TA Resources

This section is designed to help TAs with online teaching. Here you will find resources for active learning strategies, Promoting communication and collaboration, conducting online/virtual labs, technologies available at UCR, recommended reading and viewing. Other resources are available through Graduate Division Teaching Assistant Development Program.

Getting Started

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Getting Started

Within the Getting Started section you will find information setting up your course, Synchronous and Asynchronous learning, technology available for remote/online classrooms, and information on preparing to teach remote. Select the button below to learn more.

Active Learning Strategies

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Active Learning Strategies

Active learning strategies are participatory instructional activities that focus more on constructing knowledge and understanding through higher-order thinking. Select the button below to learn more about active learning strategies.

Zoom for TAs

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Zoom for TAs

New to Zoom? Within this section you will find information on getting started with Zoom, creating invitation links, and much more. Select the button below to learn more about integrating Zoom into your course.

Communication & Collaboration

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Communication & Collaboration

UCR offers an array of powerful communication and collaboration tools for you to use in your classroom. Within this section you will learn how to user iLearn, Google Apps, and Zoom to enhance communication and collaboration. Select the button below to learn more.

Virtual Labs

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Virtual Labs

Do you teach a course requiring student to complete lab assignments? Did you know that you can effectively conduct lab activities in a virtual environment? Within this section you will learn about conducting virtual labs and powerful tools available for use. Select the button below to learn more.

Additional Resources

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Additional Resources

Within this section you will find more information on teaching remotely and conducting remote/online labs. Select the button below to view a list of resources.

Recent Topics
  • How do I enable Yuja Proctoring for my course?

    See the section of this Yuja Support resource page on "Enabling Proctoring in a Course Channel."

  • How do I use Zoom breakout rooms in my discussion sections?

    To use breakout rooms, you must first enable the breakout room feature.

    1. Sign into the Zoom web portal at ucr.zoom.us.
    2. From the left-hand menu, select Settings.
    3. In the Meeting menu, select In Meeting (Advanced).
    4. Click the Breakout Room toggle to enable breakout rooms.

    Once you have breakout rooms enabled, Hosts and Co-hosts can access the Breakout Rooms button. Clicking this button will create a pop-up window where you can set the number of rooms. Once you have set the number of breakout rooms you want, you can then choose to automatically assign students to a room, manually assign students to a room, or let students choose their own room. After you have started breakout rooms, you can send messages to students using the Broadcast a Message to All button (n.b., this is a brief message and appears at the top of the student's screens, not in the chat). Inside breakout rooms, students can also request help.

    You can use breakout rooms for private sessions with students and small group activities such as Think-Pair-Share and group discussions.

    For more details on using Zoom in discussion sections, see 22:41 of the Zoom for TAs: Beyond the Basics webinar.

  • How do I use polling in my sections?

    Polling is an easy way to create active learning activities or gamify your classroom. Poll Everywhere allows UCR instructors to create various question types for the classroom.

    1. TAs must first request Poll Everywhere "Presenter" accounts using this form.
    2. Once you have a "Presenter" account, you can create an activity by logging into Poll Everywhere and selecting the New Activity button at the top left of your Activities page.
    3. Choose the activity you would like to use. Here we will focus on creating a Multiple choice Activity; for details on other types of Activities, see Poll Everywhere's Create an Activity guide.
    4. Select Multiple choice. Enter your question in the Title field and the potential answers in the fields below. You can add pictures by pasting direct links or clicking on the Picture icon on the right-hand side.
    5. Designate the correct response by clicking the check to the left; this will highlight the box in green to indicate the selected correct answer.
    6. Use an Activity by clicking the title and then select the Fullscreen icon on the right side. Once the activity is fullscreen, it will be live, and students can respond to the question.

    For more advanced settings, best practices, and how to add Poll Everywhere Activities in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides, see the UCR Instructors Getting Started Guide.

  • How do I keep uninvited guests out of my Zoom meetings?

