Teach Anywhere

Page content Adapted with permission from Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer, found at bit.ly/LIUteachingdisruption

Classroom for Spring 2021

Academic Affairs has instituted the following guidelines:
  • Deans will ensure that courses that involve performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences will take into consideration unique space requirements, and ensure that such courses are conducted with proper COVID-19 protocols in place.
  • Students who are unable to attend class may receive instruction through lecture capture and/or Zoom.

(The setup and equipment availability  in all rooms may not be the same)


Teaching during times of potential disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how instructors can support students in achieving essential core course learning objectives. This document offers suggestions for instructors to continue offering a student-centered learning experience in a remote or online learning environment.

While the process will no doubt feel unfamiliar and at times possibly frustrating, try as much as possible to be patient. There will always be hiccups, but times of disruption are, by their nature, disruptive, and everyone expects that. Be willing to switch tactics if something isn’t working. Above all, stay focused on making sure the students are comfortable, and keep a close eye on the course learning goals–while you might not be able to teach something exactly the way you imagined, as long as you’re still meeting the learning goals of the course, you’re doing fine.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous?

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.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a video-conferencing platform for which Long Island University owns a license. Zoom allows you to engage in live Web conversations with your students using audio, video, and text-based chat features.

Unlike a video-conferencing program like Skype or Google Hangouts, you do not need a unique username or account to use Zoom. Instead, your LIU ID and password will allow you to generate a link and a phone number that you can share with anyone. Participants can then follow the web link or call the phone number to join in on a live conversation.

You can access LIU Zoom in three different ways:

  1. Download the LIU Zoom application from the LIU IT website.
  2. Visit liu.zoom.us and log-in with your full LIU Email (first.last@liu.edu) and LIU password. From there, you can download the essential software application and create future meeting links.
  3. Integrate Zoom into your Blackboard site. If you use Blackboard extensively, you can follow the LIU Blackboard team’s instructions for creating a direct link for Zoom that directly integrates into your Blackboard course site.

See our website for on Zoom for more information.


You have three options for shifting your classes temporarily online:

Option 1: Skip the Video – Go Asynchronous with Blackboard

Many online courses do not have a video component at all. If you are not sure you have the right equipment and are uncomfortable with the tech setup, this might be a good option, at least for the short-term.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Annotate your slideshow with notes and share this with students using Blackboard or email
  • Set up a discussion for students in Blackboard. Use specific, structured questions, and let students know expectations for their responses. See our recommendations on Written Discussions.
  • Share links to outside resources. Encourage students to watch videos, read articles, etc.

Option 2: Run Your Class Live With Zoom

This option works especially well for small discussion-based classes, though it’s also effective for large lectures, especially if you have a moderator.

The Tech Side: 

Already a Blackboard User? Using Blackboard with Zoom makes it easier for students to locate the discussions. We’ve set up a detailed Tech Tutorial based on recommendations which walks you step-by-step through the process of integrating Zoom into your Blackboard site.

Don’t use Blackboard much? You can still use LIU’s Zoom! Visit LIU IT to Login, and see the LIU Zoom Site to set up your call.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Use slides and screen sharing within Zoom to make sure discussion questions are visible to students who may have a slow Internet connection or who may struggle to hear the audio for the initial question. (Look for “Share Screen” at the bottom of your Zoom call.)
    • On your first slide, display an agenda at the start of the class session so that students know what to expect of the shared time together.
  • Use the chat (bottom of your screen). See In-Meeting Chat.
    • Moderate discussion, i.e., “call on” a student with a comment to speak, to help them break into the conversation.
    • For larger classes, assign a Fellow or TA to moderate the chat and make sure important questions and comments are addressed. Even for smaller classes, it may be worthwhile to ask a student (or two) to take on special roles as “chat monitors” to voice if there are questions that arise that the instructor has missed.
    • You might use the chat to troubleshoot technical problems. For example, if a student is having trouble connecting via audio or video, the chat might be a space for you as the instructor or for fellow students to work together to problem-solve. This may, again, be an opportunity to assign a student to a special role, especially if you have students eager to help on the technical aspect of things.
      • If you have a TA or a fellow who can support the class instruction with technical help, this would also be a good person to respond to troubleshooting tips in the chat.
  • Use Zoom Breakout Rooms to help students talk in smaller groups (just as they would do break-out groups in a larger class environment). See Managing Video Breakout Rooms.
  • Rethink your classroom activities to make the class more interactive even if Zoom students don’t have ideal connections and aren’t able to hear and see everything perfectly.
  • Consider making discussion questions available in advance in Blackboard, etc. so that students can access the questions if screen sharing does not work. If sharing slides in advance to Blackboard, share as PDFs, as students will be able to access the material on their phones.

