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Recommended NYU-supported options for remote teaching in an emergency

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Best option for teaching your class live online

Zoom allows you to have synchronous interactions with your students – lectures, discussions, presentations, etc. -- during your regular class time and most closely simulates the classroom experience. You can use it  through NYU Classes from a computer with a camera or webcam. 

Best options for recording your classes

If you have Mediasite recordings of your classes, you can give them to your students in their current form or edit them, post the links in NYU Classes, and reduce the amount of synchronous class time. 

If you want to make screen recordings of mini-lectures and tutorials, Kaltura Capture makes it easy to record what’s happening on your computer screen (PowerPoint, demos, etc.) with voice narrations and, if you want, video.  
Supplement videos with synchronous discussions, Q&As, problem walkthroughs, etc. using Zoom during your class time.

Best options for giving tests

The Assignments tool in NYU Classes is the most straightforward way to give tests during your class time.

Best option for assignments, asynchronous discussions, and resource sharing

NYU Classes may have more to offer than you know (or you may already be a super user).  It has some handy features for accepting and providing feedback on assignments, asynchronous discussions, and helping things stay organized. Consider adding a discussion forum to have students discuss your pre-recorded lecture or your live Zoom session.

Best options for using whiteboards

If you regularly teach using a whiteboard there are a number of options within Zoom that may be able to accommodate your teaching needs. 


Holding exams online during class time
Holding exams at other times
How to minimize cheating
Taking questions from students during the exam

Open discussions in Zoom
Discussion groups + share out
Cold calling
Polls in Zoom
Forums in NYU Classes

Do I need a webcam?
What to do if you need a webcam
Using Zoom from home
What to do about slow or lagging connections
What to do about audio feedback
Getting help with equipment

Getting started
Help learning
Help for my students
Recording your class (also, remembering to do it & who can record)

Delegating scheduling ability
Inviting guests
Preventing uninvited guests (Zoom-bombing)
Combining sections for review sessions
Holding office hours
More than one host (alternative hosts and co-hosts)
Joining more than one meeting

Taking attendance
Breakout rooms
Whiteboards (and approximations)
Sharing a video
Virtual backgrounds

Screen recording with Zoom
Getting started with Kaltura Capture

Editing in Mediasite

Getting started with NYU Classes

Watch the video recording


Holding exams online during class time

The Assignments tool in NYU Classes is a good option for giving exams online during class time. You can attach your exam document to the assignment and set it to open when the class would usually begin and then set it to close when the class would usually end. You may want to add a bit of time for students to scan, and upload their answers. If your students will need to write or draw (vs. type), they can take a photo of their work or scan it and insert it in the document or upload it separately. A good recommendation for them to scan their document with their phone is the Adobe Scan app.

Another option is to create your exam as a Google Form and share the Google Form link with your students when the exam starts by email or in an Assignment. The advantage of this is that the Google Form puts all the data (including name, response, time and date stamps) into a spreadsheet, making it easy for your and/or your TF to review all in one place. 


Holding exams at other times

If you are giving a standard take home exam with one start and end time for all, the Assignment tool will work for you and is the easiest.  

If you want to provide a larger window, but limit the time during which a student can work on the exam, use Tests & Quizzes. Under settings you will see the option “and has a time limit of…”  If you don’t want to insert each of your questions into Tests & Quizzes, select the File Upload question type. There you can add your exam as an attachment which students can complete and upload when they are done. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have not already added Tests & Quizzes as a tool in your course, you will no longer see it as an option. If you need it for control over elapsed time or some other reason, you can request that it reappear via the NYU Classes Test & Quizzes Request Form




How to minimize cheating

Giving exams online opens avenues to cheating typically only available to students when they are completing take home exams and other assignments. That means much of the advice is similar. Here are some approaches to consider:

  • Make the exam open book (because it will be anyway), but give a time limit. To allow for technical problems and interruptions, add a few extra minutes at the end.
  • If you are allowing students some latitude in when they work on the exam, provide a modest window of, say, 24 hours.  
  • Make each exam question or set of questions a different test, with its own elapsed time limit. This limits Googling for answers and collaboration, while allowing for the interruptions that are more likely when students aren’t sitting in a classroom. (You can set that up in Tests & Quizzes -- see important note about Tests & Quizzes above.)
  • Create groups in NYU Classes and give different versions of the exam or different question orders to different groups.
  • Give an exam in which students have to use the last couple of digits of their N numbers or NetIDs in problems.
  • If your students are giving prose responses, use Turnitin, which is built into the Assignments tool in NYU Classes.
  • Don’t ask questions whose answers can easily be Googled.
  • Even if you are teaching a more technical course, include questions to which students will need to provide answers in their own words, such as explanations, interpretations, and justifications.
  • Ask questions that require students to make connections to their own experiences or to current events.
  • If you have no more than 50 students, you can set up a Zoom meeting, put them into individual breakout rooms, and ask them to turn on their cameras. As the instructor, you can drop in on individual students in their breakout rooms. Your TF or co-instructor can help you with this if you make them an alternative host.

