The Keep Teaching website supports faculty in developing their own strategies to continue to meet the needs of their courses online, if there are disruptions in on-campus teaching and learning. Being prepared to offer many aspects of face-to-face or blended courses online is an important part of planning for events that may disrupt normal campus operations.

Information here will walk you through putting the various parts of your course experience online to maintain academic continuity. Official communication regarding any emergencies, including a pandemic situation, can be found on UBC’s main website.

Tips For Quickly Preparing To Teach Online

  • Be kind to yourself and your students. Everyone is stressed, even if they’re playing it cool. That’s normal and okay. You can refer students to UBC Student Services’s mental health resources for additional support. UBC HR also provides a list of mental health resources available for faculty.
  • It’s also okay that the quality of education may not be as good in alternative formats as it is in the pedagogical model you planned for. Everyone is just trying to get through this difficult and unprecedented situation.
  • There’s no need to become an expert on best practices for distance learning overnight. Distance learning can be really excellent, when time and planning allow. But that’s not the goal here. Don’t hold yourself to that standard.
  • Moving a class to a distance learning model in a day’s time is an impossible task. You will not be able to recreate your classroom. Give yourself a break. Check with your department, unit, or Faculty for guidelines or expectations for online classes.
  • Prioritize what students really need to know for the next few weeks. This is difficult, and, once again, means the quality of teaching and learning will suffer. But these are not normal circumstances.
  • If you’re using new tool(s), consider giving assignments as lower or no stakes and using practice assessments before real ones. Get students used to just using the tool. Then you can do something higher stakes, if you need to.
  • Stay in regular contact with students, and stay transparent. Make sure students know when and where new course material will be posted. Talk to them about why you’re prioritizing and assigning certain things, just as you would in face-to-face teaching. Remember substantial changes to the syllabus require clear communication with students, per Section 9 of UBC Vancouver’s Senate Syllabus Policy V-130.
  • Be particularly sensitive to your graduating students. They’re already panicking and need to hear from you that everything is going to be okay. If you teach a class where students need to complete something for post-graduation plans, figure out and communicate a Plan B as soon as you can.
  • UBC has a considerable number of pedagogical experts on academic technology to help you transition. When you reach out, please be kind to these colleagues and remember they are suddenly managing very heavy workloads too.
  • For more: Read UBC’s copyright considerations for transitioning content, the 10 tips for rapidly transitioning to remote education (compiled by UBC’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences), and the transition tips in Keep Teaching’s FAQ.

The above was adapted from tips written by Amy Young, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Pacific Lutheran University. It is reproduced here with permission of the author with all rights reserved and is exempt from the site Creative Commons license.

Getting Started Online

Canvas provides a convenient and secure way to communicate and exchange materials with your students online. All UBC courses have matching courses in Canvas automatically created with the students enrolled, even if the instructor has never used Canvas.

To use your Canvas course, you will first need to make it visible for students to find.

Set up your Canvas course

  1. To log in to Canvas, go to and use your CWL name and password. This will open your Canvas Dashboard.
  2. On your Dashboard, you will find all the courses you are teaching. For any course, click the course to open it.
  3. Once you have opened a course, you can upload lectures, create online assignments and assessments, and set up discussion and communication tools.
  4. When you are ready, make the course available to students by clicking Publish, located on the course home page, in the right-hand sidebar under “Course Status”.

Keep accessibility in mind as you transition online. Read the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology’s quick guidelines on accessibility »

For basic help with lectures, assignments, assessments, communication, and grades, explore the pages in this site’s navigation bar above.

Learn more on the UBC Canvas faculty site »

Find your way around Canvas

This short, 6-minute video gives a good overview of using Canvas as an instructor: