Laney College



Laney College will continue to update faculty and staff about preparing for instructional continuity. This FAQ page is designed to prepare faculty to teach online if needed. Our goal is to ensure faculty are able to teach, so that disruptions do not hinder our students’ academic progress. Shifting the way we teach and learn may present challenges, and our community will need to respond with patience, empathy, and mutual support.


What is the best way to communicate to students plans for instructional continuity?

The easiest way to communicate with all of your students is by emailing them using the Announcement feature in Canvas.

How do I hold office hours?

There are many options for holding office hours online. Zoom is a terrific option and can even be used to create group break out rooms so you can meet with multiple groups of students in the same session.

What if students don’t have Internet access or limited technology and/or software access?

Students may use on-campus computing resources if they need to access technology. Because some students may have limited internet access off campus, consider including materials that can be downloaded and read offline. If a laptop is not available, Zoom works on mobile phones.

How do I share materials with my students?

Materials already in PDF format can be shared on Canvas, or you could create a class folder on Box or Drive for the purpose of sharing materials. You can post your lecture notes, handouts, and/or slides on Canvas. You may add questions for reflection to guide students through the material. You may also use Panopto to create a narrated version of your slides that can then be posted on Canvas. There are various free apps available to convert photos and documents to a PDF format.

Should I use alternative applications such as WeChat, GroupMe, etc., to help students with ease of communication, in other words, applications that they are used to already?

It is advisable to maintain consistency for students through the use of course platforms and software such as Canvas, Zoom, and email. While the companies we work with have assured us that they have increased their capacity to manage the demand, we know problems may arise, so advance back-up plans are always advisable.

How can I teach my class in real time (“synchronously”)?

We recommend Zoom for real-time (synchronous) sessions. Zoom allows for video, chat interactions, and breakout rooms to divide students into smaller groups for discussion. You may want to use this resource: Digital Learning Webinar: Teaching with Zoom. Up to 300 participants can use Zoom at a time.

How do I record a class?

Zoom allows you to record your Zoom session. To do so, you will need to be the host of your meeting. Simply click the “record” button on the Zoom toolbar. Once you end the session, your recording will be converted and available to you immediately as an MP4 file.


How can I move a seminar or discussion-based class online?

Inquiry and reflection are key elements of a Laney College education and will be more important than ever in the event of a disruption. Students may appreciate the chance to talk about their experience with the class community, so consider leaving time to check in on their wellbeing. Zoom allows for real-time discussions with the entire class or smaller groups of students. You can also post prompts for reflective writing on the Canvas discussion board and reply to students or have them reply to each other.

Outside of Zoom, how can I do pre-recording for classes that tend to be chalk heavy (ie, math, physics, etc.)?

Zoom includes a whiteboard feature as well as a recording feature. Open a session in Zoom, share your screen, and then select the “Whiteboard” option as the screen you want to share. Begin recording using the record button (it may be hidden in the “more” ellipses). When you are done, end the session, and an MP4 video file for your session will be generated. You can also do this using an iPad or other tablet for easier sketching. Also, you may record yourself with your mobile phone doing math problems or writing equations on paper and upload.

How can I adapt classes that are interactive, in particular, language classes?

Consider using Voice Thread for interactivity and short presentations.

How can students do group work?

Consider using Google docs or Zoom breakout rooms. To put students in breakout rooms, you will need to be the host of the Zoom session. Select “Breakout Rooms” in the Zoom screen toolbar at the bottom of the screen. You may then identify how many rooms you want to divide your participants into, and if you would like to do so manually or automatically. Use “Options” once you have set up the rooms to identify how long you’d like the rooms to be open. You can also opt into a “breakout room is ending soon” timer warning for participants.

How can students do class presentations?

Students can do group-based or individual presentations during a regular Zoom session. Advise students to identify one person to share the presentation visuals or powerpoint. That person will share their screen when the time comes. Only students presenting at the moment should be unmuted. Students presenting can share links (Box, Drive, etc.) to any supporting materials in the session chat. Students may take questions via audio afterward, or you could ask the audience of students to write their questions down in the session chat or on a Google Doc created for that purpose. Presentations can also be recorded in advance and viewed asynchronously.

How do I conduct office hours remotely?

Hold virtual office hours via Zoom in Canvas. You can either meet students as they arrive or create a waiting list to meet with them one at a time. You could consider using the free tool Calendly to help students schedule office hour slots with you.


What are reasonable expectations of students in terms of attendance?

Given the extraordinary circumstances currently, we ask instructors to treat fear of infection as an acceptable reason for nonattendance in face-to-face classes, equivalent to physical illness. If you are able to record sessions using Zoom, students will be able to make them up when they are ready.

How can I help maintain standards of academic integrity?

Through Canvas, Laney College provides access to Designing unique assessments that require students to draw on class discussion or synthesize information in unique ways can help. If you want to use proctoring software to administer a final exam, we support Proctorio. Please contact

How do I switch from a paper quiz/exam to an electronic quiz/exam?

Canvas offers quiz options within the course. You may also ask students to upload documents in Canvas or email them to you. You may also want to consider changing assessments slightly, for example in a science course, create an increased emphasis on reading the literature as opposed to lab assessments.

How can I adapt assignments that require lab work, community-based field work, or other special circumstances?

Some course assignments require more adjustments than others. Consider substituting research-based assignments (like literature reviews or data analysis) or group projects for other kinds of hands-on work. There may also be an opportunity to have students work in groups to examine how your particular field might help society respond (culturally, economically, psychologically, organizationally, etc) to the coronavirus or future pandemics.

How can I set up Canvas if I’m not already using it?

All courses are automatically assigned a Canvas site, accessible to all students registered for the course. Training is available to support your work.