Remote teaching in the event of an extended law school closure

Preparing to Work From Home

When preparing to work from home, please consider your work station and what is necessary to connect to the content / materials accessed from campus. This includes, but is not limited to:

  •  Please ensure that you have an active Temple University AccessNet id (tuXxxxx) and password. You will need these credentials  to access Canvas (Learning Management System) and Zoom (Web Conferencing)
  • Recommended Internet Speed: 8mbps download & 5mbps upload (test at
    Note: If your speeds are below the suggested rates, please try to hardwire your connection or call your internet provider to see if you can obtain faster service.
  • Ways to communicate with your staff / team / students (i.e. Email, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, Canvas, Phone etc.)
  • Microphone headset
  • Web camera
  • Test Zoom Meeting – Open Monday – Friday 9:00AM – 12:00 noon and 2:00PM -6:00PM (

Zoom is a web conferencing system that can be used to stream your class from a computer and a internet connection. It also allows you to record the meeting.

Meetings and General Use
To access Zoom for ad-hoc meetings and general web conferencing, login to TUportal and select Zoom from the left navigation menu. Then follow instructions on the screen to Join or Sign in.

Online Classes
To access the Zoom meetings for a particular course, navigate to the course in Canvas and select the “Zoom” option in the left-side navigation menu. If you do not see the “Zoom” option in the menu for your course, contact the Law School IT support team via email at

Scheduling a Zoom Session through Canvas (MP4)

Getting Started - Moving Classes Online

When you have to move your classes on-line quickly, you should consider a few things, teaching online might force you to alter your style of teaching, but please spend some time to think about considering realistic goals for continuing instruction. 

What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? Do you just want to keep them engaged with the course content somehow? 

Review your course schedule / syllabus to determine priorities: Identify your priorities to cover during the rest of the semester. During the disruption — Do you just want to continue providing lectures, structure new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.

What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)?

Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don’t have a plan in place yet, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Canvas (Temple University’s Learning Management System), so you can get them more details soon.


As you make plans for moving your class online during an emergency, focus on what tasks you are trying to accomplish:

Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es).  You’ll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety, and save you dealing with individual questions.

Keep these principles in mind:

  • Communicate early and often: Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren’t in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information. Don’t swamp them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in class activities.
  • Set expectations: Let students know how you plan to communicate with them, and how often. Tell students both how often you expect them to check their email, and how quickly they can expect your response. Let them know, too, if you are using the Canvas Inbox tool, since they may need to update their notification preferences.
  • Manage your communications load: You will likely receive some individual requests for information that could be useful to all your students, so consider keeping track of frequently asked questions and sending those replies out to everyone. This way, students know they might get a group reply in a day versus a personal reply within an hour. Also, consider creating an information page in Canvas, and then encourage students to check there first for answers before emailing you.

You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.

Considerations when posting new course materials:

  • Make sure students know when new material is posted: If you post new materials in Canvas be sure to let students know what you posted and where. You might even ask that they change their Canvas  preferences to alert them when new materials are posted. Refer them to How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student?
  • Keep things phone friendly: In a crisis, many students may only have a phone available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats, PDFs being the most common. Consider saving other files (for example, PowerPoint presentations) to PDFs, which are easier to read on phones and tablets, and keep the file size small. It is fairly easy to reduce the size of PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, and there are online tools that do the same thing (for example, search Google for “PDF file size”).

With regard to continuing classes, faculty will have two options: using Zoom web conferencing OR recording classes only and making it available later.

  • Zoom Web Conferencing: You can use the Zoom web conferencing system from on campus or at home. If you are planning to use Zoom from off-campus, you will need a camera and computer. On Campus in Klein Hall we have built-in cameras and computers in K1C, K1D, K1E, K2A, K7A, K7B, K8A and K8B, while in Barrack B102 has built-in cameras and a computer.  For the other rooms you can use a computer with a builti-in camera or request an external camera. Faculty should contact if you have specific questions about Zoom.
  • Recording Classes: To record your lectures, you can do so at school in a classroom or our studio or from an off-campus location of your choice with a computer and camera. 

Faculty can use discussion boards, quizzes, assignments and other features of Canvas to enhance the interactive nature of their classes.

Fostering communication among students is important because it allows you to foster collaboration and maintains a sense of community that can help keep students motivated to participate and learn. Think about some sort of student-to-student online activity (e.g. Discussions on Canvas).

