Remote Learning Preparedness Checklist

During this time of learning with Covid-19, it is important to patient, flexible, and forgiving! A little empathy from everyone will go a long way. Take some time to get comfortable and proficient with Zoom, Canvas, and other tools.  Below are some things to think about if you are going to be participating in courses remotely (online or remote access).

In this checklist, we share a few things to help you be prepared to learn online:

  • Confirm how you will communicate online
  • Download and try out Zoom
  • Access library and research support
  • Check technology recommendations
  • Download mobile apps (if desired)
  • Explore Canvas
  • Ideas for learning online and taking online exams
  • Resources for families to support online learning

Confirm How You Will Communicate

Your course faculty will be letting you know how they will be communicating with you and will share guidelines for communicating with them and the TAs. Make sure that your Canvas notifications are enabled (and not going to your junk folder!).

Download and try out Zoom

Zoom may be used by faculty for hosting virtual, synchronous classes, offering office hours, and leading review sessions. Students automatically have a Cornell Zoom account. Just install the software and you’ll be ready to go. You can install Zoom on Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices.

  • Install Zoom on your device.
  • Test your Zoom setup by trying a Test Meeting to make sure your audio/video is set up correctly.
  • Find the Zoom meeting link for your class. If the meeting was scheduled via Canvas, the Zoom meeting link can be found:
    • In the Canvas course, under Zoom.
    • In Canvas Calendar, as an event.
    • In a Canvas event notification (in your email if notifications are on).
    • In the Zoom app.
    • In an email from your instructor.
  • Once you’ve found the link, join the Zoom session by clicking on the link. Plan to “arrive” a few minutes early. Follow the instructions to join the audio and mute yourself and/or turn off your video. You can unmute when you want to talk. In some cases, the instructor may be recording the session so that you can watch it later.

If the meeting was scheduled via Canvas and recorded, the Zoom recording can be accessed in your course (left-hand navigation) in the Zoom tool > Cloud Recordings tab a few hours after the meeting ends.

Access Library and Research Support

Check Cornell University Library’s guidance for using their resources while you’re away from campus. You can connect to databases and other electronic resources from anywhere with internet connection.

Check Technology Recommendations

Internet stability is critical. If you experience network slowness while attending class virtually, try turning other services (Netflix or video games) that use substantial bandwidth. Consider talking with your roommates, parents, siblings, or whoever else is using the internet bandwidth about when you need to be online. Some in the Cornell community may not have reliable access to a computer or the internet.

You can find specific requirements for Zoom (hardware, software, and bandwidth) here. Check to make sure you meet the following base technical requirements for remote learning:

  • Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas
  • Camera for still and video images (or smartphone)
  • Headphones or earbuds (computer mics usually work)
  • Smartphone or webcam for office hours or meetings
  • Microsoft Office to open files. Cornell students have no-fee access to Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
  • Courses can also be accessed on mobile devices

Download Mobile Apps

Many Cornell-supported services have mobile apps. You can download the mobile apps for the tools your instructor is using for remote teaching. Visit the app store on your device to download:

Explore Canvas!

You might be using Canvas in new ways in your online courses. Canvas has a repository of Student Guides. You can look through some useful guides here. Canvas support is provided through CTI (Center for Teaching Innovation) and is available during standard CTI work hours (8:30am-4:30pm).   Find support via the “help” icon.

Ideas for Learning Online and on Taking Online Exams

To learn effectively online, you will need to make an effort to stay engaged with your coursework, with your peers, and with your instructors. To be successful, you cannot expect to just watch some videos and take some tests! You will need to participate actively in your courses–use our resources here to learn how.

Online exams present a unique set of logistical challenges, whether you are home or on-campus. Be prepared! Gather as much intel as possible about the testing format before the exam. Read about taking online exams here.

Resources for Families to Support Students’ Remote Learning are Available!

For addition plans related to Covid-19, please visit

Adapted from The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University—thank you to our colleagues!

Created March 2020.

Share this post!