Distance Teaching FAQ

If students have limited online device access or no Internet access at home, you may refer them to our "Student Supports for Online and Remote Learning" web page.

Please review the Disability Services for Students resources page for more information. 

Disability-related modifications remain in place in emergency situations. In the event all classes move to an online format, modifications of extended testing time, rest breaks during exams, and flexibility with assignment and exam deadlines are still in place. 

University interpreters and captioners will work remotely using Zoom or Moodle to ensure access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. You will be contacted by the ODE office to ensure proper set up for interpreters. 

When creating course materials, please refer to the WCAG AA 2.0 Standards to ensure that all course materials are accessible. 

Disability Services for Students is here to support and work with you to ensure access to courses. If you have questions please contact Office for Disability Equity at 406-243-2243 or email ODE@umontana.edu.

Additionally, though Zoom sessions are not live captioned automatically, a transcript is provided in recorded sessions. If you would like to have a Zoom session live-captioned, you either need a presenter or an assigned attendee to do the live captioning in real-time.

Consider recording live sessions and providing a recording to students who may require this accommodation. NOTE: It may take 2-3 hours to finalize recordings.


The Moodle Basics for Faculty is a self-paced tutorial covering the basics of navigating and adding content to Moodle course shells.

Consider reviewing UMOnline's Moodle Resources page for more information and tutorials rather than searching online for tutorials. There you can find quick basic video tutorials from UMOnline covering topics such as Navigation in a Course shellBasic Course Settings or Adding Content. Our tutorials are customized and accurate to versions of Moodle UM uses and you may be overwhelmed with search results rendered from an open Internet search.

Instructors need to make Moodle shells visible to students by adjusting the following setting in Course Settings:

Admin Menu>Edit Settings>Visibility>change from Hide to Show>Save and display.

Only instructors have access to a shell until this step is completed. There are step-by-step directions in Moodle Basics for Faculty in the Course Settings chapter.

The student will be enrolled in the course's Moodle shell around 8:00 am the following business day.

Instructors can add other instructors or instructor assistant users to their courses. There are step-by-step directions in Moodle Basics for Faculty in the Enrolling Users chapter. Depending on the level of permissions needed, they can be added as teachers, non-editing teachers, or teaching assistants.

Please note instructors cannot enroll students; do not give students any other roles.

As of Fall 2020 All courses (whether online, remote, hybrid, or face-to-face) will automatically have a Moodle shell provided, eliminating the need for faculty to request shells (supplements).

To access Moodle, log in using your Net ID at UMOnline's website and find courses listed along the left under My Courses.

Detailed instructions on how to import content from one course to another are available in the Course Maintenance section of Moodle Basics for Faculty. Instructors can import content from courses that are in their list of courses. If the course is not listed under My Courses, please contact the UMOnline Help Desk (243-4999) for assistance.

Quickmail can be used to send emails to students. Quickmail can be found in the Course Dashboard with the option to compose an email, add an attachment, and look at past messages.

Instructions on using Quickmail can be found in the Course Dashboard and Blocks chapter in Moodle Basics for Faculty.

The Announcements forum that comes with a course shell will send out an email to enrolled students when the instructor posts there. Posts made in the Announcements forum are available throughout the semester, so students can access the course communications within Moodle itself.

Please Note: The Announcement forum has special settings that cannot be recreated by the instructor. If the Announcements forum has been deleted, the instructor will need to contact the UMOnline Help Desk (243-4999) for it to be set up again.


Visit UMOnline's informative Zoom page for more information, tutorials, and insight on using Zoom.

Call the IT Help Desk at (406) 243-4357 or email ithelpdesk@umontana.edu.

It's highly recommended to have a dedicated person (this could be a TA, GA, LA, or student volunteer) to help manage Zoom sessions, whenever possible. This person can be made a co-host, a position that can help manage participants, recordings, the chat, attendance, reactions/raised hands, etc., so instructors can focus on leading the session.

To make a participant a co-host, open the Participants panel from the Zoom tools, open the drop-down menu (to the right of the participants' name) and select "Make co-host."

