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Teaching During University Closures

The following set of tools and links will help you to ensure academic continuity by moving your class online during University closures. Canvas, the University’s Learning Management System, offers many features that facilitate online teaching and learning in an online environment. Additional academic tools, such as Google Drive and Panopto, are also shared below.

Communicate with Your Students

Post Announcements

Announcements are a tool commonly used by instructors as a way to quickly communicate course activities such as a change in a homework assignment, class cancellation, campus events, etc. By default, students have the opportunity to comment on a course announcement.  Once you post the announcement as an instructor, Canvas sends a notification to the students. Learn more about how to post announcements.

Message Your Students through Canvas

The Canvas Inbox is an email service built into Canvas that allows instructors and students to communicate with each other without leaving the Canvas environment. You can easily send messages to individual students, groups of students, sections of a course, or the entire course roster. Learn more about how to message students.

Email Your Students through Gmail

Download your class roster so that you have a list of all of your students and their NetIDs. This will enable you to email them in case Canvas is not available. Learn more about how to export grades and a list of students.

Facilitate Synchronous Virtual Conferences


Zoom is a platform for video and audio conferencing. All members of the campus community have access to Zoom “Licensed” which does not restrict the length of meetings. You will be able to access Zoom and use your Montclair Google Credentials.

Please visit the following pages for more information:

Offer Online Activities and Assignments

Online Discussions

Canvas discussions provide an easy way for instructors to create and facilitate asynchronous interaction amongst students. Online discussions encourage active participation from students and help replicate discourse that may occur in a face-to-face classroom. Discussions can be created as an assignment for grading purposes (which is integrated with Canvas Gradebook), or simply serve as a Q & A to answer students’ questions, or a forum for students to share information. Group discussions may be set up so that small groups of students may converse.  Learn more about how to create a Discussion.


Assignments in Canvas can be for submissions by the students in Canvas that include files, images, text, URLs, etc.  Assignments can be assigned to everyone in the course or differentiated by student, section, or student groups. Learn more about how to create an Assignment.


The Quiz tool is used to create and administer Online Quizzes and Surveys. You can also use Quizzes to conduct exams and assessments that students will take Online. This will create a column in the grade book where you can manually enter a grade for quizzes or exams taken on paper. Learn more about how to create a Quiz.

Record and Share Lecture Videos

Panopto is an all-in-one video platform that not only provides faculty with desktop lecture recording and automatic captioning services, but also offers pedagogical features to add learning interactions within a video. It is also seamlessly integrated within Canvas. Take a look at our documentation for both the PC (Windows) and Mac (Apple) or attend a training workshop. Students can also create Panopto recordings in their Canvas courses. For more details, please review our documentation for student use of Panopto: Panopto Recordings for Students and Panopto Assignments for Students.

Collaboration Tools

Canvas Groups

Canvas groups are a small version of a course and used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on group projects and assignments. Effective group work and collaboration are important to facilitate a social learning environment. Working in groups assists students in developing problem-solving, communication and critical thinking skills, and provides them opportunities to work and learn from their peers. Learn more about setting up student groups/teams.

Google Drive

Google Apps (G Suite) for Education is a suite of communication and collaboration tools for learning anywhere, anytime, on any device. All faculty and staff have access to this suite of tools by logging into using your MSU email address ( Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are useful in extending the classroom to an online environment. Collaboration features include: sharing, editing, commenting, suggesting, and chatting on documents online. These may occur in real-time, during a scheduled work session, or asynchronously, at different times. Learn more about Google Applications.

Live Online Training and Support

Canvas Training & Support with ITDS (Instructional Technology & Design Services)

In order to support faculty with this online transformation, Instructional Technology & Design Services (ITDS) has prepared a series of online training workshops and web-based resources, listed below.

Online Self-Help Documents

You can also reach out to the University Service Desk at x7971 for support or set up a one-on-one appointment with one of our Instructional Designers using the ITDS Appointment Scheduler.