Review your Course Activities

Offering some class activities online can help provide continuity or recover lost class time. Review your planned in-class face-to-face activities and consider comparable online activities. This list should help you find the the closest parallels between your in person class activity and the online equivalent. Whenever possible, the linked resource is to the related activity (ie: recording in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Discussion Boards in Google Classroom etc...)

Communication and Class Participation

Office hours: in-person questions

  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Meet, or Skype for video conferencing;

    • Provides a virtual face-to-face environment;

    • Has the ability to share one’s computer screen for sharing of ideas and resources

    • Where applicable, meeting recordings can be used for future review.

  • For a lower-tech solution: Facetime, Google Duo, or calling a student on a landline or a cell phone.

Whole class or small group discussion

In-class discussion about projects

  • Video conferencing tools, such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Meet, or Skype for small group discussion;

  • Google docs/slides/sheets for collaborative group work;

  • Google docs commenting feature for instructors providing instant feedback.

    1. Students collaborate online to research, analyze, synthesize, and prepare projects;

    2. Instructors receive immediate updates and provide guidance to groups.

  • Email comments on an assignment using Microsoft Word

In class small group discussion (in the context of a synchronous course session)

  • Synchronous virtual discussion tools within Google and/or Blackboard allow students to discuss in real time in smaller groups akin to small group discussions in class.

  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows students to automatically be assigned to “break-out groups” within the same Collaborate Session. After a set amount of time determined by the instructor, students are returned to the main room. This can be done in conjunction with a Google Slides presentation where each student group works on a slide in a collaboratively shared document.

  • Students can also work collaboratively on a Google Slides presentation while in a Google Meet session. However, Google Meet doesn’t have the break-out group feature.

Learning Activities

In-class quizzes or exams



  • Google Forms also allows one to create automatically graded tests and quizzes, but the timed test, scheduled availability, and random question features are not available.

  • One can link the quiz/test to their Google Classroom to distribute it and port the grades over afterwards.

Collaboration & Peer Review

Collaboration among students (Group Projects)

  • Google Docs and Google slides for writing projects and presentations;

    1. Editing can be done online synchronously and asynchronously;

    2. Documents can be shared within student groups and with the instructor, so the instructor can see the group progress and check who contribute to the project specifically;

    3. Instructors may grade the project based on individual contribution and group project achievement.

  • Youtube videos for demonstrations.

Collaboration within your department

Microsoft Teams is available to active CUNY faculty, staff, and students. Guides:

Direct Instruction

In class lectures or guest speakers

Hands-on laboratory class alternatives

Many instructors feel strongly that in-person lab instruction cannot be replaced effectively in an online learning environment. However, sometimes extenuating circumstances require unique accommodations. Converting a lab class to an online course requires careful consideration because there are many skills and content that get covered in a traditional laboratory setting. Many non-traditional lab options are now available; examples are here and here. A recent article in Nature suggests that there are some unique opportunities in the online lab learning environment.

When moving laboratory classes to an online environment, instructors must ask themselves:

  • What are the skills we want students to get from participating in the labs?

  • What is the content knowledge students should gain from these labs?

Standard lecture material, research articles, and videos can be moved to the online environment quickly. Refer to CTL’s keep teaching guide on the best strategies for moving this content online. The question becomes: how do we teach physical skills, experimental design, and other lab-specific lessons using an online environment? While we may not be able to teach all skills in an online environment, below is a curated list of resources to help in moving some lab activities online. Some of the links include complete labs, and some are simulations that mimic lab experiments. When using online lab activities, follow them up with more traditional laboratory reports or hypothesis-driven experiments.

Because many labs require specific equipment, they can be difficult to reproduce online. Suggestions, provided by the University of Maryland, include:

  • Moving aspects of lab activities online, particularly those that require students to familiarize themselves with procedures or data analysis or manipulation.

  • Providing video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, and other pre- or post-lab work to prepare students to hit the ground running when the campus reopens.

  • Examination and exploration requiring utilization of critical thinking skills that relate to course objectives.

  • An analysis is shared with the instructor and/or class with posts in a discussion forum or class blog.

Biology Labs

Biology and Earth Science Labs

Chemistry Labs




Playing video or multimedia in class

  • TedEd and EdPuzzle allow you to select videos from Youtube or upload your own videos, and insert your questions and quizzes into the video.

    • The Instructor can have the quiz automatically graded, giving the students real-time feedback on the relevant topic.

  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Google Meet allow professors to “Share their screen” allowing them to share relevant multimedia examples.

Assessment Related Examples

Assignments, Tests, and Quizzes

In class writing practice or reflective writing

Assessing your online course

Evaluate your online course following the Queens College Online Course Evaluation Guidelines. Adapted with permission from the CUNY SPS Online Course Evaluation Rubric.