A Few Troubleshooting Tips: 

  • If your microphone is not working, use the phone number listed in the Zoom invitation when you set up a Zoom call. You can use your phone as the microphone and audio source for your call rather than your computer’s built-in microphone if necessary.
  • If your Internet connection is slow or lagging, consider temporarily turning off your video stream and only maintaining the audio stream. Sometimes, running the web camera on your computer will use up the Internet’s bandwidth in a way that might make communication challenging. Turning off the video should improve communication quality and consistency.
  • If you have earbuds or a headphone set, wear them! Wearing earbuds or headphones will reduce the amount of noise that your computer will pick up during your quality, which will make it easier for your students to hear you. Similarly, you may want to advise your students to wear earbuds or headphones during the call.
  • Advise students to mute their microphones if they are not speaking and unmute the microphones when they wish to speak. Students may be joining Zoom calls from all kinds of different locations, many of which may create background noise that could be distracting. Encourage students to mute themselves if they’re not speaking to minimize unnecessary or distracting background noise. Using the “raise hand” feature or simply seeing the microphone unmuted will give the group a visual cue for when a student wishes to speak.
  • Check the “chat” space for student questions and contributions. Some students may not have working microphones and, therefore, may be unable to contribute via voice. The chat room is a good place for students to contribute, ask questions, and be involved.
  • Check the Zoom Help Center 

Accessibility Suggestions: 

  • For students who are blind or have low visibility, narrate the material that you’re displaying visually on the screen. Just as you might read materials aloud in class, read screen material that you share on-screen just in case students are not able to see essential text.

Option 3: Pre-Record Your Lectures

Video: Beth tests out presenting PowerPoint in Zoom

If you are not comfortable presenting live, another good option is to pre-record any lecture material and upload it to Blackboard. We recommend that you pre-record lectures using Zoom, as this will generate automatic closed-captions that are needed for accessibility reasons.

The Tech Side: 

Already a Blackboard User? Using Blackboard with Zoom makes it easier for students to locate the discussions. We’ve set up a detailed Tech Tutorial based on recommendations which walks you step-by-step through the process of integrating Zoom into your Blackboard site.

If you follow the steps, in a few minutes to a few hours (depending on the length of the video), completed videos will be automatically uploaded to your Blackboard course -> Zoom -> “Cloud Recordings” tab.

Don’t use Blackboard much? You can still use LIU’s Zoom! Visit LIU IT to Login, and see the LIU Zoom Site to set up your call.

Basically, you’ll want to open up your Powerpoint or slides, make sure you’re recording to the cloud, and then use Zoom’s “Share Screen” tool.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.
  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio.
  • Consider ADA compliance. Automatic closed-captioning is not perfect. Speak clearly and not too quickly to make the content as accurate as possible. If using a tool other than Zoom for recording your lecture, consider uploading your videos to YouTube to take advantage of their automatic (though not perfect) closed-captioning.
  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Blackboard discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion.

Office Hours

Set up virtual office hours to meet with students using your webcam, share your computer screen or collaborate using Zoom’s whiteboard feature. If you are more comfortable, you can also give students your phone number to call, or you can set up an online chat.

The Tech Side: We’ve set up a detailed Tech Tutorial based recommendations which walks you step-by-step through the process of integrating Zoom into your Blackboard site (recommended).

Don’t use Blackboard much? You can still use LIU’s Zoom! Visit LIU IT to Login, and see the LIU Zoom Site to set up your call.

Pedagogical Recommendations 

  • Keep the link to the Zoom room you’re using for your students in a central place on your course Blackboard site. The main factor to consider when holding office hours or conferences with students via Zoom is your accessibility as an instructor. Make sure they know how to find your “office” (just as you might offer them directions to your office on-campus).
  • Encourage students to share their screen with you. Screen sharing is possible not just for the instructor in Zoom, but for students too. Help your students navigate towards a screen sharing option so that they can show you their written work on their screen.


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.
      • Zoom, recording in this capacity, as can Quicktime (on Mac only).
        • If students want to use presenter notes while recording in Zoom in particular, they can follow the instructions to use two monitors with screen sharing. If students do not have access to two monitors, they can also use the screen sharing function in Google Slides  by selecting to share only the window with the final slidedeck and NOT to share the window that pops up with the presenter notes. (i.e. “squish” both windows so they could appear side-by-side).
      • 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 1. Blackboard via Assignments or Discussions.
        • If students submit the recording via Blackboard Assignments, the file will only be visible to the instructor. If students submit the recording via Blackboard Discussions, the file will be visible to the full class community.
      • 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 Blackboard. Invite students to share their slide decks and audio/video files separately if necessary.
  • If students are sharing their presentations synchronously: 
    • Ask students to use Zoom to give a live presentation for their peers. See Sharing your Screen on Zoomfor suggestions and technical tips for using Zoom to this end.

