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Teaching Remotely @ R-MC

Current resources

Shifting in-person classes into an online/remote environment is challenging to do mid-semester. We are not the only institutions struggling this this, so while the resources below are specific, we also provide some articles from sources such as Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education for your review.

Top Priorities

Because we cannot assume that all students have high-speed internet access, asynchronous methods for completing work are necessary elements of emergency remote teaching.

  1. Provide all assignments that will be due (in paper or through Canvas). If unsure of how long remote teaching may continue, load all assignments due between now and the end of the semester. See tips for Organizing Your Course.
  2. Load any readings that students will need into Canvas, or circulate paper copies. 
  3. Develop a class communication plan so students know where to go and what to expect; address questions like
    • Where to send questions
    • How quickly will you respond to emails; how quickly will you respond to discussion posts
    • How to reach you with any urgent needs or questions
    • What sort of regular communications you will send out to the class (e.g. weekly reviews and/or updates)
    • Other plans you have for how you will be available to students (e.g., virtual office hours)

Pre-Record Your Lectures (audio only)

How to record a lecture for Asynchronous Teaching (audio only)

An audio-recorded lecture is essentially a podcast. Lectures can be recorded in advance and assigned for your students to listen to. Lectures recorded in advance can be less technologically fraught than synchronous sessions in which everyone in class is logged on at the same time, audio-only files require less robust technology to listen to, and can be listened to multiple times to allow for content review. 

Note: While audio-only recordings may work well for students with technological limitations, they are not accessible to students with hearing impairments for those who benefit from learning in multiple modalities (e.g., auditory & visual inputs). Because of this, it is best to extract the audio from a video capture (above) to provide audio-only to students as needed, while making more accessible materials available as well.

Step 1: Record your audio and video file as described above, saving to either the file to your computer (this makes it easier to extract the audio only file).

Step 2: After ending your recorded meeting, your recording will need to convert before it can save. Zoom will allow you to choose where you want to save your recording. It is best to save files to a location where you will be able to easily retrieve them.

Step 3: The file named audio_only.m4a is the audio track.

list of files associated with a recorded Zoom session

Step 4: Convert the .m4a file to an .mp3 audio file. There are numerous free tools that will do this, including, which does not need to be installed on your computer. Audacity is another free tool that will convert and edit audio files, but Audacity does need to be downloaded and installed on your computer..

Step 5: Upload and share the .mp3 audio file with your audience.

Pre-Record Your Lectures (audio & video)

How to record a lecture for Asynchronous Teaching (audio & video)

A recorded lecture is also known as a screencast or as "lecture capture." Lectures can be recorded in advance and assigned for your students to watch. Lectures recorded in advance can be less technologically fraught than synchronous sessions in which everyone in class is logged on at the same time, can be viewed by students with less robust internet connections, and can be viewed multiple times to allow for content review. 

When recording lectures, remember that attention spans are short, and it may be better to assign multiple short lectures instead of one long recording. It is best to keep recordings under 10 minutes long. Learn how to Record Effective Microlectures.

Steps for Recording with Zoom or PowerPoint:

Step 1: Have the Recording Devices Ready

In addition to a computer and your PowerPoint file, you need a device to record your voice. The Library Information Desk has laptops, microphones and webcams for checkout

To Test the Recording System

Shows microphone selected on PC sound settings

On a PC:


  1. Plug in the USB device if it is the device you use to capture your voice.
  2. Locate or Search Sound in the Control Panel. Then select the tab ”Recording”.
  3. Select the device (the plugged-in USB microphone, or the internal microphone), making sure it is checked.
  4. Position the microphone about 12 inches away from you, try to project your voice and speak. In the meantime, see the Input Level indicator pushing up, with over half of the small bars turning green.
  5. If no bar or only 1 to 2 bars turn green, click “Properties” button.
  6. Then select “Levels” and increase the number.
  7. Be sure to Save



On a Mac:

  1. Plug in the USB device if it is to be used to capture your voice. Input circles on Mac sound in system preferences
  2. From the Apple Menu, select “System preferences …”, and press the icon “Sound” to see a pop-up screen as this screenshot. Then select the tab ”Input”.
  3. Select a device for sound input: the plugged-in USB microphone, or the internal microphone
  4. For Input Volume, move the slider toward near the maximum.
  5. Place the microphone about 12” away from you, speak to the mic, and try to project your voice.
  6. Meanwhile, see the Input Level indicator pushing right, with the left half of the small bars filled



Step 2: Record your Lecture (with voice and the computer screen)

It is recommended you break a long lecture into segments, with each segment being a video of 10 minutes or shorter in runtime. Learn how to Record Effective Microlectures.

