Learn the Tools

Moving your course online may require you to learn some new tools. To help with the transition, we’ve assembled a variety of resources to make it easy to know how to use what you need.

Teaching online with Canvas

You’re probably already familiar with Canvas. But it’s worth learning more about it as you prepare to make the transition to online learningit will be your home base for just about every aspect of your course.

Teaching online with Zoom

Zoom, Temple’s remote video and web conferencing platform, enables you to retain many of the features of your live face-to-face course in an online setting. With Zoom, you can maintain a presence with your students during live class sessions. You can share your screen and broadcast your slides as you lecture. You can create virtual breakout rooms for discussion and collaboration. And you can hold online office hours.

  • CAT’s Zoom page contains links to the resources you need to effectively use the platform.
  • A self-paced tutorial will help you get the most out of using Zoom for teaching and learning.
  • The Teach Online page highlights tips for using Zoom to accomplish your teaching tasks.

What Equipment Do I Need To Use Zoom?

To use Zoom you will need one of the following:

  • Computer. Windows or Apple computer with speakers and a microphone. (Note: Webcams are recommended but not required.)
  • Mobile Device. iOS or Android and the Zoom app
  • Phone via mobile device, desk, or landline

If your computer does not have a microphone and speakers (or webcam) you’ll need to procure them.

A Note about Zoom "Bombing"

There have been a few reports of "Zoom bombing," where people not enrolled in a class join a zoom session for the purpose of disrupting it. While this phenomena appears to be happening on a very limited scale, here are some simple tips on how to protect yourself and your students from such intrusions.

  1. Go into the settings for your Zoom account and make sure "Only authenticated users can join meetings" and "Only authenticated users can join meetings from Web client" are both turned on.
  2. Do not share the details of your zoom session (such as the link to the meeting) in public spaces such as social media. In general, limit your communication with students to the Canvas inbox and announcement features, or TU email.
  3. Don't use your Personal Meeting Room for class sessions.

If you do end up with an uninvited guest in your Zoom session, don't panic. You can take the following steps.

  1. Remove them from the meeting using the "more" button that will appear when you hover the cursor over their name in the Participants list. "Remove" appears at the bottom of the small menu that should pop up.
  2. By default, people who are removed from a Zoom session cannot rejoin that session. However, you can lock out everyone if you think it necessary. Go to the line below the nonverbal icons (yes, no, go slower, etc.). Next to Mute All and Unmute All is a More button. One of the options here is to Lock the meeting. That will keep intruders (and others) out.

Creating video lectures

You may want to record and share lectures so that students can access them at any time. There are a number of ways to accomplish this.

Using VoiceThread

VoiceThread is an application that allows you to share your slides (or other materials) with your students and allow students to respond or annotate those materials with audio, video or text. It is a great way to facilitate rich discussions asynchronously. The VoiceThread website offers several workshops and tutorials for using this tool for teaching. Learn how to use VoiceThread in your Canvas course.

Using podcasts

Podcasts can be a great way to share information, commentary, analyses and interviews with students via audio recordings. Once you create a podcast (as a .mp3 or .wav file), you can upload it to Canvas for your students to access and listen to. Below are some tools that you can use to create, edit and share podcasts.

Closed Captioning Options


You can add closed captioning to any video or audio slide, or to any video or audio comment.

Only the person who created a VoiceThread or someone who has editing rights for that VoiceThread may add captions. Here is how to get started.


In a Zoom session, closed captioning can be typed in as you go by the host, a co-host, or an attendee assigned by the host.  Learn how to view use closed captioning in Zoom.

If A Student Needs Accessibility Captioning Accommodation

  • In general, faculty should work in consultation with Disability Resources and Services (DRS) to address how in-class accommodations will need to be adjusted when moving a course online. 
  • Captioning can be requested via TUHelp. Select “Accessibility,” then selecting “Captioning: Live” or “Captioning: Pre-recorded Media” depending on your student’s needs.

  • For general guidelines on making sure yourt multimedia is accessible, get started here.

Other Tools

Take advantage of software available through Temple for your home computer. You can download and install Microsoft Office 365 for Windows and Mac on up to five PCs or Macs via the Microsoft Download link under on TUportal under TUapplications. You can also download the entire Adobe Creative Cloud (including Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat Pro and more) via the Adobe Creative Cloud link on TUportal under TUapplications.


Qwickly Attendance and Pro is an available software application integrated with Canvas to record course/student attendance. The Qwickly attendance tool has been successfully used by Temple instructors over the past several years. During COVID and beginning Summer 2, 2020, Qwickly Attendance will be activated and accessible through Canvas courses, as well as via a direct link from TUportal to Canvas. We recently upgraded to an enhanced product called Qwickly Pro to streamline data and provide customized reports.

For an introduction to Qwickly, check out this video

A Note about Canvas Conferences, a.k.a. BigBlueButton

Canvas Conferences, also known as BigBlueButton, is the built-in video conferencing solution for Canvas. 

While BigBlueButton is free, there is legitimate concern that extreme increases in usage could cause performance issues. It seems likely at this point that this version of BigBlueButton within Canvas will be unable to scale to meet current or future demands due to COVID-19. 

In light of the tremendous need for concurrent virtual classrooms, meetings and the like, we suggest that faculty use Zoom, which is a robust and stable platform that can easily support the needs of all of Temple University’s campuses.

We’re here to help

CAT regularly runs workshops on various topics related to online teaching. We also have online drop-in help hours Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm with no appointment needed, and consultation times available during the week, on weekends, and in the evenings. Additionally, note that you have access to 24/7 Zoom and Canvas support.

See our training schedule and register for a session or watch one of the webinars in our archive.

Portions of this guidance have been adapted, with permission, from Indiana University’s Keep Teaching site.

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