Keep Teaching - Instructor Technology Quickguide

How to get help:

Academic Technology

Students and instructors may contact AT for assistance in accessing and using teaching and learning technologies. 

Contact AT

Academic Technology Services is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Instructors can access support resources, participate in professional development opportunities, or contact CEETL directly to receive assistance transitioning course materials and activities to remote modalities.

Contact CEETL

CEETL continues to provide consultations over Zoom, by appointment Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. 


An unexpected and rapid switch to teaching remotely during a period of disruption presents a great deal of uncertainty for both the instructor and students. To manage this transition, instructors are encouraged to remain flexible and sensitive to the emotional needs of their students and themselves. This means acknowledging the interruption, focusing on critical course learning outcomes, resetting workload expectations, and emphasizing community and resilience over high stakes testing. 

The CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning and the CSU Faculty Development Council have prepared this Teaching Remotely During Disruption handout with suggested teaching strategies to facilitate this transition.

There are two modes of instruction to consider when transitioning in-person courses to remote modalities.  You can choose one or both of the following:

  1. Teach a synchronous [in real time] class using the Zoom video conferencing application. Synchronous means that the instructor and students may be in different locations but are meeting remotely at the same time.
  2. Teach a class asynchronously [not in real time] using SF State’s Learning Management System, iLearn.  Asynchronous means that there can still be deadlines, but students complete activities at their own pace.
  3. Teach a class synchronously [in real time] and record the sessions so that students can access the recordings and materials at their convenience, and complete the activities at their own pace according to determined deadlines.

Remember iLearn is the place students will go to find out what is happening in your class. Even if you want to use synchronous Zoom sessions, make sure you launch them from within your iLearn course so students can easily find everything they need in one location.

For professional development offerings visit the CEETL webpage.

Related Support Documents:

Getting started with technology

Know your SF State email

  • You will use your SF State email to log in and access a variety of remote technologies

  • Important information from the campus, your department, and your students will be sent to your official SF State email account - be sure to check it regularly!
    • Log into email by navigating to Outlook and entering your SF State email

Know your SF State password

  • If you do not know your password or have it saved on your devices, you may want to reset your password and keep it safe

Students will need a broadband internet connection. If you have questions or concerns about your internet connectivity or speeds, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or your mobile provider.  


  • Internet connection via DSL, Cable, WiFi, a mobile data plan, or other broadband service. 

    • Instructors requiring internet access in their place of residence during remote instruction periods should refer to our list of resources for securing an internet connection from off-campus locations.


  • Please check your internet connection to ensure that it is sufficient for remote teaching. You can test your internet connection at

    • Recommendation: Broadband internet with 25Mbps download speed, 3Mbps upload speed.
  • Use a modern web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Best practices and tips:

  • If you are experiencing issues with slow or dropped connections while using WiFi, try a wired connection using Ethernet instead.
  • Streaming content in the background may slow your connection down. When connecting to a Zoom session, it is recommended that you do not stream YouTube, Spotify or other online content providers in the background.

Related Support Documents:

Requesting assistance with internet access


  • A computing device with internet access such as a desktop or laptop computer OR a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet

    • See section on connectivity and internet access for more information on internet requirements and recommendations
  • A microphone (instructors may require students to participate in courses verbally)
  • Speakers or headphones


  • Use a laptop running Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 (or above)

    • Rationale: Laptops generally have all of the necessary equipment built-in, including microphones, webcams and speakers. A laptop running a supported version of Windows or macOS will provide the best compatibility with software and websites students are required to use in courses.
  • Webcam (integrated with laptop or USB accessory)
    • Rationale: If your computer does not have a camera built-in, an external USB webcam will provide camera functionality for cases when instructors may ask students to show video in live sessions or for video recorded assignments such as speeches and presentations. Many USB webcams also have microphones built-in with slightly better quality than the ones built-in to a  computer.

Best practices and tips:

  • iPads and devices running ChromeOS are not recommended as a full computer replacement as they may not be compatible with software required to complete course work
  • Keep your computer's operating system and the browsers and applications you use up-to-date to ensure continued access to campus resources such as iLearn and Zoom

Requesting laptops:
To request a laptop, please use this form.