  • Using a PC computer: Record a PowerPoint presentation
  • Using a MAC: Record a PowerPoint presentation
    • Tutorial: QuickTime Player as recorder
    • If you use an older Mac OS than “Catalina”, refer to Apple Support. The older QuickTime Player has a different opening screen for the “Screen Recording” function.
  • ‚ÄčUsing Zoom (video conferencing system) 

It is recommended you break a long lecture into segments, and when converted to video-format (.mp4 or .mov) each segment is less than 10 minutes long. Name the video segments of the presentation in the form of "Topic X: Part 1", "Topic X: Part 2", etc.. Longer videos require you change a setting in your G-Suite Account (tutorial on accessing your R-MC G-Suite account).

Step 3: Upload the recorded lecture onto YouTube for easy access (watch the tutorial).

  • YouTube will provide closed captioning for your audio recording, though it is not always accurate and may not be accurate enough if students in your class have accommodations from the Office of Disability Support requiring closed captioning. If that is the case, you will need to edit the closed captioning to ensure its accuracy.


Shared Documents in Canvas "Collaborations"

The Collaborations feature in Canvas allows students to work together on a shared Google Document. You can start documents and add students to them, or individual students or student groups can also start collaborations with other students.

To set up a Collaborative document:

You can create a collaborative document directly within Canvas. Follow the steps below:

  1. Login to Canvas and navigate to the course where you want students to do shared work
  2. Go to Collaborations on the left side of the screen
  3. Click Start a New Collaboration
  4. At this point, you’ll be asked to Login to Google to authorize the connection between Canvas and Google. Any students logging into this document the first time will also need to login to Google with their R-MC accounts.
  5. The page will default to "Collaborate with Google Docs”
  6. Name the document and add a description or directions if desired
  7. Invite participants by clicking their names. You can add all students enrolled in the course, or if you have set up groups in Canvas, you can have different groups work on different shared documents
  8. Then click the blue “Start Collaborating” button at the bottom. All your students invited to the document will get an invitation to edit the document one once you being the collaboration. A Canvas video on Collaborations will help you visualize the process.


Discussion Boards

Online Discussions can be a way to mirror the conversation held in class in an online environment. They are text based, available in the Canvas app, and most closely replicate the classroom experience of exchanging information and perspective not just between student and student, but between students and the professor. Here are some tips for leading good online discussions:

  1. Make the topic interesting and relevant.
  2. Encourage timely participation. Consider having 2 deadlines, one for an initial response to the question(s) and a second for responses to at least two responses made by classmates. This can help facilitate a conversation.
  3. Ask 2-3 open-ended questions to provide opportunity for ongoing dialogue.
  4. Encourage clear, concise dialogue by modeling short paragraphs and bullet points rather than long narratives
  5. Rotate students or groups who facilitate or post questions to help keep posts on-topic
  6. Create a safe environment by setting the tone from the beginning, and agreeing on shared set of behavioral and language expectations
  7. Make expectations clear, such as number of expected posts, length of posts, etc. Rubrics can be helpful.
  8. Use group discussions as a group project assignment. Assign roles as you would for an in-class group project (e.g., facilitator, researcher, summarizer, questioner). A good online group size averages five participants.

Learn more about how to Plan and Facilitate Effective Discussions.

Decker, G.L. & Cox, S.J. (n.d.) What Do Students Say about Online Discussion?. Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Tools: 15 Strategies for Engaging Online Students Using Real-time Chat, Threaded Discussions and Blogs Retrieved from

Other Asynchronous Strategies

If recording video and/or audio to accompany your PowerPoint slides is not possible due to time or technological challenges, you can also:

  • Annotate your slides with typed notes, and then share the presentation with students via Canvas or email.
  • Share links to outside resources such as articles, ebook chapters, videos from YouTube or Films on Demand and follow up with quizzes or discussions questions. Learn more about how to Engage Students in Readings and Microlectures.