Teacher FAQ

Teaching Online

Use the template provided to you by the department and add on your course information in the template. That document will serve as both the course outline and the syllabus—you can add your own material in that template.

Generally, copyright law in Canada allows short excerpts from books, journals, newspapers, and other copyrighted works to be copied and distributed to students (for example in Quercus) under the fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act. A short excerpt is defined as 10% or less of the copyrighted work, or one chapter. If you would like to post more than 10%, you can send your request to the Syllabus Service and they will look into purchasing the materials (if they’re available as e-books) or seeking additional permission from the publishers on your behalf. If the instructor has a particular textbook in mind, the collections librarian may also be able to come up with a solution. 

 The OISE library can provide individual help to anyone teaching a course to put together their readings in an online format and provide weblinks to those materials—they can make suggestions too and are very familiar with putting courses online. You can contact the OISE Library or get in touch with your liaison librarian

Yes. You will be online more. However, students need to know a time slot allotted during which they can contact you with any questions or concerns. Often, online teachers allot 1-2 hours in a day where they are online to chat or answer questions in real time. You can use a Zoom room or even just the messenger feature in your LMS. Post the times you can be available and then just say, hi, to see if anyone has questions. Having more ways to get in touch, but within time limits that work for you as a teacher can make everyone feel less stressed.  

You can use recurring meetings on Zoom to schedule your office hours for the term and set the day(s) and time as well as the end date. Consider using the waiting room feature to admit only one student at a time into a meeting for privacy. 

You can also require students to sign up for a specific time slot to avoid long wait times. If you are using Quercus, consider creating appointments groups in the calendar.

In synchronous Zoom sessions, you can put students into small groups by using the Breakout Rooms function. Have a look at this tip sheet on how to create and manage breakout rooms on Zoom and Read this blog that describes breakout rooms on Zoom.

If you are using Quercus, consider creating student groups. Each group will have its own area where students can have discussions and work together on group projects or assignments. 

If you are using Pepper, consider creating separate folders for each group. 

Just like in a brick and mortar classroom, when students are in smaller groups, they have a chance to react more to each other’s comments and become part of the conversation and knowledge building, allowing students to talk to each other in a small group online can be a way for more meaningful student participation. Sometimes, students also feel more comfortable ‘talking’ in a threaded chat or collaborating on a google document. Having small groups is one way to make online learning more comfortable and less overwhelming. Groups are ideally from 4-7 (gives space for those who do not participate as much to not drag down the conversation). Groups can be stable for the course or change weekly or bi-weekly, there are benefits to both approaches. Kim MacKinnon elucidates in her blog how group work can be achieved in online teaching.

Just because your class is online, doesn’t mean your students need to be online synchronously to do the work. One of the benefits of learning online is that students are able to receive content, spend time thinking about it, and return back to the course at their convenience. Online teaching can consist of lots of different modalities of learning like real time video chats, pre-recorded lectures, discussion boards, downloadable readings, clips and videos to watch etc…. the list is endless! The important part is creating a course that provides students different opportunities to explore the content and develop their learning. 

There should be no changes made to the course syllabus. Changes to the syllabus and assignments must be communicated and approved by the Chair of your department. However, you can choose to make changes on the modes of delivery of course content based on the needs of your students. For example, if students prefer videos over textual content then you can make more videos.

Set clear expectations and guidelines at the very beginning, provide collaborative work pieces with assigned roles, make regular check ins with students, provide multiple opportunities where students can apply their learning of the course work and guide them through their learning throughout the course. 

Online Learning Technologies

There are several resources available on the OISE website and this Teaching and Learning Online website. You have several options in terms of the technologies that can be used to teach remotely like Quercus, PeppeR and Zoom. You can find resources for each on the linked websites. 

You need to find the platforms that work best for you and your learners! If you’re interested in doing video-calls, you will probably want to use Zoom. But this would be best complimented with an online platform like PeppeR and Quercus that provides a place and space to host your readings, syllabus, and perhaps a discussion board. 

