Preparing for Distance Teaching and Advising (Best Practices)

Everyone has emergencies they have to respond to during the semester. Emergencies include instances such as family leave, bad weather and major outbreaks. It is important to plan for such inevitable situations.

You will have the best experience if you use technology and processes that are fully supported by ITS. Use of technology not supported by Drake requires you to be responsible for any troubleshooting.

ITS provides resources to help faculty provide synchronous and/or asynchronous distance learning activities, and offers assistance in using them.

We have created an introductory video covering best practices for distance learning to walk you through some of the available tools.

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn, Drake’s learning management system (LMS), is the best place to start. Every course has a Blackboard course site available to instructors. To make it accessible to students, in the Original Course View, click on the red padlock if it is not currently available to students. In the Ultra Course View, from the Courses list, click on the "..." menu and change the status to "Open Course".

Building Content

Next you will need to add content to stand as a learning module.

Original Course View: Go into the Content link on the menu in the course and Build Content. Add Items and Files to add content resources. Add Weblinks for external resources and videos that are not YouTube. Use the YouTube link for YouTube videos.

Ultra Course View: In the main area of the course, hover over and click on a "+" to Create. You can add Folders or Learning Modules for organization, Documents to share content, or Links for external resources and videos.

You can also record content and address courses in a flipped instruction approach. Please see the information on how to use Panopto for distance content delivery. Panopto is not a virtual classroom and is mainly meant for recording and streaming content.

Building Interactions

Want to create something a bit more interactive based or assessment based? Below are some links to help you learn how. These resources include information on announcements, blogs, discussion boards, journals, wikis, and Collaborate web conferencing.

Supporting Students to Learn Online or at a Distance

In addition to teaching resources, we have prepared some student resources to support their online or distance learning experiences. Please share these resources with students if you plan to use Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, or Panopto as some of the learning tools for your course. 

Microsoft Teams

All Drake students, faculty, and staff have access to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a product that combines tools and resources such as group chat, calendars, and file sharing into one location using the Office 365 platform.

You can access Teams from the My Teams button in the Commonly Used Apps section of myDrake. From there you can also access any shared files and any personal files backed up to OneDrive. When you use Teams online, you can create, update, work collaboratively on, and save documents directly to the cloud regardless of what device you’re using. Microsoft Teams also has apps for iOS or Android devices.

Additionally, you can use Teams to hold virtual meetings, either as part of a Team or an individual or group chat, no matter where everyone is located.

Getting Started


NOTE: To participate in a Teams meeting you'll need to use the Teams desktop app, the web version of Teams in a Chrome or Edge browser, or the app for your iOS or Android mobile device. Teams meetings don't work in Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.


Troubleshooting Audio/Video Issues

Working remotely? There are ITS-supported technological tools and processes available for you to use even if you can’t be on campus.

Want to share resources with your students? Send them to Learning Online or Distance Learning (Best Practices).