Student-Facing Language to Help Students Understand Options for Final Presentations (hat tip to Sarah Pittock and Jennifer Johnson)

Student-Facing Language For Students Giving Live Presentations

Your instructor will provide the URL to the Zoom room. Simply click the URL or paste into your browser of choice to open the meeting.

  • Audio and Video Setup
    • After launching the Zoom meeting from the meeting URL, you will be prompted to join the room’s audio. Click “join audio by computer.” Zoom allows audio participation through your computer’s internal speakers, a headset, or a phone line.
  • Mute Yourself/Stop Webcam
    • To mute, click the microphone icon in the bottom-left corner. To unmute, click the microphone icon again. Follow the same process to turn the webcam on and off.
    • Background noise can be minimized if you mute yourself when you’re listening.

Share Screen 

Participants are able to share applications or documents using Share Screen. After selecting “Share Screen”, Zoom will present a list of all active applications and available desktops on your computer. You may also choose to share a whiteboard or iPhone/iPad. When the screen is shared, the bottom navigation menu will move to the top of the screen. To reposition the menu, simply click and drag.

  • NOTE: By default, screen share opens in full screen. If you have the participants list and chat windows open (they will display on the right-hand side of the meeting), the windows will be hidden in full screen. Either click “Exit Full Screen” in the upper right corner or re-enable the windows by clicking “Manage Participants” and “Chat”. The annotation toolbar allows participants to draw and make comments on the shared screen. Your instructor may choose to disable this feature. To end the screen share, choose “Stop Share”

Student-Facing Language for Students Pre-Recording Presentations 

Uses a web camera, the built-in microphone on the computer, and screen sharing software combined to capture your face (in window) as well as the slides on your screen. 


  • Open LIU Zoom. (you will be prompted to give your MyLIU Email Address to log in)
  • Click Host a Meeting (don’t worry, you don’t need anyone else in the mtg!)
  • Be sure to activate audio and video (bottom left corner) When you activate video you will have a video window in the upper corner of your ppt where we can see you presenting the material
  • Turn on Screen Sharing (center bottom) and you’ll be prompted to select what you want to share: go to your desktop (and select your ppt)  or you may see your ppt as a direct option, if you have the file open.
  • Hit record (bottom center screen) and select “send to cloud” (red record light appears at top of screen)
  • When you finish your presentation, hit end recording
  • Within a few minutes, you’ll receive two links in an email from the Zoom cloud: a shareable link and a second private link where only you can download your video file.
  • Upload your file to Box and send me the presentation link. (note: recording can be done multiple times, so please feel free to practice)

More questions? Guide on recording in zoom 

Want to use presenter notes?

  1. Dual monitor screen sharing with ppt zoom tutorial here
  2. Use google slides by selecting to share only the window with the final slidedeck and NOT to share the window that pops up with the presenter notes. (i.e. “squish” both windows so they could appear side-by-side)

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

Many instructors already use Blackboard 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 Blackboard for some or any of these functions, this might be a good opportunity to become more familiar with the platform.

Learn more: IntroStudies Tutorial on “Blackboard Learn Help For Instructors”.

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 Blackboard 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).

Individual Students Using Zoom to Attend In-Person Classes (Small, Discussion-Based)

Synchronous Tool Recommendation: Zoom. LIU Zoom, Zoom at LIU Information

Some students, due to compromised immune systems, etc., may want to Zoom in. The challenge is to make sure that students joining by Zoom feel like full participants in the class. Zoom participants often struggle with poor sound quality and a sense of disconnection.

  • Position your computer so that students can see and hear as well as possible. If necessary, repeat student points for the Zoom crowd, if only you are close enough to be heard. You might consider bringing or borrowing a microphone to make it easier for students to hear.
  • Solicit input from Zoom participants, as Zoom students may have a harder time breaking into the conversation.
  • Assign a student to moderate the Zoom chat and to speak up for a Zoom participant with a question or a raised hand.
  • Share handouts and slides in advance to make sure Zoom participants can look at them. These handouts and slides could be shared via links in the Zoom chat room or by directing the student(s) to the appropriate place in Blackboard where the materials may be available.
  • Rethink your classroom activities to make the class more interactive even if Zoom students don’t have ideal connections and aren’t able to hear and see everything perfectly.
    • If doing group work, consider an alternative activity for Zoom students. If multiple students are on Zoom, put them in a group together to discuss.

