneously

Note: Zoom’s Live Transcripts should be used to improve accessibility, but not for accommodation. Learn more about Zoom’s Automatic Live Transcription in this tutorial video and article.


Read instructions on how to


Learn how to use Zoom to:


Learn how to Manage Breakout Rooms.

Conduct Flexible, Asynchronous Canvas Course Sessions

Using video conferencing (Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet) for teaching and learning may not be optimal for all online instruction. While synchronous teaching (i.e., Zoom) might be the most convenient for you as the instructor, it may not be the best choice for your students. Challenges of live video conferencing might include:

  • Unpredictable, shifting schedules
  • Unreliable or unstable internet connections
  • Older or inadequate devices 
  • Lack of familiarity with the technology
  • Limited exposure to online meeting etiquette
  • Concerns about privacy and security

There are alternative ways to deliver content, communicate, and assess learners online that do not require that you all to be together online at the same time. 

Delivering Content in Canvas

  • Share your existing slides from lecture presentations with added details in the slide notes to provide students with more context or guidance.  Learn how to create and organize content in Canvas.
  • Demonstrate how you walk through a problem or a process using a short, annotated, screen capture recording and post for students in Canvas. Learn how to use Kaltura Capture.
  • Link to Library content through Canvas. Learn how to use Leganto.


  • Communicate clearly and succinctly with students. Let students know what they will be doing and why; provide them with clear expectations and guidance. Learn how to communicate with students through Canvas.
  • Use the discussion questions from your face to face class as a starting point for online, text-based, discussions. You can create group discussions in Canvas.


  • Paper-based exams or quizzes can be administered online, in ways ranging from simple to complex. There are different types of quizzes in Canvas.
  • For questions where students demonstrate problem-solving, they can draw and submit their work online.

You are not alone...resources and help are available to determine how to use asynchronous learning approaches for your class context. All of the above suggestions could be accomplished within a Canvas course site. If you have questions about how to create accessible content please visit Accessible U.

Instruct your Learners using Alternatives to Zoom and Canvas

Alternatives to Canvas and Zoom

Given a short turn-around time, you may not want or have time to develop capacity in Canvas, Zoom, and other tools. What are your options? Keeping your course objectives in mind, there are a number of low-tech strategies you might use to communicate and to foster communication and collaboration among your students. The Center for Educational Innovation provides resources at Keep Teaching—Alternatives to Canvas and Zoom.


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