Contingency Planning: Remote Readiness When You Need It

This page provides information on tools, common tasks, trainings, and available resources that can help you ensure your FAS course is remote ready in the event of a pandemic, inclement weather, or other closure of Harvard's physical spaces. Click the links below to learn more, or view our handy comparison matrix at the bottom of this page.

Click the links below to learn more or view our handy comparison matrix at the bottom of this page.

canvas logo icon in crimson Canvas    slideshow icon Slides
zoom icon Video Conferencing collaboration icon Collaboration Tools 

Several additional resources are also available to FAS instructors:

  • The Office of Undergraduate Education's Remote Ready Teaching website provides faculty members with continually updated information and teaching resources, from adapting courses for the web to proctoring exams
  • The Bok Center for Teaching and Learning's Teaching Remotely page provides advice about moving online, with an emphasis on exploring options, focusing on pedagogy, and being flexible when it comes to adapting to teaching within a new medium
  • The Harvard Library has provided resources for Teaching Remotely with library collections and Remote Support for Research & Publishing
  • Harvard University Information Technology has a guide to troubleshooting your internet and home network, and many more key resources and guides in the IT Help Portal.

Additionally, the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning's University-wide Teach Remotely site provides instructors with information on best practices, available tools, and how to get support for teaching your classes online, while the Learn Remotely site provides students with information on where to go, what to do, and how to get help when learning online. 

canvas logo icon in crimson Canvas

Make use of Canvas features that support instructor engagement with students, student engagement with each other, and digital access to content, assignments, and assessments. Here are a few best practices that will ease the transition to teaching and learning online:

  • Post a syllabus to provide students information on course policies, assignments, and important dates.
  • Provide a method for holding class online through Zoom, or another web conferencing system.
  • Organize your content so finding course materials is easy for students.
  • Use assignments and quizzes to assess student understanding.
  • Communicate with students via emails and announcements.
  • Create opportunities for students to engage with each other asynchronously through online discussion.
  • Record and share video through Panopto or another lecture video tool.

More information is available on our Canvas page. Academic Technology for FAS also provides both live and recorded Canvas trainings. 

slideshow icon Slide-Based Presentations

If your class lecture is presented using slides, consider recording audio into your slides. Once your slides are complete, you can upload them to Canvas for your students to view. Click the links below to view a brief video tutorial about recording voiceover on your presentation slides.

powerpoint icon Powerpoint google slides icon Google Slides keynote icon



zoom icon Zoom Video Conferencing

Web Conferences are powerful tools that combine video, audio, and screen sharing to create an online class experience. Zoom is a video conferencing tool that combines an easy-to-use interface and reliable technology with exceptional video quality, offering a seamless experience for collaboration across mobile devices, desktops, and conference rooms.

Premium Zoom videoconferencing is availablle to all FAS faculty, staff, and students, both as a stand-alone application and within your Canvas site. More information is available on our Zoom page. Academic Technology for FAS also provides both live and recorded Canvas trainings. 

collaboration icon Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools may incorporate some aspects of web conferencing while adding the ability to work on documents together.

google drive icon Google Drive or Google Docs collaboration in Canvas onedrive icon OneDrive collaboration in Canvas

matrix icon Comparison Matrix

Below is a matrix highlighting some tools that are available to you for conducting Web Conferences and Virtual Classes or Meetings. Academic Technology for FAS can assist with any training that you or your teaching staff may need to ensure that your class is remote ready.


Best for...

Number of Students

Information and Links

Where to Find It

Zoom Video Conferencing Web conferences with video, audio, screen sharing (online and integrated with Canvas)


(if >300, contact us at

Zoom Video Conferencing for your FAS Course

Find it online at

Zoom is also installed on every FAS Canvas site.

Panopto Video Recording Recording or uploading lectures and slides, screencasting, video streaming, embedding videos. Panopto videos can also contain notes, bookmarks and quizzes. Unlimited Panopto Video Recording and Lecture Capture Panopto is installed on every FAS Canvas site on a page called Lecture Recordings.
Recording Audio into your Powerpoint Quick and easy distribution Unlimited

How to record audio narration in Powerpoint

How to record audio narration in Keynote

How to Upload your slideshow to Canvas


Google Hangouts

Video or Chat Conference

9 if all are using video (More information at

Video tutorial: Setting up a Google Hangout

All Harvard College students already have Google accounts that they can use.

With Google Hangouts, you can also share your screen, collaborate on homework in Google Docs, or watch YouTube videos together. (faculty and staff) (students)

More information on Google Hangouts


Video or Chat conferences

25 (all will need Skype accounts)

Video tutorial: Setting up and using Skype for your class

More information on Group Calls with Skype

Record Video Directly onto Canvas Page

posting asynchronous content


How-to Guide: Recording video using the Rich Content Editor

How-to Guide: Canvas Conversations (Email)

How-to Guide: Announcements


Reuse Past Lecture Videos

courses where the content for that week is the same


contact to assist