Live-Streaming In-Person Lectures

If lectures continue to be held in person, but some students, particularly students with any immunity issues, need other ways to access the lecture material, you have several options. The one that is best for you really depends on the physical space of your class, your comfort with tech, etc.

The main challenge of these situations is usually making sure that the sound quality is good enough for students to hear.


  • Use Zoom, as you would in small classes. Mute all participants, and make sure someone is monitoring chat. See Zoom in Blackboard.


  • Record lectures using your phone, or video cameras or audio recorders that you can check out from Beth. Upload to Blackboard when you’re done, along with any slides.

Scheduling Tools for Student Tutorials/Conferences


Recommended Tool: Blackboard Calendar, Outlook 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:

Peer Review

Synchronous Recommended Tool: Google Docs & Zoom

Asynchronous Recommended Tool: Blackboard Peer Review or Google Docs

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 Google Docs, consider:
    • Engaging the students in a chat-based 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
  • 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

Synchronous Recommended Video Tool: LIU Zoom

The easiest way is for one team member to schedule a Zoom meeting and send the link to everyone else.

You can do this in Blackboard, but it might be easier to go to LIU Zoom and use that to launch a teaching team member’s personal meeting room. Others will be able to just click the link.

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

Learn More: LIU Zoom Information


General Tips for Teaching Online:

Resources for Online Writing Instruction

LIU Resources


Step 1: Download Zoom, if you’ve never used it

https://LIU.zoom.us/ -> Download “Zoom Client for Meetings.”

Mac users, go to the Apple on the top left -> System Preferences -> Security and Privacy. Give Zoom access to the following: Camera, Microphone, and Screen Recording. PC users, some initial testing suggests that you don’t need to worry about this step.

Whenever you use Zoom, be sure to look for a “Single Sign-On” option to sign in through LIU.

Step 2: Set up Zoom in Blackboard

Blackboard works with Zoom because it makes your meetings easier for students to find, adds meetings automatically to Blackboard calendar, collects recordings centrally, etc. (If you don’t want to use Blackboard, you can still use Zoom! Visit LIU Zoom to download, and see the Using Zoom within Blackboard for recommendations.)

Step 3: Schedule your class meetings

“Schedule a New Meeting”

  • Name meetings clearly to indicate lectures, discussion sections, office hours, etc.
  • If a recurring class session, select “Recurring Meeting” while setting it up
  • Select “Record Automatically” and “In the Cloud” if you would like classes to record and automatically upload to your Blackboard site after recording (recommended)
  • If creating this meeting for someone else or planning to have a moderator (recommended), add Alternative Hosts.

Step 4: Start Your Session

When it prompts you, allow it to open Zoom.

The first time, you might want to test your speaker and microphone before hitting “Join With Computer Audio.”

Step 5: Check your video, sound, and configuration

You’ll see the following bar at the bottom of the screen. This is where you control different functions of the course.

  • The left icons let you Mute and Start Video to control whether others can see or hear you. We recommend that you start your video to let students see your face.
  • Manage Participants lets you see students, and, if necessary, mute them.
  • Chat lets students post messages to you and to the course as a whole. It’s especially useful for troubleshooting, so you might want to assign a moderator.

Step 6: Share your slides

You’ll also see Share Screen on this bottom menu. When you launch this, you’ll see options to share your whole desktop, a specific window, or a “whiteboard” you can draw on. (If you don’t see your slides, try making sure they’re open in the background, and try again.) Once you’re presenting, a top menu will appear with more options, including Annotation and the ability to “Stop Share.”

Step 7: Wrap up

When you’re done, use the red “End Meeting” button on the bottom right.

If you recorded, your meeting will be uploaded within several hours to a day, depending on the length. You and your students can access the recording from Blackboard -> Zoom -> Cloud Recordings Tab.

Trimming Your Video

Want to trim the beginning or the end of your video once it’s been uploaded to Blackboard?

  1. Log in to LIU Zoom on the web (seems to require the web version, rather than doing this in Blackboard)
  2. Go to Recordings -> Cloud Recordings
  3. Press the play button to play the recording. You should be able to see a scissors icon at the bottom.
  4. Cut material from the beginning or the end by sliding the sliders. (You can’t cut out material in the middle.)

It should update automatically when you refresh on Blackboard.

Online Tools

Quality Matters
Netiquette Policy

Resources for Faculty