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Deliver Your Course Content Remotely

In the case that you and your students are separated due to unforeseen circumstances, you can still deliver your lecture and course content remotely. Course content encompasses lectures, learning materials, syllabus, and readings. Consider the mode of delivery that would maximize flexibility while still meeting the expected course learning outcomes.



Remote Instruction

Online Teaching + Learning


Moving content designed for face-to-face instruction online for a limited or one-time-only course instruction due to a temporary separation of instructor and students.

(adapted from UC Davis KeepTeaching)


The intentional design and implementation of course content, assessments, and online interactions that support alignment of learning outcomes and effective student learning experiences in a fully online environment.



Quick Strategies for Remote Delivery

Know Your Options for Delivering Lecture


Deliver live lectures at a scheduled day and time, using video conferencing tools that offer real-time, two-way video and audio.

live zoom meeting
live video conference

Advantages for your students:
  • can ask questions in real time
  • may feel a stronger sense of community
  • develop and demonstrate skills in real-time
  • scheduling conflicts or time zone differences
  • technical and equipment requirements for students
  • privacy and personal preferances when recording
  • troubleshooting live technical challenges can be much harder and distracting to the lecture

Campus-Supported Tools:


Pre-record your lectures and release them to students in advance so that they can watch and learn at their own pace and time.

professor herbst lecturing in front of map
Matthew Herbst (HILD 20R)

Advantages for your students:

  • Know what to expect, better manage their time
  • More time to process and be thoughtful in their work
  • Instructors can prepare materials in advance and focus on engagement and coaching
  • students can feel a sense of isolation if there is no communication
  • students need guidance on engagement expectations and required contribution

Campus-Supported Tools:

Start with a Canvas Template

The Digital Learning Hub has started a Template Course in Canvas, which provides faculty and course instructors with a sample course structure, module layout, guidelines and academic support resources available to students, and the integrated tools that are available within every standard Canvas course. This course structure follows an asynchronous mode of lecture delivery via Kaltura Media with synchronous office hours via Zoom.

To download the course from Canvas Commons, search "UCSD Template."

Simplify Your Course Structure

To transition quickly to remote instruction, use a simple weekly structure. Each week, break up your content into these three categories = Lecture + Readings + Assignments.

This will help you create a structure for each week and help you identify the essential learning material and essential exercises that will get students to the expected learning outcomes. Take for example the table below which organizes a single week for the student, identifying what they are expected to Watch, Read, and Complete by the end of the week.

weekly structure
Source: Matthew Herbst, HILD 20R

Creating this guided sequence for your students will help them pace themselves and self-regulate in order to reach the learning goal. Keep in mind, remote students will have the flexibility to return to readings or return to recorded lectures should they need to revisit particular lessons.

You can use Canvas Modules to help you organize your course sequence.

Use Consistent Due Dates

Having consistent due dates for all activities will help you, your IAs, and your students better manage time and expectations week to week.
For example:
  • Discussions due Thursday at 11:59pm
  • Assignments due Saturday at 11:59pm
Providing consistent due dates help students manage their expected work load week to week, prepare for their assessments, and think about the assignment prompts as they go through lecture and read the material.
Your IAs will also know when to grade assignments and when to return feedback to students in preparation for the next milestone assignment.

Tools: You can assign due dates to all of your Canvas Assignments in advance. Setting due dates will allow the assignments to appear in the course calendar.

Update Your Syllabus

Update your Syllabus to reflect your new mode of delivery. Your Syllabus will help guide your students on this new format, set the tone for the course, invite them to participate, and provide key information they will need to succeed, including:
  • Course Schedule
  • Course Materials and Software
  • Activities and assignments
  • Grading breakdown
  • Technology Requirements
  • Guidelines for Remote Participation
  • Academic Support Services
  • Academic Integrity statement
Review the Learner-Centered Syllabus Guide for a complete overview. You can also download a Learner-Centered Syllabus template and personalize it for your class.