    The most common security measures used in Zoom are passcodes and requiring authenticated users; however, neither of these options prevent uninvited guests from entering your meeting. Passcodes can be easily shared and are typically embedded in Zoom invitation links, while Authenticated Users only restrict access to those logged into a Zoom account. Even requiring Registration does not guarantee the attendees to your Zoom meeting are who they claim to be. Despite these limitations, XCITE still recommends requiring passcode on all meetings.

    To maximize Zoom's security options, students must access meetings logged into Zoom using their UCR accounts. You can set Waiting Room filters to only allow students logged in with their UCR accounts to gain access to the meeting.

    1. To create this filter, navigate to the Zoom web portal by going to ucr.zoom.us and sign in with your UCR NetID. 
    2. Select Settings from the left-hand menu.
    3. Make sure that Waiting Rooms are enabled and choose Edit Options
    4. In the Waiting Room Options pop-up, select the radial corresponding to "Users who are not in your account and not part of the allowed domains" and add "ucr.edu" to the list of allowed domains. 
    5. Select the Continue button. Anyone logged into their Zoom account using their UCR credentials will automatically be granted access to the meeting. Those not logged in using their UCR credentials will find themselves in a waiting room.
    6. Select Customize Waiting Room and add messaging that instructs students to log in using UCR Single Sign-On. 
    7. Provide your students with the Zoom SSO Login guide, so they know how to access the Zoom meeting.
    8. It is important not to let allow users into the meeting if they have been filtered into the Waiting Room.

    For more tips on Zoom security, see Keep Teaching Zoom Security & Privacy

  • How do I enter grades?

    UCR currently uses two Learning Management Systems (LMS), Blackboard iLearn and Canvas. For each of the following sets of instructions, be sure to consult with the course instructor regarding rubrics, grading expectations, and if your course uses points, percentages, letters, or complete/incompletes to record grades. Remember that your discussion section grade books and the main course's grade book are not connected—grades recorded in the discussion section grade books may need to be manually transferred over.
    Entering grades into iLearn's Grade Center

    1. From the left-hand Control Panel, select Grade Center to expand the menu.
    2. If you are grading assessments submitted via iLearn, they will appear on both the Needs Grading page and in the Full Grade Center.
    3. To begin grading assessments submitted via iLearn on the Needs Grading page, select either the Grade All button or the user's name.
    4. Items ready to be graded in the Full Grade Center will have a yellow exclamation icon. To grade these assessments, click the grey down chevron icon next to the yellow exclamation icon, then select the relevant Attempt from the drop-down menu.
    5. If you are grading assessments that do not exist in iLearn, navigate to the Full Grade Center and find the assessment's column. From that column, select the cell that corresponds to the student and enter the grade. After entering the grade, press your keyboard's Enter key to save.

    Entering grades in Canvas's Gradebook

    1. In the left-hand Course Navigation, click Grades.
    2. If you are grading assessments submitted to Canvas, you will use the SpeedGrader tool in the Gradebook. To do this, hover over the assignment column header and click the Options icon, the three vertical dots. Select the SpeedGrader link.
    3. If you are grading assessments that do not exist in Canvas, find the assessment's column, select the cell that corresponds to the student, and enter the grade.
  • What if I can’t see my discussion section or lab in iLearn or Canvas?

    During the registration period, TAs are added to Banner, UCR's student information system and system of record. Banner connects with iLearn automatically and will populate the list of courses on your iLearn launch page. While we transition to Canvas, Banner is not automatically syncing with Canvas. Tell your instructor if you can’t see a Canvas course you are TA’ing. Syncing with Banner will become automatic once the transition to Canvas is complete in June 2022.

    If Banner does not show you as a TA for a particular section, there could be several reasons, including having an administrative hold for having incompletes. If you are not the TA of record in Banner, you will not see your section in iLearn. Inform your department if your name does not appear in Banner as the TA for a section you assume you are leading. If you still need help, submit a helpdesk ticket and include your course name, course ID, and your NetID.

    Sometimes a course is not listed on your iLearn launch page, or you may feel you have too many past courses listed there. You can find all your past and current courses by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the iLearn launch page. Here, you can make these visible or not on your launch page. If you find the missing course you were looking for, click on it to make it visible on your iLearn launch page. If you don’t see it on the list, contact your department or submit a helpdesk ticket.

