Skip to Content

Online Learning Information for Faculty and PTLs

Online Learning Information and Resources

30 Minute Tool Tip Workshops
If you need a quick training session on specific tools in Canvas, Sakai or WebEx, please join Rutgers Teaching and Learning with Technology for their 30 minute tool tip workshops. Registration is not required. Just click the link next to each session at the scheduled time.

Operating Specs for Canvas

Big Blue Button (BBB)

How to create a discussion thread in Canvas:

How to create a video in Canvas:

Additional Resources:

Important Communications from Rutgers School of Social Work

Update from Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Laura Curran and Assistant Dean of PTL Development Sam Jones on March 19, 2020

Dear Colleagues: 

We are sending a brief addendum to our earlier communication below. 

1) Per President Barchi's direction, all Rutgers University classes are online for the rest of the semester. Please note that Instructional Design, Dr. Sam Jones, and your coordinators will continue to work with you to provide support until the end of the semester. 
2) RU SSW students are fully suspended from field education for the rest of the semester in all programs. There may be a handful of students who are continuing with remote work based on agency opportunity and need. 
3) Another reminder for our CANVAS/BigBlueButton training today at noon. 

Thursday March 19 noon
Lindsay Gunther's Personal Room | 637322235

Join by phone
+1-650-429-3300 USA Toll
Access code: 637 322 235

4) Please review the below letter carefully if you have not already.

Thank you all! 
Laura and Sam

Tuesday March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues: 

We are writing again to keep you up to date with planning information as our classes move to an online format. Again, we want to thank you for your flexibility and patience in this unprecedented situation. We realize that this is a deeply challenging time for all of us and appreciate your willingness to support our students and weather this sudden transition. We are here to work with you as best as possible.

We are trying to not overwhelm folks with emails, but I do have to get this information out to you. Please note that all major messaging to PTLs will also be posted on our dedicated website

CONTACT YOUR STUDENTS IN ADVANCE/SSW MESSAGING: Please contact your students in advance and confirm your plans. We are telling students to look out for messaging from their faculty and to prepare to login to BigBlueButton at the appointed day and time unless they hear otherwise. If you are using BigBlueButton, be sure to set up the conference (see instructions) and open it online about 30 minutes prior to your class session.

COURSE SHELL CHANGES:  For those of you who have requested changes to your course shell, we anticipate these being completed by mid-week and will email you when they are ready. We also may be contacting you about optional asynchronous content that has been added. 

SYNCHRONOUS SYSTEM CAPABILITY: The University is anticipating issues with our synchronous system capabilities due to bandwidth and volume. We will continue to train on BigBlueButton and Webex and work with you on moving content into an asynchronous format as well. Some of you have mentioned using other synchronous tools—like Zoom. That is ok but please note that they may have functionality issues as well and we cannot support you nor can we train students (who may be faced with multiple tools in multiple classes). We advise using university supported tools (BigBlueButton and WebEx)

SSW DEDICATED WEBSITE: Access here for up to date information on CANVAS support, BigBlueButton support and other resources and trainings. 

CANVAS/BIGBLUEBUTTON TRAININGS: This is our RU supported synchronous tool. Please access one of the trainings below if you have not already.

Thursday March 19 noon
Lindsay Gunther's Personal Room | 637322235

Join by phone
+1-650-429-3300 USA Toll
Access code: 637 322 235

WEBEX: We are suggesting WebEx as a backup tool in case there are capacity issues with BBB in CANVAS. A few instructors may also have been contacted by the Office of Disability Services/RADAR that WebEx should be used as an alternative in synchronous classes due to accessibility issues. If that is the case, please sign up for a WebEX workshop here and you can contact Sheri Aguilar at for additional support.  If you have not used Webex previously you may need to activate your account.  You can do so here.  

ASYNCHRONOUS ONLINE CONTENT: For many courses, we are moving asynchronous online content into your shell. For other courses, we do not have pre-prepared materials. With that said, instructors can create asynchronous online content if they so desire. This typically contains, at minimum, a short lecture (No more than 15 minutes. If longer you can break up into 2 lectures) and a discussion board with weekly questions. In discussion boards, we generally recommend posting one or two questions per week with a requirement that students post an original response and respond once to their peers. Instructors can facilitate the discussion in the thread itself or post responses to the class overall when the discussions close. The main goal is to ensure that students know you are present and guiding their conversations.  Our dedicated website provides instructions how to upload lectures, create threaded discussions etc.  If you need further support to add asynchronous content to your course, please reach out to We can work with you throughout the semester to add content. 

PRIORTIZE YOUR LEARNING GOALS: What do students really need to know for the next few weeks? This is really difficult, and, once again, it means that you may not be able to provide your students with everything you had planned for the semester. That is ok. We are in an unprecedented circumstance.  Please use your best judgment about modifications to assignments. 

STUDENTS MAY HAVE TECHNOLOGY ISSUES AND ACCESS PROBLEMS: We are providing training to our students on CANVAS and BigBlueButton. For many students, this will be the first time they are using this technology or managing CANVAS in a more sophisticated manner. Please have patience with them. We also know that some of our students will have access problems. Not all have laptops or computers at home. Not all have reliable internet. Some of them may be joining in on their phones. If a student expresses concerns about these issues, the best place to refer them is to their SSW advisor/student affairs. We are sending them resource lists for free internet access during this period, etc. We ask for your understanding with this and work with these students as best as possible. Please feel free to reach out to student affairs at if you have concerns about a particular student and their needs. 

