Online Preparedness Task Force

In March 2020, representatives from IT Services, the Academic Technologist, the Teaching and Learning Centre Coordinator, and other faculty and staff worked together to prepare materials for the continuity of teaching and learning, resources which supported us to complete the 2019-20 academic year remotely.   This emergency response was possible only because of the dedication and nimble efforts of faculty, staff, and students.

Given the uncertainty about how events would unfold during 2020-21, University Administrators took the next step of striking the Remote Teaching and Learning (Online) Preparedness Task Force. The primary aim of the Task Force was to prepare for full delivery of all academic programs online in the event that the pandemic prevented us from being able to hold face-to-face classes.  Ideally, conditions would enable students to return to campus in September and remain on campus throughout all of 2020-21.  The work of the Task Force, however, would ensure faculty were prepared to respond to whatever situation may arise and deliver their programs online as needed.


The Task Force, which is composed of 26 faculty, student, and staff representatives from across campus, began meeting on May 7 and meets regularly to as a whole group to provide input and expertise. The broader Task Force has formed into five working groups each with a specific set of responsibilities: faculty readiness and support; student readiness for online learning; ongoing student academic support; academic integrity and assessment; and technology. 

Task Force Members

Terms of Reference

Guiding Principles

Updates & Communications

Weekly Updates

The Task Force is providing updates to the campus community about once each week so you can stay informed of our progress and activities.  Each update is sent through email and covers a number of topics.  

The updates are archived here:

Update #1 May 19, 2020

Update #2 June 2, 2020

Update #3 June 10, 2020

Update #4 June17, 2020

Update #5 June 25, 2020

Update #6 July 6, 2020

Update #7 July 30, 2020

Update #8 August 13, 2020

Update #9 October 14, 2020


Frequently Asked Questions - responses from theAVP - July 27, 2020



The Task Force has been tasked with making recomendations related to the delivery of academic programs online in the event that StFX must do so in response to Covid-19 restrictions during 2020-21.

Below are the recommendations made to date. Note: some items contain more than one recommendation.

Delivery Model

Collaborate and Moodle as the Primary Platforms

Synchronous (real-time) Course Delivery

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity

Alternative Assessment 

Change to Academic Regulation

Invigilated Exams

Pass/Fail Policy

Academic Integrity Exercise for Students

Baseline Set of Tools

Student Technology Requirements

Security Checklist for Purchasing Specialized Software

Options for International Students in countries where Internet is Firewalled

Providing Course Delivery Mode at Registration

Process for Requesting Specialized Software 

Student Readiness
Student-Student Mentoring

Preparing Students for Online Learning

Student Emergency Fund

Faculty Readiness
Establish a process for applying for support funds

Provide opportunites for mentorship, support, and community building among faculty

Assess instructors' and students' responses to the transition to remote delivery

Review and evaluate the Task Force experience

Text Book Ordering

Ongoing Student Academic Support

Service Delivery: Mitigate Timezone issues and ensure staff can deliver services from remote locations if needed

Access issues:  Ensure equitable access to course content and materials

Informal Learning:  Ensure students have opportunites for informal interaction with peers.


Task Force Working Groups have developed the following Implementation Plans to help track and coordinate the efforts that are taking place across StFX in support of online program delivery.

Resource Hub Plan 

Professional Development Plan



Resources created by the StFX Community for the StFX Community
(Best viewed using Google Chrome)

Overview of Professional Development Opportunities

Winter 2021

Collaborate and Teaching Maps Tour - Winter 2021 (am session)

Collaborate and Teaching Maps Tour - Winter 2021 (pm session)

An Overview of Online Learning

A glimpse into an online classroom using synchronous tools  [May 11, 2020 (90 minutes)] - An introduction to Collaborate and a demonstration of its use in real-time classes.

A glimpse into an online classroom using asynchronous tools [May 21, 2020 (70 minutes)] - An introduction to creating engaging learning expereinces using pre-precorded lectures, discussion boards, and other prepared materials.