Requesting accessories (webcams, headsets and writing tablets):
To request an accessory, please use this form.

Faculty are invited to sign up for the Canvas Fundamentals course offered by Academic Technology. This self-paced course will take instructors through the fundamentals of Canvas, from accessing courses and posting materials, to giving assignments and online assessments. Designed for new users and those looking to improve their proficiency, the course is asynchronous and does not have any set time commitments.


Remote teaching technologies

Canvas is SF State's online learning management system, where instructors can organize their courses and materials, and students interact with resources and participate in classes. Instructors should familiarize themselves with the Canvas interface and core functions so that working in the system comes easily during the semester. 

Let your students know that you will be using Canvas for your class. Direct them to to find your class.

Related Support Documents:

For instructors uncomfortable or unable to use iLearn as a primary means of communication, campus email can be used as a method for communicating with students and sharing instructions or assignments.

  • Be sure to download class rosters from Faculty Center, including students' email to ensure durable access to student email addresses.
  • Campus email uses Microsoft Exchange. For best results, use the Microsoft Outlook email program or the Outlook Web App.



Box at SF State is a cloud-based, collaborative storage service used to share documents with faculty, staff and students.

Related Support Documents:

Video conferencing via Zoom can be used to conduct virtual office hours. Zoom is a video conferencing platform with a shared display area, real-time video, voice, chat and polling options. Although Zoom is often used for facilitating class sessions with larger groups, it is easily utilized for individual conference sessions such as for conducting Virtual Office Hours.

Related Support Documents:

Remote teaching tips and best practices

Web conferencing (Zoom) allows instructors to meet with students online using video, voice, chat, PowerPoint and screen sharing. Web conferences are added to your iLearn class as activities.

Please note that during emergency transitions to remote instruction, especially during periods of shelter-in-place, many students do not have access to all the conditions required to share their video in real time: access to high-speed internet, a computer, webcam, and quiet, private place. To address these equity issues, faculty are encouraged to record their sessions so students can review them at a future time, and not require students to show their live camera feed at all times

Related Support Documents:

CourseStream allows you to record a lecture on your computer and post it in iLearn for your class. CourseStream is also available in some classrooms where your in-class lecture is automatically recorded and posted to your iLearn course.

Contact Academic Technology to get started with CourseStream on your work computer or in your classroom.

Related Support Documents:

Establish a clear protocol for students to contact you. To do this, include a contact statement in your syllabus with details about how you prefer to be contacted, keep your Canvas profile current (office number, photo, etc.) and add your contact information at the top of your Canvas class.

Course management and class content

Students can chat with the instructor and other students while participating in a live online class session. Use breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions between students during the class.

Related Support Documents:

Announcements are the preferred way of contacting your class as a whole. An announcement will both post to the announcements area of your class and send your students a notification with the contents of the announcement.

Related Support Documents:

Canvas has a built-in gradebook to keep track of student progress and provide them with feedback. This tool can be customized to suit your preferred grading method and calculations whether it is points-based, percentages-based or extra credit.

Related Support Documents:

Use Canvas assignments to allow students to submit a file or text typed directly into Canvas and collect student work, provide feedback and assign grades. 

Related Support Documents:

Assign quizzes and exams that can be automatically graded by Canvas. Canvas quizzes allow for many different types of questions including multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer and essay. Quiz scores are automatically added to the gradebook, saving you time.

Related Support Documents:

Turnitin is an online teaching tool that allows students to submit a file that will be automatically checked and flagged for instances of possible plagiarism, over-reliance on cited resources and improper citation. It also provides the ability to quickly mark the papers with comments and assign grades online, eliminating the need to download students’ submissions to your computer.

Related Support Documents:

Emphasize Learning Over Testing

During periods of remote instruction prompted by orders to shelter-in-place, many students do not have access to all the conditions required to succeed in a remotely proctored exam: access to high-speed internet, a computer, a webcam, and a quiet, private place.