SPECIALIZED SSW TECH SUPPORT: We are working to arrange on-demand tech support during, at minimum, the first week of class, with a SSW chat application as well as a phone number. Please look for forthcoming emails about this. As always, you can reach out to the RU CANVAS support line at or 877-361-1134

STUDENTS ARE ANXIOUS: Many of our students are understandably anxious.  They are telling their advisors and other faculty that they are anxious about online learning, leaving field education and, of course, the impact of the pandemic on themselves, their families, and their communities. Our graduating students are particularly anxious and, of course, many are deeply disappointed that this is how their studies are coming to an end.

BE FLEXIBLE AND SUPPPORTIVE: This is a time to use our social work skills. Please let your students know that you empathize with their concerns and that you will work with them to succeed. We are asking faculty and our instructors to be flexible as well. If you’re a stickler about deadlines, this may be a time to be a bit more relaxed. Remember many students balance work and caretaking of both children and older adults. Their children’s schools may be closed. Their work arrangement may have changed. Some may have lost sources of income given the virus’ economic impact. Given the uncertainty of the moment, we all need flexibility right now. We cannot penalize students for circumstances beyond their control. Please refer students to their SSW advisor or the SSW field department if they raise questions you cannot answer.

PASS/FAIL OPTION: A number of you have reached out suggesting a pass/fail option. The University is currently in discussion about this across the schools and we will know more in a few days if this will be available to us. 

COMMUNICATE CHANGES IN ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING: As best and clearly as possible, please communicate changes/modifications in assignments as appropriate. 

ONLINE CLASS TIME MUST BE EQUIVALENT: Active course work should provide the equivalent of 2 hours and 40 minutes per week. This can be through a 2hr 40 min synchronous session or it can occur through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning or entirely online. 

WE CAN NOT REQUIRE FACE TO FACE CONTACT: Courses may have requirements of face to face contact (meet a legislator/go to an advocacy event/interview a social worker). These will need to be modified 

STUDENTS HAVE BEEN PULLED FROM FIELD SITES/ADDRESSING FIELD EDUCATION DISRUPTION: We have pulled all students from field education for the remainder of the semester. There may be a few who are completing remote work for their agency on a case by case basis if needed. We will be providing faculty and PTLs teaching the main practice classes some readings on termination. This may be an opportunity to discuss the complex ethical decision making in social work (public health vs. client and agency need) as well as the dynamics around unplanned termination. There will be more information to come about this. Please refer students to the SSW field department if they raise questions you cannot answer.

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TEACHING ONLINE: If you’ve been teaching an online class this semester, you should continue to do so with minimal disruption of the course. However, we ask that you act in a flexible and supportive manner. Again, everyone’s daily lives are impacted and this is a time to be flexible with due dates etc.

TRAININGS AND RESOURCES: We are offering training this week and will add additional ones throughout the semester.  As noted above, we have added one this Thursday. 

Thursday March 19 noon
Lindsay Gunther's Personal Room | 637322235

Join by phone
+1-650-429-3300 USA Toll
Access code: 637 322 235

You can find all information the shift to online learning at our SSW DEDICATED WEBSITE

You can also find CANVAS resources at the University Website

For assistance with CANVAS shells, please contact Lindsay Gunther or Sheri Aguilar at

Please contact Assistant Dean of PTL Development Sam Jones  for any general questions as you move your courses into this online format.

Again, we are here to work with you all semester and we greatly appreciate your commitment in this incredibly challenging time. 

And finally, something to make you laugh…..I will survive

Laura Curran
Associate Professor 
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Sam Jones
Associate Professor of Teaching 
Assistant Dean of PTL Development

Previous Messages to Full-Time Faculty:

Previous Messages to PTLs:

Faculty & Part-Time Lecturer Handbook

Click the download button below to view the PTL Handbook. This handbook looks to provide helpful information for a successful teaching experience for all of our PTLs. Notable information includes: the SSW's administrative directory, academic calendars and holidays, employment support services, teaching information, and various conduct policies. 

Classroom Observation Checklist

Online Classroom Observation Checklist

Classroom Observation Summary Feedback Statement

New Part-Time Lecturer Observation Letter

Returning Part-Time Lecturer Observation Letter

Part-Time Lecturer Advancement

Part-Time Lecturer Evaluation for Advancement Short Form for Spring 2020 Advancement Only

Evaluation Review Form for Part-Time Lecturers

When will I know if my class runs?

Class cancellations are determined by enrollment numbers. If student enrollment is low, the class will be canceled. Dottie Bennett will send email notifications ahead of the semester.

When will I have access to my roster?

Notifications will be sent via the SSW Office of Student Affairs. Once your roster is live, confirm you have access here.

There are dates during the semester that I will not be able to teach, what can I do?

If you know these dates in advance, please contact Dr. Sam Jones

After class starts, whom should I contact for support?

I taught before in the SSW, but my Net ID doesn’t work, what can I do?

Your Net ID may need to be reactivated. Please call Dottie Bennett at 848-932-4334. Be prepared to provide your social security number and date of birth. 

When can I expect my syllabus and/or access to my course shell in Canvas?

Syllabi will be distributed as early as possible; time varies and it depends on updates on the content of the course. Typically, syllabi are distributed around the time of scheduled kick off calls, but times may vary depending on updates to course content. Once available, SSW staff will provide individual email contact to access the course.   

I am undergoing observation, what materials do I need?

Back to top