Instructional Continuity: Graduate Students

Developing Your Online Instructional Plan

There are steps you can take to develop your plans for courses in which you are a TA. Be sure to refer tothe Center for Teaching and Learning’s Instructional Continuity Resource page.  This resource will be regularly and continually updated.  Please check back daily for content and resource updates. 

If you are a graduate student instructor, we encourage you to meet with your Instructor of Record and discuss the course structure, learning outcomes, and your role in the course. It is important to have this conversation as soon as possible and have a shared understanding of your plans and responsibilities, especially if this is a new format of online course instruction. Some guiding questions for this conversation may include:

  • Do you need to offer additional office hours since students will no longer meet with you face-to-face? (see Virtual Office Hours section below)

  • Are there media you need to get captioned (e.g., videos, audio files)? If so, visit UT’s Captioning and Transcription Services website.

  • Are you expected to lead your discussion sections synchronously or asynchronously?

  • Grading and Attendance

    • If the instructor creates quizzes or checks for learning in Canvas, are they automated or will you be responsible for grading them?

    • What is the attendance policy? Is participation graded? If so, how?

  • If the instructor of record incorporates asynchronous or synchronous discussion requirements in the course, what are your responsibilities? How often are you expected to monitor and/or make posts? What is the grading structure?

  • Do you need access or special permissions in Canvas?

    • There are some restrictions for adding Canvas plug-ins if you are not listed as the “Teacher” in Canvas. Confirm if you need to be given different access to Canvas for things like:

      • Publishing Modules or files

      • Adding plug-ins 

      • Creating, moderating, or reviewing discussions

  • Are there online tools the instructor will use conferencing or capturing lectures? If so, what are they? Do you need to set up an account if you do not already have access?

Virtual Office Hours

Incorporating virtual office hours in your class is an inclusive practice, regardless of a change to online teaching. By offering virtual office hours, you can engage students who might not have readily access to campus, such as those who commute, are parents or caregivers, those who don’t have flexible work arrangements, or have mobility issues. You can choose your format for virtual office hours: video, chat, or both. Consider tools such as ZoomCanvas Chat for real-time communication with students in your course or Canvas Conferences to hold group office hours, or Google Hangout.

Facilitating Discussions

There are many ways you can create opportunities for engagement for your students through discussions. See the Instructional Activities section on the CTL Instructional Continuity page for concrete steps you can take to continue offering small group, interactive discussions and other instructional activities. 

Communicating with Students

Many students will come to you with specific questions about the course, assignments, and even technical issues. We encourage you to connect students to resources for technical issues and not try to troubleshoot them yourself. If you don’t already have a policy about email response times, determine what a reasonable amount of time is to field their responses and communicate this with students. For example, can they expect responses within 24 hours? A business day? Are there times of the day you will not check or respond to emails or messages?

Consider creating and sharing a Google Doc for students to write specific questions so you may answer their questions within the document. It’s a convenient, one-stop place for them to access answers to common questions and it may cut down on the number of individual emails and responses you may be responsible for answering. 

After you have consulted with your supervising faculty, create a communication plan for how to share changes with students and address their questions. Canvas Announcements is a way to keep students informed.

Proctoring Exams

There are online tools to proctor exams remotely.  Proctorio is a secure monitoring platform that integrates with Canvas and ONLY works within the Chrome web browser. This automated system lets instructors decide which settings to use for each exam with the click of a mouse. Read more about Proctorio integration in Canvas

Please check the CTL Instrutional Continuity page for updated information about exam proctoring software tools available for UT instructors. 

UT Resources


This page describes important privacy and security risks in Zoom and how to prevent unauthorized participation in your meetings/classes.

University Updates and Guidance

Official university updates and Information.

Guidance from the Provost’s Office

This page contains FAQs and resources for instructors.

Updates for Students – Dean of Students

This page provides operational updates, preventative measures, programmatic updates, and information about student employees.

Updates for Students – Texas One Stop

This page provides information from the offices within Enrollment Management and Student Success. In addition, see the One Stop Keep Learning site for a variety of student resources.

Updates for Graduate Students – Graduate School

This page provides information about how to electronically submit materials to the Graduate School.

Updates for Graduate Students – Texas One Stop

This page provides general information about graduate student topics and admissions.

Research FAQ - OVPR

This page contains answers to questions about research and research policy. It also contains links to the special-purpose pages that will be maintained by other units within the Vice Provost of Research portfolio.

Providing Accommodations and Instructional Continuity - SSD

This guide offers suggestions for insuring accessibility in online teaching environments.

Fac/Staff - CMHC

The Counseling and Mental Health Center and Longhorn Wellness Center are offering some unique resources to help faculty and staff support UT students.