Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I use Zoom in my teaching?

What is a Zoom poll and how do you use or view a poll?

How do you find and use the Chat feature in Zoom?

What are breakout rooms in Zoom and how do you manage them?

How do you share your screen or allow others to share their screen?

How can I use Canvas in my teaching?

How do you use the assignments tool in Canvas?

How do you recreate the start of a class in an online setting?

What strategies can you employ to have students conduct effective group work?

How do you facilitate discussions outside of class (asynchronous discussions)?


How can I use Zoom in my teaching?

Zoom serves as Yale’s video conferencing solution. Faculty and students can use Zoom for class, office hours, department meetings, and more. Faculty can schedule class sessions on Zoom through Canvas. All Yale faculty, students, and staff should ensure they have a Yale license Zoom account; this provides additional features and security. Learn more on our Zoom guide webpage.

What is a Zoom poll, and how do you use or view a poll?

Zoom allows the “host” of a meeting to conduct a poll. The host can upload questions and possible answers before a meeting or create a poll during a meeting. All polls must rely on multiple-choice questions in Zoom. To launch a poll, click on “Polling” during a meeting. You can then add a question and launch the poll for participants. Learn more about polling on our engaging students page.

How do you find and use the Chat feature in Zoom?

Chat appears in the bottom navigation bar of all Zoom meetings. It opens an active dialogue box that allows participants to type and submit written content. Hosts can limit the chat function. Faculty might use Chat to pose discussion questions, solicit questions from students, and conduct icebreakers. Learn more about Chat on our engaging students page.

What are breakout rooms in Zoom, and how do you manage them?

Breakout rooms provide an opportunity to divide participants into smaller Zoom rooms. Individual breakout rooms include the same video, audio, and chat modes of communication as a standard Zoom room. Instructors can divide students into breakout rooms of your chosen size randomly or by assignment. Learn more about breakout rooms on our engaging students page.

How do you share your screen or allow others to share their screen?

The “Share Screen” tool gives meeting hosts, or instructors, the opportunity to share their screen with their students clicking the green “Share Screen” button in the bottom navigation bar of all Zoom meetings. The instructor can choose which window or item they want to share. When using this feature, the default security setting allows Zoom hosts and co-hosts to share their screens, but it does not allow participants or students to share their screen. You can change this setting by clicking the arrow or caret next to “Share Screen” and then adjust the “Advanced Sharing Options” setting to include “All Participants” under “Who can share?” on the pop-up window. Learn more about screen sharing on our engaging students page.

How can I use Canvas in my teaching?

Canvas serves as Yale’s learning management system (LMS). An LMS helps faculty manage course materials and activities online. Faculty may post their syllabus, view their class roster, open discussion boards, create online assignments, post course content, share lecture videos, and much more. Yale automatically creates a Canvas site for each course (excluding the School of Medicine) and enrolls students in the course; however, faculty are responsible for publishing the course and posting their course materials. Students cannot see the course until the lead faculty member publishes it. Zoom scheduling is integrated into Canvas. Learn more on our Canvas guide webpage.

How do you use the assignments tool in Canvas?

Within Canvas, the “Assignment” feature allows instructors to create graded and non-graded assignments for students with due dates. Students can submit an assignment based on the settings chosen by the instructor. Instructors can create text entry, file upload, media recording, Google Doc, URL, or Canvas pages assignment types. Assignments will appear on the “Assignments” page, the Gradebook (if you chose a graded option), the Syllabus, and on the User Dashboard (if you chose a graded option). Learn more on the Canvas website.

How do you recreate the start of a class in an online setting?

Building a learning community in a residential/remote teaching environment requires planning and perseverance. The Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences recommends creating a welcome video to introduce your class to students and provide essential course information. Additionally, you will want to plan how you will organize the beginning of class. Asking questions, reactivating prior knowledge, conducting writing exercises, and reviewing earlier sessions will allow you to build a community and promote student engagement. Learn more on our engaging students page.

What strategies can you employ to have students conduct effective group work?

Group work can help students uncover and address gaps and misconceptions in knowledge, further developing their conceptual frameworks while improving their public reasoning and team-based skills (John-Steiner and Mahn, 1996). Instructors can determine how they will encourage group presentations, problem sets, case studies, and comparative work. Setting clear expectations, incorporating self- and peer- assessments, and providing routine feedback will ensure success. Learn more on our Group Work webpage on the Poorvu Center website.

How do you facilitate discussions outside of class (asynchronous discussions)?

Several tools can help instructors lead asynchronous discussions. Instructors may pose discussion questions on a Canvas discussion board, on VoiceThread, or in an all-class email. For large classes, instructors might consider dividing the class into smaller groups, such as Canvas Groups. Instructors can also assign students to pairs or small groups to discuss the assigned topic via phone, Zoom, or Google voice. Students may then report key takeaways or summary points from their discussions via email. Learn more on our seminar courses and discussions page.