Taking questions from students during the exam

If you’d like to take questions during your exam you have a few good options:

  • Have your students email them to you during the assigned time frame. 
  • Open up a Zoom meeting for the length of the exam that students can drop in and out of if they’d like to ask you questions. For this Zoom meeting we’d recommend that you enable the waiting room feature in the settings when you setup the meeting. This means that you can admit students to the Zoom session one-by-one. 
  • The text chat feature in Zoom is another option for receiving questions from students. However, please note that students are also able to message one another privately using this feature unless you check Host Only in your Zoom meeting chat window. (See image below.)

Screenshot showing who Zoom participants can chat with in the meeting


Discussions | In Class & Asynchronous

When you have online discussions with your class, in Zoom or asynchronously using threaded discussion, there will be some differences. Below are some things to consider and tools that may help things run smoothly.

Open discussions in Zoom

You may find that at least initially your students need more of a prompt to know when you expect them to jump in with a response. And then it may take them more time to say something. If you are asking them to raise their hands, they may be navigating from taking notes to the hand raise button. You can also ask them to comment in Chat. You may be surprised by how much more willing some students are to use chat than they were to speak up in class.

Group discussions + share out

You can use the breakout groups tool in Zoom to create small discussion groups for in-depth conversations about a particular question you pose. Then bring the groups back to the main session to share with the entire class what they discussed or concluded.  

Consider only having students in these sessions for a short time, say 15 minutes. After they share out, you can send them back into groups with the next discussion prompt. Zoom will retain your breakout room structure, but you can also reset the rooms if you want to mix it up.

Cold calling

Ask the entire group a question, then give them a few minutes to think about their answer. If you ask them to put their responses in the chat, you can scan them to find students you would like to call on to elaborate, or just cold call on a random student and ask for their thoughts. If they are confused or unable to answer, see if another student can improve on their answer before answering yourself. 

Polls in Zoom

Create a poll asking students how they view a particular issue or question and share the poll results with the group before starting your discussion. 

The easiest way to do it on the fly is to ask a Yes/No question aloud and have students click Yes or No under Manage Participants.

If you want questions that have other kinds of answers, go to the Control Panel, click Polls, and then Add a Question.  A browser window will open to allow you to create a poll in the Zoom web interface.  

If you know how you will want to use polls before the class begins, it’s easiest to set them up in advance.  Click on your scheduled meeting in the Zoom web interface (nyu.zoom.us).  At the bottom of the page you will see where you can create a poll by clicking Add.  When you are in class and ready to give students your poll, click Polls in the control panel and then Launch Polling.

Note: Students who join through their browsers, rather than the (downloaded and installed) Zoom application, will not see polls.

Forums in NYU Classes

You can ask your students to have an entire discussion using NYU Classes forums. This works best if they are responding to specific prompts provided by you. Alternatively, ask students to use a forum to respond to your question(s) before they join your Zoom session. Now you have many of their responses to look at and structure your lecture around before they arrive. 


Equipment & Logistics for Zoom

Do I need a webcam?

If you are using a laptop to teach a class...
Your laptop probably has a camera built in! If you’re not sure, launch a Zoom meeting and turn on the video. If you have an internal camera you’ll see your face on the screen.

If you are using a desktop computer to teach a class...
Some monitors have cameras built in, but many do not, so you will need a camera. 
If you want to record yourself lecturing, giving a demo, etc., so you can give the link to your students to watch at a different time...
You’ll need a laptop with a camera, or a webcam

TIP: Click the up arrow next to the video icon in your Zoom control panel and click Video Settings. Then check Enable HD for a clearer video picture. 

What to do if you need a webcam

We recommend buying this model. For hardware emergencies, please contact the Help Desk (212-998-0180, helpdesk@stern.nyu.edu).

Using Zoom from home

You will need a laptop or desktop with an integrated camera or a desktop with a webcam. Zoom's capabilities and your experience with it will vary based on the processing power of the computer you are using and your monitor size. If you have a bigger monitor, for example, it will be easier to use screen-sharing and you will be able to see more of your students at the same time in the Gallery View. 

