Updates on issues and solutions for remote teaching

Storing Files on Canvas and Other Tips 

Canvas has a limited amount of storage available (~500MB) for each course. If you are adding large files like videos andPowerPoints with media embedded, you might run out of storage space. If you need more space, you have the following two options:

    •  If you think you’ll need no more than 1GB of space, you can request more storage space for your class by contacting the Digital Learning Support unit atdls@umw.edu or on our contact form. We can double your storage space from 500MB to 1GB.

    • If you need more than 1GB of space for your course you’ll need to host files externally. We are recommending you utilize OneDrive storage, but there are other cloud storage options such as Google Drive and Dropbox thatyou may already be familiar with. To learn more about OneDrive storage available to you as a UMW facultymember please read our OneDrive guide and for more information about how to link to external files see the section on Storage in Canvas on our Canvas page.

Reviewing Your Digital Tools 

Now that we are teaching remotely for the remainder of the semester instead of just “getting through two weeks,” it might make sense to evaluate how things are going so far.  Are you and your students getting comfortable with the tools you have chosen, or do you need other options?  Is what you are doing now sustainable for the rest of the semester?

Think again about synchronous vs. asynchronous.  If interaction is a key factor in your course, then synchronous makes sense, but understand it doesn’t work for all students.  Some have low bandwidth connections or limited data plans on phones. Some are in different time zones.  We are starting to see degradation of internet connections due to high use and public WIFI in places like Starbucks is becomingunavailable due to closures, so even basic internet can’t be a given. If all students can’t be synchronous for required parts of your content, please also consider how you will provide that same content another way to that group.

If you are mostly delivering content by lecture, a tool like Screencast-O-Matic may be a better fit.  It allows you to record a lecture with video including sharing your PowerPoint or computer screen.  You can then provide these videos forstudents to view the content in a more flexible manner and way that requires less internet bandwidth.

If you are creating digital files like videos or PowerPoints, see the info above about storing files on Canvas.  File storage space on a Canvas site is limited, so consider other methods to make your digital files available to students.

Digital Tools and Resources for Remote Teaching 

There are many different digital tools that can work forremote teaching.  You are free to use whatever tools you know and work for you and your students, but the ones listed below are tools DLS staff is focused on supporting.  Additionally, most provide some level of online accessibility to students with disabilities.

Screencast-O-Matic (Asynchronous presentations) 

    • Screencast-O-Matic is a tool that allows you to record what’s happening on your computer screen, as well as video and audio via your computer’s built-in webcam and microphone. This is a useful tool for recording lectures to share with students online, especially if the lecture includes PowerPoint slides or other visual aids.

    • We recommend using a Premium account over the Free accountDLS has copies that are available by request.  Premium accounts allow you to store your videos on theScreencast-O-Matic cloud instead of putting the videos on YouTube, Canvas or elsewhere.  Premium also allows you to easily add captions to your videos.

    • Screencast-O-Matic Getting Started Guide

Zoom (Synchronous presentations and discussion) 

    • NOTE:  Some students don’t have access to a sufficientinternet connection, computing devices or phones that would allow them to join a Zoom session.  It is highly recommended that before using Zoom to deliver your content that you survey your students to see if they have access. If all your students can’t join via Zoom, you’llwant to consider either going with an asynchronous tool like Screencast-O-Matic, or alternate ways to deliver content to students with no access to Zoom.

    • Zoom provides video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing. It provides various tools to interact with participants, such as screensharing, file sharing, and a virtual white board.
    • Zoom is best used for small groups, 1:1 office hours, or when interaction is critical.  If you are providing lecture information or demos that don’t need to be synchronous, then we suggest using Screencast-O-Matic or other recording tools.

    • Zoom offers free accounts which support meetings up to 40 minutes long. If your class is longer than 40 minutes, you can take a break at or before the time limit, and then restart to continue the meeting. We encourage faculty to try the free Zoom account first, and then contact DLS to discuss other options if necessary.

    • Zoom Getting Started Guide


    • Canvas is UMW’s online Learning Management System.  It provides various tools to help faculty communicate with the class, deliver content, as well as assess and grade student work.  Every course at UMW has a Canvas course site already created and available for use if the faculty member chooses to do so.

    • Note that file storage space in each Canvas course is limited to ~500 MB.  If you need more space, see the information above on Storing files on Canvas, or fartherdown this page on storing files on OneDrive.

    • Canvas Getting Started Guide


    • YouTube is a free video hosting platform owned by Google. It is a useful tool for sharing videos with your class, as well as receiving video presentations from students.
    • The guide below lists some ways to use this and still maintain privacy, an important consideration.  The guide also outlines ways to caption your videos to make them accessible.

    • YouTube Getting Started Guide


    • Microsoft OneDrive is a personal cloud storage servicelike Google Drive and Dropbox. All UMW students, faculty, and staff have a OneDrive account with 1 terabyte of storage space as part Office 365.
    • If you are running out of space in your Canvas course, OneDrive is a great solution. Instead of uploading large files to Canvas, you can place the file in OneDrive, copy the OneDrive link, and post the link in Canvas.

    • OneDrive Getting Started Guide

Other Resources 

Let us know how we can help.


Jerry Slezak, Cartland Berge, Shannon Hauser 

Digital Learning Support