Resources for Faculty

All Woods College faculty and encouraged and invited to join the Faculty Orientation and Resources Canvas site. This site will be used to introduce new faculty to the Woods College of Advancing Studies as well as act as a dashboard for news, updates, and advice for all faculty. The site includes pages dedicated to the students, WCAS policies, online course guides. It also includes faculty testimonials as well as video tutorials. Faculty who are registered in the BC system (i.e., have accepted their contract and logged into their BC emails) may access the Canvas site here.


Teaching Through Disruption Resources

Dear Colleagues,

Here is a link to a Chronicle of Higher Education article that you may find helpful if you need to move your class to a new format in response to the COVID-19 virus. The author provides a step-by-step process to consider when moving online quickly. She also provides links to additional resources you might find helpful.  I’ve excerpted it below, so you know if you want to read further.

This may be redundant for faculty who teach online; however, some of the resources she mentions might be intriguing to explore.

Here is the short version of what she suggests:

  1. Begin by going over your course assignments for the coming weeks. Are they accessible online, so that students can find the instructions and materials that they need? Is it clear how students will be turning in their work? Have deadlines changed, and are all of those deadlines prominently posted?
  2. How will you give feedback on their progress?  
  3. What do you normally use your in-class time for? Try to define what you do in class at a higher, more goal-oriented level (e.g., presentation of content, checking for understanding, collaborative project work — instead of just saying "lecture," "quiz," "discussion"). If you keep those goals in mind, you will have a better idea of how to achieve them online, as well as what aspects of the in-class experience you ought to focus on simulating.
  4. Decide what you’re going to do about any high-stakes assessments, particularly exams.  
  5. Consider the course materials. In all likelihood, your readings and other materials exist in digital form, and you may have posted them already. But you’ll need to double-check that any readings, videos, problem sets, quizzes, and the like are accessible, along with key documents such as the course syllabus and calendar.
  6. Once you’ve dealt with those things, the name of the game is communication. In the face of all this uncertainty, you need to explain — as clearly as you can and in a variety of places — what students can expect about the course in the next few weeks. 

You might want to review these resources:

From Stanford:

Canvas Basics

From Vanderbilt:

Dealing with the unexpected 

As always, reach out if you have questions or ideas you’d like to share.

Karen Muncaster, PhD
Dean, Woods College of Advancing Studies
Boston College

Identifying Key Tools and Functions within Canvas *

If you are new to using Canvas, you may appreciate some orientation to key Canvas tools and functions. 

Assignments: Instructors can create space for students to upload submissions, from informal reflections to formal written assignments and projects. Instructors can select the grading approach within the assignment. Assignments are best for instructors who wish for the students’ work to only be viewed and assessed by the instructor.

Announcements: Instructors can send mass e-mails or messages to the whole class community via the Announcements tool. The benefit to using Announcements over e-mail is that instructors do not need to collect individual student e-mail addresses and that the messages are archived on the course Canvas site.

Discussions: Instructors can create threaded, written discussion forums for instructors to engage in written (or audio/video) dialogue with each other and respond to written prompts.

Files: Instructors can post key course documents, like the syllabus, readings, assignment sheets, and activity descriptions in this space.

Modules: Instructors can organize course content into several chunks or groups of learning content. The pieces of information that students will access, including the syllabus, assignment sheets, activity descriptions, and outside links and resources, can be grouped together in the order that students might access those resources during a synchronous or asynchronous class session. Modules can give students access to readings, activity descriptions, outside links, and assignment submission links all in one place.

Pages: Instructors can create content for students to read or access that is not already created on a separate website or in a Word Document or other kind of document. The settings for Pages can also be changed so that the page can be edited by both instructors and students to create a class Wiki. 

* This passage is taken from, Teaching Effectively during Times of Disruption, by Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer of Stanford University


You may want to familiarize yourself with Zoom, which will allow you to conduct your class “live”.  The University now has sufficient Zoom licenses for all faculty.

CTE website contains great ideas on how to prepare to teach using the digital tools available and suggestions on strategies you might use. 

Communication will be key if we need to make these instructional changes.  You might want to create an email template for communicating with students in such an event – outlining your plan for moving the course online, explaining changes you’ve made, and identifying what technology they’ll be using to participate in the course. Learn how to email your class as a group.

For questions regarding undergraduate programs:

Michelle Elias Bloomer
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs

For questions regarding graduate programs:

Tristan Johnson
Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs

For general technical issues:

BC Technology Help Center
(617) 552-HELP (4357)
help.center@bc.edu or live tech support chat (M-F 9am-5pm)

For tactical suggestions and help in moving your course to remote delivery:

Sasha Tomic 
Director of the Master of Science in Applied Economics program and Associate Dean for Strategy, Innovation, and Technology 


Dear all,

Boston College is closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 virus.  At this moment, classes are set to continue as scheduled, but it is quite possible that some of us might be affected by the virus and will not be able to attend class in-person. 

  1. If you have symptoms or illness, have been asked to quarantine yourself, or are caring for a family member with symptoms, please stay at home and notify me immediately and let me know your estimated length of absence. 
  2. Please make sure to be able to log in to our course's Canvas page and be able to receive Canvas notifications.  Also, please make sure that you are regularly checking your BC email.  Canvas announcements and email will be my primary method of communication with you outside of class.  
  3. I will post materials from class on Canvas within 24 hours of the completion of the class.  You also may want to contact some of your classmates to see if they will share their notes with you.

Thank you all for your patience during this time. 


Wishing you a healthy week,




Karen Muncaster, Ph.D.

Dean, Woods College of Advancing Studies

Boston College