Support and guidelines for online instruction and learning

The College of Human Sciences Online and Distance Learning (ODL) group has recommendations, tips, and support to offer. Faculty members need not create wholly online courses, but they are asked to put course content online, or make other arrangements as possible.

Getting started

    1. Visit the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) website.
    2. Visit the ODL tips page
    3. This step-by-step guide will help you get started in creating your Canvas course.

Bloom's Taxonomy as a guide for online materials

To assist you in your efforts to create course materials and activities to support learning objectives, we have compiled a list of ideas based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Course management

Update syllabi with revised directions, communication plan, and clear evaluation guidelines, noting the temporary Pass/Not Pass option for courses previously offered as face-to-face courses.

  • Pass/Not Pass option for undergraduate courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction (on Provost’s website)
  • Pass/Not Pass option for graduate courses intended to be taught in person during Spring 2020 but moved online due to COVID-19 (on Graduate College website)
  • Note: These policies do not apply to courses that were already offered online

Faculty can take immediate steps to move their courses online (i.e., build course structure and policies) and then add needed items, such as online exams, short videos, and activities, over the upcoming weeks.

Asynchronous learning and low tech

  • Consider low tech, flexibility, and simplicity
  • It may prove very difficult to have live webinar services due to over demand
  • In a rapidly changing situation for students, families, and larger communities, student schedules are likely disrupted and perhaps significantly so. Requiring students to log in live will put some students at a distinct disadvantage. This may be particularly true for vulnerable students with fewer resources.
  • Asynchronous opportunities will provide students with the most flexibility. Access to recordings of lectures and other materials in Canvas will ensure that all students have the opportunity to engage with the material and learn.


  • Discuss low-burden and flexible options with ODL to accomplish learning objectives
  • See the tips page on applying Bloom’s taxonomy to assignments and assessment

Follow best practices and promote accessibility and FERPA compliance

  • E-mail communication can be overused and students are likely receiving many messages
    • Utilize Canvas communication tools so that messages are archived in the course management system and accessible to all students
    • Record and share grades in Canvas rather than e-mail
  • Contact ODL with accessibility-related needs (e.g., closed captioning)

Communication with your class

Detailed instructions available through canvas

Communicate efficiently with students

  • Activate your class email list(s) through ISU Account Services on the Web (ASW)
  • Use Announcements tool in Canvas
  • Message students from the Canvas gradebook
  • Use the Canvas “Inbox” tool to send messages to class, a group, or select student(s)


  • Zoom Basic licenses are still available. These allow you to have up to 40 minutes meetings.
  • WebEx – webinar tool is you need more than 40 minutes, or prefer it
    • Can also be used as a capture tool—record screen with voice and camera or just voice
  • ITS is providing basic WebEx training sessions 

Studio (capture tool)

  • Canvas’ video recording tool and video storage for students and instructors.
  • Guides for use are provided in ODL tip site.

Capture/webinar facilities

  • ODL encourages faculty to record or broadcast from home or their offices.
  • We have some spaces on 3rd floor MacKay that can be scheduled during regular weekday work hours in which you can do recording. Support staff may be available, depending on the time and evolving situation.
  • Other rooms may be available for recording content —check with your department and CHS IT.

To schedule with ODL staff, please make appointments. Classes are first priority, others prioritized by need.