Digital Learning & Design

Low-Bandwidth Teaching Resources

  • Having trouble conducting synchronous Zoom sessions because of unreliable internet?
  • Want to engage students that are scattered across different time zones?
  • Need to develop a Plan B in case of technological failure?

Consider the following low-bandwidth options:

To ensure students in different time zones can access your lectures, pre-record them and share them in Canvas. 

To pre-record your lectures with Zoom, simply press “Record” and begin lecturing. When you are finished, press “Stop Recording.” Your lecture will be uploaded to the cloud (our recommendation) or your computer, depending on which option you selected. For more information on recording with Zoom, please visit the Recording with Zoom page.

Panopto is also effective for recording lectures. To record a lecture with Panopto, first make sure you have the Panopto Personal Recorder software installed. Then log in to Panopto, press the “Create” button at the top center next to the search bar, and then select “Record a New Session.”

You can also upload a media file to Panopto. For more information on Panopto, please visit our collection of Panopto articles.

For more advanced users, Camtasia offers opportunities to record lectures. You can upload these recordings via Panopto.


Consider supplementing pre-recorded lectures with Canvas activities. 

Canvas Discussions offer the most effective way to supplement pre-recorded lectures. They offer a robust platform for students to interact with faculty and fellow learners. With Discussions you can pose prompts and invite students to share thoughts and opinions through text, audio, and video. Some other ways to use Discussions:

  • Analyze case studies as a group
  • Share assignments and receive feedback
  • Pose questions to the instructor and receive answers 
  • Reflect together on a Zoom lecture
  • Engage in conversation about readings and other course materials

You can also break students into smaller discussion groups so they might talk among themselves about an assignment or reading. For more information on how to set up a Discussion, please see the following link:

You can also supplement pre-recorded lectures with a Canvas Assignment. Papers, audio and video files, and other materials can be uploaded by students to an Assignment portal. For more information on how to create and grade an assignment within Canvas, please see the following links:

If you have a smaller class (fewer than eight students) Google Documents offer an effective and efficient way to have students collaborate on a project. Pose a question, share an image, and have students comment and share thoughts on others’ contributions. 

You can also create a folder within Google Drive for your class. Invite students to share resources in it. Or break students into groups and have them work together on a paper or some other project that they can share with the class.

To get started with Google Drive and Documents, please visit this link:

Google Groups also offers a way to collaborate in a low-bandwidth environment. With Groups you can create online forums and email-based discussions.

If you would like something more dynamic than an email-based discussion, look into Google Chat. Google Chat lets you facilitate class discussions in real-time. Students can share links, files, and comments, and different “rooms” can be created for specific topics. 

All these options support assignments and activities that can be undertaken asynchronously and under low-bandwidth conditions. Consider building  them into your back-up plan today to ensure teaching continuity over the coming weeks.