Moving your Face-to-Face Course to a Remote Offering A guide to get started

The University of Louisville has a goal to enable teaching and learning to continue seamlessly if the University has to close campus. This includes continuing regular engagement with your students, student engagement with each other, and students having digital access to content, assignments, assignment submission, and assessment.

Faculty and students can access the University of Louisville’s Blackboard learning management system at blackboard.louisville.edu. Every course on campus has a shell available and students already have access.

Considerations before you begin

Before you start on this journey, here are some things to think about:

  1. What content are you going to cover in the coming weeks? Evaluate what you were going to do in class to determine what that will look like online.
  2. How you will continue to provide feedback to your students? It is very important to stay present in your course and make sure your students know you are "there" to teach them.
  3. Evaluate what you normally do in class and determine how that will be different.
  4. Decide what you are going to do about assessment, particularly high stakes testing.
  5. Consider course materials. Many are probably already digital but if not, what will it take to convert them to digital.
  6. How will you communicate with your students? Hint- take advantage of Blackboard and the infrastructure that is already set up.
Delphi Center Staff have created the following opportunities for training and support

The Delphi Center is hosting a number of virtual trainings to help you transition your courses online. Please register in advance by clicking on the links to reserve your spot.

  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - This web conferencing tool can be used to meet synchronously (at the same time) with your students. Held via Blackboard Collaborate from any location.
  • Panopto – You can use this tool to record audio and/or video lectures. Your students can also use it for recording presentations. Held via Blackboard Collaborate from any location.
  • General session for designing and delivering remote assessments- The one-hour virtual training session will provide faculty the information and tools needed to make decisions about how to design and deliver remote assessments while maintaining integrity. This session is appropriate for any course at the university.
  • Online module with the same content as the general session described above.
  • Discipline-Specific Assessment Training - This one hour virtual training session will provide faculty information about designing and delivering remote assessments including equations, formulas, etc. This session is best for STEM faculty.

There are also additional online resources to help you.

  1. This webpage (that you are looking at right now) includes best practices for common teaching tasks
  2. Blackboard Basics for Emergency Situations Online Training Module includes step-by-step instructions
  3. Continuity of Instruction Webpage (this is the page that we have had for several years, it is more focused on snow days but good information)
  4. Checklist for faculty
  5. Help document for Students
  6. The library has created a guide for STEM Online Instruction

For additional help:

  • Blackboard help desk provides support in several ways. Find contact information at the end of this page.
The remainder of this page contains sections regarding best practices for common teaching tasks when you are unable to meet in person.

Scroll down to view information about the following teaching tasks

  • Replacing lecture
  • Creating and organizing course content in Blackboard
  • Assign and Assess- Provide feedback to students using assignments and quizzes
  • Communicate with students - Send emails and announcements to students through Blackboard and hold online office hours
  • Encourage Discussion - Provide opportunities to engage asynchronously (not at the same time) with course concepts and each other
  • Create On-Demand Video using Panopto
  • Student Presentations
  • Accessibility

* These suggestions are intended to meet the basic needs and are kept simple intentionally. These are NOT best practices for fully online courses in normal situations.

Replacing Lecture

STRATEGY: Best practice is to record your lectures using Panopto and post in your Blackboard shell. Require your students to watch those ahead of time and then meet via Blackboard Collaborate to discuss and answer any questions. Alternatively, you could hold your classes via Blackboard Collaborate* during your scheduled class times. Recording the bulk of your lectures will compensate for students that have poor connection speeds or other issues with equipment.

*If you choose to record live sessions and post the recordings for your students you will need to make sure the students know you are recording and only post the link in Blackboard to avoid FERPA issues.

Training Resources:

Create and organize course materials for students in Blackboard

STRATEGY: Structure the delivery of learning resources – Instructional materials need to be presented in a sequence that makes sense, in a way that is understandable to students, and in manageable “chunks” of information. Here are some tips on structure:

  • Organize course materials in Blackboard chronologically, grouping everything students need for a class session or unit together. The course shell template one folder for each week of class, use them to include all materials for that week within that folder.
  • Present materials for each lesson in a consistent order. For example, you might present a session overview, followed by a short video lecture, then readings, and then an assignment link.
  • Use consistent terminology for class components from session to session — for example, assignment vs. homework.

