Other Use Cases

Student Presentations

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • If students are sharing their presentations asynchronously:

    • Ask students to record themselves at their screen, using a web camera, the built-in microphone on their computer, and screen sharing software combined to capture both their faces/persons as well as the slides on the screen.

      Jing and Screencast-o-matic can be used for audio/video recording in this capacity, as can QuickTime (on Mac only).

      Voiceover narration in slidedeck creation software can also be used via Keynote (Mac), PowerPoint (Mac or PC), or QuickTime (Mac).

  • Students can save their final recording file and upload it to Canvas via Assignments or Discussions.

    If students submit the recording via Canvas Assignments, the file will only be visible to the instructor. If students submit the recording via Canvas Discussions, the file will be visible to the full class community.

  • If using Discussions, students can use an audio-video recording tool built directly into Canvas to record audio-video content. Note that with this tool, only the students’ web camera content will be recorded and saved, not the students’ screen. Given this constraint, a short reflection or oral presentation without slides or visuals would be most appropriate for recording with Canvas’ recording tool.
  • If students do not have access to a laptop computer or webcam, they can also use the voice memo feature on a phone to record audio, save audio files, and upload the audio files to Canvas. Invite students to share their audio/video files separately if necessary.
  • If students are sharing their presentations synchronously:

    Ask students to give a live presentation for their peers within a Conference.

Using Canvas for Announcements, Sharing Material, Collecting Assignments, and Grading

Many instructors already use Canvas regularly for tasks like sending announcements to their courses, sharing course materials, collecting assignments, and giving students grades and feedback.

If you’re not already using Canvas for some or any of these functions, this might be a good opportunity to become more familiar with the platform.

Written Discussions

To remove technical hurdles and to ensure that students are able to engage with peers and each other in a discussion-based class (even without a strong Internet connection), you might choose to move student discussion to an asynchronous format. Create a Canvas Discussion as a forum to facilitate communication, encourage students to interact, ask questions and respond to discussion prompts.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Craft discussion questions to be as clear and as specific as possible so that students can build off of the question for a sustained response.
  • Assign roles to students so that they understand when and how they might respond to you or their peers. For example, students might “role play” as particular kinds of respondents or you might ask them to do particular tasks (e.g. be a summarizer, a respondent, a connector with outside resources).


You may not currently use a chat function in your class, but it can be a useful tool, especially for student office hours or for students who may be more comfortable asking questions via chat compared to by phone or video calls.

You can also create groups using Microsoft Office Teams, or download a free app such as Remind in order to contact students without giving out your own phone number.

Scheduling Tools for Student Tutorials/Conferences

Asynchronous Recommended Tool: Canvas Calendar

If you usually send around a physical sign-in sheet, you might be looking for alternatives that let you schedule appointment slots with students.

You may book and reserve time with students in three different ways:

  • Scheduler/Appointment Tool through Canvas. Built into the Canvas Calendar tool, instructors can build appointment blocks that their students can sign up for.

Peer Review

Synchronous Recommended Tool: Microsoft 365 Word & Zoom
Asynchronous Recommended Tool: Canvas Peer Review or Microsoft 365 Word

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Write out clear and specific instructions about the expectations for peer review. This means specifying the qualities of writing that students may want to look for in each other’s work. Distributing guiding questions or a worksheet that students can fill out as they review their peer’s work can be a valuable supplement to guide students’ virtual reading.
  • If you are introducing peer review synchronously (via Zoom or another teleconferencing platform) and having students work in real time in Word, consider:

    • Engaging the students in a chatbased or video-based conversation about their expectations for peer review.
    • Have students use the chat box feature to share ideas about what makes for effective peer review.
    • Use a polling tool, like PollEverywhere or Google Forms, to collect ideas about students’ impressions of and expectations for peer review.
  • If you are introducing peer review asynchronously, consider:

    • Opening up a discussion forum with a prompt that invites students to share their past experiences with peer review. What worked? What didn’t? What are their goals this time? Aggregate student responses to create a document that outlines the class expectations and understandings of effective peer review experiences.
    • Ask students to include questions for their peer reviewers at the top of their document so that their reviewers can have a sense of what the author would like them to focus on.
  • Include links to technical documentation and support so that students can troubleshoot if they are not able to access peers’ documents.

Meetings with Teaching Teams

While you might well still be able to meet your group in person, Thinking Matters is temporarily waiving the requirement for in-person meetings. The easiest way is for one team member to schedule a Zoom meeting and send the link to everyone else.

Best practices for web meetings:

  • Have a clear agenda and keep an eye on time–it’s easier for people’s attention to wander during web meetings.
  • Sometimes starting with something personal (a quick check-in) can make these meetings feel more personal.