Tech & Teaching Resources

updated 8 July 2021

Office Hours & Support

CITL has Drop-in office hours here, 2 pm – 3 pm every day (passcode is ‘help’). Check out the Keep Teaching and CITL websites for instructional resources. If you have any questions about teaching and technology, post on Online Education’s Slack space or email For general teaching questions, email

For more technical questions you might want to contact the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) • fitc@ucsc.edu -- they can assist with technical aspects of UCSC instructional tools, such as Active Learning Classrooms, the Learning Glass studio, and the various upgrades to Canvas.

Teaching a course for the first time (or the first time remotely) ?  CITL would like to help you ! Contact them via email or Slack to work with an instructional designer on planning, design, and technology for your course.

Summer Session Instructor Guide

"Are you teaching this summer? This handy Instructors’ Guide has all the information you need, including the course design template, a Summer Session 2021 introduction module and syllabus template, how to get instructional support in Slack, and so much more." Also check out "a new “What’s Different in Summer” fact sheet, and a Summer Introduction Module that you can add to your Canvas."

[from Keep Teaching #10 & 9]

Interested in designing hybrid courses ? Online Education has a training for that ! "The three-week cohort-based training will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am to 12pm between July 27 and August 12. It is open to all interested faculty on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, email Online Education."
[from #10 and #11]

Teaching #11 -- some gleanings below... {subscribe}

CITL wants to know: "What did you do that worked or that you plan to use even as we return to more in-person instruction? Let us know using this Flipgrid board."

New in Canvas : SpeedGrader Comment Library. {instructions} "Create a library of saved comments that can be used across all your Canvas Assignments and courses." "Add new comments on the fly, and delete old ones that are no longer necessary." "Access your saved comments by clicking on the “library” or by typing in the Assignment Comments which will give you previously entered suggestions to choose from." {video}

Free Online Courses : "Through the campus partnership with Coursera, the entire campus community (all people with email addresses) will soon have free access to over 3,000 online courses from hundreds of institutions and instructors, including courses from UCSC professors Bettina Aptheker, Erika Zavaleta, Ira Pohl, and several others." More in your Tuesday Newsday, which will have the invitation link.

One-Change Challenge will happen again in F21. "What changes will you consider making to your Fall courses? Sign up in September!"

Keep Teaching #10 -- some gleanings below... {subscribe}

A brief guide to “Post-remote teaching” that includes “stuff to keep,” “stuff to toss,” and more. 

APO guidance on COVID-Impacted Personnel Reviews. CITL on how to document remote teaching [slides]

How to review a colleague's Canvas : Canvas Review Resource [draft by Online Ed & CITL]

Are video files eating up your 2GB of Canvas storage? Use YuJa instead! Why to use YuJa and different ways to share YuJa media. [Slideshow with videos.]

Need to give a student access to your course in Canvas after the term has ended? Create a post-term section and set the Section Availability dates accordingly. This also keeps the course from appearing on other students’ dashboards. See How do I give a student access to complete work after the end of the term? 

Accomodations in Canvas : Set additional time for a student to complete a quiz in Canvas, using Moderate Quiz. This will ensure they have the correct amount of time. Watch Adding Accommodations to Quizzes for a quick tutorial, or read about Quiz Accommodations in the Instructure documentation.

"New to Canvas - Student Annotation assignment: Students annotate on an uploaded worksheet, document or image and submit directly in Canvas. Students can add comments, text, highlight, strikethrough, freestyle draw, or create boxes. Visit this guide for more information about this assignment type, what activities it might be good for, and other considerations. Note: this assignment type is not yet supported by Canvas on mobile devices, and may have limited use in courses as a result."

Live Captioning in Zoom : "optional automatic transcription that turns the spoken word into text, in real-time. This feature can be used to improve accessibility during live Zoom meetings. Learn more about using Zoom Live Transcription." (This feature must be activated by the host for each meeting.) [See the following via Lisa Bono:]

Using Zoom Live Transcription

Please review the instructions on the Using Live Transcription web page. We recommend practicing a few times without participants to learn the new feature. Things to consider if you use this feature:

  • Once enabled, the feature provides the ability to turn the spoken word into text, in real time as subtitles, transcript or both. The transcription appears during the Zoom session and is visible to ALL participants.
  • Only the host can enable Live Transcription. Participants will not have access to the Live Transcript unless the host enables it for each Zoom session.
  • The Zoom session transcript can be saved by the host AND by the participants. If the host doesn't want the participants to be able to save and download a copy of the transcript, the host must disable Save Captions in the Zoom web application settings BEFORE the session begins. Instructions

My Students Started a Discord Server. Now what? [Inside Higher Ed article by UCSC's Megan McNamara (Online Education, CITL, and Sociology) and Aaron Zachmeier (Online Education)]

Accessibility Corps : Making courses more accessible for all students. [by ITS]

IRAPS data on student experiences with online platforms. {Spoiler : They're using Discord a lot.}

Encourage students to complete class evaluation surveys with this video.