To address these equity, accessibility and privacy issues, faculty are encouraged to replace high-stakes exams with projects that promote creativity, collaboration and new ways of demonstrating knowledge that do not require remote proctoring. Visit these websites for ideas and strategies for alternative final exams: 

Remote Exams and Assessments Rutgers University
Alternatives To Traditional Testing: Center for Teaching and Learning, UC Berkeley
Alternatives To Traditional Exams and Papers: Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Indiana University
Moving Your Final Exams Online: Office of Teaching and Learning, University of Denver
Online Alternatives to In-Person Proctored Exams: Office of Distance Learning, University of Florida
Final Exam Options: Keep Teaching, UC Davis
A Different Kind of Final: Faculty Focus
The Final Exam Experience: Center for Teaching and Learning, Brigham Young University 
Alternatives to Exams and Finals The Ohio State University
Assessments for Virtual Instruction Cal State San Luis Obispo
What Do Final Exams Mean During a Pandemic? Chronicle of Higher Education


  •  Use University-approved technology tools for your classes, including approved online course platforms and document sharing tools. If you would like to use an external product such as a publisher tool, ensure it is vetted properly through SF State’s Technology Acquisition Review process or email
  • If you have any students with disabilities registered for and requesting DPRC services enrolled in your course, you will receive an accommodations letter from myDPRC. Instructors should familiarize themselves with myDPRC.  You can assist in timely requests and referrals by reminding all students of DPRC services early in the semester.
  • Use the Syllabus Tool to create an accessible syllabus that also meets all University requirements.
  • If creating documents for use in your course, apply accessibility best practices to your documents. You may also encourage the use of the Accessible Media Quick Converter to all your students, regardless of disability. This tool converts documents between accessible formats and is available to all SF State faculty, staff and students.
  • If you are administering assessments in your course, review CEETL’s recommendations on how to plan online assessments designed with academic integrity in mind.  If approved by DPRC, please ensure you provide extended time for any students in alignment with any accommodation letters you received from the DPRC for any timed assessments. Review Academic Technology’s guide to changing a single student’s quiz time as needed.
  • Consider incorporating guidelines of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in your course as this will helps all students learn. Some examples are below:
    • Make recordings of your class Zoom sessions available for students so that they may go back and review.
    • Always communicate a consistent class agenda and keep deadlines consistent. Ensure all instructions are clear and concise. Providing consistency and clarity up front will reduce the amount of questions and confusion on the students’ end.
    • Start class off with a review of how students are expected to engage with the Zoom class. This includes instructions and reminders about turning microphones on and off, use of cameras, etc. Flexibility is recommended to reduce impacts of directly viewing Zoom sessions for long periods.
  • Additional Resources

  • Supporting Students with Disabilities
  • Tips for Instructors: Teaching Deaf Students Online
  • Zoom Accessibility Tips

Instructors can consider assigning no-cost, open educational resources to their students as a form alternative assignment during a closure or disruption.  Learn more at the Affordable Learning website.

Faculty and students have access to a variety of resources to integrate into courses:

Reserve Teaching Space

Faculty members can now reserve one of the six group study rooms in the first floor Research Commons for use as an individual, single-occupancy teaching space. To make a reservation, use the following link:

Using software

Labspace provides students and faculty anytime, anywhere access to software applications.  For faculty, specialized software is more easily available for conducting research, training, or scholarship.

Related Support Documents:

Faculty and staff at San Francisco State University are eligible for a free copy of Microsoft Office 365.

Faculty and staff are entitled to all Adobe Creative Cloud applications, which can be installed individually but are categorized as: Acrobat Pro standalone, Creative Cloud, and Creative Cloud with video tools.

Current students, faculty and staff are eligible to install MATLAB on personally owned computers.

Tech Tutorials

The SF State community has access to a variety of supplemental resources and training material to help support digital literacy and make remote work more seamless.  Please review the following resources for information on supplemental training:

Basics of your operating system - Windows 10

Create documents - Windows Word 2016

Create slideshows - Windows Powerpoint 2016 essential training

Basics of your operating system - macOS Mojave

Create documents - Word 2019 for Mac

Create slideshows - Powerpoint 2019 for Mac

Record your screen - Screen recording using Quicktime

Android devices - Operating system training

Apple devices - iOS 13