Zoom, which allows you to create a videoconference with up to 300 participants at a time, is one of the most effective tools which you can use to communicate—whether synchronously or, through its "record meeting" feature, asynchronously—with your students, teaching staff, and colleagues more generally. (It can also be a superb way for students to keep in touch with each other; your students' Harvard-issued Zoom accounts come with all of the same capabilities to host meetings, share screens and files, etc. as does yours. You may want to recommend that students form their own Zoom study groups, which they could coordinate by timezone.) While teaching by Zoom involves certain limitations (not least of which is the fact that it requires your students to have fairly robust internet access), it also unlocks a number of interesting possibilities (e.g. the ability to do boardwork and annotate slides in real time).

Getting Started in Zoom

Academic Technology for the FAS has a page full of resources on teaching via Zoom, including sign ups for remote trainings and advice about how to execute particular teaching moves through the toll (e.g. sharing slides).

Boardwork and Document Cameras

Two face-to-face teaching moves which might seem difficult to replicate via Zoom are (1) boardwork (i.e. chalk- or whiteboarding out the solutions to problems in real time), and (2) show and tell (i.e. allowing students to observe and inspect an object at close range). While they are not perfect replacements, there are ways that Zoom does allow for at least some approximation of both of these experiences: by tethering a phone, tablet, and/or document camera to your main desktop.

  • A tethered tablet (particularly if you also have a stylus) allows you to work problems by hand on the screen, saving your work for later upload to Canvas.
  • A tethered document camera (which could be a proper document camera, or a smartphone with its camera app selected) allwos you to share objects as well as documents and manipulate them for remote observers.

We demonstrate how to execute both of these solutions on our Boardwork page.

Managing Class Recordings

Once you end a Zoom session that has been recorded in the cloud, you have a few easy options for organizing links to the recordings through your Canvas site.

Option 1: Publishing Links at Zoom 

Pros: Fewest steps 

  1. Click on Zoom in the sidebar at your Canvas site, which will take you to the Zoom web page tied to your course (in Safari you might be prompted to open Zoom in a new window) 
  2. Click on the Cloud Recordings tab (the tab farthest to the right) 
  3. Slide the toggle under Publish to the right for any class recordings you want students to have access to 
  4. That’s it! Any recordings that have been published are now visible to students in the Cloud Recordings tab when they select the Zoom button within the Canvas site for your course. 

Option 2: Organizing Links in Canvas

Pros: Keeps links within your course’s Canvas site 
Cons: Requires a couple of additional steps 

  1. When your class recording has been processed, you should get an email that has a URL you can use to share the recording with students
  2. These links can be organized in your Canvas site, e.g., as external URLs in a module or you can embed them as hotlinks in a page within a module

Academic Technology for the FAS / HUIT

Your starting place for learning about and accessing many of the technological tools you may need, such as Zoom, Canvas, and related plug-ins.

The Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL)

VPAL convenes university-wide conversations about teaching and pedagogical research, particularly in the online space.

The Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE)

OUE oversees, and stewards resources devoted to, the undergraduate curriculum at Harvard College..

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE)

DCE offers a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online courses, and their staff are experienced in thinking about multiple ways to achieve your goals through different mediums.

SEAS and the Division of Science

Advice on teaching in the sciences.

The Harvard Libraries

Request help modifying/troubleshooting your research-based assignments.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Schedule a consultation with the Bok Center's Senior Staff. (Please note that consultations are available only for Faculty and Teaching Fellows in the FAS.)

Faculty can visit our office hours, every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10:30–11:30 AM; or request a class observation.

Daily Office Hours  |  Class observation

Teaching Fellows can explore the asynchronous Canvas resources from the Fall Teaching Conference; or attend our biweekly TF resource hours.

Fall Teaching Conference  |  TF Resource Hours

The media production staff of the Bok Center's Learning Lab can provide consultations for faculty teaching Harvard College courses using Zoom and other modes of media capture. We can provide suggestions for setting up remote video capture environments in your home or office, and on ways to integrate media into your courses.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss your needs with our staff.

Email the Learning Lab  |  Request a Media Tutorial

Media and Design Fellow David Forrest works collaboratively with an undergraduate student on some audio equipment.

Media & Design Fellows Program Launches

September 25, 2020

The Bok Center is excited to announce the launch of a new graduate fellow program, the Media and Design Fellows (MDFs)! As part of the Bok Center’s Learning Lab team, MDFs support innovative course development within the FAS, partnering with faculty and staff to design a variety of digital tools, course materials, and assignments for undergraduate courses and departments.

Across the disciplines, faculty and students are innovating by deploying richer media (3D models, high quality videos, well-designed infographics and illustrations) and richer interactions...

Read more about Media & Design Fellows Program Launches
Reimagining the Fall Teaching Conference

Reimagining the Fall Teaching Conference

September 21, 2020

In the midst of a pandemic, many global challenges, and the prospect of a fully remote fall semester, the Bok Center spent the summer grappling with a multitude of questions: How should we prepare graduate student TFs to teach remotely? How could we reimagine our flagship event, the Fall Teaching Conference, usually a bustling two-day conference held in Sever Hall the week before classes start? How could we meet the needs of both new and experienced TFs facing an unprecedented semester?

Like instructors everywhere, we couldn’t take anything for granted. We...

Read more about Reimagining the Fall Teaching Conference
Machine in deep sea

Dispatches from the Field: Teaching Innovation Videos

September 16, 2020

Back in July, Peter Girguis, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, reached out to the Bok Center after a series of informal conversations with faculty colleagues about their innovative ideas for the upcoming semester, which would be taught entirely remotely. The faculty Girguis encountered were working hard across the summer to develop innovative, rich experiences for undergraduates in the fall. While some types of...

Read more about Dispatches from the Field: Teaching Innovation Videos