Plan, Assemble, Teach: A systematic guide to remote teaching

To assist faculty with the transition to remote/virtual instruction, we have created a quick resource guide to help you take some early actions to design and deliver your course. Plan, Assemble, Teach (PAT) is the systematic approach that will help you think through each phase as you adapt to rapid remote teaching. We have also provided additional resources as you make course design decisions.

* Please NOTE: The matrix is linked to CSUN supported tools (for example, Canvas and Zoom). If you’re using a non-CSUN Learning management System, this page also features user guides for alternative LMS platforms.


Like a face-to-face course, planning for remote/virtual teaching is the initial “goal-setting” stage. This stage will essentially help you answer the question: “How do I plan?”

  1. Create a plan: Check “Remote Teaching Plan Guide” (embed link) to align your pre-existing face-to-face activities, as you think about equivalent remote activities, use of specific technology and things to consider. As you map out your overall teaching strategy for remote teaching, think about weekly structure, sequencing of the activities, chunking weekly activities, selection of synchronous (tools that enable real-time/live interaction) and asynchronous activities (tools that enable communication independent of time).
    Some Helpful Resources:
  2. Plan the activity submission logistics, feedback and grading turnaround time: As you plan the activities, consider the following: 1) the location where the students will submit their assignment (for example, the Canvas course site); 2) the optimal grading turnaround time; and 3) the method and tools you will be using to provide the feedback. There are several built-in tools within the Learning Management System that can be used to submit assignments and are efficient to provide feedback. This feature will also enable you to have access to all your communications with the respective student in one central location (available for easy reference at any given point in time).
    Some Helpful Resources:
  3. Adapting Assessments: In the current circumstances, students may be facing difficulty in accessing resources and technology. If you are looking into translating your face-to-face exam, consider disruptions prior to adjusting the exam. Accordingly, adapt using a variety of assessment methods (low stakes and high stakes) that will help students learn and demonstrate mastery. This involves students working on assignments that allow them to apply problem-solving skills and demonstrate higher order thinking skills. For example, student presentations, peer review, annotated research bibliography, self-reflection paper, historical timeline creation, student created factsheet, and scenario-based learning.
    Some Helpful Resources:


Now that you have a plan, consider your timeline for course development, access to resources and your familiarity with the tools. This step will essentially help you answer the question: “How should I put my plan into action?”

  1. Explore CSUN supported tools and guidelines: As you explore CSUN supported tools, select from asynchronous and synchronous tools as you plan to teach remotely. Also, make sure to adhere to copyright and accessibility guidelines.
  2. Course Structure: While there are several ways to structure online learning modules in your course site, we’ve created a “Generic Template with Module Structure” for your convenience. Available via Canvas Creative Commons, this template lets you import and modify as you build the flow of your course.


By this point, you may have successfully completed the course development stages and are ready to teach. This stage will essentially help you answer the question: “What can I do to connect and build community with remote students?”

  1. Establish the lines of communication: Clear, consistent communication is part of successful remote teaching. Even if you do not yet have the plan in place, communicate with your students as soon as possible. Inform students of the changes that are coming. This will also help set the supportive tone and give students a sense of direction.
    • Plan the best way to disseminate information to your students early and often.
    • Identify the mode of communication you would like to use. For example, Canvas announcements, General Discussions, Zoom Office hours.
    • Consider a plan for international students as they may be in a different time zone geographically. In that case, consider using asynchronous tools to establish interaction (with their peers and faculty) that gives students flexibility to complete the activities.
    Some Helpful Resources:
  2. Connect with Students: Stay socially connected with students at a time when people have retreated from public life. Students may be going through other life changes (social and emotional) and may find themselves overwhelmed and stressed-out. Be flexible, empathetic and connect with your students. Let them know that you are open to hearing their specific challenges.
    Some Helpful Resources:
  3. Promote academic integrity in remote teaching: Be open to adjusting your assessment plans to replicate a traditional exam in a remote teaching environment. Communicate any changes you make in your syllabus -- for example, revised due dates, assignments, etc. The following resources can help you structure your assessments:
    Technology Resources:
    • Quizzes: If you are planning to use Canvas Quizzes, then these design suggestions can encourage academic integrity:
      1. Use a question bank that randomizes questions for each test. This increases the probability of each student receiving a unique set of questions.
      2. Prepare timed exams to prevent students from accessing other resources in short amount of time.
      3. Randomize the order in which questions appear.
      4. Make questions appear one at a time as it makes it harder for the students to print or have others work on it.
      5. Limit feedback displayed to the students. To maximize quiz security, only reveal the correct answers after the due date passes; consider also limiting how long the students can view the correct answers.
    • Open-ended final paper. Enable Turnitin for written final assignments and let students know that you will be checking for plagiarism.
    Policy resources:
    • Remind your students to review academic honesty guidelines in your syllabus and ensure students have access to CSUN’s Student Code of Conduct.