Keep Teaching

Remote Emergency Instruction

When you need to move your course online due to unexpected circumstances, the following tools can be used to keep your class running, even if you are unable to meet in person. Join us for one of our upcoming Keep Teaching Webinars to support you during this transition. All webinars are listed below and will be recorded and posted on this site.

If you are planning to move your course online for a future semester, please contact CELT to set up an appointment to discuss development with an instructional designer. 


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Before teaching, remember to make sure your devices are secure
  • Register for an upcoming workshop with DoIT or CELT
  • Email CELT to schedule a session for your entire department or to schedule a one-on-one with one of our instructional designers. 
  • Email Academic Technology Services for academic technical consults and questions. 

Ways to Hold Your Class During Campus or Building Closures

Before teaching, remember to make sure your devices are secure

Preparing-Here are some first steps
Blackboard: Setting up Your Course

Blackboard is Stony Brook University's learning management system (LMS), which allows instructors to supplement face-to-face classes, or launch online classes. Blackboard includes a variety of features that allows instructors to do anything from uploading course documents, to posting an announcement, to collecting and grading assignments. Since student access is tracked, it is pertinent to use Blackboard for “attendance” and grading purposes. Here is a list of the basic functions in Blackboard (click on the links to access tutorials): 

NOTE: If Blackboard is down, please refer to these instructions to email your students. 
Testing in Blackboard
Creating a test

Creating Tests Directly in Blackboard: 

Other testing information:

Using Respondus:

Additional Resources: 

Creating and Uploading Content
You can upload content you already have access to, or create and upload new content in a number of ways:

*When uploading directly to Blackboard, file size is limited to 250MB. 


Assessment Tips to Prevent Cheating


  • Respondus LockDown Browser - Require students to use the Respondus LockDown Browser with online quizzes and tests. This is a custom browser that prevents Internet searches, accessing notes or other applications on the computer, or copying the exam questions themselves, among other things. Here is an overview of key features, and go here for instructor resources

  • Respondus Monitor [additional resources] - Uses the student's webcam to prevent cheating during non-proctored exams. Here is an overview of key features, and go here for instructor resources. NOTE: Students will need access to a webcam for this tool. 

  • Tip: Create a Practice Exam – Have students take a practice exam with Respondus Monitor to ensure their computer, webcam and Internet are working properly. Allow students more than one attempt on the quiz so they can try the practice exam whenever their device or networking environment changes.
  • Rapid Rollout for Administrators provides answers the top questions that administrators have about these applications
  • Rapid Rollout for Instructors answers the top questions instructors have about LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor
  • Please encourage instructors to attend one of our daily live training webinars
  • 24/7 Live Chat – Remember that students can access built-in troubleshooting and live chat from within Respondus Monitor if they encounter a technical problem. Click the title to find more resources for students, including how to access Live Chat. 

Setting up Exams/Quizzes:

  • Mix Objective and Subjective Questions - Subjective questions may demand a deeper understanding of the subject being tested, are difficult to cheat on, and so can offset the impact of cheating on objective questions. 

  • Use Question Pools and Sets - Rather than using a fixed number of items that remain unchanged for each administration of the test, consider creating a question pool. Questions can be grouped by any number of criteria, including topic, subject matter, question type or difficulty of question. See the help page on Question Pools here. To learn more about how to use pools to create question sets, click here. 

  • Randomize Questions - There is a test option that allows you to randomize the selection of test questions as well as the order in which they appear. This strategy can address the issue of students who take a test at the same time in order to share answers. See the help page here for test presentation. 

  • Set a Timer - Students who are adequately prepared for a test may be less likely to rely on open book/notes compared with students unprepared for testing. See the help page here on setting a timer. 

  • Display Questions One At A Time - This will limit the ease for students to take a screen capture of the displayed questions and share them with other students. See the help page here for test presentation. 

  • Testing Options in Blackboard [video]

  • Remind students before each test/quiz or test that no phones or other devices should be within their reach (e.g., on the desk, in a pocket, etc.). Frequent reminders convey to students you take cheating seriously, without saying the words themselves.

Other Assignments:

  • SafeAssign - Enable SafeAssign, Blackboard’s plagiarism detection software, in the assignment creation options. This goes for assignment and paper drafts as well for a pre-check. See the DoIT help page on Safe Assign here

  • More quizzes, fewer exams - This encourages students to keep up on their classwork, and it reduces the incentive to cheat because the value of each quiz is lower than one comprehensive test. Consider dropping a lowest quiz grade and/or allowing multiple attempts. 

  • Vary your assessments - Tests are not the only option. If students are evaluated with various different methods, you have the best way of ensuring that there is real learning taking place. Consider breaking up papers, lab reports, and projects into multiple parts worth fewer points.

  • Articulate what kinds of collaboration are permissible in a given assignment.

  • Manage student reference use. Require references no more than 5 years old, require specific references, require annotated bibliographies and/or prospectuses.

  • Develop unique or narrow assignment topics. These are more difficult to plagiarize. 

  • Provide opportunities for peer review and comments. Students that content that is not their own are usually unable to effectively answer questions about their plagiarized content.

Academic Integrity Policy - present it to students prior to each exam. Reminding students of their repsonsibility can be a powerful method to deter cheating.  Be sure to include the academic integrity policy in the course information page on Blackboard and on the syllabus. Include a detailed description of plagiarism and the plagiarism policy. Consider making a new announcement reiterating SBU’s policy.

Additional Tip: Check study sites such as Course Hero for your own course content and request removal if necessary. 

References and Additional Resources 

Alternate Methods of Assessment

Alternate Methods of Assessment 

For students that might have technology or connectivity issues that can present challenges for long online exams, there are a number of alternative ways to assess them. Research shows that frequent, formative feedback results in positive student outcomes (Brookhart 1997, 2007; Black and Wiliam 1998a; McMillan 2004, Cauley & McMillan, 2010; Gikandi et al., 2011). We urge you to be creative and compassionate towards our students during this challenging time. Please email with your questions and to request consultations. 

Many of these assessments fit in more than one category, but here are some general guidelines. Selected resources are linked in this list. Browse the rest of our Keep Teaching page for more. 

Auto Grading (great for large classes)

Assessments that are gradable by Blackboard or other software to assess student retention and application of key concepts.

  • Untimed “open-book” multiple choice quizzes and tests 
  • Tips for remote exams (from Rutgers University) 

Low-stakes quizzes 

Short and frequent assessments of where the students are currently which can help you gauge the class as a whole.

  • Weekly multiple choice quizzes (great for large classes)
    • You can break up pre-existing question banks and pool for weekly quizzes
  • Problem sets
  • Short answer questions
  • Have students describe how they came to a solution for another problem.
  • Utilize any TAs you have for grading 

Authentic Assessments 

Have your students focus on real-world application of the information from their discipline.

  • Reflections (from University of Birmingham)
  • Discussion boards
    • Craft your prompt and have students reply, and reply to another student for a grade
    •  Use a grading rubric for discussions. It speeds up your grading while making expectations clear for students.
    • Use prompts that do not have a single “correct” answer. This helps to encourage discussion
    • Assign students to be discussion board leaders where they pose questions and respond to other students
    • Utilize your TAs to help manage online discussions and provide feedback to students
  • Video presentations using VoiceThread
    • Students can upload a PowerPoint and add video/audio comments to narrate them
  • Make an e-Portfolio
  • Make a webpage/wiki - Google Sites, Blackboard wiki

Application Assessments

Have your students apply key concepts from your discipline to analyze information.

  • Case study analysis
  • Data/graph analysis
  • Create graphs or figures using supplied data. These can also be uploaded to the discussion board.
  • Analysis or critique of a performance, piece of artwork, poem, chapter, etc.
  • Write a meaningful paragraph with key terms provided
  • Drawings to illustrate concepts and connections 

Resource Development Assessments 

Have your students create a resource that can be used for the class in the future or as an example of resources that will be needed in the discipline. 

  • Supply key terms and have students connect them 
  • Student created abstracts, summaries, infographics (With Canva or Piktochart)
  • Literature reviews, annotated bibliographies
  • Research or project proposals 
  • Students create test and/or quiz questions and discussion board questions

Written assessments

Problem sets can be done on paper, then students can take a photo or scan with one of the following apps and send it to you: 

Synchronous Classes and Office Hours (Zoom, Google Meet, Skype for Business)

If you need to connect with students synchronously, you can do so in a number of ways. 

Zoom: connect with students by using Zoom. You and your students will need a microphone and a webcam (if you would like to share video). You can share your screen as well. 

  • Visit our DoIT help page for more information on using Zoom and preventing disruptions in your meetings and classes. 

  • Using Zoom inside of Blackboard - you and your students can access Zoom directly through Blackboard. Each Blackboard class has a link that you and all of your students have access to. 

  • Accessing Zoom outside of Blackboard - you can set up meeting outside of Blackboard directly through Zoom.  