Getting Started

Things to Consider
  • Set realistic expectations
    • Recognize that neither you nor your students are likely accustomed to online education.
  • Class size
  • Student's access to technology
    • Check with students to see if they have access to the appropriate technology.
      • You can use Google Forms to create a simple survey for your class.
        • Do students have access to:
          • A camera
          • A microphone
          • A computer
          • reliable internet access
          • A quiet space where they can focus
        • Also, take this opportunity to check in on your students' well-being.
      • If students need loaner devices to ensure their success in the course, direct them to UCR's Loan2Learn program. (https://keeplearning.ucr.edu/loan2learn)
  • Accessibility
    • Beyond access to technology, students may experience other, often hidden, barriers to learning. Consider employing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approaches, which provide for multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. By designing a curriculum for those on the margins, it helps everyone.
  • LMS
    • Check with the course's instructor to see which LMS (Learning Management System) you will be using.
    • iLearn
    • Canvas
  • Course Content
    • Check with the course instructor about what content you are responsible for in your labs/sections.
    • Consider the organization of course content. Ensure that students can easily find the material they need in their respective lab/section pages.
  • Course Grading Structure
    • Communicate with the course main instructor to confirm which course elements you are expected to grade (i.e. discussions, assignments, participation, etc)
      • Consider using rubrics or Gradescope. Rubrics help set expectations and increase consistency and transparency.
  • Course Policies
    • You may be required to build your own syllabus for your labs/sections. If you are not required to do so consider posting policies on your course page.
    • See the UCR Syllabus Template for the suggested policy language.


Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
  • Synchronous -Students participate in real-time
    • Advantages
      • Immediate feedback
      • Personal engagement
      • More responsive exchanges between students and instructors
    • Disadvantages
      • Students may face challenges navigating time differences if they are not local.
      • Students may not have access to reliable internet that lead to issues in conducting fruitful discussions.
      • You may find yourself teaching to a Zoom screen where no students turn on their cameras..
    • Suggested Tool
      • Zoom is UCR's web-conferencing solution, featuring recording, screen-sharing, annotation, breakout rooms, polling, and more.
        • You will need to request a Pro License to use the full capabilities of Zoom beyond 40 minutes.


  • Asynchronous -Students participate in real-time

    • Advantages
      • Allows for increased accessibility through time flexibility, captioning, and the ability for students to rewind, review, or slow down content as needed.
      • Evidence suggests asynchronous teaching may increase cognitive engagement.
    • Disadvantages
      • Students may feel less satisfied.
      • Without real-time interaction, there is an increased possibility of misunderstanding material.
      • Students may expect synchronous classes. If you go entirely asynchronous, consider hosting your office hours during the scheduled class times. Hosting office hours during the scheduled class period provides a regular schedule for students who need it.
    • Suggested Tool
      • Yujais UCR’s video recording solution
        • Take advantage of Yuja's quizzing functionality to add interactions every twenty to thirty minutes (or more) in recorded videos to increase student knowledge retention and make students feel more engaged in their learning.
    • Remember, you can incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous elements into your instruction. Consider recording your synchronous Zoom discussion sections, then adding interactions to the recordings using Yuja, and posting videos to your LMS page so students in different time zones can participate. You can also set your Zoom recordings to save to your Yuja account automatically.


Preparing for Remote Teaching
  • Plan types of assignments and how you will give feedback (see notes on rubrics and Course Grading Structure above)
  • For large courses, create groups in the main section LMS page to facilitate easier grading.
    • TAs are often responsible for adding the grades of their students to the main course's grade book, check with your course instructor if this is true for your course or in what ways you will be recording grades for your students.
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 Active Learning Strategies 


What is Active Learning?

Active Learning strategies are participatory instructional activities that focus more on constructing knowledge and understanding through higher-order thinking.

