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FAQ: For Instructors Fall 2020

Coronavirus, COVID-19 Related

What should I do if a student reports to me that he or she has or may be at risk of having COVID-19?

If a student informs you that they have COVID-19 or are at risk of having contracted it:

  • Please contact your Dean and the COVID Case Response Team immediately for guidance about next steps.You can also reach the COVID Case Response Team at 519-253-3000 ext. 2055. 
  • Please do not distribute any information to others without guidance from your Dean as it is critical that we protect the privacy of individual health information, adhere to all applicable health guidelines, and undertake institutionally established and coordinated protocols efficiently. Communications will be handled centrally in coordination with your Dean.   

 YOUR first steps as an instructor:   

  1. Make sure you have the student’s full name and updated contact information 
  2. Determine whether the student has contacted their local health authority for medical support. 
    1. If they have not: Advise the student to contact their local health authority if they have travelled outside of Canada, had contact with a recent traveller (returned in the last 14 days) or close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. Otherwise, advise the student to contact their health care provider.  
    2. If they have: Record the name of the health authority helping the student and the date of disclosure. 
  3. Explain to the student that you will communicate about the situation with the Dean and the COVID Case Response Team on campus, and that this team will follow up directly. Students can expect questions about their campus activities, how long they have had symptoms, and the parts of campus they recently visited.  
  4. Email the contact information and health authority contact information you have collected to your Dean and the COVID Case Response Team. Please note that student employees whom you supervise fall under the regulations for employee COVID exposure, found here 
  5. The Windsor Health Authority and/or the University’s COVID Case Response Team may be in touch with you with further questions or information about how to proceed. The COVID Case Response Team will confirm they have received your message.  
  6. If you feel that you are at risk of having COVID, please contact your dean, health care provider or public health unit. Make a plan for any required academic accommodations related to quarantine or illness.   
  7. Keep in mind that a requirement to be in quarantine is NOT the same thing as a confirmed case of COVID-19.  

With the exception of students in the JD and Dual JD programs as well as students in clinical Nursing courses, where students should check with the Faculty for their protocols, students can use the Illness Self-Report form in UWinsite Student to seek academic accommodation for medical reasons, as they have done since May, and are not required to submit a medical note. This information will be transmitted regularly to AAUs.  The self-report panel is being updated to include guidance regarding the reporting of COVID cases as opposed to requests for academic accommodations.

Fall 2020 Term Overall

Can the University system really support a primarily online semester?

The University has significantly increased the resources supporting Blackboard to prepare for the anticipated increased load on the system. Many of our institutional systems are also now cloud-based, providing the advantage of vendor ability to increase capacity dynamically to meet demand. Additional tools are also being procured to extend the capabilities of our core educational technologies, to improve functionality and user experience. The University is doing everything possible to ensure the utility and stability of our core learning technologies. Instructors should still be mindful of practices that reduce bandwidth for students who do not have high speed or reliable internet connections.

The University has invested  an additional $1.5 million to support course re-development and student learning, including current and upcoming investment in technological solutions for virtual access to on-campus computing, new discipline-specific programs and tools, enhancement to server infrastructure, new tools for video management, and new solutions for examination delivery, and that doesn’t include the thousands of hours instructors are putting into course re-design. 

The University is also expanding the academic continuity team supporting online course design and support, through new short-term positions for instructional designers and Blackboard support team members. We have also successfully attracted a minimum of $275,000 in external funding for co-op positions in OOL, CTL and in Faculties to support learning technology and online learning implementation. Campus teams have also been working diligently in the background to assess and enhance the Blackboard Learn platform, in preparation for the anticipated increase in load that the Fall term will bring.  The Blackboard Virtual Classroom (Collaborate Ultra) is cloud-hosted and our vendor partners have significantly increased resources supporting this tool, improving its capacity and reliability under the significantly increased global load it is receiving. An academic continuity team, drawing on CTL, OOL, ITS, Leddy Library, Student Experience, the Registrar, and University Secretariat is collaborating intensively to ensure coherent, responsive support for instructors and students and to ensure robust, reliable infrastructure for courses and learning.