  • For recording your meeting or class, we recommend recording to the Cloud, which includes automatic speech recognition. If you do record locally to your computer, we recommend uploading the recording to Google Drive instead of Blackboard. Direct uploads to Blackboard are limited to 250MB.

  • Note: Zoom is fully functional, but is still in beta. Because of this, you might notice text that states there is a limit of 500 participants in the meeting. This is not accurate. Zoom will be able to host 1000 participants in a meeting. Please let us know if you have any questions. 

Google Meet: connect with students by using Google Meet. You and your students will need a microphone and a webcam (if you would like to share video). You can share your screen as well. Use the "Turn on Captions" option for real time automated closed captioning. 

Skype for Business: connect with students by using Skype for Business. You and your students will need a microphone and a webcam (if you would like to share video). You can share your screen as well. 

NOTE: East Campus faculty and staff, must use Microsoft Teams for clinical purposes and Zoom for teaching purposes. Contact East Campus IT with questions

Strategies to Engage Students in Synchronous Zoom Sessions

There are a number of ways to engage students during your Zoom session:

Accessibility Resources (Creating accessible content, captioning & transcription, Zoom)

To learn more about creating accessible course content, please see the links below:

Captioning and Transcription Options for Remote Tools

For students who are documented as needed accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Support Center (SASC):  631-632-6748 or email


  • Can process recording for automatic speech recognition (ASR) only if recording is saved to the cloud
  • Once the cloud transcription is complete, it will need to be edited in the recording
  • Turn on captioning option in settings for the host or a participant to type in live captions

Zoom article on captioning 

Zoom video tutorial on captioning 


We upgraded to VoiceThread Platinum on March 30th! All VoiceThread recordings made after that date feature automatic captioning which will process and appear soon after you complete a recording. 

VoiceThread Universal site is compatible with screen readers (accessible site)

VoiceThread page on captioning 

Echo Personal Capture

  • Integrated automatic speech recognition (ASR). 
  • This is a setting that needs to be turned on for your course
  • You will have to correct errors afterwards

How to Edit Echo 360 Closed Captions 

*Students who require captioning due to accessibility issues should contact the Student Accessibility Support Center. to get the Echo360 recordings for their course captioned.

Google Meet

  • Has a toggle button for closed captioning, *live only- captions do not save to a file that a screen reader can process
  • Record meeting and upload to YouTube (private)
  • Transcribe by hand from recording

Google Meet captions help page 

Google Slides 

  • Click CC to turn on captions (auto-captions) *captions do not save to a file 
  • Write a script for each slide that you can turn into a transcript

Google Slides captioning help page 


  • Has an auto-captioning feature 
  • Can upload your own captions

YouTube help page on captions 


Blackboard help page for captioning video content

Accessibility Best Practices for Zoom Meetings and Classes

(Adapted from original by Kristina England, Digital Experience and Accessibility Specialist at the UMass Office of the President, with information provided by Indiana University's Board of Trustees and other sources)

Turn off HD Video and Stereo Audio

Turning off HD Video and Stereo Audio will improve the user experience for everyone attending, especially if they have bandwidth limitations, restricted data usage on mobile, or unreliable internet access. 

Turn off HD video from within the Zoom Client (this is not an option at but to ensure it is disabled, please check your Zoom client):

  1. Select the "Home" tab.
  2. Select the Settings “Gear” icon. A settings pop-up window will open. 
  3. Select Video Settings and make sure “enable HD” is not selected.

Turn off Stereo Audio in your settings at 

  1. Navigate to and log in with your NetID and password
  2. Select “Settings” in the left navigation menu and click or scroll to In Meeting (Advanced) settings
  3. Disable “Allow users to select stereo audio in their client settings”

Enable the Closed Captions Feature 

Enable the Closed Captions feature on your account for any meetings or classes that will require closed captions. Closed captioning services will be identified based on accommodation requests. In addition, please be familiar with how to assign a participant to type closed captions should a request arise. 

Enable “Always Show Meeting Controls”

By selecting the “Always Show Meeting Controls” checkbox, the controls at the bottom of the zoom screen will remain up. This improves the user experience for many participants as they don’t have to worry about the bar appearing and disappearing upon hover (especially if they are new to Zoom and don’t know how to make the bar at the bottom show up after it’s disappeared).