Keep Teaching #9 -- some highlights below... {subscribe}

Because of the pandemic, we have all done a lot of work redesigning courses. We could possibly continue this. Opportunities exist for Senate and non-Senate faculty who wish to do so to earn Summer salary to initiate or continue the process of course redesign. One such is CITL's Project REAL (Redesigning for Equity and Advancing Learning). This offers $5000 in summer salary for each faculty member who completes a workshop on using the findings of pedagogical research to assist and guide course redesign.

"Online Education has once again issued a Call for Proposals to develop asynchronous online and hybrid courses to be offered in Fall 2021. This is the first time hybrid courses–in which students watch pre-recorded lecture videos and spend all of class time engaged in active learning–have been prioritized as part of course redesign at UCSC." Participants in this program will earn $4000 in summer salary.

A newly updated version of the online course on Integrated Course Design

"CITL will once again be offering a one-hour presentation (April 22 and May 6) on “Documenting Teaching for the Academic Personnel Process: COVID 19 Edition.”

Documenting Teaching for the Academic Personnel Process–COVID Edition
Thursday, May 6 at 9:00 - 10:00 am
"This workshop supports faculty to develop their evidence of excellence in teaching to provide a holistic and representative picture of themselves as educators, both for the personnel review process and for formative self-reflection. Acknowledging the research on limitations of Student Experience of Teaching (SET) data, the workshop provides guidance both for using SET data and for developing additional methods of documenting teaching."

Conference on the Uses and Abuses of Data in Higher Education • May 14

One-hour how-to presentation on Peer Review of Teaching with Jody Greene, Associate Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning. Jody will present on strategies for effective peer review and peer support of teaching development. The talk will cover topics such as how to conduct classroom visits, syllabus review, the use of rubrics, and review of mentoring activities. Monday, May 3 at 3:00 - 4:00 pm

"A new research brief, Expanding access: Minoritized students’ lived experiences with pandemic-era remote learning, authored by Psychology graduate student Samantha Basch with Dr. Rebecca Covarrubias and Dr. Su-hua Wang, explores the experiences of low-income, first-generation and/or students of color at UCSC navigating emergency shifts to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Make your Course Materials More Accessible : "Do you have scanned PDFs or other course material you want to make more accessible? Accessibility Corps can help with remediating PDF documents into a more accessible version. This Online Education team also offers support for captioning on recorded YuJa videos — and more! Please visit this form to learn more information and request services."

New Workshops for Hypothesis and Gradescope.

###  A few notes (4/8/21) from Teaching Professor Pedro Morales-Almazan...

  • Canvas now supports MathJax: In editor mode, use \( \) for inline LaTeX and \[ \] for display equations.
  • CheggShield for exams: They now have a feature where you can submit your exam and schedule and they will actively block attempts to request solutions during your exam for free. They say that they won't get any rights on the material. Here is more info:
  • Piazza will be free (maybe) until the end of this quarter: There is a message in Piazza saying that "Your university is currently working through a site license agreement with Piazza. At this time, you do not need to purchase an instructor license for your class." 
  • Piazza alternatives: Campuswire, Yellowdig, Dicourse, Slack, Discord, Zulip, Inscribe.
  • Four key features for Zoom classes:
  • A minor correction to the above by Teaching Professor Frank Bäuerle : "The campus has a license agreement which guarantees that Piazza remains without ads until the end of August (i.e. through the end of summer session). Also, the campus is actively looking into suitable alternatives such as those that you mention as well as another one called Ed Discussions." (4/8/21)

Keep Teaching #8 -- some highlights below... {subscribe}

Teaching with a tablet highlights the versatility of a tablet as a colorful, engaging presentation tool.

