Baruch College Center for Teaching and Learning
Teach Hybrid

Tips and Tools for Online Lessons

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Here are some fairly quick ideas for how you can adapt your class meeting to an online format using widely available and free tools. The CTL staff is available to help you! Please reach out to us at 

Ideas for facilitating class discussions:

Create a discussion board or blog prompt: Assign students to read/watch your materials and then develop a set of discussion questions that you want students to answer. 

First, create a discussion board post on Blackboard or post a blog prompt on Blogs@Baruch. Discussion can be fostered on Blogs@Baruch by asking students to comment on a post or by installing a discussion board plugin. 

Then, craft your prompt. You can ask students to reply to your questions and to also post their own original questions. To encourage “dialogue,” require students to reply to a minimum number of their classmates’ posts by certain due dates. In your assignment make sure you are clear about the due dates and how many questions your students should answer. Check out our set of sample discussion board questions and instructions.

If you use Blogs@Baruch, here are directions on how to set this up: Blogs@Baruch Setup Directions

If you use Blackboard, here are directions on how to set this up: Blackboard Discussion Boards Setup

Use social web annotation tools such as, which allows students to highlight and comment directly on the text of web-pages and PDF files. This free tool is a great way to have your class all looking at the same text and sharing their thoughts/comments questions collectively.

Here’s a useful video on how Hypothesis works.
Check out our list of sample annotation prompts for use on Hypothesis.

Create a class or group “wiki” on Blackboard, which allows students to collaborate on the creation and/or commenting of one document. Blackboard’s help site offers instructions for creating wikis.

Identify and edit a Wikipedia entry on an aspect of their research. When doing research, students familiarize themselves with foundational concepts and past literature. From this knowledge, they can help build out an already existing Wikipedia entry on their research topic. They may not be able to edit the main topic, but could identify a smaller aspect of their research project on Wikipedia. For example, if they are researching “branding strategies,” they may be able to add to an entry about a specific brand. This assignment tasks students with engaging in public scholarship to demonstrate and share their knowledge with a larger public. For more information about teaching with Wikipedia, check out the Wikimedia Foundation’s resources for teachers, and check out these helpful Case Studies of teaching with Wikipedia. For additional thoughts, Adrianne Wadewitz’s post on the HASTAC blog presents an interesting perspective on the values of teaching with Wikipedia.. 

Ideas for making, watching, or commenting on media:

For annotating audio or video:

Upload video or audio and have students annotate/comment on it using Vocat, a web application managed by the CTL that allows faculty and students with an account to upload a video, audio, or image and then to annotate the work. Annotations of audio or video are timestamped—to comment on specific moments as they happen. Vocat may be used as both a teaching tool and an assessment instrument: faculty can use the platform to give private feedback. The current version features a simple and flexible way to share and store videos by cell phone, tablet, or laptop, annotate them, generate robust assignment rubrics for posts, report real-time data, and create interlinked class resources. Vocat also accommodates videos from YouTube or Vimeo. The CTL has an archive of “Vocat-ready” videos from a range of disciplines. Visit the Baruch Vocat homepage to learn more.  

For course lectures:

Creating a lecture video is a two-step process. First, you’ll need to create a video, and then it will need to be uploaded to a platform where students might view it. On Zoom, you can record yourself speaking while screen sharing your presentation slides. Try turning your presentation slides into a recorded video on Zoom using its screen share function. 

Try turning your presentation slides into a recorded video on Zoom using its screen share function. For more information, follow the instructions for recording in our Zoom Guide—which will work just as well for “room” of just yourself as it would with recording a class session. Make sure to check that your video and (especially) audio look and sound okay before you record. 

For course presentations: 

Students can record themselves on Zoom individually or in groups, set their recording to upload to the cloud, and share the file or link (or post the file on Vocat).

Teaching materials for this resource were contributed by Cristina Balboa, Associate Professor from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs and Cheryl Smith, Associate Professor of English and CTL Faculty Liaison, along with Allison Lehr Samuels, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Lecturer in the Narendra Paul Loomba Department of Management. This resource was updated in 2022 by Christopher Campbell and Seth Graves.