Check this setting both within the Zoom Client and your online account:

  1. Select the "Home" tab.
  2. Select the Settings “Gear” icon. A settings pop-up window will open.
  3.  In “Share Screen”, select “show Zoom windows during screenshare”. 
  4. Select the View More Settings link under General settings. The Zoom website will open. Login if you are prompted with the login screen. The Meeting Settings page will open.
  5. Navigate to the In Meeting (Basics) section of the Meeting Settings page.
  6. Enable the “Always Show Meeting Controls” setting. 

Enable the “Mute Participants Upon Entry” Feature

In your meeting settings, select the “Mute participants upon entry” checkbox (located under Meeting Options when scheduling a session). Participants will have to unmute their mics to participate. This feature will ensure less disruptions at the start of a meeting or class.

Communicate Keyboard Shortcuts

Send out the Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts ahead of time. These instructions are valuable for anyone using keyboard only navigation or assistive technology. In addition, it could be helpful to anyone who may have had their mouse stop working unexpectedly.

Remember to describe images and other visual content that’s displayed

Describing visual content that is displayed will help anyone with a vision or cognitive disability, as well as someone that may have needed to call in due to a local internet outage.

Provide instructions on how participants can ask questions 

There are a couple ways people can ask questions. First, participants can use non-verbal feedback, such as raising their hand and unmuting when called upon. In addition, they can post a question in the chat feature. The recommendation is to use both features, but to always repeat questions that are provided through chat. By repeating the questions, you will help anyone that can’t access the chat during the session (people using assistive technology will have too much screen reader interference if they enable chat) and you will improve the captioning quality of any recorded sessions. 

Send any resource links you post in Chat via email as well

It’s okay to use the Chat feature. However, keep in mind that anyone using assistive technology may not be able to copy or activate the links. It’s recommended that you send any resource links you’ll be sharing either prior to or after the session. You can also speak out the URL when posting it in Chat. If your resource link is long, consider using a URL shortener, such as or Tiny URL, to help with communicating the link verbally and so that the link is cleaner for anyone copying it from the chat box. 

Confirm the best polling technology in advance

Please reach out to DoIT or SASC to identify which polling product is the most accessible to all your participants. Currently, the Zoom polling tool has significant barriers for both presenters and participants with disabilities.

Describe what you are annotating if using the Whiteboard feature

Similar to using a white board in the classroom, you should always describe what you are writing on the board for anyone with a disability or anyone that is using their phone due to internet connection issues in your virtual room. 

Record Your Zoom Session

We recommend recording to the Cloud, which includes automatic speech recognition. If you do record locally to your computer, we recommend uploading the recording to Google Drive instead of Blackboard (note: Blackboard file upload size is limited to 250MB).

There are a few reasons to consider recording your Zoom session for distribution after a meeting or class:

  1. Occasionally, due to local outages, students or employees may not be able to access a live Zoom session. 
  2. Currently, there are several countries or regions where international students are unable to access live Zoom sessions for regulatory reasons. 
  3. In addition, other unexpected distractions may come up that cause your meeting or class participant to miss portions of your class.
Tech Tips and Apps

Trying to do something and are not sure what technology to use? Here are some suggestions!

Do you or your students need to scan a document to upload it to Blackboard? 

  • There are multiple free scanning tools for mobile devices including: Adobe Scan, Microsoft Office Lens, Scannable (iOS only) 
  • Take a picture of the assignment with their phones and have them upload that image.

Do you need to record your lesson on your laptop and are concerned about audio quality? 

  • Use the earbuds that came with your mobile device. Typically, your laptop microphone is sufficient, but if you are not using earbuds or a headset, it can produce audio feedback. It is also helpful to find a quiet room to record in to reduce background noise. 

Classroom live streaming on Echo360 or Zoom will NOT successfully capture writing on the white/blackboards in classrooms. 

  • Use a program that can project anything that you want recorded. Some rooms have hardware with a stylus for doing this.  In other spaces you can use PowerPoint and use the Draw menu to draw your presentation. 

When you are recording from your office or home, you can use an external webcam as a document camera.

  • An external webcam can be positioned to point toward the table-top writing surface or object you wish to manipulate or demonstrate. 


Remote Instruction Tools

My students need to:

Stony Brook Tool

Does it connect to Blackboard?

Submit an assignment



Record a presentation and share with me


Google Meet







Complete a group project

Google Groups

Blackboard Groups





Complete a Senior Design project and display their work publicly



Google Sites






Journal about their experience


Blackboard Journals



Take an online exam





Web Conference with me

Google Meet




For Help & Support Information

If you have any questions regarding the content on this page please contact


Academic Technology Services

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching