Distance Learning & Instructional Technology



Teaching during times of potential disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how instructors can support students in achieving essential core course learning objectives. This guide offers recommendations for instructional continuity planning for faculty looking to continue offering a student-centered learning experience in a remote environment during times of disruption. We should always be prepared!

These recommendations are not meant to create fully online or hybrid courses as specific guidelines for official distance courses remain in place.

Before implementing remote instruction, refer to official UNT Dallas communication and guidance regarding the need to shift to remote instruction.


Do not try to use all the strategies listed on this page. Identify the most basic elements you need to put in place to meet your short-term instructional objectives. If the situation continues, you can add more activities back in. Not all face-to-face activities can be replicated online; however, almost all learning objectives can be achieved in the online classroom.

Before you begin transitioning your course plans and materials for remote instruction, please review the following general principles. 

  • Immediately reach out to students who miss class. There are many reasons students may miss the scheduled class sessions: changed work schedules, lack of childcare, the difference in time zone. Personal contact with students helps keep them engaged and makes them feel cared for. Lack of teaching presence in the virtual environment is correlated with lower retention.


  • Share “How-to” resources with your students. Students can access the Canvas Student Orientation without logging in and can explore Canvas Basics for Students to become familiar with the learning platform. Do not assume all students have mastered technology, whether that be using Canvas, Zoom, Office 365, or something else. Approximately 20% of students lack the basic technology skills they need. 


  • Prioritize course activities and focus on delivering the ones with the most significant impact on learning objectives. Distinguish between "must-have" and "nice-to-have" content and assignments. Your students may have less time to do work during this time, and some will struggle academically because of the lack of structure and routine they are used to having. DLIT staff are available to talk through options with you. 


  • Maintain normal course scheduling. Use the Zoom conferencing integration in Canvas to hold classes at regularly scheduled times. Do not penalize students who cannot participate due to poor internet access, or similar factors. Record class meetings so students can access the information if they are unable to attend or have technical difficulties. 
  • Rearrange course activities, if needed, to delay those activities where face-to-face interaction is most crucial. If you teach a lab or other course that requires in-person activity, push those activities back. When possible, be creative and develop alternatives that allow students to achieve course objectives remotely.
  • Replace physical resources with digital resources where possible. Students may not have physical access to the Library. If you can, substitute materials that are available in the library’s full-text databases or that are freely available online. Avoid assigning readings from e-books owned by the library as most can be used by only a limited number of people at one time.  
  • Use tools that are familiar to you and the students to the greatest extent possible.






Significant portions of this guidance (including the title) are adapted, with permission, from the Indiana University Knowledge Base article "Keep teaching during prolonged campus or building closures" and Pepperdine University's Keep On Teaching and Texas Wesleyan University’s Keep Teaching plan.


For assistance, training, or issues contact Distance Learning and Instructional Technology distancelearning@untdallas.edu.

UNT Dallas Canvas Tutorial

UNT Dallas Canvas Tutorial

For Technical/How-to Canvas assistance, or to report a problem only 24/7/365:

Canvas Support Hotline for Faculty - 1-833-688-8635

Canvas Support Hotline for Students - 1-833-688-8634