What to do about slow or lagging connections

It’s so much easier to use Zoom with a strong internet connection. Video doesn’t freeze, speech doesn’t break up, and we don’t get disconnected. But it may not always be possible to find one, especially for our students.  

If you find your connection is slow or lagging or see that a student’s image is freezing or they disappear, temporarily turning off the video and using only audio can solve the problem.  

What to do about audio feedback

If you hear audio echo or audio feedback during your meeting, the most likely reason is a participant who has both the computer and telephone audio active. We recommend wearing a headset to reduce audio feedback. There's also the option to mute all participants if the feedback is coming from another user. To do this click Manage Participants from your control panel. 

If you join from a computer and call in from the telephone, use the Audio Settings caret to the right of the microphone icon to manually Leave Computer Audio.

The source of echo can also be speakers that are too loud or a faulty microphone.


Getting help with equipment 

If you need assistance right away, have trouble logging in, or need help with equipment, contact the Stern Help Desk, 212-998-0180, helpdesk@stern.nyu.edu.


Getting Started with Zoom

Zoom is the video conferencing tool supported by NYU and integrated with NYU Classes.

Getting started

You can use Zoom to hold your class in real time, present slides to your students, and have synchronous discussions with your class. Instructors and students can join from anywhere. 


Help learning


Help for my students

Looking for something to share with your students?  The Learning Science Lab put together a guide for your students who may be using Zoom for the first time. In your Stern SP20 course site(s) you’ll see a Zoom Guide in the left menu. Click on it and you'll find a step-by-step resource for students which explains how they join class remotely with Zoom. If your students have questions about using Zoom, or how to join class online, you can direct them here.


Recording your class (also, remembering to do it & who can record)

When you are in your meeting, find the Record button on the control panel and click. You may need to click the More option if you do not see Record in your control panel. Everyone in the meeting will hear an announcement that the session is being recorded. It is surprisingly easy to forget to start recording. Some things that help are a prominently placed sticky note on your camera and asking your TF or a student to remind you.

Recordings are saved automatically to your Zoom account for 120 days. If you scheduled your meeting through NYU Classes, they can be accessed by you and your students in NYU Classes. If you want to save a recording for longer than 120 days, you will need to download it.

To be able to record, you must be a) a faculty member (not a student), b) the host of the meeting, and c) logged into the account that created the meeting (or for which the meeting was created by someone to whom you gave scheduling privilege).  You can tell whether you are the host by clicking Manage Participants and noting whether it says “host” after your name.


Making your recordings available to only some students

If you don’t want your class recordings available to all your students, you can require a password to access each one. Go to the Zoom web portal and login. Select Settings, click on Recording, scroll down until you see Require password to access shared cloud recordings, and toggle it on.

To password protect an individual recording click Recordings from the left menu when you are logged into the Zoom web portal. Here you’ll see a list of all your recordings. Click Share next to the recording you want to protect, then toggle on Password Protect and set your password. 


Advanced Zoom Scheduling, Hosting & Joining

Delegating scheduling ability

If you like, you can give someone else at NYU the ability to schedule Zoom meetings for you. In the web portal, go to Settings, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. There you will see the place to assign Schedule Privilege to someone else. (See below.)


Inviting guests

You can invite guest speakers to your Zoom meeting by sharing the Join URL with them via email. You can find it by navigating to your scheduled Zoom meeting in NYU Classes and clicking on the Topic of the scheduled meeting. On the next page you’ll see an option to Invite Attendees. Send your guests the Join URL or click Copy the Invitation and follow the prompts to share more detailed joining options including dial-in information. 


Preventing uninvited guests (Zoom-bombing)

If we don’t take precautions, anyone can join your meeting/class who has the URL.  Here are some of the things you can do.  In most cases doing just one will be enough:

  1. Don’t share your meeting URLs publicly (e.g., on a website).
  2. Lock your meeting after it starts (like closing the door to the classroom). Select Manage Participants, click on the More dropdown (bottom right), and click Lock Meeting. 
  3. Set a password for the Zoom session and select the option to "embed password in meeting link for one click join."
  4. Enable a Waiting Room which gives the host control over who joins the class, and then Lock the meeting.
  5. If you don’t need to have your students share their screens, you can change your settings to prevent anyone but the host from sharing. You can do this for all your meetings in your account on the Zoom Web portal or during a meeting by selecting the caret next to Share Screen, Advanced Sharing Options, and Host only.

