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Northwestern University

Technical Support and Training

Northwestern's Digital Learning unit at NUIT and Weinberg College's IT Solutions (WITS) unit have developed thorough trainings and resources for instructors, TAs, students, and staff to adopt online tools for learning, instruction, and remote work.

Weinberg IT Solutions and the Media and Design Studio have offered trainings for any personnel interested in supporting instructors. Personnel can sign up to offer direct tech support in Canvas and Zoom to instructors one-on-one during class times. To learn more, contact

Getting Started - Checklists and Tips

Teaching Remotely Readiness Checklist - NUIT

Zoom Readiness Checklist - WITS

Remote Tool Tips - WITS 

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Getting Started - Trainings, Tutorials, and Workshops

Zoom and Canvas Basic Training (pre-recorded) - WITS

Zoom and Canvas Workshops by Topic (live events) - NUIT 

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Contact Information 

Contact Name
Contact Email
Supplemental Teaching Tools and Software, Remote administration, communication, collaboration tools, general technology concerns Weinberg IT Solutions
Specialized Staff and Faculty Training, Advice and Consultation on Remote Teaching Equipment, Supplemental Teaching Tools and Software Media and Design Studio (MaDS) 
Support for core remote teaching tools (Canvas, Zoom, Panopto, Respondus); One-on-one consultations Northwestern IT Teaching & Learning Technologies 

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If I have technical problems during a live Zoom class, what should I do?

Have a fallback plan for your students and add it to your Syllabus(For example, "If our Zoom meeting is interrupted or is not operating for any reason, I will make an announcement via Canvas to provide alternate instructions.”). For your first online class, we recommend including a staff support person on the class for immediate technical assistance. This staff member or TA can assist students in the class via the “Chat” functionality and also assist you with any video or audio issues. We also recommend having an online chat resource, such as Microsoft (MS) Teams, launched and ready to go. You can alert a trusted staff member or TA of your class meeting time and be sure someone is ready to assist you via that chat resource in real-time. If you have no staff support in your online class and need immediate assistance, call 1-HELP(847-491-4357) and be sure to note the urgency.

How do I set someone up to be a Canvas Designer for my class?

View Canvas Course Roles and Permissions to make sure the “Designer” role is the best option for your support staff member or colleague. Adding a course designer is an easy way to add a fellow teaching colleague or staff member to your course in a way that allows them to help manage the content of the course. Course designers can also communicate with course participants, add events to the course calendar, and help moderate discussions. To add a designer to your course in Canvas, navigate to the course via the Courses option in the left menu. Select “People” from within the particular course’s menu. Select the “+ People” button and then use the dropdown to identify the proper role for your new collaborator. Be sure to enter NetIDs only to identify individuals in the system. For additional help, contact

Where can I find resources for best practices in remote teaching for my discipline or type of class?

Consult the following two resources:

Also, consider joining a community of practice, or sign up for a Searle Center online workshop.

Where can I find resourcesto support students who do not have manytechnical resources (e.g., highspeed internet) at home?

You can direct students to view software and hardware requirements as well as strategies for remote learning. The Undergraduate Financial Aid Office has also set up a form for students to request assistance.

What is Northwestern University policy on recording my online class in Zoom?

View the Office of the Provost’s policy on recording classes. In sum, faculty should alert students that they are recording the session—both verbally and in the course syllabus posted in Canvas.

If you plan to record, the Office of the Provost asks that you include the following statement on your syllabus and also verbally let students know that you are choosing to record class sessions:

This class or portions of this class will be recorded by the instructor for educational purposes. These recordings will be shared only with students enrolled in the course and will be deleted at the end of the Spring Quarter. Your instructor will communicate how you can access the recordings.

Unauthorized student recording of class sessions is prohibited, and faculty should not permit individual students to record class sessions for any reason. Please have students direct requests related to accommodations to AccessibleNU.

What is the best way to use Zoom for “in-person” Office Hours?

We recommend using the personal meeting IDs (PMIs) and waiting room features of Zoom for this:

For example, share your office hours with students and also include your personal meeting ID. Explain that, when the student joins the Zoom meeting via your meeting id, they will be automatically placed in a “waiting room.” You can manually put students in and out of your Zoom meeting.

How should I take class attendance in a Zoom meeting?

Perhaps the simplest, real-time solution is to use the “Chat” feature in Zoom.

Ask students to make a brief comment in the chat, such as “Here.” You can then save the chat to review later by selecting the three dots (…) at the bottom of the chat window. From the menu that appears, choose “Save chat.” You can also modify your Zoom settings to autosave chats.


Is there a time limit on a Zoom meeting?

No, there should be NO time limit if you are logged into your Northwestern University account in the Zoom system. If you see a message that you have “Zoom basic” or are limited to 40 minutes for three or more users, then you may have logged into the free version of Zoom with your personal email. Be sure to log into Zoom via You may need to first log out of the free version of Zoom in order to log into the Northwestern “Zoom Pro” version.

How do I set up a discussion board for my class in Canvas?

View the Northwestern Canvas page on Creating and Managing the Discussion Board.
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