COVID-19 Safety Information

Preparing to Teach Online

When moving to online instruction, there a lot of things to consider. Start with the first elements on this page and work your way down if you are going online for the first time. If you are an experienced online instructor just click on the elements that could enhance your teaching.

Where to get Help: There are five support units for teaching on campus, and two groups of faculty ready to help their colleagues with online teaching.
Learn More about where to get help

Browsers: Be sure to use Chrome or Firefox, the recommended browsers for use with Blackboard and its related programs. 

Blackboard: There is a lot of support for Blackboard.
Learn More about Blackboard

Communication: Online teaching can seem impersonal. Work to maintain effective communication with your students.
Learn More about Communication

Equity: A sizeable minority of students may not have a quiet place to work, a dedicated device, or dependable Wi-Fi. Insisting they have videos on during synchronous meetings may infringe on their privacy and may even be impossible.
Learn More about Equity

Course Content: Readings (including eBooks and articles in library databases) and guidance regarding their use can easily be shared in Blackboard.
Learn More about Course Content

Sharing Videos: Videos can be shared through Blackboard either by using Ensemble, another streaming service, or by embedding videos from YouTube and other sites.
Learn More about sharing videos

Class meetings: Meetings with students are usually a combination of synchronous (now) and asynchronous (any time).
Learn More about Class meetings

Recording Video: Instructors can record video of themselves, of PowerPoints, or of screen captures of software, which can then be shared with students.
Learn More about Recording video

Assessment: It is easier to ensure academic honesty with projects than with tests, but if you need to give tests, there are techniques and software to help.
Learn More about assessment

Workshops: Teaching Events lists upcoming workshops on teaching. For recordings of past workshops, see Workshop Resources.

Where to get Help

  • The Help Center: For any technology or library inquiry, start at the Help Center
  • Design Help: The consultants at Design Help are the experts on Blackboard, Ensemble, PollEverywhere, and Respondus. They offer Technology Workshops and Training that are also listed on the ICT's Teaching Events page.
  • Technology Training: Julia Morog offers training on the Microsoft Suite of programs, including Office365, Teams, and OneDrive. She is also the primary contact for WebEx training. Her workshops are also listed on the ICT's Teaching Events page.
  • Technology Documentation: Look here for training on WebEx, Teams, Office365, Blackboard Quizzes, and Accessibility. More on WebEx can be found in the Knowledge Base.
  • The Institute for College Teaching: The Institute coordinates teaching support on campus and the Director also consults on teaching with individual faculty. Email for more information.
  • Faculty ChampionsA list of SUNY Cortland Faculty and Staff who have volunteered to offer assistance and answer questions related to on-line teaching and resources. They have identified five tools that they are able to help with (Blackboard, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Office365) and some have also identified specific strengths are willing to help with. Please contact them by email. If you would like one of them to look at your course in Blackboard, you will also need to give them permission to do so by filling out and submitting an Access Request Form
  • Online Teaching Group: About 30 Cortland faculty and staff meet weekly to discuss ways to improve the use of technology for teaching each week. To join, please email  Among the guidance they have developed so far is:
  • Bibliography of College TeachingA searchable public list of over two thousand books, videos, and peer-reviewed journals, built in Zotero and where possible permalinked to SUNY Cortland Library holdings. Anyone can access the list, but you must be logged into MyRedDragonto access the library holdings. This bibliography is occasionally exported as a shared Word document (without permalinks) available through OneDrive.
  • Teaching Resources for (Online) Global Engagement: Provided by the Clark Center for Global Engagement.
  • Resources for Teaching OnlineA SUNY Online page with resources, resource guides, and resource collections.
  • Higher Education Collective: This Facebook group has over thirty thousand members and can be a great way to access the hive mind of higher education. 




Course Content

Sharing Videos

Class meetings

  • Synchronous: WebEx and Microsoft Teams are the preferred tools for synchronous meetings.
  • Training Modules: Review the “Teaching Hybrid Courses” modules in Blackboard’s Community pages. To join the organization, you will need to self-enroll. Go to the Community tab in Blackboard and search for “Teaching Hybrid Courses.” Click the arrow to the right of the title when it comes up and click Enroll. Email if you have difficulty self-enrolling. It should take you no more than a couple of hours to read through the modules and view the embedded videos. This site discusses:
    • Hybrid Classes
    • Digital Content
    • Structuring Assignments
    • Low Risk Assessments
    • Synchronous Meetings
    • Microlectures
    • Asynchronous Meetings
    • Minimal Number of Software Tools
    • Using Flipgrid, an asynchronous video chat tool 

Recording Video

Video recordings can establish teacher presence, which can build community in an online class.

  • Tools:
  • Recording Lectures: We recommend sharing a video of the lecture with students for their review.
    • Pre-recording: If you pre-record the lecture, keep each video short (10 minutes or less). If your lecture is longer, break it up into individual concepts. Share the video with closed captioning in Blackboard through Ensemble.
    • Recording synchronous lecture: If you record a synchronous lecture, record to the Cloud so students can access it easily with closed captioning. Teams, WebEx, and Zoom all have that feature. Teams also captures the Chat. So does Webex.
    • Protecting your lectures: If you don’t want to allow recording of your lectures, let students know. If they are recording it using your web conferencing tool, you will see a notice of that in the session. However, they also have the capability of recording lectures without your knowledge using the Game Bar and other video capture tools. Sharing your reservations and your reasons for them will at least establish your preferences.
  • Recording Breakouts: Microsoft and Zoom allow recording of breakout sessions. WebEx does not (yet). All three can create breakouts.
  • Recording your Screen: To record your screen as you use an app on Windows 10, use the Game Bar This can be used to demonstrate the use of various software.
  • Video Homework: Students can record video as well, and submit their products through the Ensemble Dropbox


  • Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor can be used to ensure testing security. Please be aware that such use may create greater stress for students because of student living conditions or disabilities and even if used, academic honesty is hard to ensure in an online setting. Alternatives include (1) increasing the number of assessments and decreasing the impact each will have on the grade (this reduces stress and hence the urge to cheat), (2) consider every exam an open book exam, and (3) ask questions that ask students to apply skills and facts they have learned, rather than to demonstrate memory of facts.
  • Testing Requirements: Check with your Chair to determine if a specific type of testing is required by your department’s accreditation. Contact or to discuss ways to satisfy those requirements.
  • Projects: Projects with multiple deliverables are more effective than online testing, as they assess student competencies and feel more rewarding to students upon completion than tests.
  • Oral Exam: If it is a small class, you might consider giving oral exams rather than written ones.
  • Application: Require critical thinking (analysis and evaluation) in your assignments, rather than memorizing knowledge or understanding. Have them demonstrate skills on video rather than demonstrate memory of facts and statistics. 
  • Laura Davies (English) spoke on Teaching Revision in Online and Hybrid Classes (PowerPoint slides are here).
  • Hailey Ruoff (Design Help) & Dakin Burdick (ICT) spoke on Assessing Students Online.

Contact Us

Cornish Hall, Room 1307B