Combining sections for review sessions

If you want to hold an optional review session in Zoom for two or more sections, here’s one way to approach it. 

  1. Go to one section in NYU Classes and create the meeting.
  2. Send the link to the students in the other section(s).
  3. After the review session, go to Zoom, then Cloud Recordings, and click on the meeting. One of the options will be to Share it using a link. Copy and email to the other section.

Note that any students who join using the link may not have roster names associated with them during the meeting and in the meeting report. If that matters, you can ask them to enter their full names when they join.


Holding office hours

You can set up virtual office hours for your students in Zoom. If you want to see them one at a time or in small groups, when you schedule your meeting select Enable Waiting Room under Meeting Options.  When students connect, they will see “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon” and you will be able to admit them when you are ready through Manage Participants.

During office hours, encourage students to share their screens with you, so you can see their work. If it’s handwritten, suggest that they take a photo and email it to you.



More than one host (alternative hosts and co-hosts)

If you are co-teaching or someone else will be starting your meeting/class, consider assigning an alternative host.  When you schedule your meeting in NYU Classes, assign an Alternative Host at the bottom of the page.  Be sure to use their NYU (not Stern) email address. Your alternative host will receive an email with a link to the meeting (which will not appear in their upcoming meetings).  You and the alternative host will be able to switch off host powers via Manage Participants.

If you are teaching and want some help managing the meeting after it has begun, you can assign one or more co-hosts. To assign a co-host, hover over the user’s video, click on the three dots, and choose Make Co-Host. Or click on Manage Participants (in the control panel), hover over the name, and choose More. Then click Make Co-Host. Co-hosts can record the meeting and manage participants. However, they cannot start or end the meeting and cannot launch and manage breakout rooms.


Joining more than one meeting

You can’t host more than one meeting at a time, but you can join more than one meeting as a participant. To enable that ability (if it isn’t already) log in to the Zoom web portal, go to Settings, and click the Meeting tab. Under In Meeting (Basic), verify that the setting is enabled to Join different meetings simultaneously on desktop. If not, toggle it on.


Using Zoom for Teaching

Taking attendance

You can see a report of everyone who attended your Zoom class after it has ended. Navigate to Previous Meetings in the Zoom tool in NYU Classes and then click Report. (You may have to wait a little while for it to be generated.) The report also includes the length of time students were in the meeting. (Remember, that connectivity issues may play a role.) There are doubts about the validity of the “attentiveness percentage,” especially when students are taking notes, so we don’t recommend relying on it. 

Note that if students join your meeting using a meeting link rather than through NYU Classes, the names that appear on the report will be however they have chosen to identify themselves. If they all join through NYU Classes the names and IDs will all come from your roster.


Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms are a great option for small group discussions and small group work. Click on the Breakout Rooms button in your control panel to randomize or manually create groups. As the instructor you have the ability to visit groups. You can also broadcast a typed message to all the groups.  

Note: Students who join through their browsers, rather than the (downloaded and installed) Zoom application, cannot participate in breakout rooms. A workaround is to leave browser users in the main room as a group. Or you can tell students in advance that they must use a device on which they can install the application.

(If the video below looks fuzzy, click on the settings cog in the bottom right of the video pane and choose 720HD. The playback quality depends on your internet connection.) 

You can also pre-assign breakout rooms, which is especially useful when you want to give teams time to meet during class and visit them one by one. However, at this time, you can only pre-assign rooms through NYU’s Zoom web interface. This is the workflow to follow if you’d like to pre-assign breakout rooms. 

1: Schedule a Zoom meeting in your NYU Classes course site so that the meeting will be visible to your students

2: Then go to nyu.zoom.us, login with your NetID and you should see the meeting you just scheduled in your Upcoming Meetings

3: Go to Settings. Then In Meeting (Advanced), make sure Breakout Room is set to “Allow host to assign when scheduling,” scroll to the bottom of the page, and Save.

4: Now go back to Upcoming Meetings, click on your meeting name, and click Edit this Meeting. Under Meeting Options, check Breakout Room Pre-Assign.

5: Choose Import from CSV, download the template, add NYU email addresses (NetID@nyu.edu), and upload. Stern email addresses won’t work! (You can find your students’ NYU NetIDs in your Albert course roster.) When you are done, be sure to Save.

6: Repeat the above for each Zoom session for your course (if you want to use the same assignments in multiple meetings)

Whiteboards (and approximations)

You have a few options to approximate a whiteboard.