Is the Leddy Library open? What services are available?

As the University continues to operate under an essential services model the health and safety of the library and university community is of primary concern. The Library building will be closed for the Fall semester; however the library is offering Contactless Pickup and Digital Delivery of print materials along with our services and online resources.

The Leddy Library team is currently working with the University to develop protocols, processes, and resources needed to ensure health and safety to resume those services that require on-site access.

A phased plan to gradually restart Library service is being developed. Due to the nature of the environment and the need for processes and equipment, a calendar of dates for when services will begin is not yet available.

In the meantime, please visit Leddy's COVID-19: Library Services During Disruption page for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.

In addition, all librarians and staff are working remotely. Hours of operation are 8:30 am - 4:30 pm from Monday to Friday. Visit the Library website to chat live with a team member or contact the library via email

What does "primarily online" mean and how are these decisions being made?

The University is fully committed to a primarily online semester. Face-to face classes will be rare. Deans and AAUs have been working since April to strategize the transition of courses to online formats, and have been collectively identifying an extremely limited subset of courses to be considered for approval as face-to-face offerings.  Proposed face-to-face offerings, determined by Deans, are now entering a final review process to seek written approval from the Provost. The Deans collectively developed the following criteria to determine courses which were eligible for consideration for face-to face delivery: 

  1. The participant group is confined to a specific program and the courses in that program are not required by or impact any other program on campus;
  2. Learning outcomes have been shown, through rigorous review and in consultation with the relevant Dean, to be infeasible to be met through alternative means or through a reorganization of course content across other courses in the program;
  3. It is necessary to offer the course this semester;
  4. The class size is under 25 (this is an estimated group maximum. AAU Heads and Deans should be aware that maximum group sizes will be set by the province, and may ultimately entail multiple sections or a virtual or partially virtual solution); and
  5. All provincial and institutional health and safety requirements can be accommodated. AAU Heads and Deans should be aware that health and safety requirements are subject to change depending on health conditions in the province.

Decision-making also takes into account:

  1. The degree of risk to all participants and the extent to which planning has mitigated those risks;
  2. Assessment of the feasibility of an alternative approach;
  3. The significance of the course to the program, and the extent to which learning outcomes cannot be met;
  4. The viability of the plan for accommodating students unable to attend in person or a sudden return to emergency measures; and
  5. The extent of multi-class face-to-face interaction involved.  The larger the number of students and instructors on campus, the more complex this planning becomes and the more risk there is. The decision to offer one on-campus course can mean a decision to open an entire building, apply sanitation procedures, and manage on- and off-campus transitions for students on an institutional scale. The interaction of classes and schedules as students interact with each other compounds the complexity.

Courses for which face-to-face programming is requested must describe the intended course of action should the province return to emergency measures during the Fall semester, as well as how students unable to attend class due to quarantine or medical risk will be accommodated. These must also be included in course outlines if face-to-face delivery is approved.

It is expected that, in all cases, course planning for individual courses will involve the minimum possible face-to-face engagement. Clinical practice where students are working within employment settings will be governed by employers’ workplace regulations and, where applicable, by standards set by accrediting bodies.

As public health restrictions are relaxed it may be possible to explore possibilities for on-campus co-curricular learning activities: in all cases, options for virtual involvement for those living at a distance are strongly encouraged.

What will face-to-face teaching be like in Fall 2020?

