August 31, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to a “different” fall semester. We realize there is a lot to manage, from helping students find remote courses and instructors making classes visible to considering new ways to “shop” for courses and getting used to more learning management options.

With that in mind, we wanted to provide you with a list of teaching and learning tools and resources, as well as summarize a few key updates in parallel with the first week of classes.

Updates of note

These are in addition to Canvas, Stellar, Zoom, Slack, Piazza, Panopto, and Gradescope. (See the more complete list of links at the end of this letter.)

Key resources for faculty teaching this semester

Finding remote courses (what to tell students)

While building/room numbers have been made public in the past, that’s not an option with Zoom meeting links. We suggest that students follow a decision tree along the following lines to find their classes. The first two steps are crucial and will be the same across MIT.

  1. Check that the class is offered this fall in the course catalog.
  2. Check whether you are registered for the class in WebSIS. If you are registered for the class, go to Canvas and Stellar, and you should find the class there. In Canvas, course sites need to be published by the instructor before you can see them. The link to check WebSIS is in the Help menu for students on every page of Canvas.

In both Canvas and Stellar, if instructors have made their sites visible MIT-wide (many do not, although this semester doing so is a good way to help students who are “shopping”), you can find them:

  • In Canvas, > Courses > All Courses > Browse More Courses > Search
  • In Stellar, browse or search directly.

Or, students may reach out to the department or the instructor directly.

Making your class available to students (for instructors)

  • In Canvas:
    • You must publish your site and content for students to be able to see it.
    • Optionally, instructors can make their published course site visible MIT-wide to help students “shop” for classes they are not registered for.
    • If you created your Zoom meetings via Canvas, students can find them in the Zoom tool in Canvas.
    • On the Help menu (lower left side of every page), along with 24/7 phone and chat support, there’s a link for faculty to check their WebSIS roster.
  • In Stellar:
    • As always, you may make your Stellar site visible MIT-wide; doing so this semester will help students who are shopping.
    • Make sure to include info re: how students can find your Zoom sessions.

We will keep you up to date if any future tools, resources, and training become available during the semester. In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out with questions or recommendations.

Our best as we begin,
Krishna & Ian

Krishna Rajagopal
Dean for Digital Learning

Ian A. Waitz
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education


Additional useful links