Online Teaching and Learning at Harvard

In addition to perusing our website, you can contact us anytime for assistance with your teaching, whether to ask questions, brainstorm, or troubleshoot issues as they come up.

The Language Center supports all FAS instructors engaged in world language teaching, and we want to be as helpful and as accessible to you as we can this semester as the entire campus navigates the landscapr of remote teaching and learning. This section of our website provides guidance that we have created on using Canvas, VoiceThread, AnnotationsX, Zoom, and Panopto, and we also want to draw your attention to some of the excellent resources that Harvard has to offer outside of the Language Center. 

Below, you'll find a summary of deep links to guides and tools that will serve as a good starting point as you plot the course of your semester.

ATG has a very useful comparison matrix for different synchronous and asynchronous platforms and programs, including how to access them and what they are best for. This chart also contains descriptive links that will send you to Harvard-created guides on each of the platforms they describe.

Please see also ATG’s list of supported technologies in another handy matrix hereWe strongly encourage you to use only Harvard-supported platforms and programs in your teaching, as our abilities to help you troubleshoot are vastly reduced in the event that you run into trouble with a technology that we do not support. Additionally, Harvard-supported technologies have been thoroughly vetted and tested to ensure that they meet Harvard’s standards for accessibility and equity, something that is crucial to keep in mind in a remote teaching context. Thank you for your collaboration in this effort.

Here you will find best practices for online pedagogy on the Harvard Teach Remotely website. The main focus is balancing synchronous/asynchronous components and creating effective asynchronous activities with sound pedagogy behind them. The scope is broad, but the questions it prompts readers to consider are universally sound.

Orienting your students within your course

We strongly recommend creating not only explanatory materials, like a detailed syllabus with explicit information on assignments and expectations, but also an orientation module that will prompt students to navigate their way through your course materials, answer questions, find information, and, ideally, use the technologies and tools that you will be using in your class activities and assignments. See the Student Engagement and Support page for more.

Copyright and Accessibility - two crucial considerations as you curate material for your course.

This is an excellent and highly detailed summary of how to interpret copyright laws when using films, videos, art, and other published works in your teaching online. Bottom line, if something was fair to use in your in-person classroom, it’s likely fair to use in your online classroom, but know before you go and consult the librarians’ knowledge base! You can always refer to Harvard's copyright policies as outlined here, as well.

We also recommend familiarizing yourself with this comprehensive summary of Harvard's guidance on ensuring that your course materials meet the university's standards of accessibility. Additionally, here is a non-Harvard blog post on accessibility in online teaching that includes some really great, actionable ideas for how to make sure you are both gathering the right information about your students’ needs and accounting for possible undisclosed needs. See also a summary of Harvard-based resources here, including guidance about how and when to use closed-captioning and other considerations:

For more on Harvard-specific accessibility policies, see AEO’s guidelines for remote teaching here. Resources related to closed-captioning are available here, and more accessibility and inclusivity considerations from HUIT’s perspective summarized here.

Our Materials

Would you like to be added to the Language Center’s Remote Teaching Canvas site? We are happy to add any TAs or TFs teaching foreign languages as instructors - just e-mail us at language@fas.harvard.edu and you will be given instructor-level access.

Please contact the Language Center staff at language@fas.harvard.edu with your concerns or questions. We’re here to help.