Offering face-to-face courses will carry with it numerous additional safety considerations and requirements in the Fall semester:

  • Any course approved for face-to-face delivery in the Fall semester will be subject to institutional health and safety protocols that are consistent with provincial guidelines, and face-to-face course planning will involve institutional review and oversight to ensure these protocols are followed. At present, provincial guidelines have not been made available, and the feasibility of face-to-face offerings may need to be re-examined at that time. It is expected that class sizes will be limited and that self-distancing requirements will be in effect.
  • AAUs and instructors should be aware that there are likely to be numerous limitations and mandatory procedures involved in face-to-face efforts, and this should be taken into account in planning.  Provincial and institutional health and safety protocols may involve additional responsibilities for instructors. It is important to be aware of the full scope of health and safety safeguards that students and instructors may need to contend with in travelling to and across campus and in and out of classrooms, as well as those that occur during instructional time. This might include, for example, requirements around hand sanitizing or one-at-a-time entry into classrooms that may require coordination. These factors are not yet fully clear, and working groups from across campus will be outlining many of these procedures in the coming weeks.  Courses approved for face-to-face delivery will require an approved health and safety plan.
Why is the University moving to a primarily online format for the Fall semester?

The University is working to ensure two key priorities are met in planning for the Fall semester:

  • the continued quality of student learning experiences; and
  • the health and safety of our community.

Academic decisions reside with academic units. What is different, as we continue to work through the challenges we all face because of COVID-19, is the heightened impact of safety and health precautions on academic decision-making.

Among other factors, this means that planning must:

  • conform to provincial safety guidelines that are not yet clear;
  • take into account the possibility of new outbreaks and the return of emergency measures;
  • factor in not just what happens in individual courses, but the interactions of varied networks and groups across campus; and
  • acknowledge that mid-semester pivots will be impractical for students in terms of living arrangements and the transitional needs of 16,000 students mid-semester.

As we watch the re-opening of economies around the world, one thing is clear:  it will not be business as usual. We will be faced with restrictions and added responsibilities that will make face-to-face operations more difficult, even with institutional efforts to support these changes. It is for all of these reasons that we have opted for a phased re-opening of campus learning, in conjunction with phased return to face-to-face research activities. The primarily virtual approach we have chosen offers students the most stable yet flexible avenue for engaging with academic opportunities.

Will classes have specifically scheduled times?

Yes. All courses are being established with a fixed class time. Instructors are free to decide whether or how to use those fixed class times, but should be prepared to outline their intentions for those class times in their course outlines within the first two weeks of class so that students can plan accordingly. Once established, changes to those expectations can only occur within the limits set in Senate Bylaws 54 and 55.  All courses will also have scheduled exam times as per usual, during which instructors can choose to schedule an online exam if alternative assessment approaches have not been used.

Will instructors be able to be campus?

The University continues to follow Provincial guidelines with regard to return to face-to-face work on campus.  There are currently a number of working groups collaborating on the development of protocols and procedures for a phased return to work. More information on this topic will be provided as it becomes available.

GAs and TAs

Are resources available to help me teach online?

Yes! Please visit, a one-stop access point for resources and programs to support instructors, GAs and TAs, and others working to enhance student learning online.

What roles can I expect GAs or TAs to undertake online?

GAs and TAs supporting online courses can have a number of roles, just as they do in on-campus courses including grading and assessing student work, providing virtual office hours, answering student questions, providing support in labs and tutorials. Instructors will set the specific tasks that GAs or TAs will undertake in courses in accordance with the CUPE Local 4580 Collective Agreement.

To assist GAs and TAs as they transition to supporting online teaching: 

  • Training in GA/TA activities in online settings is available through the CTL/OOL. For workshop topics and times, please visit   
  • The annual GATAcademy will be held as a week-long, online event from August 31 - September 4, 2020.
  • There is a wiki page with a variety of resources available for GAs and TAs to help them with their work. 
  • The GATA Network is hosting virtual drop-in office hours Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. during the summer. Access to these virtual office hours through BlackBoard Collaborate at this link After selecting the link, participants simply need to  select ‘join room’.
  • The GATA Network is also available for individual meetings for those who cannot attend the pre-set office hours. Email Laura Chittle or Elizabeth Ismail to arrange a time. 
  • GAs and TAs are welcome to join the Virtual Office Hours in the Bb Café Organization or submit a ticket at for individualized support.
Where can I direct my GA/TA for assistance as they transition to supporting online teaching?

