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Moving Instruction Online: Start Here

At the top of the page are tabs to different sections within this guide. At the end of each section is also a link to the next section.

Teaching During an Emergency or Extended Building Closure

As you make plans for moving your face-to-face class online temporarily, here are some main principles, action items, and resources to help you make necessary changes.

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Canvas and Office 365

This guide is written with our Canvas distance learning environment in mind, which you can access via our Learn@UW-Superior webpage. Regardless of your course design, keep in mind that Canvas will be the primary venue for students to interface with your course.

If this is new to you as an instructor, help is available to guide you through logging into the system, accessing your courses in Canvas, and setting up student access to all necessary materials. Please reach out to the Technology Help Desk or UW-Superior Canvas Team for assistance.

Also, please minimize the use of web tools outside of Canvas or Office 365. Both are licensed by UW System and using them will allow us to support your course more efficiently. Third-party tools like Google Docs may be useful, but they aren’t directly supported by UW-Superior.

Instructional Support Resources

The following campus resources are available to support your transition to Canvas.

UW-Superior Canvas Team in the Jim Dan Hill Library

Technology Help Desk

Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning

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Transition to Canvas and Remote Instruction

You can best transition your course to Canvas by following the steps detailed below. As you prepare, remember that we have instructor support services available as well as extensive documentation explaining how to use Canvas.

Get Ready

  1. Communicate early with students that changes may be coming. Your students will be expecting your communication regarding your class. Confirm your means of communication (email or Inbox in Canvas) and communicate regularly where students can find course materials and whether deadlines or expectations have changed.
  2. Prepare to work remotely. Gather the equipment, materials, or other items that may need to be brought home with you due to campus building closures. Convert paper materials into PDF files that can be uploaded to your Canvas course. Save digital documents in a folder that is accessible away from campus, such as Office 365 OneDrive.

Review and Revise Your Syllabus & Schedule

  1. Emphasize learning goals, rather than assignments, exams, and points. These details are important, but may need to take a different shape online. Consider how you might substitute some of your course elements and their corresponding weight or points with other activities. Revise your grading scheme as necessary.
  2. Determine your course learning outcomes and objectives. Your slides and mini-lectures may be the most important element of your class. Your priority may be to ensure that students engage with the course readings and conduct high-quality discussions online. Consider that some activities may be better re-scheduled, re-imagined, or discontinued for the semester with appropriate alternatives added to the course. For example, you could use Collaborate Ultra in Canvas to meet virtually with students in order to continue lecturing, conducting discussions, and facilitating student presentations.
  3. Reach out to the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning ( if you need help re-imagining your classroom activities, assignments, grade scheme, or other pedagogical aspects of your course. CETL will coordinate with the UW-Superior Canvas Team and Technology Help Desk to support instructors moving their courses to Canvas.

Review Your Tech Options & Resources

  1. Familiarize yourself with LinkedIn Learning, our UWS resource for learning how to use a wide range of technology solutions including Adobe software, screen capture tools, and basic multimedia editing. Log in using your UWS credentials and use the search feature to find what you’re looking for.
  2. Consult the UWS Quick Canvas Design Guide, which details four primary ways of setting up a Canvas course. If you would like to quickly transition your course to Canvas, this is the place to start. Please reach out to the UW-Superior Canvas Team for assistance using this guide.
  3. Complete the Canvas Online Professional Development Course located in Canvas. Email to be added to the course.
  4. Reach out to the UWS Canvas Team (Del Wright, Michael Merline, Rebecca Graetz), located in the Jim Dan Hill Library, for personalized support. You can email the UWS Canvas Team at
  5. Reference the Canvas Instructor Guide or contact Canvas Support via the Help menu in Canvas.
  6. Use the Canvas Teacher app and recommend the Canvas Student app to your students.

Stay Flexible

  1. Understand when students need alternative methods for delivering their work or an extended deadline related to their internet access, as Northwestern Wisconsin has limits with its broadband connection.
  2. Be specific about deadlines and accommodations so that your students can best meet course expectations.
  3. Utilize a video conferencing tool to connect with students. Collaborate Ultra is licensed by UWS System and integrated in Canvas.
  4. Use phone calls and texts with students as necessary. If you are concerned about giving your phone number out, communicate via a free group communication app such as Remind, a commonly used free tool for teachers.

Continue to Part Two: Frequently Asked Questions