  1. Low-tech option: Mirror your camera on Zoom and write on a whiteboard or flipchart that is visible in the video display. You may need to change your video mirror settings in Zoom so that the text is legible and move the camera or laptop closer. Watch this video to learn how to mirror your video display. Click the up arrow next to the video icon in your Zoom control panel and click Video Settings. Then check Enable HD for a clearer picture.
  2. iPad and Stylus: If you have access to an iPad and stylus you can use blank Powerpoint slides as your whiteboard via Zoom. To use this feature you should connect your iPad to your computer with a cable. Join Zoom as you usually would from your computer. When you click Share select iPad via cable. You’ll be prompted to trust the device on your iPad. After that you should be able to see what you are showing on your iPad on your computer display. Sharing your iPad will work with Apple products (e.g., Macbook to iPad) it may not work with a PC to iPad. This video shows how you can use Zoom in this way with an iPad. 
  3. Microsoft Surface (or other computer with a touch screen): If you have access to a Surface device you can join your Zoom meeting there. You can use blank Powerpoint slides as your whiteboard via Zoom or select Whiteboard after clicking Share and draw directly on the screen. 

Sharing a video 

If you are screen sharing a video in your Zoom session, follow this process to make sure your participants can hear the audio. After clicking Share, find Optimize Share for Full-screen Video Clip at the bottom of the share panel and click to enable it. Then, just start playing your video while sharing your screen. 


Virtual backgrounds

Virtual backgrounds make it so whatever is more than 12 inches behind you cannot be seen (e.g., children, pets, and unmade beds) and offer the opportunity to do some branding, emphasize the theme of your class, and inject some humor. (Note that they don’t work well with older processors.)

Before a meeting.  Sign into the Zoom desktop client, click on your profile picture, and then Settings. Select Virtual Background. You will probably see a selection of pre-loaded images. To add your own, click Add Image and browse your computer for alternatives.

After the meeting has started.  In the Control Panel, click on the caret to the right of the video icon and select Choose a Virtual Background.  

Recommended are images with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1280x720 resolution, but you will be able to see how it looks as you experiment. Search for something like “Zoom backgrounds” and you will find many. You can also use MP4 and MOV videos as backgrounds.  (If you don’t see that option, make sure your desktop client is up to date.)  

Virtual backgrounds look best when your real background is a solid color and whatever you are wearing isn’t the same color as the image you choose.



Making a screen recording

You can use screen recording to capture content displayed on your computer screen, along with your narration. It's a good option if you'd like to record some mini lectures and share the recordings with your students. 

Screen recordings with Zoom

If you are familiar with Zoom, it is the easiest way to pre-record something for your students. All you need to do is schedule a meeting, start it, hit record, and do your thing. We recommend planning ahead for short (5-10 minute) segments, since you won’t be able to edit your recording extensively in Zoom. (The Zoom recording formats, MP4 and M4A, can be edited in other applications, like Quicktime, ScreenFLow, Camtasia, and iMovie, if you want to give it a try.)

You do have an option to trim the start/end of a Zoom recording via NYU Classes. To do this:

1. Navigate to Zoom in your course site
2. Click Cloud Recordings and then click the blue files text next to the class recording you want to edit
3. Click on the recording's play icon
4. Next you should be able to use the scissors icon at the bottom right to trim the playback range

Screen recordings with Kaltura Capture

You can use Kaltura to record content from your computer screen. It's a good option if you'd like to record some mini lectures and share the recordings with your students. Not many features, but easy to learn and uploads automatically to NYU Stream.



Making Use of Old Class Recordings

If you have recordings of classes you have taught in the past year and think it would be useful to make parts of them available to your students -- maybe a guest speaker or a good worked example -- Mediasite has an editor that is reasonably easy to learn and use.  

If you would like to give it a try, write to the Stern Help Desk (HelpDesk@stern.nyu.edu) and request access to My Mediasite and the ability to edit your recordings. Tell them the semester, course number, and section number of every course with recordings you would like to be able to edit, and they will put them in a shared Mediasite folder for you.  

Use these guides for help learning how to use My Mediasite and edit your recordings:




NYU Classes

NYU Classes can be a good option for delivering content asynchronously.

Use NYU Classes to organize content, link to resources, and gather information in one place. It's also a good way to communicate with students and set up assignments. 



Workshop: Learning from Anywhere

Watch this video of the Learning Science Lab's "Learning from Anywhere" workshop to explore options for remote teaching and learning while maintaining the continuity of your class.

In this video we look at strategies for taking your class online and discuss how to effectively utilize tools like Zoom and Kaltura.