Instructors are encouraged to promote the following resources to their graduate students, graduate assistants (GAs) and teaching assistants (TAs) to assist with their transition to supporting online teaching: 

  • Training in GA/TA activities in online settings is available through the CTL/OOL. For workshop topics and times, please visit   
  • The annual GATAcademy will be held as a week-long, online event from August 31 - September 4, 2020.
  • The GATA Network is hosting virtual drop-in office hours Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. during the summer. Access to these virtual office hours through BlackBoard Collaborate at this link After selecting the link, participants simply need to  select ‘join room’.
  • The GATA Network is also available for individual meetings for those who cannot attend the pre-set office hours. Email Laura Chittle or Elizabeth Ismail to arrange a time. 
  • There is a wiki page with a variety of resources available for GAs and TAs to help them with their work. 
  • GAs and TAs are welcome to join the Virtual Office Hours in the Bb Café Organization or submit a ticket at for individualized support.
Will GAs and TAs be on campus?

The University continues to follow Provincial guidelines with regard to return to face-to-face work on campus. There are currently a number of working groups collaborating on the development of protocols and procedures for a phased return to work. More information on this topic will be provided as it becomes available. 

Will the annual GATAcademy be held this year?

Yes! This year, GATAcademy will be held completely online, as a week-long event from August 31 - September 4, 2020.

GATAcademy is a free professional development event exclusively for current and prospective graduate and teaching assistants. Workshops will feature material and activities for both new and experienced GAs/TAs that will help them improve their teaching and be more proficient in their role. Topics include using Blackboard Collaborate, being a GA/TA online, best practices in grading and feedback, and more! The unique characteristic of this event is that it is facilitated by GAs for GAs and TAs. As well, some sessions feature GA and faculty members co-facilitating workshops.

GATAcademy is a project of the GATA Network, a peer-supported network supported jointly by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Timed for the beginning of every Fall semester, GATAcademy is the largest event for GAs and TAs to explore opportunities for personal and professional development.

For more information on this and other events coordinated by the GATA Network, please visit

Learning Technologies

I'd prefer to use Zoom for online meetings or teaching. Can I do that?

Zoom is not currently a centrally supported system on campus (MS Teams and Collaborate Ultra are our supported tools). You can still choose to use a personal Zoom account, but there is no institutional licence or technical support available for Zoom.  

There are specific software packages or tools I would like to be able to use-- who can I ask about that?

Submitting a ticket through the central online IT Service Desk is the quickest way to ensure that the request goes to the right place. Tickets can be submitted at:  In many cases, there may be an existing tool supported by the institution with similar functionality.  It may not be possible to support individual requests in many cases, as the institution is attempting to prioritize resource allocations in order to support the broadest number of students and instructors. It is also worth noting that it is important to exercise a high degree of caution when considering applications promoted to instructors during this period of high demand: there are many intellectual property, privacy, and technical implications that must be considered when adopting new tools and these may not always be readily obvious. 

What tools can I use to communicate virtually with my students?
  1. The Blackboard Collaborate Virtual Classroom is a tool in every course shell that offers real-time, synchronous virtual meetings, including audio, video, chat, and presentation tools. These can be used to hold office hours and other meetings with students. Instructions for how to use the Virtual Classroom can be found by clicking here.
  2. Other tools in Blackboard Learn including announcements, email, messages and discussion boards allow for text-based communication with students. Instructions for a variety of means of communication are available here.
  3. Teams (available through Microsoft Office 365) allows you to set up synchronous private or group meetings with your students, and includes file-sharing. Instructions for setting up a meeting in Teams.


Other Campus Services

As a Faculty member, how do I order my textbooks?

Faculty book orders can be submitted to The Bookstore has been selling both digital codes and hard copy textbooks to students through our online web orders system. 

Teaching courses online has not changed the course material adoption process. The earlier, that we receive your order adoption by email or through our electronic Online Course Adoption (OCA), the quicker we can process your requests and eliminate distribution problems.

Do I have to use digital resources or can I still use printed materials?

The Bookstore continues to encourage faculty to adopt digital alternatives for course materials for the Fall semester, however we are selling print copies as well. The Campus Bookstore is receiving smaller shipments at this time, and we will work with faculty to obtain course materials in any format. We are committed to finding the best available options for your courses and will work with publishers to make sure your books arrive as soon as possible; in the format you need.

