The following are online tools that can help during a prolonged disruption. The Sam Fox School strongly advocates for using Canvas, Microsoft Office, Box, and Zoom. These tools are part of the WashU IT ecosystem and thus have dedicated support resources for learning how to use the tools.
You should also evaluate your own technical capacities and time constraints when implementing a class online. Planning for the class and engaging with students in an online environment often takes much more time than in-person studio experiences, so selecting the right tool is critical, depending on your type of class.
Canvas Learning Management System
Canvas is WashU’s institutional-provided learning management system. It is typically used for on-premises management of courses. However, it can support online experiences when used in conjunction with other video conferencing tools. All faculty already have a class active in Canvas that you can immediately use today. Learn how to set up a basic Canvas course in 15 minutes at this link.
Key features of Canvas include:
- Modules: Set up a folder that contains all the files and content for the class.
- Announcement: Tool for sending emails to all students in the class that keeps all communication in one place.
- Assignments: Post assignments with due dates that populate a calendar and provide a place for students to submit their files.
- Discussions: Set up a place for group discussions.
- Grades: Submit grades as well as comments on work that’s been turned in, all in one place.
- Video (Kaltura): Use Kaltura to capture your lecture and post it right to Canvas, record a video announcement to send it to students, or have students submit video responses.
- Respondus: Use for giving tests.
Here are some resources to get you started on Canvas.
MyCanvas: Use your WUSTL Key to log into the home page for WashU’s Canvas, which has many other How-To resources for faculty and students.
Common Issues and Concerns: This page contains a list of issues you might encounter when working with Canvas and what to do to resolve them.
Who to contact for general help: The 24/7 support line is the first line of support for Canvas. Canvas offers technical support 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to all faculty, staff, and students. Click the Help button from the Global Navigation Menu to access 24/7 Canvas Support via chat or phone (833-639-7629). Help is customized for faculty, staff, and students. You can also review Canvas Guides or report a problem.
Who to contact at the Sam Fox School?
- If you are having access issues such as your TA’s need to be included, or there are other admin issues, you can contact Richard Viehmann at email@example.com.
- If you are having issues with class rosters, TA’s not having access to Canvas, or other registrar questions please contact Cris Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Akins at email@example.com.
- If you are unsure who should be the primary person to contact we encourage you to start with Chad Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will direct you to the appropriate person. In general we ask that you leverage the 24/7 first to help with any Canvas questions.
While not designed as an online learning platform, Microsoft Office has a number of tools that you can use in novel ways for instruction. Some may just be used to augment Canvas; others might serve asa stand-alone tool for all content and collaboration.
- Email: All faculty, staff, and students have a WashU email. Microsoft Outlook is the University standard, so all faculty, staff, and student names will auto-populate when you use this tool.
- Calendars: If you need students to schedule time with you, a great way to do this is with Schedule Assist, which allows other users to see available blocks of time on your calendar. This does require you to keep an up-to-date schedule in your Outlook Calendar.
- Teams: Microsoft Teams is a great way to build a unique space online for your class. It will house all the files, communications, and meetings as the class progresses.
- Video (via Teams): Any time you set up a meeting in your Outlook calendar, you also have the option to set up a Team Video meeting. You can record these Team Video meetings and then share them with the group.
For educational videos you can reference this site.
For technical help we recommend reaching out to WashU IT by submitting a help ticket.
Additional educational tools can be found at LinkedIn Learning.
Zoom (Online video meetings)
Zoom is WashU’s online video meeting platform. You can invite students to a virtual classroom, see all of their faces on screen, and record the session. Individuals can also share out their screen so that others can see their work and discuss it, much like in a studio environment. Learn more about resources offered through Zoom and log in through this link.
Some quick guides are:
Box is a file sharing tool that is currently used by many faculty. It is also a tool that is widely used and accessed by students and staff. Used in concert with Zoom and other tools mentioned above, Box can function as a central repository for a class. Storage is unlimited, Box is WUSTL Key accessible from any location. Because this is a university tool, you can request support by contacting WashU IT at this link. If your class schedule and content has already been created, it is simply a matter transferring this information to Box.
The Google platform is a versatile and user-friendly option for sharing files, having discussions, sharing videos, and much more. All that is necessary for accessing the Google platform is a Gmail account and a reliable internet connection. The platform is all online, accessible from any web browser, and free to use. If your class schedule and content has already been created, it is simply a matter transferring this information to Google Drive.
- Gmail: Creating a Google email account is the first step to accessing all other Google applications. Each user must have a Google account. If they don’t already have one, it can be created here.
- Google Drive: This is the location for file sharing. It functions much like Box, with similar permission sets.
- Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.: Within Google Drive, you can create documents, spreadsheets, slides, and more by clicking on the NEW button. These can be shared with one person or a group, or kept private.
- Google Drawings: Also accessible from Google Drive, Google Drawings is a type of whiteboard; when shared, many people can collaborate to draw on the same board. You can share images by simply copying and pasting on the art board, and multiple people can type or draw on top of the image. This tool can be used to create mood boards and other types of visual information for critique. While rudimentary in some ways, it can make simple idea sharing and brainstorming easy when a video connection is not available or practical. Because this is an online tool, it also helps limit the need to upload and download files such as PDFs.
- Google Hangouts: This calling, video calling, and chatting platform is great for instant communication, either one-on-one or with a large group.