Basic Distance Delivery Course Kit

Going Virtual on Short Notice

If a situation arises that causes NMU to temporarily shift all courses to distance delivery methods, it will not be possible to exactly duplicate everything that you do in the face-to-face classroom. However, several tools and techniques are available to help you continue to offer rigorous courses with instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction using both synchronous and asynchronous delivery. This page provides introductory information about how you might conduct different types of activities, with links to more detailed reference and instructional materials.  

Table of Contents


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Your Online Classroom - EduCat: The "Home" of Each Course

Many face-to-face courses already use NMU's Learning Management System, EduCat. If all courses are temporarily moved to distance delivery, an EduCat shell will also be created for all courses that do not already have one.  EduCat will serve as the "home" for each course. In your EduCat course, you will be able to add links to all of your activities (live meetings, assignments, exams, discussions, etc.) and resources (recorded lectures, videos, readings, etc.). 

Note: If there are things that you do not want students to initially see as you are in the process of building them, you can set them to be hidden from students.



Live Class Meetings and Office Hours

Zoom Video Conferencing will allow you to continue to meet with students synchronously, during your regularly scheduled class time. Zoom allows you to share audio, video, and presentations or other content from your computer.  You can talk to your students via voice and chat, and students can raise their hands to ask questions.  Zoom also works well for holding office hours or one-on-one meetings with students.  When using Zoom for larger classes you may want to turn off the option for video for students in the Zoom settings in EduCat.  You can also manage audio options individually and ask students to mute when not addressing the class.


Recording Lectures

You may elect to record some or all of your lectures rather than holding "live" class meetings. Lectures can be recorded from your own laptop using Camtasia Studio. Studio 102 may also be available for recording lectures using the lightboard. In addition, Audio Visual Services' distance learning classrooms may be available for recording lectures while face-to-face classes are not being held. 

UPDATE (3/16): Recorded lectures may be posted on Google Drive or YouTube.  NMU has its own streaming server, Wildcast, but we have found that the heavier load due to the increased use is causing it to have performance issues, for the time being we are recommending these other options.  Note that if you want to upload videos to YouTube that are longer than 15 minutes, you need to Enable Longer Videos by verifying your account.  



Collecting Assignments

EduCat includes an Assignments drop box that can accept any file type. If you prefer to have your students submit work using Google Docs or other G Suite tools, you may use Google Assignments as an alternative.  


Holding Discussions

Discussion is an important part of many face-to-face classes, and fortunately there are several options for holding discussions in the online environment.  As mentioned above, Zoom video conferencing has both chat and audio/video tools for synchronously holding discussions.  For smaller "live" group discussions, you can also assign students in a Zoom conference to virtual Breakout Rooms.  

You can also hold discussions using two different asynchronous tools. EduCat's Forum tool is a threaded discussion tool for traditional text-based discussions, similar to what you would see on many Internet sites. You and your students post and reply to each other's comments. 

VoiceThread provides a more robust option for  asynchronous "multimedia discussions."  In addition to text, participants in VoiceThread discussions can post audio, video, and PowerPoint comments.


Quizzes and Exams

EduCat's Quiz activity can be used to administer assessments ranging from short quizzes to long exams. It supports a variety of question types, including multiple choice, true/false, matching, and essay.  

In the online environment, preventing cheating is often a major concern for faculty. The resources below include information on both low-tech and high-tech (Respondus Monitor) methods for helping to preserve academic integrity. 


Student Presentations

Many face-to-face courses utilize student presentations, especially for end-of-semester projects.  If you want to assign presentations in a distance-delivered course, options include:

  • Students giving presentations as part of live class sessions via Zoom.
  • Students  recording presentations in VoiceThread, which also would allow them to easily provide comments on each others' work.
  • Students recording presentations using a smartphone or other camera, then posting them to Wildcast. Though Wildcast is primarily used to host faculty videos, faculty can set up a podcast to allow "cocasting" by their students.



EduCat's gradebook can help you track scores of activities completed within EduCat, and also allows you to add "manual" grade items for activities completed outside of EduCat. It offers options for categorizing and weighting grade items and supports importing and exporting grades from Excel spreadsheets.  



If you normally take attendance in your face-to-face class and will be holding class via Zoom, you may find it useful to track attendance using EduCat's Attendance tool.



Additional Resources and Help

The ideas and tools listed above are intended to give you a basic toolkit to start adapting your course for distance delivery, but this information is not comprehensive. There are many other tools available, so if there is a learning activity you are having trouble adapting, please contact your CTL Liaison to discuss additional possibilities.   

You may also be interested in reviewing additional materials in our CTL Resource Library.  The Teaching Online @ NMU  Overview self-paced tutorial provides an overview of EduCat that is primarily aimed at faculty who are teaching fully online courses, but most of its content would also apply to faculty adapting face-to-face courses for distance delivery.

Faculty who have questions about or would like assistance with adapting their courses for distance delivery should contact the Center for Teaching and Learning at or 227-2483.

Students should direct questions to the Computing Help Desk at or 227-2468.