Pedagogy-focused  Professional Development
For details about the sessions and to register click here.
(Links to recordings will be added as sessions take place.  More topics to be added in the coming weeks.)

Round 1

  Tues., June 9 Wed., June 10 Thurs., June 11 Fri., June 12 Mon., June 15
11:00 First steps in shifting your course online (Basic) 60 min

Using OneNote as a Synchronous or ASynchronous Tool (Intermediate)

OneNote Part 2 - July 2

Building a Learning Community in an Online Classroom, (Basic) Tips and Tools to support Student-led Presentations (Basic) (Postponed )Ways of Capturing demonstrations in Math, Stats, Business and Science Classes (Basic) 
1:00 Building and Loading Effective PowerPoint Slides (Basic) 60 min


Using Moodle as a Learning Management System (Basic) Teaching Online and Formative Assessment Considerations (Basic) Tools for Techies (Intermediate) Making the most of Online Discussions (Basic)


Round 2 All sessions at 1:00pm

Monday, June 22

Using debates online in a Business Ethics class

Opal Leung

Tuesday, June 23

Discussion threads in Science classes using a two-step process

Karunakaran Velautham

Wednesday, June 24

Using discussion threads in a Sociology classes

Katie Aubrecht

Thursday, June 25

Teaching large science classes online (recording)
Teaching large classes online (Slides)

Ideas for large Enrolment Online Classes

Example Moodle course site for large hybrid science class

Russell Wyeth (90-minute)

Friday, June 26

Active” teaching and learning in online classes

Angie Kolen

Monday, June 29

Discussion forums, formative assessment and labs in Psychology classes

Peter McCormick

Thursday, July 2 OneNote Part 2  (Followup to June 2 session) Lisa Lunney Borden

Technology-focused Professional Development
For details about the sessions and to register click here. 
Links to recordings will be added as sessions take place. 

Session Schedule—

10am Wednesday, June 17th

Moodle 1A: Getting Started – Using Basic Moodle Tools – Part A

10am Thursday, June 18th

Moodle 1B: Getting Started – Using Basic Moodle Tools – Part B

10am Monday, June 22nd

Collaborate 1A: Getting Started – Using Basic Collaborate Tools – Part A

11am Tuesday, June 23rd

Collaborate 1B: Getting Started – Using Basic Collaborate Tools – Part B

9am Wednesday, June 24th

Moodle 2A: Using Moodle Tools to Engage Students – Part A

10 am Thursday, June 25th

Moodle 2B: Using Moodle Tools to Engage Students – Part B

10am Monday, June 29th

Collaborate 2A: Using Collaborate Tools to Engage Students – Part A

10am Tuesday, June 30th

Collaborate 2B: Using Collaborate Tools to Engage Students – Part B

Tuesday, September 9th  Using Gradebook (Matt Cameron, Continuing and Distance Education)

Copyright & Intellectual Property at StFX: What do I need to know?
August 18, 2020 11am-12pm AST.

Watch the recorded session



Fall 2020 Remote Teaching and Learning (Online) Preparedness Taskforce

Faculty Mentorship Program



Upcoming professional learning opportunities for faculty and teaching staff as we prepare for online teaching include targeted PD sessions and mentoring. Targeted PD sessions will provide information to help you learn more the existing platforms, tools and strategies.  A faculty mentor is someone with experience in online delivery who can connect with you and help you with the practicalities of online teaching and learning and support you with what the delivery of your course would look like.


Here’s what a faculty mentor can do.

meet you where you’re at and listen to you talk about what you think you’d like to try to do in your course, given your comfort with the new platform and tools.

•  help you think about how you will organize your course, given the number of students you will have, the students you teach (first, second, third, graduating, Coady), the time blocks you use, and your level of comfort with the new tools.

•  help you think about how you might translate some/most of what you do in your face-to-face classes to Collaborate/Moodle. 

•   suggest some teaching strategies, if you are interested.

•   show you and help you practice some of the very basic tools in Collaborate.