Zoom might not recognize a meeting host if the host has joined the session via the URL link. It is recommended to sign in through umontana.zoom.us, go to the "Meetings" tab, and join the meeting with the "Start" button.

If no meeting host is present, the Participants panel will have a "Claim host" button in the lower right. This will give the option to add a Host Key (found at the bottom of an individual's Zoom Profile page) or login to an account. Once the instructor has joined as the host, all of the advanced options will be available.

In order to allow students permission to share their screen, this feature must be turned on. Click the "Security" icon located at the bottom of the session window. Make sure "Share Screen" is checked--the check indicates this feature is on. This can be changed at any time during the session.

Visit the Zoom Blog to learn more about the Security features.

The waiting room is a holding area that prevents others from joining a session until the host or co-host is ready to admit them. Host is then notified by a pop-up text notification when an individual enters the waiting room, and the host can choose when/if to allow them to join current sessions.

The waiting room is great for small, private meetings, such as office hours or one-on-one appointments. Take caution if you are using the waiting room for a large class. Managing the waiting room with a large number of participants can be challenging. It's possible for students to get dropped from the meeting due to poor connections and students who try to rejoin the session will not have access until they are admitted by the host or co-host.

Assigning a co-host to help manage the waiting room is highly recommended. A chime notification can also be enabled to notify the host when a participant joins the waiting room. This option can be found in the Participants panel > "More" button > Play Enter/Exit Chime. It is important to note that the chime may be distracting, as it will sound whenever a participant enters or leaves the meeting.

A waiting room is not always necessary, especially if the session is already password-protected. To enable or disable the waiting room feature in your meeting, select the "Security" button and check or uncheck the "Enable Waiting Room" option.

Visit the Zoom Blog to learn more about Securing Your Meetings with Zoom Waiting Rooms.

Recording the class provides a backup in case students cannot attend the live session or have difficulty with internet connections or their computers. Recordings are not automatically made public to participants of the meeting and can be kept private to the host, available on an individual basis by providing a link, or offered to all participants.

To record a session, a host or co-host selects the record button from the Zoom toolbar and can either choose to save the file locally to their computer or to the Zoom cloud (saving to the Zoom cloud is recommended). There are step-by-step directions for recording in Moodle Basics for Faculty in the Recording Your Meeting chapter.

There are several tools and settings available to help manage large meetings:

  • Ask participants to disable their cameras to reduce bandwidth usage and minimize connection issues while working with large classes.

  • Have a co-host, TA, or student volunteer watch the chat, waiting room and participants list for raised hands.

  • Have dedicated times to answer questions (perhaps the last 10 minutes of class) so that your time together isn't taken over by student questions.

  • Record lectures so there is less time spent troubleshooting for students who do not have easy access to internet or quiet workspaces or have poor internet connections. 

  • To check attendance of a Zoom session, see the Attendance Tracking chapter in Moodle Basics. Attendance can also be recorded (and graded) in Moodle, so students can view their attendance records. See the Attendance chapter in Moodle Basics for more information. 

IT does not recommend setting up breakout rooms in advance. Rooms can be quickly generated randomly in Zoom.

You can also ask students to modify their participant name (by using “more” to the right of their name) to add a group number or group name (e.g., “1 First Name Last Name”). This allows you to very quickly assign individuals to the correct group.

You can develop generic polls (3 questions, 4 questions, etc.) in a recurring course used for a class and adjust the possible responses on your presentation slides.

The generic poll question would simply ask “Chose from among the options presented on the slide: A, B, C, etc.” This will save you the time of having to create unique polls in Zoom.

Please Note: Zoom will only save the results from one implementation of each poll so if you use a 3-question poll multiple times in the same class, you won’t have all the results in the polling history.

  • Go to your main zoom login page on umontana.zoom.us
  • Click on reports in the left-hand column
  • Under usage reports, click “Meeting”
  • Click “poll report,” enter the date range for your class, and hit search.
  • For the class, you are interested in, hit the generate button to the right of the class.