Training Resources

Assign and Assess- Provide feedback to students using assignments and quizzes

STRATEGY: Clarify your expectations for assignments and assessment – Shifting to a new mode of learning will be an adjustment for students, so it is essential that the learning climate, expectations of behaviors, and academic content, including learning outcomes and assessments, are clearly communicated by instructors. It is important for all communication to be clear, be consistent, and help with learning. Here are some tips for clear communication:

  • Think about the things you say when you enter a classroom and begin a class. Capture this type of introduction to a class session’s purpose in either a written introduction or a very short video (less than 5 minutes using Panopto).
  • Include a short description about the purpose of each item you post.
  • Don’t underestimate the complexity of understanding instructions online. Be as explicit as possible about your expectations and evaluation criteria.
  • Use Blackboard’s assessment tool to create an area for students to submit each course assignment. This makes it much easier to keep track of digital work and grading. You can retrieve and grade student work in Blackboard’s Grade Center.
  • For high stakes assessments the university provides proctoring tools, Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor . These tools record a student completing an assessment and provide an instructor with variety of other tools to verify identity and monitor a student completing an assessment.

Training Resources

Communicate with students - Send emails and announcements to students through Blackboard and hold online office hours

STRATEGY: Maintain consistent communication, and let students know how you will use various tools (e.g., forums, chat rooms, email) – Clear and consistent communication about your own communication practices can reduce the sense of distance that your learners may feel within the online learning context. Consistent communication can positively affect learners’ motivation. Here are some tips on maintaining communication:

  • Post announcements in Blackboard on a regular schedule, so students can come to expect when they will hear from you. At a minimum, post an announcement at the beginning of the week, giving an overview of the week’s activities. Be sure to use Blackboard’s “Send a copy of this announcement immediately” feature when you post an announcement.
  • Hold office hours using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. You can create a room dedicated to office hours and communicate those hours to your students.

Training Resources

Encourage Discussion - Provide opportunities to engage asynchronously (not at the same time) with course concepts and each other.

STRATEGY: Engage your learners through peer and teacher interaction, practice, and feedback – Creating a welcoming environment is particularly important in the online learning context, so instructors need to be mindful of tone and clarity in online communication in order to create the “social container” in which everyone can learn together. Here are some tips on ways to create positive online interactions:

  • Create an “Introductions” discussion forum in Blackboard where students can introduce themselves and even post a picture of themselves if they so choose. This can be a way for students to get to know each other even better than they might in a face-to-face class.
  • Create a “Questions” discussion forum in Blackboard where students can post questions about content and assignments. Encourage them to use this rather than sending you individual emails. You can subscribe to the forum so the messages are also sent to your email. That way, you can respond in a timely manner without needing to check the discussion forum repeatedly.
  • When you respond to student posts, refer to students by name, even if you are responding to many students’ posts at once. This creates a sense of social connection and relationship.

Training Resources

Create On-Demand Video using Panopto

STRATEGY: Panopto allows you to create, edit and import video or lecture capture for your courses. This online tool also allows for live streaming and mobile capture on multiple devices. Panopto is available for free to all UofL faculty and is integrated into Blackboard, allowing you to easily embed video into your courses. Additional tools include interactive quizzes and importing automatic captions.

Training Resources

Student Presentations

STRATEGY:  You have student presentations scheduled? You have to decide if you want those to be presented to a live class or if a recording would be ok. There are two ways to accomplish presentations.

  1. Recordings with Panopto
  2. Live presentations with Collaborate

You can set up an assignment where your students record their presentations into Panopto and then you watch the presentations. Use the following help pages:

For You

For your students

Students can present in real time, individually or as a group, using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. You can even record the session to watch at a later time. For more information visit the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra help page.


If you have a student with a disability in your course, you may be concerned about making sure they will have access as you move your materials online. The most common accommodation among students with disabilities is extended test time. If you have not provided this accommodation online before, simple instructions can be found here: Providing Extra Test Time in Blackboard. If you have any other concerns about making online materials accessible to a student with a disability in your class, please contact Beth Case at beth.case@louisville.edu.

If you have any questions about the needs of a specific student with a disability in your course or how a particular accommodation will work in the online environment, please contact the Disability Resource Center for assistance.

How to get help

Blackboard/Instructional Design Technical Support

* Provides instructor support on the use of Blackboard, Blackboard Collaborate, Panopto, and other instructional technologies.

  • Email -BBSupport@louisville.edu
  • LiveChat - Blackboard Support Chat
  • Online via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (A staff member will be live, ready to support your needs between 8am- 5pm Monday-Friday the duration of a closure)
  • Phone -502-852-8833
  • BB LiveChat, Collaborate and phone : 8 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday

UL Information Technology System Technical Support

* Provides instructor and student support for access issues related to Blackboard (ULinkID), PeopleSoft (student enrollment, faculty assignments) and email.

  • LiveChat - Our online, direct communication with an ITS specialist.
  • Phone - (502) 852-7997
  • Online - Service Catalog is available 24/7. Order services, make a request or submit an incident


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