Emergency Remote Teaching


In the event classes are unable to meet locally and the University needs to continue operations, we have compiled recommendations that may help ensure continuity of instruction.


Ensuring Access to Necessary Technology:

While there will be special circumstances that may require additional technologies, in general the following equipment will make it possible for you to move your class online.

  • Computer: Laptop or desktop computer
  • Internet: Preferably high speed internet such as Comcast, Fios, or Optimum. You may also use a wireless hotspot through your mobile provider.
  • Microphone (optional): This may be built into your laptop or computer, but a USB microphone or headset will provide much better sound.
  • Webcam (optional): Your laptop may have one built-in, or you may use an external USB camera

Many university classrooms make this technology available but, if you are unable to use a classroom and do not have this equipment available, please reach out to your department or school for guidance.


If you are not using an LMS

If you do not intend to use a Learning Management System (Canvas or Sakai), then we recommend using WebEx to meet remotely. WebEx is provided to the Rutgers community as a free tool to hold meetings virtually. WebEx meetings can accommodate up to 1000 participants. To get started with WebEx:

If you are not currently using a Learning Management System (LMS) but would like to, the following resources will help you get started with Canvas:


Teaching Strategies For When Classes Cannot Meet

There are two options for instructors to facilitate class sessions remotely:

  1. Synchronous: instructors and students gather at the same time and interact in “real time” with a very short or “near-real time” exchange between instructors and students.

  2. Asynchronous: instructors prepare course materials for students in advance of students’ access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each over a longer period of time.

Instructors may choose to engage their students synchronously or asynchronously depending on the course content or material that needs to be taught. There are many advantages and disadvantages to asynchronous and synchronous teaching options.

Advantages of Synchronous Teaching

  1. Immediate personal engagement between students and instructors, which may create greater feelings of community and lessen feelings of isolation

  2. More responsive exchanges between students and instructors, which may prevent miscommunication or misunderstanding

Disadvantages of Synchronous Teaching

  1. More challenging to schedule shared times for all students and instructors

  2. Some students may face technical challenges or difficulties if they do not have fast or powerful Wi-Fi networks accessible

Advantages of Asynchronous Teaching

  1. Higher levels of temporal flexibility, which may simultaneously make the learning experiences more accessible to different students and also make an archive of past materials accessible

  2. Increased cognitive engagement since students will have more time to engage with and explore the course material

Disadvantages of Asynchronous Teaching

  1. Students may feel less personally exchanged and less satisfied without the social interaction between their peers and instructors

  2. Course material may be misunderstood or have the potential to be misconstrued without the real-time interaction

Note: Working with an Instructional Designer may help mitigate these disadvantages.


Synchronous Options (Live, real-time)

  1. Conductive a live, remote lecture
    • The best tools to quickly hold a synchronous (live, real-time) lecture for remote instruction are WebEx and BigBlueButton (called “Conferences” in Canvas, “Meetings” in Sakai).
  2. Holding virtual office hours
    • In order to continue holding your regularly-scheduled office hours, consider using WebEx or BigBlueButton (called “Conferences” in Canvas, “Meetings” in Sakai). These tools allow you to host one-on-one office hour sessions with your students using voice and/or video.
  3. Making course content available to your students
    • You may upload your material to your Canvas or Sakai course site. In Canvas you would use Modules or Pages; in Sakai you would use Lessons or Resources.
  4. Online problem sets and quizzes
  5. Set up a course site in the LMS of your choice
  6. Additional help and consultation

Asynchronous Options (Self-paced)

  1. Pre-record lectures for student viewing
    • Record your lecture via Kaltura’s Personal Capture application. This application be accessed in both Canvas and Sakai. Once your content is recorded, your video can then be made available to students via Canvas’ or Sakai’s Kaltura integration.
  2. Holding asynchronous discussions online
    • The best tools for asynchronous discussion online are found in Canvas (Discussions) and Sakai (Forums). With these tools, you as the instructor can post a topic for students to reply to, as well as view and reply to their classmates’ posts.
  3. Making course content available to your students
    •  You may upload your material to your Canvas or Sakai course site. In Canvas you would use Modules or Pages; in Sakai you would use Lessons or Resources.
  4. Providing status updates to your class
    • There are a number of ways to notify your students of the status of university operations or the class schedule. Keeping communication channels consistent is important so students know where to expect incoming communications. The best tools for communicating with your entire class are email, Announcements in Canvas, or Announcements in Sakai. Alternatively, you may also use Canvas’ Inbox or Sakai’s Mailtool.
  5. Collecting student assignment submissions online
    • Depending on the type of work you are collecting from students, you may wish to receive student submissions via email, via Canvas Assignments, or via Assignments or Dropbox in Sakai.
  6. Online problem sets and quizzes
  7. Set up a course site in the LMS of your choice
  8. Additional help and consultation​



Rutgers University is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive learning environment for everyone connected to the University. As events unfold due to COVID-19, the Rutgers community must still ensure the accessibility of web based information and courses as well as provide disability-related accommodations so that all students, faculty and staff can fully participate.

Students with disabilities may be impacted differently when switching from in-person to online instruction. Faculty should be prepared to provide and/or revise student accommodations as needed and to work with their campuses’ Office of Disability Services as questions arise related to academic accommodations. The following web resources have been prepared for faculty and students to ensure that courses continue to be accessible for students with disabilities:

Rutgers Access and Disability Resources and The IT Accessibility Team are prepared to answer any questions or concerns related to creating accessible content during the COVID-19 situation.  Please feel free to reach out at: Radr@echo.rutgers.edu or accessibility@rutgers.edu.


If you are currently using Sakai or Canvas, below are recommended tools to help teach remotely:

Communicate with your students

Make your syllabus available digitally

Distribute documents and readings during the disruption

Collect student assignment submissions

Facilitate class discussions during the disruption

Make your lectures available to students digitally

Identify an option for holding synchronous sessions (such as office hours) during the disruption

Evaluate student work and learning

Best Practices

  • Communicate clearly, fully, and frequently with your students--there’s no such thing as over-explaining. Summarize all of the changes to your course in a dedicated space (such as in an email, Announcement, a Page in Canvas, or a Lessons Page in Sakai).
  • Notify students immediately if any additional changes to the structure are to take place.
  • Encourage your students to contact the Help Desk if they are unfamiliar with Canvas or Sakai.
  • Contact TLT to schedule an appointment with an Instructional Designer for any assistance or consultation you’d like.
  • If you find something that works, share it with your colleagues!

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Holding synchronous online sessions during a time in which the class doesn’t normally meet.
  • Extending class time or time commitments beyond what the class would typically require.
  • Increasing the amount of the work students are expected to do.
  • Compressing a normal workload into a shorter amount of time (this may affect students’ ability to successfully achieve the objectives).
  • Adapting the course in a way that makes your TA work more than their allotted hours in a week.
  • Significantly altering the grading scheme or weights of assignments.


Register for Training

We are offering sessions that cover a variety of topics related to transitioning your course for remote instruction.  Separate sessions are offered for Canvas and Sakai.

  • Webinars that cover communicating with students, web-conferencing, sharing resources, and lecture capture (requires registration)


TLT Contact Information

Email: help@canvas.rutgers.edu or oid@docs.rutgers.edu 
Phone: 877-361-1134

Schedule an individual appointment