MCB Administered Teaching Fall Quarter

Teaching Resources for Remote Delivery

  1. MCB teaching tips Slack channel: There are many helpful threads on this slack channel from last quarter and it's a great place to ask your colleagues for advice. I monitor to regularly so I can often help direct you to someone who can help if no one has an answer for you. To join, go to and sign in using your UCD credentials. Then direct message me for an invite to the teaching tips channel. Your UCD account allows for phone calls and video chat in Slack as well as multi-person direct messaging, an excellent way to coordinate exams, zoom sessions or breakout rooms with your TAs.
  2. If you are teaching this fall, please go to the Google Sheet and enter in your remote teaching plans as well as your backup instructor. Add myself and Jodi to your Canvas pages to make it easier for us to help out.
  3. The MCB Start of the Year letter summarizes the issues related to Fall (and possibly Winter/Spring) remote teaching. You can find a copy in the MCB General Teaching Resources folder.

Remote Teaching Symposium in July 2020

  1. Spring quarter instructors led the following discussions. There were many excellent tips so please check out the material. You can find the Zoom recording and a summary PDF at these links: video and audio and box folder)
    1. Communication strategies (led by Marina Crowder)
    2. Recorded material dos and don'ts (led by Philippe Zerbe)
    3. Exams and Assessments (led by Silvia Carrasco)
    4. Grading strategies (led by Ted Powers)
    5. Live teaching sessions (led by Ken Kaplan)
  2. The Keep Teaching website has dramatically improved since its inception and offers some very helpful tips and links to important resources for you and for your students. These are some highlights to check out as you plan your online course.
    1. They have a helpful summary page to step you through how to strategize about your online teaching.
    2. Use the "Know Your Students" tool get a sense of the students in your course (year, GPA, major etc.).
    3. There are multiple approaches to capturing lecture material at home or on campus (e.g., Lecture capture). For information on these strategies and which classrooms have Lecture capture, check out the this page.
    4. The assessment page offers some helpful general advice and links to alternatives to Canvas for testing. Gradescope got many outstanding reviews from spring instructors
    5. 5. There are other resources there worth exploring, including access to CEE and IT guide videos/pages as well as links to teaching seminars

Summary of remote-lecture delivery technologies

  • Lecture capture: In the spring, classrooms were open if you want to use lecture capture to make your recorded lectures. I have not heard yet about the fall, but you would need a classroom with lecture capture technology.
  • Zoom: Most instructors used Zoom to record lectures or meet with students. You can connect Zoom to your tablet and use applications like Notability or Explaineverything to draw on blackboards with a stylus. This combination seemed to work very well for many. UC Davis has licenses for up to 300 attendees. TAs and instructors can sign up using their UCD credentials. Walter Leal made a step-by-step guide for how to use Zoom for instructors
  • In the spring, a few of us tried or used Canvas Conferences (or Canvas Live Room), which is linked to a Kaltura meeting software that is very similar to Zoom (better wipe board functionality). It's linked through Canvas so it's easy to set up meetings for students. There's a helpful thread about it on Slack.
  • You can use the Kaltura personal capture software after installing it on your computer to record your computer screen and your webcam and create lectures or targeted videos for students. After recording you can upload to Aggie Video and/or upload to your Canvas page. To download the software, sign into the AggieVideo page (sign in is hidden under "guest" in the upper right corner) , you can navigate to find the download link for Kaltura software (hidden under the + ADD NEW pulldown menu next to the sign in icon). Lecture Capture videos show up on Aggie Video and there are limited editing capabilities.
  • Many instructors were positive about using Camtasia software for video editing. MCB has three licenses. Please contact Hemang Patel for more information.
  • For TA office hours, it is very helpful for them to have access to a tablet so that when they use Zoom or Canvas Live room, they can write on a virtual wipe board with a stylus. MCB is experimenting with a plug-in tablet (Wacom) that attaches to your laptop or desktop. It is an economical solution (~$80), but may require some practice drawing on it while looking at the screen. Please contact Hemang Patel for more information.

Resources for Giving Online Exams

You can assess students with online exams as long as you follow the plan outlined in your syllabus. If you need to change, try to give students time to adjust (~48h). There are more guidelines from the senate

  • "Quiz" software in Canvas: this works for exams, multiple choice, short answers, essays, and document upload. There are helpful step-by-step instructions
  • Tips: Set time limits for your online tests and consider using "shuffling" answers for multiple choice tests, showing one question at a time and hiding correct answers until after the test is closed.
  • "Gradescope" module in Canvas. This may be a more intuitive interface than the native Canvas software and it's easier to calibrate your grading of short answer tests. There are instructions for how to install it and video links on how to use it. This received very positive reviews from instructors in the spring.
  • Canvas Quiz/Exam proctored using Examity. The reviews of proctoring have not been positive. Please see the information from the MCB Teaching symposium and check in with folks who have used online proctoring before embarking on this approach. Examity is a module that can be installed in Canvas and students will access the exam through the module on Canvas. Students schedule the time they will take the exam and are assigned a proctor before their exam time. Considerations and links can be found at Examity.
  • Qualtrics and other options for assessment are available

Other Resources

College of Biological Sciences BASC FAQ

CANVAS IT updates and known service issues