Upload your Course Materials

Your course materials include:
  • Lecture Videos
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Reading articles and Text
  • Practice Worksheets
  • Handouts
and any other documents and content files that equip your students and help them learn the information, concepts, processes, terminology, and applications in your course.
These materials should be uploaded or linked in the Canvas course and made available to your students within the weekly module.

Record Shorter, Focused Videos

Chunking your lecture into smaller, more digestible learning concepts will help you better organize your lecture, as well as help your students better retain the information.

For example, in HILD 20R, Professor Herbst delivers weekly lecture content through smaller, topical micro-lectures, supplemented by notes on Canvas. In the course's week on "Religious Change in Afro-Eurasia and MesoAmerica," Professor Herbst presents the content through the following videos, listing the title and length of each video for student view:

  • Introduction: The Rise of Universal Religions [1:34]
  • Christianity and Empire [6:26]
  • Spread of Christianity [7:10]
  • Transformation of Empire [8:50]
  • Persian Empire [4:31]
  • Persia, Rome, and the Silk Roads [5:12]
  • South Asia [5:37]
  • Changes in Post-Han China [7:57]
  • Religion and Society in Post-Han China [6:50]
  • MesoAmerica: Overview [3:47]
  • MesoAmerica: The Classical Era [4:30]

Keeping videos short and focused will help your students better grasp the concepts, navigate directly to a particular concept video for further learning, and also help them self-regulate and pick up where they have left off in the course.



After recording your lecture videos, organize the order in which your students watch the videos by embedding each video directly onto a Canvas Page.

See Share Your Videos In Canvas.

Tips for Synchronous Lectures

If real-time synchronous lectures are necessary to facilitate interaction, demonstrate specific processes, and develop skills that can only be done in real-time, the strategies below will help you prepare, organize, and focus on delivering an effecting synchronous lecture.

If you wish to record your Synchronous Lecture videos and make them available for students who are unable to attend at the scheduled time due to special circumstances, technology requirements, or other conditions, add a note to your Syllabus.

At the start of your Lecture, also be sure to announce that you will be recording and include a note on your slides indicating the lecture is being recorded, will be captioned, and made available on Canvas.




Use the ZOOM LTI Tool in Canvas to schedule your lectures. This will appear on the student's course calendar and notify them of an upcoming meeting. Students will be able to join the meeting from the same ZOOM LTI link in Canvas.

See Schedule Synchronous Meetings.

Tips and tricks for Synchronous Virtual Lessons:

  • For your first class, set aside some time to introduce your students to Zoom and ensure that they’re able to connect their audio and video. 

  • Give an agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered, and the activities they’ll engage in.

  • Discuss online etiquette and expectations of the students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit the topics. Share these Student Tips for Participating in Online Learning.

  • Utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document and let your students engage as well. When sharing a whiteboard, document, screen, or image, try whiteboarding math problems or have a student use annotation to highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.

  • Take time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to utilize reactions, write their questions in chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live. See Managing Participants in Webinar.

  • Divide into smaller groups for a discussion on a certain topic. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time so they may discuss things together.

Source: Teachers Educating on Zoom.

For help with setting up a meeting on Zoom, see the EdTech Zoom Guides.

Practice Flexibility and Kindness

(to yourself and your students)

Remember that this quick transition to remote instruction doesn't need to be perfect. Keep it simple and manageable, and create a structure that will work best for you and your students, while staying true to the learning objectives of the course.

Also, keep in mind that your students may or may not be in the same time zone, may not have the required equipment or access to stable network, may be adjusting to life circumstances due to this quick change, or may simply be adjusting to this new format. Be flexible and allow room for error and growth in this period of transition.


Additional resources:

Ching, K (UC Davis). Emergency Remote Writing Instruction.

Inside Higher Ed. (2020). So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online

Stanford: Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption


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