Five Coronavirus Readiness Strategies to Move In-Person Courses Online

With increasing Coronavirus prevention measures being taken some states are moving all in-person courses to online delivery effective immediately  In Michigan, staying

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on track for the semester is already challenging due to our annual flu season and frequent winter storms.  Rather than anxiously awaiting updates on cancellations and quarantines, why not use this opportunity to try out a few smart phone-friendly online teaching techniques to engage students leveraging the web?  Implementing the following five strategies will not instantly turn your face-to-face course into a high quality online version, but will lay a foundation for finishing the semester strongly regardless of what may come our way.


Establishing a positive communication routine using Canvas’ announcement feature in Canvas potentially reduces students’ anxiety.  Why not start the week by sending a short reminder of upcoming tasks and/or course related current events?  Using the Announcements feature ensures your information is easily accessible, not buried in a deluge of email.  Here is a humorous coronavirus spoof on “I will survive” if you want to include humor in your announcements to defuse anxiety.


Ever look for something online and lose hours following your curiosity, link after interesting link?  Sharing findings pertinent to your discipline with students can scaffold them into deeper levels of thinking and expose them to diverse perspectives.  A good place to start is TedTalks for relevant “online guest lectures” or Ted-Ed for lessons.  With Canvas, it is easy to add interesting content via links in a Module, posting a video from YouTube, or creating a page.  Facebook is another great place to send students as many organizations and people are asking for and sharing resources for current events and online teaching and learning resources.  For k-12 teachers, sharing of teaching ideas you can do at home has been incredible!  What is happening in your area?


In a face-to-face class, what questions do your students ask that there never seems to be enough time to answer?  Discussions in Canvas provide opportunities to explore complex questions–and students can answer via text, images, short video, or a combination!  Rather than focusing solely on course readings and classroom lectures, what about having students connect their environment to course concepts? A discussion board can become a platform for rich data collection via student responses encompassing a wide variety of environments and experiences.  With Canvas, it’s easy now to include videos in discussions as well from smartphones making them more like an in-person discussion.


Providing 24/7 directions, submission areas, and assignment feedback benefits everyone by reducing course time spent on logistical tasks and questions.  A nice bonus for students with the assignments feature is their automatic display on the Canvas Calendar–students (and faculty) can print a weekly agenda listing graded assignments due from all active courses in one spot.

Web conference

If you’re teaching face-to-face and want to see your students without having to worry about germs spreading OR inclement weather, schedule Canvas conferences ahead of time for class, or  add virtual office hours or study sessions at the spur of the moment.  Housed directly in our Canvas LMS, conferences are accessible via phone or laptop.  Or, Zoom and Skype offer free web conference options as well.  Zoom has lifted the 40 minute limit on meetings now for their free accounts!  No need to miss class time again!

Here is an Indexed list of Resources started to collect ideas–feel free to add directly to this with your own ideas to share!

To get started with your own weather and illness back-up plan for your online course, log into Canvas from the top menu bar of  If you do not see the course(s) you’re teaching with students in it for this semester, contact or call 231-591-2801 for assistance getting started.

Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a back-up plan available!

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