Consider these suggestions when planning activities:

  • Discussion on Canvas
  • Use Zoom “breakout rooms” for group discussions.
  • Link to clear goals and outcomes: Make sure there are clear purposes and outcomes for any student-to-student interaction. How does this activity help them meet course outcomes or prepare for other assignments?
  • Build in simple accountability: Find ways to make sure students are accountable for the work they do in any online discussions or collaborations. Assigning points for online discussion posts can be tedious, so some instructors ask for reflective statements where students detail their contributions and reflect on what they learned from the conversation.
  • Balance newness and need: As with any changed activities, you will need to balance the needs and benefits of online collaboration with the additional effort such collaboration will require on everyone else’s part. Learning new technologies and procedures might be counterproductive, particularly in the short term, unless there is clear benefit.

  • Upload assignments using Canvas.
  • Quizzes.
  • Avoid emailed attachments.
  • State expectations, but be prepared to extend deadlines.
  • Give students a file naming convention.

More Resources

Faculty members who are not accustomed to working with Canvas and Zoom should try and get familiar with them as soon as possible. There are mobile apps available for these applications that enable both faculty and students to access the platforms directly from smartphones and tablets. Here are various resources for these tools:

How do I get started?

  • Think about how you teach right now. Do you like to lead discussions, do you lecture, or do you have students do group work? Almost all tasks that are done in a face-to-face environment can be done online with a little strategizing. Here is guidance on how to adapt some common teaching techniques for online learning.
  • Think about particular student needs. CAT will have appointments with Disability Resources and Services to help you think about accommodating your students with disabilities. Some students may not have access to the internet, a computer, or a smartphone; make sure you check on student access now. Remember also that some students may be required to self-monitor even if the university is open.
  • Make a plan to assist those students.
  • Make a plan for transitioning your course to an online environment. Make decisions now about how you will conduct your class, assess your students, and communicate and engage with your students. Making these decisions now will make your life less chaotic in the event of a sudden closure of the university.
  • Learn the tools you’ll need to teach online. After deciding on the best tools to use to accomplish your teaching tasks, get the training you need to use them effectively. CAT has webinars, self-paced tutorials and many other resources to get you started.
  • Get help if you need it. CAT has in-person and online drop-in help sessions (no appointment needed) and consultation times available during the week, on weekends, and in the evenings. You also have access to 24/7 Zoom and Canvas support.
  • Communicate a plan with your students. Keep students in the loop now about your plans in the event of a university closure due to the emergency.

Don’t wait, get your plan started now!

Link to CAT Resources for Emergency Online Teaching

Faculty will need to gain a better understanding of the tools available in Canvas if they want to hold online, asynchronous discussions, create online quizzes, have students submit papers and other work online and grade it within the system, put students into groups to collaborate, etc.

Ready, Set, Canvas!
Temple’s Center for the Advancement of teaching provides a self-paced online tutorial, called Ready, Set, Canvas!, to help faculty to develop fluency in Canvas tools and best practices.

Faculty will want to learn how to use Zoom if they want to hold synchronous class sessions online. We have an online tutorial that can help them learn how to use the tool.

Ready, Set, Zoom!
Zoom can enhance your teaching!  The “Facilitating Active Learning in Zoom” module of our self-paced Canvas course, Ready, Set, Zoom! includes information on how to:

  • Set expectations for student participation in online synchronous classes conducted in Zoom.
  • Share your screen and use the annotation tools.
  • Receive immediate student feedback with the Nonverbal Feedback feature.
  • Encourage class discussion and invite student questions via the chat feature.
  • Conduct brainstorming and feedback activities using the whiteboard.
  • Check for understanding and evaluate student opinions using polls.
  • Facilitate group class work and discussion using breakout rooms.
  • Evaluate Zoom analytics for student participation.

Additional Zoom Resources

Voicethread offers a series of tutorials on the basics of using this tool for teaching. Faculty can upload their Powerpoint Slides and do voiceover audio or video (and comments, drawing on the slides, etc.) and then students can come in and comment through audio, video or comments. It allows for asynchronous lecture and discussion with video and audio capability. There is also a mobile app for Voicethread. They also offer a lot of tutorials on other ways to think about using the tool; for example, here are tutorials on humanizing your online course with Voicethread.

Discussion Board Facilitation

Here is a good resource from Teacher Stream LLC. for how to conduct effective online discussion board interactions.

Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Temple’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) provides support and resources to support evidence-based teaching that facilitates student learning and growth.

Quality Matters

Quality Matters is another excellent resource for online teaching strategies. Temple has a membership to access some of the material, including Quality Matters’ online teaching standards and rubrics. Contact to request a login.

All faculty will need to prepare a plan to move their courses online and report that plan to Associate Dean Donald Harris (  Faculty who have not taught online are urged to get trained on how to do this successfully, with help and support from the Law School and University support teams.

Getting Help

Canvas Support (24/7)

Zoom Support (24/7)


Temple Law Information Technology Support
Klein Hall, Room 104
1719 North Broad Street
Philadelphia  PA

Temple Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT)1101 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122