The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Information about Remote Instruction

The material on this website is intended to assist College of Engineering faculty in transitioning their current existing courses to remote instruction. The College thanks Ana Muriel from MIE for her assistance in developing these resources. Before addressing the technical aspects of course delivery, some tips for teaching via remote instruction are provided.

Keep it simple

In keeping with our tradition of great teaching, we want to continue to provide the best possible instruction for students. We are fortunate that we have excellent tools (Zoom and Moodle) to deliver content and assess students. Please try to embrace this opportunity to try new teaching techniques. A key concept is keeping your initial teaching and assessment efforts simple. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom and Moodle, try the basic concepts first. This could include writing out your notes on paper, scanning them into pdf, and performing a voice over using Zoom to create a lecture. Zoom can also be effectively used in shared whiteboard and Powerpoint modes. This web site will help you with these activities and provide pointers for more advanced activities.

Communication with students

As some students may be experiencing anxiety, I encourage each of us to reach out to our classes. We need to reassure students that we are working hard to move to remote instruction and will make it work for everyone. We will keep high expectations for our students, as always, but will be flexible and accommodate to the various situations that arise. They should feel free to reach out to us if they have specific concerns. Since proctoring on a broad scale will be difficult, we will need to trust students to complete work on their own and allow them to engage in more open-book assessment.


Keeping course materials and deadlines well organized and easy to find can save time and reduce stress. Here are some tips:

  • Number all the course materials by week and module (followed by a meaningful title that indicates the topic). This makes it easy for students to follow the timeline and match the videos on the Echo360 library with the written material. For instance: W1M1 - Introduction to Blah would be the first video on Echo360 and it has a file identically named in the Moodle page with the slides; any supporting materials may have different titles but all starting with W1M1.
  • Weekly or daily announcements with checklists so students are reminded of what is expected of them at the time and can easily stay on task.
  • Add an anonymous questionnaire (survey) on Moodle to collect feedback: This is extremely helpful to understand the student perspective, what is working and what is not. Students can freely provide feedback. The same survey can remain open throughout the semester, or you may do different ones at different points with more specific questions that pertain to that part of the semester.

Student Access to Software

Students can remotely log in to a server ECS has installed and have access to the typical software they would rely on in the ELAB 307 computer lab. Some students may not be aware of this, so please let them know if it is important for your course.

Next: Integrate Zoom with your Moodle Course Page »