Instructional Continuity

Visit the Covid-19 Response Site for official Duquesne University updates and information.

In the event that it becomes necessary, in order to minimize disruption to the learning process, please use the resources below to transition your course to the online format.

The Online Learning Environment

Duquesne University has infrastructure in place to support online learning that occurs at a distance. Blackboard, a learning management system where course sites are located, can be accessed through your web browser.

Each course at Duquesne has an associated Blackboard course site that is automatically created several months in advance of the semester. Duquesne instructors can access their course site through DORI by clicking the Blackboard icon in the upper right hand corner. Under the My Courses list, you will see a list of the courses that you are officially teaching. Click on the course name to access its Blackboard course site.

Each student officially registered for a course through Duquesne's Student Information System (Banner), subsequently gains access to its Blackboard course site. Through Blackboard, instructors provide instruction and engage with students to support learning.

All students have access to Essentials in Online Learning at Duquesne, an orientation to online learning that helps students prepare for online learning.

Getting Ready to Use Blackboard

What technology do I need to teach online? Visit Technology Expecations for Teaching Online
What are the guidelines for using Blackboard? Visit Blackboard Guidelines
What is the recommended structure for an online course? Visit Constructing your online online course site
How do I make my Blackboard course site available? Visit Making a Blackboard course site available

Content Delivery

Think about the information that is necessary to support student learning in your course. Below you will see several suggestions on how you can provide that content to support learning in the online environment.

How do I interact virtually using video and audio in real-time with my students?

Zoom is used for real-time virtual meetings using video. Consider holding these events during the time-slot that your course was previously scheduled for. Zoom can be used for office hours, one-on-one appointments, review sessions, on-the-fly student created group student group meetings, etc.

How do I deliver a recorded lecture?

Instructors can record video using a built in webcam on your computer or laptop, a USB connected webcam, or even your phone. Upload the content to MyMediasite and then link the video to your Bb Course site using MyMediasite.

How do deliver a narrated PowerPoint presentation?

Upload your PowerPoint file, images, and other media to VoiceThread and then record audio narration to guide your students through the slides.

  • Visit Blackboard Help > Communication Tools > VoiceThread for resources on using VoiceThread
  • Use the VoiceThread Faculty User Guide for instructions
How do I add other content to my course? Visit Blackboard Help > Adding Content for resources on sharing information in your course site (e.g. text, web links, file attachments, media, etc.)


Regular and intentional communication is important to online learning. It will be very important for you to frequently communicate your expectations of students during this period of social distancing or emergency. Be sure to communicate all course updates, but also think about how you will create meaningful interactions and dialogue to support student learning in the online environment.

How do I choose the right communication tool? The Engaging & Assessing Students with Online Tools chart will help you select the right communication tool based on the learning goal that you have established.
How do I provide updates to students in Blackboard?
  • Use announcements frequently to update your students on course happenings (e.g. new information added to your course, newly graded work or feedback available, upcoming events or deadlines, etc.)
  • When adding an announcement select the "Email Announcement" checkbox to send the announcement as an email to students.
How should I use the discussion board?
  • Discussion boards are an effective way to engage in a written dialog between you and your students and students with each other. This can occur asynchronously on whatever timeline you deem appropriate. Consider using topics that you discuss in the physical classroom to drive conversation within discussion forums.
  • Watch Engaging Students Through Asynchronous Discussions (webinar recording)
How do I use these and other communication tools in Blackboard?
  • Visit Blackboard Help > Communication Tools for communication resources that can be used in your online course (e.g. announcements, discussion boards, email, VoiceThreads, Zoom Meetings, groups, journals, blogs, wikis, etc.)
  • Watch On-Demand Webinars to learn about effective online teaching strategies and educational technology tools used to support engagement and learning.
Do you have any tips for helping teach students online?

Clear communication that sets student expectations is very important when teaching remote and online courses. Remember to remain calm, show empathy and be patient with your students.


Online students are assessed in ways that are similar to the face-to-face classroom. Be sure to regularly evaluate student work and provide feedback in a timely manner to keep your students on track toward achievement of course learning objectives.

How do I choose the right assessment tools? The Engaging & Assessing Students with Online Tools chart will help you select the right assessment type based on the learning goal that you have established.
How do I assess online students?

The most common forms of assessment online are assignments, projects, presentations, quizzes and tests. Discussion boards are often considered the equivalent to classroom participation in the physical classroom.

Visit Blackboard Help > Grading & Assessment for assessment related resources (e.g. assignments, tests, grading, etc.)

How do online students submit a paper?

Use the assignments feature in Blackboard. This allows students to upload a file to the grade center for your review.

Visit Blackboard Help > Grading & Assessment > Assignments 

How do I create and deploy tests in Blackboard?

Visit Blackboard Help > Grading & Assessment > Tests & Surveys

Watch Creating and Deploying a Blackboard Test

Is remote proctoring available for high-stakes testing?

Respondus monitor is a remote proctoring feature available for high-stakes testing.

How do I evaluate and provide feedback to online students? Visit Blackboard Help > Grading & Assessment for information on how to use the Blackboard Grade Center

Lab Instruction

What is recommended for Teaching Lab Sciences Remotely?

See Ideas for Teaching Lab Sciences Remotely 

Additional Resources for Remote Lab Courses (source: EAB Remote Instruction Resource Center)

Strategies to redesign lab courses for remote learning based on their focus/learning goals (Harvard University)
Crowdsourced list of virtual labs, simulations, and data sets by subject (Google Doc)
Virtual labs across disciplines (MERLOT)

Resources & Support

Online students and faculty have access to all Duquesne support services and resources. See the information below to help you be successful.

Where do I direct online students to go for guidance on learning resources, technology resources and other services & support? Visit the Student Resources web page
Does Gumberg Library provide any online resources?  Resources for Faculty Teaching Online: Gumberg Library
Where do I direct students to learn how to use Blackboard and its features and functions?

Visit Blackboard Help > Student Help

Direct students to the "Essentials in Online Learning at Duquesne" Blackboard site

Are there best practice guidelines for faculty related to online course design and delivery?

For questions related to remote and online delivery of your course email