Once you have sent in your contract, it will take 24-48 hours before your course shells to be provided to you. You can contact portal.oise@utoronto.ca 

On Quercus, you will continue having read/write access to your course for one year after the session ends. After this the course will move to a read-only state, which means that the course is not available for grading or any other action-based task within a course. Read for more information about course life cycle in Quercus. 

On Pepper, you will have access to your courses infinitely. You can visit and revisit your courses for reference anytime. This means, you can access the readings and resources anytime.

Contact oise.help@utoronto.ca to have an account set up for you. 

Each course is independent of each other and should have separate Zoom sessions. The capacity for Zoom is 100 participants in one meeting. You can however make use of the Breakout Rooms functionality on Zoom for group work. Read this blog about group work using Zoom. 

This page has a variety of course examples and downloadable templates that can help you with developing your own course on Quercus. 

Yes. There are two versions of Quercus mobile app: 1) Canvas Teacher 2) Canvas Student. The Canvas Teacher mobile app allows instructors and course staff to access course content and receive course communications on a mobile device. The Canvas Student mobile app allows students to conveniently access their courses and groups, review course content, and receive course communications on a mobile device. 

Click here for more information on each of those options. 

If you have a Mac, you can record your screen by using the screen record functionality Mac offers, which is activated by clicking the Shift-Command-5 keys together.  Another option is to use Lecture Capture via licensed Techsmith Snagit to provide screen and audio recording. TechSmith Snagit is available to Faculty, Staff and Students with a valid UTORid. 

Once the video recording is saved on your computer, you can upload it to any file sharing or video streaming service to then be shared with others. Institutionally supported services include the Libraries’ MyMedia or Office 365’s OneDrive. You can either add the link to your recording or embed it to a Quercus page or a Pepper note. 

Yes. When making course content available online, care must be taken to ensure it is accessible to all students. Here are a few resources that can help you with making your online course accessible. 

Here are the General Accessibility Design Guidelines 

Here are some Guidelines for Accessibility within Canvas/Quercus 

Some of the ideas are straightforward, like making multiple ways to point to information and allowing different media supports like captioning for videos. Contact Us here and we can set up a time to go through your course and help you make some simple design changes to make online teaching easy and less stressful for you. 

As we all adjust to online classes and lectures, and increasingly participate in virtual learning environments, students should be reminded of the expectation that we all demonstrate respect for one another. The University of Toronto recognizes its commitment to human rights, equity and inclusion and acknowledges the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on various parts of our community. COVID-19 is not isolated to people of any particular ethnic origin, place of origin or race. Equity, diversity and respect must remain integral as we continue to transition during these challenging times. The course outline template includes information on equity and diversity statements that can be used as a reference while teaching an online course. Read about this great research guide with some important resources on anti-racism, accessibility and international students in Digital Pedagogy and Learning. This is another important webinar on Responding to Racial Bias and Microaggressions in Online Environments by professors J. Luke Wood III and Frank Harris which can be extremely useful. 

The Family Care Office provides services to current students, staff and faculty.  They provide confidential guidance, resources, referrals, educational programming and advocacy. Generally, the office provides information on topics such as planning for a child, finding childcare or schools, or information on dealing with elder care or caring another loved one. 

If the students are adults and are a current student parent, then Family Care office has webinars & blogs that may be of interest to them. One is titled: Working and Caring for Kids While Social Distancing that enlists resources for parents who are adapting to working and studying from home while also caring for their children. 

Check out other webinars.  Also, the family care office is working on a new section on the website for students dealing with pandemic questions.

No, the Family Care Office does not have a helpline.  You can call the office at 416.978.0951 from Monday to Friday from 9-5.  They offer services for current students, staff and faculty. 

If you are a current staff or faculty member you can use the Family Care Office. All the services provided are confidential.  If you are joining a webinar then you can use your initials to sign in when the webinar is occurring. Any in-person workshop or group will consist of current students, staff or faculty. 

You can contact us at 416.978.0951 from Monday to Friday from 9-5