How do I obtain a desk copy?

For desk copies, please contact the Publisher, your sales representative or your department Secretary.  They need to verify the course that you plan on using the course material and can follow up with you should you wish to preview other material. The Bookstore cannot provide this for you.

What are the Course Material Order deadline dates?

Class start



April 30


June 15


October 15


What information can faculty provide to students to help them in getting their course material needs met?

Students can order their course materials online at

Faculty can share this link that will help answer students' questions: FAQs Online Orders - COVID-19

Web orders are shipped out to students on Tuesdays and Thursdays currently but may increase in frequency if warranted. As Provincial guidelines become clearer, we will provide more information regarding further plans for curbside access or opening for the Fall 2020 semester.

Student Experience and Support

Are there resources that can help students become familiar with online learning?

Tutorials for you and your students on how to use the Virtual Classroom have been made available in your course sites.  You will notice a new item in the left menu called “Virtual Classroom Tutorial” and that is where quick information on how to use the virtual classroom can be found. (If you are missing this tutorial, please login and submit a ticket to and indicate which course(s) you wish the tutorial to appear in).  If you wish to suppress the tutorial from the menu, hover over the edit chevron icon to the right of that item, and you will see the option to “Hide Link.”

There is also a wiki page that will help students get started on common tools, such as discussion boards, journals, assignments and tests. In addition, all active students have access to a Student Orientation Blackboard Course site that provides a tutorial to practice submitting an assignment, completing an online test and completing a survey.

We are working to set up more opportunities and programs that will engage students with virtual learning over the course of the next few weeks: there will be more information about these programs in the weeks to come.

How are undergraduate teaching labs being offered during the Fall 2020 semester?

Instructors, lab and technicians have been working hard to explore a number of different approaches to ensuring that learning outcomes typically achieved through activities in teaching labs will be achieved either in this semester’s courses or over the course of your program.  The solutions they have developed vary and are based on instructors’ expert knowledge of their disciplines. Labs may be undertaken through materials and activities developed for home settings, using virtual lab materials that are being co-developed by discipline specialists and instructional designers from all over the world, using data sets and visual materials recorded for virtual use, or, in some cases, materials within your courses may be shifted across semesters for face-to-face engagement later. All these solutions are being developed in consultation with department heads and deans, often with the help of academic and staff colleagues with expertise in the relevant discipline and technologies.  There may be changes to what students experience in this semester in some cases, but we are fully committed to ensuring a rigorous and robust educational experience this semester and across the rest of students’ educational paths. 

How will students undertake their research in the Fall semester?

Students will return to research in accordance with the University plan for the resumption of research activity plan that is currently in development.  Working in parallel with Provincial guidelines and local health unit advice, the phased in approach to the return of research will ensure the safety of everyone involved.  Advisors and Heads of Department will provide guidance on the resumption of activity as the various phases open.  All research activity that can be undertaken from home can continue (e.g, analysis of data, writing, literature review).

Teaching Online

Are resources available to help me teach online?

Yes! Please visit, a one-stop access point for resources and programs to support instructors, GAs and TAs, and others working to enhance student learning online.

Can I use Blackboard tests to replace high-stakes proctored exams?

This is not advised!  While Blackboard Tests offer 17 different types of questions and is a very useful for tests and shorter exams, it is not designed to replace long or proctored exams. If you do use the test tool, we encourage you to break the exam into multiple components to reduce the chances that students will run into technical problems. Also, note that only 5 out of the 17 types of questions that can be done on a mobile device, which may be what your students are using.

The University of Windsor is working to provide technology solutions to support examinations, including exam management tools that allow for more nuanced and advanced testing procedures, and online proctoring where appropriate. These technologies, however, are only part of the academic integrity equation. Additional resources can be found at



Can my class just be asynchronous? If so, what would an effective asynchronous course look like? What interactive options are there?

