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Resources for Continuity of Instruction

Transitioning to Remote Teaching and Learning

In light of the global coronavirus outbreak, and in the best interests of the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and our local communities, Penn State has decided to move to remote learning for all classes beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3, with a plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, April 6, at the earliest.

Please note: Use the links below for up-to-date information related to Penn State’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Remote Teaching Guides and Resources:

  • Penn State Remote Teaching – the University’s main hub for information about remote teaching, including frequently asked questions, links to resources for technology training collected by Penn State World Campus and Teaching and Learning with Technology, and contact information for Course Liaisons, Accessibility Support, and general IT information.
  • Coronavirus Online Teaching Resources Information – the College of the Liberal Arts’ main page for collecting official communications and guidance from the College on teaching and learning remotely. This page also collects links to relevant resources.
  • Class Continuity Assistance – quickstart guide created by the Filippelli Institute. This guide includes the steps you should take first, if you are just getting started with remote teaching.
  • Canvas, Kaltura, and Zoom Resource: Enabling Continuity of Instruction  – more detailed guides on the three main tools you will use for remote teaching. Created  and maintained by the Penn State Information Technology Learning and Development Group (ITLD).

Canvas Tutorials:

Are there resources for students?

Penn State has created the following Web resource for students:

  • Penn State Remote Learning – frequently asked questions, links to additional resources, and contact information to share with students.
  • The College of the Liberal Arts Remote Resources hub includes links to resource pages for undergraduate and graduate students.

What if my students need accommodations?

Penn State offers accessibility support to help faculty transitioning to remote teaching. For assistance with accessibility for digital course materials, lecture technology, Canvas, and other accessibility questions, please submit the Accessibility Consultation Form.

What if my students need digital readings or textbooks?

If you already have digital or scanned versions of the materials students need…

If students are not able to access the needed materials in another way, and you have digital copies you can share, please share them through Canvas and NOT email. Materials shared through Canvas are automatically password-protected because Canvas requires a Penn State log in.

Use Canvas Files to upload scans and PDFs of class materials for students.

If you do not have digital versions of the materials needed…

Check with your textbook publishers. They may have e-book versions available to share with students. There are additional resources available on the Penn State Remote Learning page.

How should I communicate with students?

Set expectations for communication timing and methods with students as soon as possible. If you have already been communicating with students through the Penn State email system or Canvas Inbox, continue to do so. In order to avoid lost messages, also consider communicating with your class through Canvas Announcements. You should plan to set aside some time during the week to check in with students: use the regularly scheduled class time if possible, or plan alternative times if the regularly scheduled class time will not work for everyone.

Tools for communicating with students asynchronously:

Tools for communicating with students in real-time:

  • Zoom – useful for live lecture, lecture recording, and virtual office hours
  • Canvas Chat – useful for virtual office hours, quick questions

What if I want to put my lectures online?

Penn State provides two great tools for lecturing online: Zoom, for meeting with students live, and Kaltura, for recording and posting lecture videos. You will still want to share links to your lecture materials with students through Canvas, so it is a good idea to check out the Canvas resources if you are not already familiar with the system.


Zoom is a cloud-based video and web conferencing platform that you can use to hold live class sessions and office hours. In addition to video and audio streaming, Zoom includes a text chat, interactive whiteboard, and live polling tools that may all be useful to replicate the live classroom experience. In order to use Zoom, you will need access to a webcam, microphone, and high-speed Internet connection. In order for your students to connect to and participate in your Zoom room, they will need to have access to a phone line for minimum connectivity, and a computer with webcam, microphone, and high-speed Internet connection for the most interactive experience.

Please note: Zoom will allow you to have up to 500 participants in a single meeting. If your class size is larger than that, you may need to explore alternative methods of lecturing online, such as providing your lecture in the form of a prerecorded video or audio file.

In addition to live streaming your lecture, you can use Zoom to create a recorded capture of your lecture. You might choose to record a live lecture session and make the recording available online for students who were unable to attend. Or you can use an empty Zoom room to record your lecture and make only the recorded version available online for students.

Zoom tutorials:


Kaltura is a cloud-based platform for storing, publishing, and streaming videos, video collections, and other media. You can use Kaltura to share recorded lecture content in video and audio or audio-only form, along with captions, slides, lecture notes and other supporting materials. Kaltura integrates directly with Canvas, so be sure to review the Canvas resources if you are not already familiar with using the system.

Kaltura provides several options for sharing media including a built-in recording program, a file management system that you can upload recording files to, and various options for sharing your media, including sharing your recorded Zoom sessions with students.

Kaltura tutorials:

Additional Resources:

Virtual Consultations

Use the CoLA Consultation Request form to request advice, assistance, or a virtual consultation meeting with Instructional Design staff from the Filippelli Institute for Online Teaching and the Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship.

Liberal Arts Faculty Development Events

Follow the Liberal Arts Events page for announcements about future trainings, workshops, and other professional development events related to teaching online.

Schreyer Institute Guide to Adapting Assessments

The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has published General Recommendations for Adapting Assessments to an Online Environment.

LinkedIn Learning Courses

There are many self-paced courses available through LinkedIn Learning covering how to use specific technologies as well as more general topics related to education and online teaching. Penn State faculty have access to all LinkedIn Learning materials for free.

Online Teaching Certificates

Penn State World Campus offers online teaching courses and certificate programs to all Penn State faculty. This is a great option to explore for more in-depth guidance on setting up your course for mostly or fully online teaching. In particular, consider enrolling in OL 2000 – Essentials of Online Teaching. These courses are not self-paced, however they are offered at several times throughout the year.