Guiding Principles for Students

Faculty and staff across the University are working together to ensure students’ learning experiences maintain the academic rigor associated with residential learning experiences. Your first online class session might feel daunting for both you and your instructor. Many faculty members will dedicate time to reflect on how the learning experience will change in the coming weeks and to provide you with an opportunity to develop familiarity with the new format and tools.

Please use the following resources to ensure you are prepared as classes resume in an online format: 

Replicate the atmosphere of a learning community

Think about how you can help create a safe environment to foster open and honest participation with your instructor and peers. You are expected to contribute to creating an equitable and inclusive environment, even in an online course. In online discussion boards, the absence of facial and voice context cues can result in misinterpreted messages. Always read a submission aloud before you hit submit. During synchronous Zoom sessions, use the “Raise Hand” feature in the participants window to indicate you want to share something or send a message in the Chat window to indicate you have a contribution. Discussion disagreements should never include personal attacks. Remember, everyone participating online is also a student, teaching fellow, or instructor at Yale. These principles will ensure rigorous intellectual engagement and a deeper learning experience for all.1

1Modeled after Professor Carolyn Robert’s explanation of a learning community in her course, HSHM 761 / AFAM 752  / HIST 937 Medicine and Empire  

Prepare before your first class 

Turn on Canvas notifications 

Within Canvas @ Yale, you can modify specific notifications to determine how frequently you receive emails from your course sites. The Poorvu Center recommends that you update your notification settings to ensure you receive all notifications. This will ensure you know when a professor schedules Zoom sessions, adds assignments, and shares announcements within Canvas. Review this detailed help guide on how to update your notifications

Check Announcements in Canvas 

Professors will likely share timely updates in the Announcements section of Canvas. You can find this feature in the course navigation bar. “Announcements are listed in reverse chronological order with the newest appearing first and the older announcements appearing towards the bottom.” Canvas offers a detailed help guide on how to view Announcements

Download Zoom, create your account, and review the app’s best practices 

Zoom is an online video conferencing and recording tool that can be used within Canvas. Yale ITS provides Zoom Pro accounts for all students. Read our full guide to learn how you can use Zoom to attend and participate in seminar, labs, sections, and office hours

To test the experience of attending a Yale Zoom class, get live support, and receive an orientation to Zoom’s features, attend a Zoom Test Class on March 21 or March 22.

Set up and test DUO MFA

You will need to use DUO MFA to access many Yale resources off-campus. Review Yale’s guide to DUO MFA for details.

Please note that VPN is only required when accessing restricted Yale resources. VPN is not required or recommended for accessing Canvas, Zoom, or Yale email.

Tools for coursework and other resources

Downloading software for class

Most software required for class is available in the Yale Software Library. For more information and financial assistance with software, visit Financial Resources for Technology.

VPN (and when to use it)

Please note that VPN should only be used when accessing Yale applications that require it; VPN is not required or recommended to access Canvas, Zoom, or email. Most students will only need to use VPN when accessing Library Resources.

Financial assistance with technology

For information about financial assistance for internet, computing equipment, and software, visit Financial Resources for Technology

Where can I get help? 

Please visit the Student Technology Help page to request assistance. More information and troubleshooting tips are available on the Self-Help and Support page.

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