Instructors make the decisions regarding effective pedagogical choices in online courses in the same way they do in their on-campus courses, although AAUs may need to consider the implications of synchronous course offerings in programs where students are pursuing their studies from multiple time zones. There are a number of considerations instructors should take into account when deciding whether to offer a course in asynchronous, synchronous, or flipped online delivery modes. Asynchronous teaching is a good way to address inequities for students with poor access to the internet and technology. Asynchronous courses often require a lot more time and planning to develop an engaging and fully supported learning environment. There are lots of options for interaction and engagement with students in asynchronous courses, including email, discussion forums, chat in MS Teams, recorded videos, and even social media. It is critical that instructors communicate regularly with their students in all online courses, but this need is amplified in asynchronous courses where it can become easy to disengage or feel isolated. Consult with your Dean, Department Head, and the pedagogical specialists in OOL and CTL before making any final decisions. 

Connecting with student is really important - how do I do that online?

There are many tools in your online learning toolkit that you can use to connect and communicate effectively with students. Announcements are useful to provide regular updates to students, and because they are persistent on the course site, students can always go back to them as well as receiving them as an email from you. The Virtual Classroom or MS Teams can be used for connecting with students in a synchronous way, and the discussion forums can be an effective way for students to asynchronously connect with you and their peers. 

Discussion is a big part of my class-- is there any way to make that work online?

Rich discussions are a feature of many online courses. Discussions can be either synchronous (Virtual Classroom, MS Teams, chat) or asynchronous (discussion forums). Asynchronous discussions can be a great way to engage students in your class, promote and develop a community of learners, and can provide a space for students who might not otherwise respond in an on-campus class to become involved. They are also often more comfortable for students with English as an additional language as they are able to take time to craft a thoughtful response to the discussion. It is important to start off the discussion with a model discussion post, so students know what you are looking for, and equally important to avoid responding to every post so as to not dominate the discussion. Developing class norms around communication before the first discussion can help to improve engagement and promote appropriate behaviour. 

Does my course have to be a synchronous online offering?

The University is not mandating either synchronous or asynchronous delivery, though specific programs and Faculties may establish specific guidelines. For example, specific programs may need to accommodate the needs of students working online from international settings.  In most cases, a blended practice is recommended.  

  • Synchronous teaching can be engaging but can have equity and technical challenges: many students will be learning solely from a phone or tablet on poor or intermittent internet. Consider spreading the load by having shorter synchronous sessions rather than one long class.
  • Asynchronous teaching is more accessible but requires more work to design and facilitate well. Providing readings, class notes, interactive online tools such as simulations, videos, recording mini-lectures, and using asynchronous discussion forums are all effective elements of asynchronous learning. , and
  • Flipped or blended approach: Consider reserving synchronous sessions for difficult or complex topics that students struggle with in your experience, dialogue, collaborative learning, or activities where you need to see and hear each other live (performance, presentation etc.).

The OOL and CTL would be happy to discuss how this might apply to your courses: more resources on the topic can be found at

How can I get help moving courses online?

Teaching online is a new challenge for many, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Open Learning, and Information Technology Services, have been working hard to expand resources and services to support instructors, GAs and TAs, and other members of educational support teams during this time. These include:

  • 5-day courses,
  • half-day courses,
  • workshops,
  • short sprint sessions,
  • Faculty and Department-specific sessions,
  • daily drop-in sessions,
  • one-on-one consultations, and
  • online resources and self-paced courses
  • course design sprints (upcoming)

These supports are tailored to meet the needs of instructors who have never taught online before, through to experienced online instructors who have specific needs for their courses. A description of current resources including links to materials and registration sites can be found here: A new website gathering resources and information for instructors from across campus will be available soon at

How do I ensure Academic Integrity?

As in-person proctored exams are not being held for the Intersession Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters, many instructors are raising concerns about academic integrity. Some key strategies for mitigating cheating include the following: designing assignments that are difficult to plagiarize; building collaboration and research into the assignment design; ensure expectations are clear; and explain the value of academic integrity to students. One way to do this is through Academic Honour Codes.

For further information about fostering Academic Integrity in a range of assessments, please see the Fostering Academic Integrity page.

How do I grade online?

How you grade online will depend on the assessments you’ve chosen, whether you have GAs or TAs to help you, and your preferred workflow. If you are using Blackboard tests, all of the objective questions (multiple choice, T-F, fill in the blank, calculated, etc.) will be graded automatically.

Online assignments can be graded inline, using Blackboard’s annotation and feedback tool. If you have created and applied a rubric for the assignment, it will also be available in this area. Any grades submitted here will automatically populate the grade centre. 

Assignments can also be downloaded and assessed outside of Blackboard – but do note that only the grades can be uploaded in bulk. Individual feedback would need to be uploaded individually. 

For assessments not directly linked to Blackboard tools, you can also manually create columns in the Grade Centre, and upload grades from a spreadsheet to share with students.


How do I move my lectures online?

When deciding how to share course content, there are a number of factors to keep in mind.  First, is it critical to hold the classes as synchronous lectures, or can you post the materials online for asynchronous viewing?

If you decide to hold lectures, you can use the Virtual Classroom, a tool available in every course site. MS Teams is also available. Note, however, that students’ access to technology and internet connections might make it difficult for some of them to attend, so you may prefer to record sessions in advance and let students watch on their own schedule. This can help mitigate technical problems and ensure that all students can access the materials.

You can also use PowerPoint to pre-record your lectures

Please note that video and audio files should not be uploaded directly into Blackboard as they cause a huge load on the systems and when students try to download them, they could time-out!   Wherever possible, however, we encourage you to keep your solutions as simple and as low-tech as possible. Information about large files and how to manage them can be found here.



If I ask a question online and there's total silence, what should I do?

Providing space and time for students to process the question and craft a thoughtful response are important, if uncomfortable, teaching strategies (just as they are in an on-campus class). Try to choose questions that students can relate to, which are topical, and which have no wrong or right answer to prompt deeper thought and debate. Starting the discussion off with a model post is a good way to signal what you expect. You can also help to keep a discussion flowing by judiciously contributing, weaving together some of the posts and acknowledging contributions of students. Gilly Salmon calls this eModerating. It takes some practice to find the right balance in this facilitation – it’s okay for students to know you’re learning along with them.  

Is it really possible to offer an online course that is as effective as a face-to-face course?

Absolutely! With a few exceptions (such as labs, field trips, clinical placements and some other experiential learning opportunities), research shows that online learning can be equivalent to or better than on-campus learning. Check out the multitude of resources available from the Office of Open Learning and Centre for Teaching and Learning to help you design an engaging and effective learning environment in your online course:

Is there a way I can take an online class to see what it's like?

The Office of Open Learning is offering a week-long immersive online course, “Introduction to Teaching Online”, which provides instructors an opportunity to experience an online course as a student, while at the same time becoming familiar with the learning environment and building elements of their own online courses in a guided way with feedback. The course runs weekly with a new cohort starting on Mondays. Register here:

Now that classes and exams will be delivered outside of the classroom, how am I to address my students’ accommodations in class and during exams?

Students with disabilities will continue to work their Disability Advisors to determine appropriate accommodations. As usual, students will be required to register each semester with their advisor in Student Accessibility Services (SAS) so that accommodation letters can be prepared for students to send to you.

Although exams will not be written on campus, Advisors are available to discuss options with Instructors. Contact details are listed in each student's accommodation letter. Or feel free to contact

What are Academic Honour Codes and why should I use them?

Academic Honour Codes can mitigate academic dishonesty by enlisting student support in the creation and maintenance of a culture of academic integrity.  Research indicates that where honour codes are employed, students are more likely to see themselves as part of a community founded on trust, mutual recognition and support (McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001). Because they value the privileges that arise from this type of community over a culture where compliance to rules is enforced only through punishment, they are less likely to succumb to the temptations to cheat.

