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Cancelled Class Continuity

Got the flu? Traveling to a conference but can’t afford to lose three hours of instructional time? Snow piling up outside?

No problem! Your friends at Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) have some helpful tips on leveraging some simple technologies to keep your class on schedule.

All courses have an associated Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) site. So even if you don’t use Canvas regularly, it can help you out tremendously in the event of class cancellations, simply by providing a secure, easily-accessible place for your students to access materials.

Create Your Material

  • Text documents, Powerpoints, PDFs, etc.
  • Multimedia – webcam videos, podcasts, screencasts, etc.
  • Discussion forum prompts

Post Your Material

  • Post Materials to Canvas
  • Upload Videos to Canvas

Communicate With Your Students

Use Canvas to send a class-wide email notification on how to access Canvas, what material is there, and where to find it inside the site (Announcements, Files, etc.).

Creating Your Materials

In some cases, posting text-based documents or PowerPoint presentations may suffice to give students some material to cover on their own time. However, you may want to record a narration for your materials to simulate the lecture you would have delivered.

In this event, first consider your comfort level with technologies. Select a technology that you have used before. Free screen recording softwares (e.g. QuickTime, Screencast-o-matic) and even real-time web conferencing tools with recording capability (e.g. Zoom) can be used to capture a quick lecture video in a pinch on your own time, on your own device!

Recording Software Options
(Mac) QuickTime

If you are running Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6), you can use the free QuickTime application (10.2 or higher) that comes with the operating system.

(Windows) Screencast-o-matic

Pros: Screencast-o-matic is free and runs on Windows or Mac. It is easy to use (promotes itself as being “one-click”) and can publish to screencast.com, Youtube, or a video file.

Cons: The free version has a 15-minute maximum length.

Download the recorder here: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/

View a very short demo here: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/u/h/start-recording

(Windows/Mac) Camtasia

Camtasia is another easy to use screen recorder; however, it is not free. It is available on the computers at the InnovationSpace, as well as in the Innovation and Outreach Studio audio bays. It can also be purchased at a reduced price from Virginia Tech’s Software Distribution. For more information, visit the IT Procurement and Licensing Solutions Camtasia page.

(Windows/Mac) Zoom

Zoom is a live webcasting tool that has recording capabilities. Visit our Zoom on Personal Computers and Mobile Devices guide for more information.

To sign in to Zoom, visit https://virginiatech.zoom.us.

(Windows/Mac) Kaltura Capture

Kaltura is the software company behind Canvas’ My Media and Media Gallery. Visit our Create a video with Kaltura Capture desktop software guide for more information.

Campus Studios
Innovation and Outreach Studio

The Innovation and Outreach Studio has two sound-deadened audio bays set up with multimedia recording equipment that can be used to record content for lectures. Both rooms feature a high-quality microphone for use in recording narration and voice-overs with software including Audacity, Garageband, and Adobe Audition. The audio bays also have software that can be used to combine your audio recordings with visual media such as Camtasia, Quicktime Pro, Adobe Connect, and Captivate.

To reserve time in the audio bays, email iostudio@vt.edu.

Media Design Studio

The Media Design Studio is a space for members of the Virginia Tech campus community to create or co-create various types of media, including video, audio, and other multimedia. Use our variety of hardware, software, and spaces to create media on your own or with help from our staff.

For more information, check out their website at: https://mediastudio.lib.vt.edu/.

Discussion Forums

To promote active learning in an asynchronous environment, you may wish to use the Discussion Forums in Canvas to engage students and invite their participation. Simply post a prompt(s) and invite the students to lend their input, and/or respectfully respond to other student’s posts. Using Discussion Forums, combined with clear instructions (due dates, netiquette expectations, etc.), can pique student’s interest in a topic and make them feel a sense of ownership in the material under discussion. Learn more about setting up discussion forums.

Posting Your Materials

Posting to Canvas

After creating your materials, log in to Canvas at https://canvas.vt.edu/, access your course, and upload the materials into the “Files” area of the course site. Next, you can create a Page or an Announcement and link to the files you have uploaded, along with some contextual material.

Learn more about using Canvas.

Posting Videos

You can link videos from YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn Learning, or other publicly-accessible video sharing sites to your course. Once you’ve uploaded a video or selected a pre-existing video that can serve as learning material for your lesson, copy the video’s URL and share it with your students inside your Canvas course.

If you have used Zoom or Kaltura to capture your lecture, then you can copy the link to the recording and post it inside Canvas to direct students to that recording.

Communicating With Students

Once you’ve created and/or posted your materials, you can use the Canvas “Announcements” feature to notify your students that new course content has been posted. You can link to your materials from inside this announcement, regardless of whether the materials were uploaded to the Canvas site or if they are an external recording.

In your announcement consider providing a brief explanation to provide context for how the linked material fits into the overall scheme of the course, and/or how it builds upon material the students have already covered. Clear instructions and expectations for deliverables should also be included.

Learn more about sending a Canvas announcement.

Looking for More Assistance?

Please feel free to contact us if you are looking for more information about you can engage your class during cancellations.

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