•   encourage and support you as you make this considerable shift into teaching online.

•   steer you in the right direction if you need more targeted PD, specialized tools, or technical/technological support.

Mentors will set aside 4 hours per week in the month of June to work with their mentor groups. This could involve small group meetings or individual meetings, depending on needs. Mentors will be less available in July-mid-August and pick up mentoring again in late August and early September. The Task Force strongly recommends that faculty and teaching staff begin work on their courses as soon as possible and take advantage of these mentoring opportunities.

To Register:
Please email Maica Murphy ( ) by June 3 with

  • Your Name
  • Department
  • Name of the courses you’ll be teaching in the fall semester and anticipated/usual enrollment in each course.
  • Please note any special considerations present in your course: i.e. labs, studio performance, etc


Recommending Moodle and Collaborate

The Task Force has recommended Moodle and Collaborate as the primary learning platforms. Adopting a single, primary platform will allow us concentrate efforts and resources, while helping create a more unified learning experience for our students. With this in mind, the Task Force has recommended Blackboard Collaborate as the primary learning platform. Collaborate will be used alongside Moodle, our learning management system

Learn more about Collaborate's features.

Practice with Collaborate

Continuing and Distance Education has set up a Demonstration Moodle Page ( containing a Collaborate Online Classroom into which faculty and teaching staff will be able to log in with moderator status and be able to practice with the tools.

When you sign in, there may be other folks in the room, so you can chat and share the space and practice with whatever tools you like. You may also like to ask a colleague or two to sign in at the same time so you can test the features together. You will also notice a number of short tutorials and video that give you more instruction on many of the features. We urge you to ‘go play’ and become familiar with some of the basic tools in Collaborate. If you have any issues accessing the page, please email 


We are curating a set of resources to guide faculty and staff preparations for the possibility of remote teaching and learning.  We will continue to add to these resources over time, so check back regularly for updates.

StFX Teaching and Learning Centre  - Resources for Teaching Online

Winter 2021: Preparing for Online


2.  SAMPLE TEACHING MAPS: Guides for preparing classes to be offered online.

3 x 50 minute classes
2 x 75 minute classes
1 x 3 hour class

3. GUIDES and RESOURCES for Online Winter 2021

Teaching Guides

Tour of a Collaborate Classroom
Tips for Building Effective PPT Slides in an Online Classroom
Adding A Profile Picture or Avatar
Opening Slides for an Online Class
Taking the Temperature in the Online Classroom
How are you Feeling Today in the Online Classroom?
Two Ways to Create Whiteboards in the Online Classroom
Learner Profile Survey PDF  or  Word
Introducing Ourselves to Each Other Survey PDF or Word
Exit Cards

Technology Guides

Adding an Assignment Submission Link to your Moodle Page
Adding your Image (Avatar) in Collaborate
Compressing a PPT and Turning it into a PDF
Creating Random Breakout Groups
Linking Videos within Moodle
Polling in Collaborate
Recording Audio in a PPT (Windows)
Screensharing in Collaborate
Setting up a Discussion Forum
Sharing Slides with Breakout Rooms
Uploading a File (PDF) into Collaborate

Recorded PD Sessions

Collaborate and Teaching Maps Tour - Winter 2021 (am session)
Collaborate and Teaching Maps Tour - Winter 2021 (pm session)

StFX Resources




External Resources
DALHOUSIE WEBINARS - JUNE 2020 - A schedule of webinars and panels including topics such as academic integrity, labs, teaching math and stats, languages, etc.
FACILITATING ONLINE LEARNING OPEN COURSE BY LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE  - this course provides a good overview of online learning - the course is available until June 30th.

STLHE'S KEEP TEACHING WEBSITE - teaching resources that were curated by STLHE.
GOING REMOTE - well organized web resource for teaching support created by York University
LABS@HOME  -  TIPS AND STRATEGIES FOR ONLINE LABS  [90 minutes] from Dalhousie University's Centre for Teaching and Learning