An academic integrity code may be as simple as having students attach a verification that an assignment or test they are submitting is their own original work, or it may be used in the context of an overall course, or across the institution.  For sample wording that you can use for Academic Honour Codes, please see the Fostering Academic Integrity page.

What are key points I should think about for building an online course?

There are a wide range of resources available to instructors to help them build engaging and effective online courses. While there are many different ways to create high quality courses, we have collected some of the fundamentals of effective online teaching practice, focusing on social, cognitive, and instructor presence. 

What does the university mean by “teaching online”? Are there specific formats we are required to use, or guidelines we are required to follow?

As always, instructional practice at the University, guided by the rights and responsibilities outlined in the collective agreement (WUFA Collective Agreement, Section 5), the regulatory context established by Senate bylaw and policy remain foundational to scholarly practice.  The University’s COVID-19 emergency academic plan, extended with revisions by Senate in May 2020, provides a somewhat greater degree of flexibility with regard to some aspects of the implementation of Bylaws 54 and 55, as well as the ways in which program learning outcomes are achieved through specific courses, under the approval of the Dean or Associate Dean. 

For Fall 2020, instructors have been asking for clarity with regard to expectations and effective practice given that, for many, this is an entirely new teaching format. As with all instructional practice, determining an ideal mix of activities and assessment to meet the courses’ learning outcomes is discipline- and course-specific, and depends also on the style and approach of the instructor and the typical student population of the courses. Some general guidelines for online teaching to consider:

  1. Keep course learning outcomes at the centre of all course design decisions.
  2. Regular communication and visible instructor presence are critical to student success.
  3. Leverage the power of the internet to create an engaging online learning experience, using a diverse range of learning resources (consider Open Educational Resources or no-cost alternatives to commercial resources wherever possible); think beyond the text and lectures.
  4. Assessments should be fair and equitable to learners and instructors, and be designed for online learning; use more than one approach and evaluate all learning outcomes. All online courses will have online assessments in the Fall semester.
  5. Using Universal Design for Learning principles addresses issues of equity; care, trust, and humane interactions make rich learning and teaching experiences.

For help developing an effective online course, please contact the Office of Open Learning, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.  Links and an outline of current resources can be found at

What is a 'flipped' course?

Flipped classes typically have some pre-recorded lecture material and/or activities that are required to be completed before coming to a live class in the Virtual Classroom to further student learning of the topic. These classes require active participation and preparation from students prior to the synchronous online class.   

What is a synchronous course?

Synchronous courses occur when instructors and students meet at the same time. Some courses will make extensive use of the university’s Virtual Classroom to facilitate live, interactive classes. These will generally be scheduled in UWinsite Student like an on-campus class. Classes can also be recorded so that students can review the class later to provide greater flexibility and to support student access in case of technology challenges, etc.

What is an asynchronous course?

In an asynchronous course, the interactions and learning activities between instructors and students do not occur at the same time.  They are usually designed without any required synchronous learning activities, such as lectures or class meetings. Most of the material is provided as recorded lectures, lecture notes, readings, online videos, textbooks, and a range of other learning resources. Students have a lot of flexibility in these courses to progress at their own pace, with milestones along the way such as quizzes, asynchronous discussions, and assignments to meet. Asynchronous courses must still have office hours where students can contact their instructor, and may have some live elements such as optional review or tutorial classes. 

What options do I have for assessment?

As there will be no formal in-person proctored exams in either Intersession/Summer or Fall, courses that have relied on these types of traditional assessments will need to consider alternatives. Fortunately, there are many ways that students can demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes. Please see the Exams and Alternate Assessments During Disruptions page for some ideas.



What will the University do to ensure that exams can be offered in a way that safeguards academic integrity?

Upholding academic integrity standards is the responsibility of everyone in the University of Windsor community. This requires a multi-pronged approach that includes pedagogical design, education of students, technology supports, and enforcement of standards. For the Fall semester, we are working to extend  technological solutions to support examinations, including exam management tools that allow for more nuanced and advanced testing procedures, and online proctoring where appropriate. However, these are only a part of the solution to this challenge. Additional resources can be found at

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