Recommended Reading:

Brame, C., (2016). Active learning. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/active-learning/

  • See Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching's Active Learning Cheat Sheet. Bonwell, Charles C. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-ERIC higher education report, 1, 1991. Washington, DC: School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University, 1991 Handelsman, Jo, Sarah Miller, Christine Pfund, and Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching. 2007. Scientific Teaching. W.h. Freeman Scientific Teaching Series. Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching
General Considerations for Active Learning Strategies
  • Design Active Learning Activities to meet Learning Objectives 
  • Consistently using the same activities helps your students focus on learning rather than learning a new activity
  • Plan how you will incorporate and introduce the activity into your class
  • Consider how you will judge the effectiveness of the activity.
Before Class Activities
Just in Time Teaching
  • Just in Time activities are assignments that are turned in right before class
  • Students respond to challenging essay questions on readings submitted before class
  • The instructor views student responses before class and focuses on topics and ideas students do not understand, this addresses issues "just in time"
  • Students can submit essays via your LMS (iLearn or Canvas), Gradescope, or Google Forms
Pre-Class Quiz
Beginning of Class Activities
Confidence Monitor
  • Students indicate their level of confidence in applying/thinking about learning outcomes for the day’s topics.
  • This can be conducted via Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, or Polly on Slack (this list is not exhaustive).
Background Knowledge / Brainstorming
  • Ask short, simple questions immediately before a class or before introducing a new topic/concept.
  • Students may work together to answer the question(s).
  • You can pair this activity with the Muddiest Point wrap-up activity (described in Brief Personal Writing Activities).
  • Students can submit their answers via your LMS (iLearn or Canvas), GradescopeGoogle Forms, Poll Everywhere, or via discussion questions on Slack.
Quick Mid-Class Activities

Regularly incorporating brief, one to five minute, Active Learning Activities into your classroom can facilitate student-to-student transfer of information and improve long-term memory retention. Consider using some of the following activities every twenty to thirty minutes so that students can use recently learned information to answer a question, solve a problem, or check their understanding.

  • Polling is a quick and easy way for students to engage in classroom activities
    • Have students vote on the best explanation/answer to questions you have come up with to gauge their comprehension
      • Consider having follow-up discussions between students defending their responses. This activity can be done as a class discussion or in small group active learning strategies 
        • Example Think-Pair-Share activity using polling
          • Think: Students think and respond to the poll
          • Pair: In pairs of small groups, students defend and discuss their answers
          • Share: Students report back to the whole class why they answered the way they did and if they changed their mind during the discussion.
  • See XCITE's guide to classroom polling with Poll Everywhere
Topic Review Word Cloud
  • After discussing a lecture topic, students submit key events, terms, or figures to a word cloud.
    • Ex. "Last class, we discussed Bloom's Taxonomy. Which levels of the cognitive domain do you remember?"
  • You can create word clouds using Poll Everywhere.
Brief Personal Writing Activities
  • Responses can be publicly shared or privately shared, depending on your aims for this information, or submitted via your LMS (iLearn or Canvas), Gradescope, or Google Forms.
  • "One Minute Paper" (Used to provide students with time to think individually about a topic you were recently covering in class) 
    • Students respond to a specific or open-ended question with a one to two-minute period to write their response.
  • Muddiest (or Clearest) Point (Used to demonstrate which topics in the course meeting that are still unclear to students)
    • Similar to the "one minute paper." Students respond to a question such as "What was the muddiest point in today's lecture?"
  • Affective Response (Used to provide students with time to asses their emotional response to a topic)
    • Students respond to a prompt asking them to report their reactions to some facet of the course material
Collective / Collaborative Notes
  • Students collaborate on class notes
    • This activity allows students to demonstrate and observe effective note-taking strategies
    • These notes can be an open-ended conversation between the instructor and students. Once the class ends, they can serve as a continuous discussion.
      • Students can ask questions in the margins using comments that can both the instructor and other students can then reply to.
  • Alternatively, students can compare their notes with another student's
  • Google Docs is an excellent tool for this.
  • Students develop a hypothesis for a question or case study
    • Students can work in pairs or groups
  • Use Zoom's breakout rooms to discuss the hypothesis in groups and/or Google Forms or Google Docs to submit the hypothesis for participation.
Explain a Concept / Elevator Pitch
  • Students explain a concept or write an elevator pitch in 2-3 sentences directed at a specific audience (e.g., academics, public health workers, your grandparents, children)
  • Students can share in class, submit via Google Forms, or discuss the topic in Slack.
Longer Mid-Class Activities

These activities are designed to take up a more significant portion of class time if not the entire period or quarter. This is an opportunity for students to work through material covered earlier in the course.