Planning for Fall 2021 page on the Keep Teaching website

Hypothesis Course & Resources

Canvas Winter 2021 End of Term

The winter term will end on Saturday March 20 @ 6am. After that date, students will have read-only access to courses. TAs access will end on Thursday March 25 @ 6AM. If you need to extend access, visit this Canvas Community Guide for directions or email for help.

Updated Introduction Module and Course Design Template

The UCSC Introduction Module and Course Design Template for Canvas have been updated for spring quarter. Both have useful standard information for your students about campus resources, technology, and learning strategies. The Course Design Template also has a modular framework for a 10-week course. You can import from Canvas Commons or request that the module or template be added to your course with an email to

New features in Canvas coming on March 20 (full release notes here). These include:

  • submission reassignment,
  • students can now upload webcam videos for Assignment submissions, and
  • course availability date enhancements.

Two New Tools are coming to Canvas to Improve Accessibility

  1. SensusAccess converts digital files into accessible formats (such as PDFs, audio MP3 files, or e-pub files) for individuals with visual, physical, or information processing disabilities who experience barriers with print materials.
  2. Microsoft Immersive Reader allows anyone with dyslexia, low vision, visual processing disorders or ADHD to customize how they read text. The end user can customize the font-size, background color, font-spacing, present text using line focus, adjust font spacing, and read aloud without a screen reader.

Relatedly, please visit the DRC’s 5 tips for inclusive design.

Dr. Bensimon’s talk on The Syllabus as an Equity Practice

March 18 & 19 workshops on using tech in your teaching.

April 1 @ 9am: Using Self Efficacy Strategies to Promote Student Success. {register}

Keep Teaching #7 -- Some highlights and comments... {subscribe}

  • Teaching evaluation response rates soar to campuswide 48.74%. Math had 48.6% response overall ! However, we have experienced some glitches with Blue not integrating fully with DivData. The SETS team are working on the issues.
  • Informational guides : infographics on 
  • Joining NCFDD : "CP/EVC Kletzer has agreed to fund an institutional membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. CITL has advocated renewing our membership and partnered with the Graduate Division on this funding request. NCFDD is a platform that offers faculty, graduate students, and postdocs on-demand access to mentoring, tools, and support to succeed in the academy. NCFDD resources address everything from how to complete a dissertation to how to plan a path to tenure to how to balance the multiple professional and personal demands academics face in the course of their careers. It is particularly attentive to the inequitable workloads–especially in teaching and mentoring–faced by many BIPOC academics and, in some fields, by non-male faculty members and graduate students. Look for an announcement soon that the campus membership has been initiated."
  • A Guide for Instructors on Students' Use of Discord
  • "This officer is here to make sure there is no. Cheating." "Student use of websites like during the period of remote instruction have skyrocketed. Some of those sites are taking actions to limit the effectiveness of their use by students during exams. Chegg, for instance, has introduced Honor Shield (terrible title!) to limit the availability of exam questions/answers during an exam period. Read more about this in a recent article from Inside Higher Education."
  • Workshops on using Hypothesis (annotation tool)
    • Implementing Social Annotation with Hypothesis in your Courses
      In this workshop, learn how to create a supportive and scaffolded learning environment for using social annotation. Register via the links below.
    • Using Hypothesis with Small Groups
      In this workshop, learn about options for using Hypothesis in small groups, and how social annotation can be used to create a more collaborative learning environment. Register via the links below.
  • Course Shells in Canvas for Spring 2021 - NEW DATES!
    Course shells for Spring 2021 are available in Canvas now. If you do not see your course for Spring in the unpublished section of your Canvas dashboard, check in with your department to make sure that the Registrar has been notified of your appointment. Going forward, course shells will be made available on the following schedule:
    • Fall - course shells available April 1
    • Winter - course shells available October 1
    • Spring - course shells available at start of Advising Week
    • Summer - course shells available at start of Advising Week
  • Piazza Update
    The online discussion platform Piazza will remain available through Spring 2021. We will keep you apprised of next steps as we continue to work with Piazza and investigate alternative solutions.

Lux debuted. UCSC recently deployed a new high performance computing (HPC) environment which is much faster and better. [More details.] The ITS group also stabilized and expanded access to the Hummingbird environment, allowing more people to use it for their remote research. [More details.]

Keep Teaching #6

New Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE)
Canvas released a new text editor. Summary of the changes and helpful links in this document.

