Keep On Teaching

Basic Communication Toolkit email: all MICA faculty and students have an email account, but not all faculty and students may be regularly checking their accounts. It is important to let students know if this is your prefered communication tool and also let them know your expectations of how often they should be checking email (each morning, each evening, daily, etc.). Students in mainland China cannot use their email account but, with an alternative personal email account, can send to and receive emails from email accounts (in other words, faculty can use their accounts to communicate with students in mainland China).

Phone: you may want to schedule individual check-ins with students via phone and/or arrange conference calls with up to five students if you have an iPhone, or up to six students if you have an Android device. (These iPhone instructions work for Android phones as well.)

Canvas: you should already have your course published in Canvas and communicating through Canvas is easy using announcements and the Canvas inbox. An advantage to using these tools is that students will find your communication in multiple places, including their email and on the Canvas student app. Additional features of Canvas related to carrying out course activities are covered in the section on Methods of Engagement for Distance Teaching/Learning.

Zoom: MICA’s prefered video-conferencing tool, Zoom can be used for live video and audio meetings as well as sharing recorded audio/video content. A free Basic account, which allows one-on-one meetings of any length and group meetings of up to 40 minutes in length, will meet the needs of most faculty. An advantage to using Zoom is that it is accessible in areas where Google Hangout is not (e.g. China). Additional features of Zoom including screen sharing, use of virtual whiteboards, and sharing recorded sessions are covered in the section on Methods of Engagement for Distance Teaching/Learning. If you feel that you require a paid Zoom Pro account which provides for 24-hour group meetings, please contact Terra Schehr, Associate Vice President for Educational Planning & Development at

WeChat: WeChat is an instant messaging software that is widely used by many international students, including those in mainland China. The Office of International Education is collecting contact info (including WeChat names) from all international students and this information will be shared with the faculty teaching those students. We recommended that faculty who have Chinese students in their courses download WeChat and create an account on either their laptop or smartphone in order to communicate with those students.

With each of these tools, please keep in mind that not all students will have equal and/or consistent access to technology hardware and/or the internet. MICA is currently piloting a program to provide VPNs to students who are living in locations where internet censorship limits their access to online educational tools. For information about VPNs, in general, and MICA’s plan, see this Q&A document.

Need help with incorporating technology into your teaching? Contact or schedule an appointment with Jamie Gillis.