  • Students write questions they have on the course material and submit them via an online portal (such as Google Forms).
    • This can be done before or during class.
  • The instructor reviews questions as they are submitted, selecting several for the class to answer together or in breakout rooms.
  • The instructor can address questions not selected with the students who submitted them on an individual basis.
    • If you wish to allow students to respond anonymously, Google Forms can be set to not collect user data.
      • In Settings, unselect the boxes corresponding to Collect Email Addresses and Requires Sign In
Peer Review
  • Before class, students complete individual assignments or short papers and then share them with their peers for feedback during class time.
  • Canvas has a built-in peer review assignment.
  • If you are not using Canvas, you can use Google Docs.
    • Students share the document with their peers, either giving them "editor" or "commenter" access.
      • If giving the peer "editor" access, set the editing mode to "suggesting" to keep track of suggested changes.
  • Because Google Docs saves all changes made to a document, students can resolve comments and suggested changes as they see fit. Instructors can grade the peer review assignment by accessing earlier versions of the document through the document's "version history."
  • Groups of 4 or 5 students have a limited amount of time to collectively write a complete draft paper, including citations in Google Docs. Topics should be related to already completed readings or lessons.
  • In a more extended version of the activity, instructors can also participate in co-authoring the papers. This activity can be executed over the course of multiple sections or even the entire quarter.
Discussion Section Activities
  • Give students a few minutes to think about a given prompt.
  • Move pairs into Zoom's breakout rooms, where they discuss their thoughts for a few minutes with their fellow group members. Each group is responsible for coming up with an answer using their collective thoughts.
  • Bring the groups back to the main Zoom session and ask at least one representative of each group to share the group’s thoughts. After groups have all shared, continue to discuss the prompt further as a class.
  • Assign students a small section of a longer, more theoretical, or foundational reading to read. Students are then responsible for teaching their section of the material to other students in Zoom breakout rooms. 
  • Guiding questions can help facilitate this process, e.g., what does this idea mean? What do you agree or disagree with about the reading?
    • These questions should be tailored to the section of the material the student is responsible for.
  • In a variation on the jigsaw activity: 
    • Split a longer, more theoretical, or a foundational reading into sections
      • Ex. split a 10 page article into 2 page sections
    • Assign students into numbered breakout rooms 
      • Ex. In a class of 30 people, create 5 groups
    • In each group, assign each student a number    
      • Ex. If there are 5 students in a group, they are numbered 1 through 5. In Zoom, enable the rename function and have them add their number to their name.
  • Have the group read and discuss their section with the goal of being able to teach their section of the article to other students.
  • Once students are ready to teach their section or the allotted time is up, move the students into new groups that correspond with their number.
    • Ex. Each student with number two in their name is moved to group number two.
  • In this new groups, each student is coming with unique material that they are ready to teach to the rest of the group. Students then teach their material to their new group and learn about the rest of the article from their peers.
Student-Made Practice Quiz
  • Students create practice quiz questions based on what they believe will be on the test.
    • While students work on the quiz questions, use this opportunity to answer questions and clear up misunderstandings.
  • Instructors can convert students questions into LMS quizzes using test generators.
    • Use an iLearn test generator such as the one found here.
      • Students must create questions in the format outlined in the test generator's instructions. Share clear instructions on question format with students.
    • The package generated by the test generator can be uploaded to iLearn using the Import Test function found under Tests, Surveys, and Pools in iLearn's Course Tools section.
    • You can now deploy the uploaded test as if it were any other exam or quiz.
      • See Teaching @ UCR's advice on Putting Your Exam in iLearn.
  • If there is a study guide for an upcoming exam, assign students, or have them assign themselves, to topics expected to be on the exam.
    • Convert the study guide into a GoogleDoc
      • Ask students to assign themselves to a specific number of items on the study guide as a means to evenly distribute the labor
Individual Plus Group Review Quiz
  • Create a practice quiz for students to take in the LMS
    • See this resource for creating iLearn quizzes/exams
  • Each students takes a practice quiz before or at the beginning of a designated class (preferably before or during the class when the review is needed)? .
  • After taking the quiz individually, students are assigned to breakout rooms to take the quiz in groups.
    • Taking the quiz as a group allows students to simultaneously explain their reasoning behind their answers while getting feedback from group brainstorming and reasoning.
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Zoom for TAs

Synchronous Discussion Sections on Zoom
Getting Started with Zoom

Before conducting your first Discussion Sections, you will first need to make sure you have a Licensed (Pro) Zoom account, download the Zoom client, and log in to Zoom using SSO.

  1. Navigate to https://ucr.zoom.us/.
  2. Check to see if you have a licensed account; you will need one to host discussion sections in Zoom.
    • Sign in to your Zoom account using your UCR NetID and password at https://ucr.zoom.us/.
    • Check if you have a Basic or Licensed account by clicking the icon with your initials or photo on the page’s top right corner.
    • If you have a Basic account, request a Licensed account by using the Information Technology Solutions (ITS) ServiceLink Software Request form. Requests are typically processed in two business days. The requestor will receive an email from Zoom to confirm the account has been created.
  3. Once you have a Licensed account, download and install the Zoom client by clicking the Download button at https://ucr.zoom.us/.
    • Zoom will automatically open once installed.
    • Click the Sign In button.
    • Click the button to Sign in with SSO (Single Sign-On, UCR’s Federated Identity Service)
    • Enter "ucr" in the company domain
    • Log in with your UCR NetID and password.
Create Meeting Invite Links

You will want to create a meeting link for each discussion section. Share this link with your students on your syllabus and your iLearn/Canvas page.

  1. Sign in to https://ucr.zoom.us using SSO (see above for detailed instructions). Click Meetings. Click Schedule a Meeting. Fill out any details you like (i.e., the class title). The easiest option is to click No Fixed Time, but you can also schedule your specific class meeting time. You can use this particular Zoom link for the duration of the class. Click Save.
  2. You can also schedule recurring meetings. Select Recurring meeting if you plan to hold meetings regularly, such as at the same time each week on the same day of the week. Edit the recurring meeting options to reflect the times and dates of these meetings. Click Save.
  3. You can either copy the meeting link or click Copy Meeting Invitation to copy the meeting invitation to share with students. Proceed to iLearn/Canvas and paste the link/invitation into an Announcement or your syllabus.


Zoom Security

Please see our guide on Zoom Security & Privacy. While it is unlikely that your discussion sections will experience Zoombombing, maintaining best security practices in discussion sections can help protect other virtual spaces. To ensure a safe learning environment, encourage students to log in to their Zoom accounts using their UCR NetID and Password.

· You can share our Zoom for Students guide on your iLearn/Canvas course page.


Waiting Room Filtering for UCR.edu Accounts Only
  1. All students need to log in using their UCR credentials.
  2. Faculty needs to enable Waiting Room Options under Settings.


  • Under "Edit Options"
    • Select "Users Who are not in your account..." Should go in the waiting room.
    • Add "ucr.edu" in open box.(see below)
    • Select "Host and Co-Host only" can admit participants from the waiting room.

Create a new meeting for this event using Zoom browser: https://ucr.zoom.com

  • Schedule a Meeting
  • Under meeting settings, enable "require authentication"
  • Enable Waiting Room in your scheduled meeting profile:
  • Once you go into your Zoom meeting, you will notice the Waiting Room is enabled and only students logging in using UCR credentials will filter right in. Those in waiting room will need to be checked against the roster.


Record Sessions & Post to iLearn/Canvas
Zoom Tools

Screen Share

  • Zoom allows you to share your full screen, one or more specific applications/windows, a portion of your screen, an iPhone/iPad screen, or content from a second camera.