Piazza Asking For Donations
Piazza has moved to a donation-based model for the free service that will frequently ask students and faculty to make a monetary donation. UCSC has a temporary agreement to suppress the display of these solicitations and is working on securing the agreement through Spring quarter."

Zoom Live Transcription
"The option for live transcription is now available through your UCSC Zoom account. This feature provides the ability to turn the spoken word into text, in real time as subtitles, transcript, or both. The transcription appears during the Zoom session and is visible to ALL participants, which can enhance the general accessibility of a Zoom session. Important things to note:

  • You will need to decide in advance whether or not the transcript will be saved after the Zoom session. 
  • Some instructors may want to give students access to the transcript as a supplement to note-taking. Others may not want students to be able to download and possibly share a transcript that includes everything both the instructor and other students attending have said.[...]
  • We recommend that faculty familiarize themselves with the “save transcript” settings and features before initiating a meeting that uses the live transcript function, whether for a class or other event."

Keep Teaching #5.  Some extracts follow...

Piazza Going Away
"UC plans to remove the Piazza integration from Canvas on or before January 1, 2021. If you have used or are considering using Piazza for your classes,
please read this before assigning students to use the platform for Winter or beyond. If you would like to use an alternative to Piazza, such as Canvas Discussions, [or Slack,] support is available at or via the Online Education Slack workspace."

Hypothesis "social annotation tool" Available
Piloted in Fall 2020, the Hypothesis social annotation tool is now available to encourage collaborating through annotation. "Collaborative annotation can be a key tool in developing critical thinking and analytical writing skills."

Learner-centered Syllabi
"Using a learner-centered syllabus is a helpful way for you to connect with your students. Take a look at this helpful template."

Module 0 for Your Canvas Course
"Consider using this Week 0 module to your course in Canvas. The module covers the basics for students to be able to access the library remotely, to use educational technologies like Hypothesis, where they can seek support, your academic integrity policy, and more. The module can be imported into your course using the instructions linked above, or you can email to ask that it be added to your course (be sure to include your course name)."

GitLab for Instruction
"Instructors can now direct students to a UCSC-specific instance of GitLab for instruction. GitLab is an industry-standard git repository for tracking computer programs, data, and other media that instructors can make available to students for developing and submitting code. GitLab is similar to GitHub, but with the UCSC instance of GitLab, your repositories are hosted on servers here at the University. The repositories are private from other students unless you invite them to collaborate. To find out more, visit"

"Instructors using the popular MATLAB application can now also use MATLAB Grader through Canvas. This tool allows teachers to create MATLAB-based assignments that can be automatically evaluated and graded. For more information, see"
Zoom Enhancements to Breakout Rooms
"Instructors can now have TAs manage breakout rooms. The latest version of Zoom (version 5.4.6) gives co-hosts the same breakout room controls as the meeting host, such as starting or ending breakout rooms, assigning participants, and more. This version also includes the ability for hosts and co-hosts to assign a participant back to the main session without ending all breakout sessions. If you haven’t already, update to the latest version of Zoom."

CITL remote instruction guide for TAs and instructors who work with TAs.

Attention span and Zoom fatigue: It seems reasonable to have about 15 minutes of break for every hour or so in Zoom. Studies also suggest that a 10-15m uninterrupted block of lecture is perhaps the maximum that can be effectively retained. One possible approach would be breaking up your lecture with brief periods where participants can step away from the class, refresh and re-focus. You could also have people put questions into chat during break, then respond to them when you come back from the break. It's also a good idea to rotate instructional method (from lecture to answering questions, asking questions, working on exercises, etc) as you go to engage different cognitive styles and keep students engaged.

Keep Teaching Newsletter #4 -- this issue has a few good tips, such as making materials available if you aren't recording class sessions, as well as some notes on how to set up a course in Canvas, and how to design good open-book exams.

Keep Teaching website. (How UCSC is keeping up its teaching mission in our suddenly "remote" times.)

Jody Greene's notes on running a Zoom session. One crucial takeaway: designate a helper to keep track of chat questions and raised hands. There is a lot of "backstage business" involved in having an effective Zoom, so have a plan for taking care of it.

Tooltip: turn your smartphone into a document camera.

Putting a Zoom video on Canvas ? Use YuJa ! Many features, including editable auto-captioning.

As an alternative to sharing your screen, Zoom feature to show powerpoint slides in full screen with your video image overlaid. The Penguin Professor has an explanation and demonstration: