You are now in the main content area

Frequently Asked Questions

When thinking about how to break up your course into synchronous and asynchronous components, it can be helpful to look at the relative merits of each:

Synchronous components, such as a class meeting on Zoom, are effective at encouraging personal participation. They can increase student motivation to complete coursework and decrease feelings of isolation. Synchronous components are effective at creating a sense of community and work well for planning tasks like group assignments. 

Asynchronous components, such as D2L discussion boards or collaboration on a Google Document, are effective at increasing cognitive engagement with the course content. Because they can be completed by the student on their own schedule and don’t require immediate response, they increase time for reflection and for the processing of complex information. 

Content Delivery - Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

To learn more about the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning, see:

Hrastinski, S. Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4, external link (external link) 

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Concordia University (external link) 

You can set up a poll in Zoom before class. You could also prepare a poll using Google Forms (external link)  and watch the results come in live, or simply use the chat box in Zoom to have students respond to a poll question. Alternatively, you can consider using iClickers in your class, however there is a cost associated with this technology for your students.

Our recommendation is to record lecture components using Zoom. Here’s why:

  • It’s a simple process: host a meeting with yourself, make a couple setting changes, share your screen and hit record.
  • By recording to the cloud, several files are automatically generated in addition to the video recording, including an audio file and a transcript.
  • With the share function in Zoom meetings, you can share an application window rather than your entire screen.
  • With some practise, you can go between your camera and your screen in one recording.
  • By stopping and starting the recording, you can make multiple video files, all in one session.

For more on recording video, check out  (google doc) Video recording tips for instructors (external link) .

Podcasts are a wonderful solution to screen-fatigue and offer a compelling platform to deliver content. You can keep it simple (5-minute recordings on key concepts for review), or use this as an opportunity to create complex stories (scenarios with multiple characters, in-depth interviews, layered soundscapes, etc...).

Because there are so many possibilities, this question has more than one answer. Please refer to our guide  (google doc) Podcasting tips for teaching (external link)  for strategies and best practises, and listen to Podagogies Episode 11 (external link) , our podcast in which three members of the Toronto Metropolitan University community discuss using podcasts in teaching.

Demo videos can be used in many teaching scenarios, from more traditional approaches like showing students how to use a piece of software, to creative approaches like illustrating a complex concept using props. With some careful planning and basic technical know-how, these types of videos can be a valuable tool in remote teaching.

Please see our guide,  (google doc) Creating effective demo videos (external link)  for more details and resources.

We do! There is no doubt that adapting a class from in-person to remote delivery can be time-consuming, not to mention managing the course while it is in progress. Here are some quick tips that can help:

  • Take some time to plan. If you plan ahead, you can focus on tools and strategies that are most effective for you. To get started, you can use our  (PDF file) Redesign for Remote Teaching Checklist, or check out the ABC course design tool. We are also available for virtual consultations.
  • Use your slide presentations as a guide: While delivering a 3-hour lecture online is not a best practise, you can use these slides as a starting point for re-imagining how to deliver that same content in different ways. See our guide on  (google doc) creating slide presentations for online delivery (external link, opens in new window) .
  • Simplify your toolkit: Try to stick to the tools you already know rather than learning something new during these challenging times. Also, see if that one tool could be used in different ways. For example, Zoom can be used for live sessions, and for recording videos of your screen or webcam. Check out the Tech for Teaching (opens in new window)  page for more ways to simplify your use of technology.
  • Streamline communication: Whether you use email, Google Hangouts, drop-in times, a discussion board, or something else, pick the best way(s) for students to communicate with you and let them know how and when to expect a response.
  • Create rubrics: Rubrics can be applied to assignments, quizzes and discussions in D2L Brightspace to help streamline the marking process. It also helps students know what’s expected of them. Here’s how to create rubrics in D2L Brightspace.
  • Automate some assessments using the quiz tool in D2L Brightspace you can automatically grade multiple-choice, fill in the blank and true/false questions. 
  • Leverage student contributions: involving students in course delivery can be a time-saver for you and a learning experience for them. See if there are ways they can present or produce content that you can use as part of the course delivery.