Breakout Rooms

  • Breakout Rooms allow you to break students into smaller groups and enables you to incorporate group discussions into a Zoom session. You can also use breakout Rooms to have private sessions with a single student without switching to a different Zoom session.
  • You may need first to enable Breakout Rooms for your Zoom account
  • See Managing Zoom Breakout Rooms (opens in a new window)


  • The whiteboard feature allows you to share a blank space for you and/or your students to write or draw on during synchronous meetings.
  • It is possible for students to contribute to the whiteboard but consider the possibility of inappropriate behavior in larger classes before enabling this option.
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Promoting Communication and Collaboration

Take advantage of the asynchronous tools in iLearn/Canvas to encourage student interaction with you and with each other. Discussion boards, forums, and even social media are good ways to keep the conversation going outside class. Students can collaborate on assignments using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. In addition to asynchronous options, you can also use Zoom for virtual office hours, student discussions, and breakout groups to promote communication and collaboration in real time.


Use iLearn "groups" for student collaboration on assignments.

Google Apps


Zoom is UCR's web-conferencing solution that offers recording, screen-sharing, annotation, breakout rooms, polling, and more. With a Pro License, it will accommodate up to 300 video participants in a given session.

Zoom "breakout rooms" are multiple "spaces" within a single Zoom meeting managed by the meeting host to accommodate small group collaboration online. Students can be manually or randomly assigned to collaborate via live video while sharing screens or annotating using Zoom's whiteboard feature.

NOTE: While Zoom meeting hosts can assign "co-host" privileges for assistance with meeting logistics and moderation, co-hosts do not have privileges to initiate breakout rooms within Zoom.

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Virtual Labs

As you plan to move your lab instruction online, remember to start by connecting with your department. Because of the uniqueness of each discipline, departments and colleges will be the best place to start. Similarly, check in with your colleagues at other institutions and share ideas, tips, and tools, if possible. While your course will look or function differently than those at other institutions, researching and brainstorming about the best teaching practices for online learning can provide a valuable benefits for your students

UCR XCITE-led Trainings

The XCITE team at UCR is providing instructors and TAs with Zoom, iLearn, and Canvas training to assist in delivering labs/arts online (see the webinar schedule and recordings). XCITE is also available for one-on-one consultations to brainstorm solutions and provide training (email us at XCITE@ucr.edu or submit a support request). Options for training sessions include (but are not limited to):

  • Recording a lab demonstration by faculty/TAs
  • Simulating/demonstrating data-gathering experiences
  • Analyzing data from previous labs in previous quarters/build repositories of data from past iterations of course, or use data from literature
  • Contacting your textbook vendors to see if they provide virtual labs for your course and post in iLearn/Canvas
  • Using student cameras/phones to document activities or performances and share in iLearn/Canvas

The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), is a video platform featuring videos that teach fundamental concepts and techniques for labs. Via JoVE, researchers and students can view the intricate details of cutting-edge experiments rather than read them in text articles. The UCR library has added two collections of JoVE offerings: JoVE Science Education Chemistry & Advanced Biology and JOVE Immunology and Infection.


Henry Stewart Talks: Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection

HSTalks provides animated lectures, seminar-style talks, and case studies on Biomedical and Life Sciences topics. Editors and lecturers are leading world experts and practitioners, including Nobel Laureates, drawn from academia, research institutes, commerce, industry, the professions, and government.

For more tools and information, see:

Virtual Labs
Museum Collections
Other Considerations
  • Be clear in your instructions and expectations. Students are going to need more detailed instructions and clear expectations for assignments. Keep in mind that students may require more flexibility and understanding during this time.
  • Identify which software your students might need, and what they have access to.
  • Ask students for feedback along the way. Check in with students to find out how these new activities and methods are working for them.
  • Hold live sessions in Zoom. You can record lectures as well as hold live sessions via Zoom.

Thanks to Indiana University, Middlebury, Harvard University, and Princeton University for help in creating this post.


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Recommended Reading and Viewing

Teaching Remotely