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College of
Health Sciences

Distance Education: Student hub

Recommendations for virtual learning

  1. Use your Canvas course as the primary “home base” for your course. The Canvas Student Guide contains helpful information, if needed.
  2. Communicate with your instructors by email, by Canvas course discussions/chat or by requesting a Zoom Q&A session with your instructor.
  3. This online and asynchronous form of instruction means you need to become familiar with all educational technology applications:
    • Canvas is the LMS and is the “home base” for each course.
    • Panopto is used to record lectures/videos.
    • ExamSoft is used for all exams and quizzes.
    • Zoom is used for synchronous Q&A and virtual meetings.

Learning strategies

Best practices and helpful tips

Asynchronous learning

With online instruction, many of your interactions with instructors and peers will take place at different times (asynchronously). Because you may not have immediate feedback and response, you can use these strategies for building and maintaining a sense of community.

Suggested practices

  • Communicate early and often with your instructors if you have questions about the material, you’re having trouble finding or accessing course materials or you’d just like to know how to engage.
  • When prompted, participate in the discussion forums with thoughtful, substantive responses to course readings and your peers’ comments, and to ask or answer questions.
  • Independently, or with the help of your instructor, find ways to interact with your peers. This might include live discussions using Zoom or using the chat function when appropriate.

Synchronous learning

Some of your instructors may meet at the same time (synchronously) for live discussion on Zoom. If possible, you should attend these meetings. However, if you are in a different time zone, meetings will be recorded and available in Panopto. These online meetings offer a chance to interact with your instructor and peers and establish a personal connection.

Tips for using Zoom

Zoom is the recommended tool at Geisinger School of Graduate Education for holding live Q&A sessions and online instructor office hours. As you engage in live discussions, keep the following suggestions in mind for the best learning experience:

  • Use your video camera unless your internet speed is slow.
  • Attend class in a quiet location.
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking.
  • When appropriate, make use of Zoom-specific features, including:
    • Non-verbal feedback options, which allow you to respond with quick signals to your instructor’s questions (e.g., thumbs up/down, yes/no).


Zoom can provide live closed captioning. If you don’t see this feature and would like it enabled, reach out to the Graduate School Educational Technology team.

You may not share recordings outside your class, nor should you record sessions without your instructor’s permission.

Wellness strategies

Tips to stay well

Tips to help you maintain your mental health and well-being: 

  • Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and is good for your physical health.
  • Practice healthy habits and self-care. Get adequate sleep, eat well and move or exercise regularly.
  • Take breaks to ease your mind and distract yourself. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Try a meditation app.
  • Use mindfulness and meditation to boost your immune system. Meditation also reduces cortisol in the system and decreases stress.
  • Stay connected. Off-campus distance learning means you’ll be geographically separated from the people you’d normally see on campus. Make an effort to connect with them through social media, email, texting and video chats.

Student Health Services

Student Health Services are available when you need support — physically or mentally.
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Technical support and contacts

Technical support

Geisinger Commonwealth ITS Help Desk
Submit an ITS ticket.

Educational Technology support

Our Educational Technology platform support is available 24/7 through live chat, by phone and through help ticket submissions.

Canvas support

Panopto support

ExamSoft support

Zoom support

Geisinger Commonwealth Ed Tech Team

Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Joe Evanick, EdD
Director of Institutional Instructional Design

Shannon Buckley
Instructional Designer

Frequently asked questions

How will my courses be delivered?

Courses will be delivered online and asynchronously. There are weekly meeting opportunities for live, synchronous Q&A sessions, exam reviews and other meetings scheduled for courses through Zoom at each faculty member's discretion.
Will I have Zoom class sessions in real time?

Course and lecture content is delivered asynchronously, meaning you can review it on your own time. You’ll have opportunities to engage with your instructors and peers in real time throughout the week. Faculty may choose to use scheduled Zoom meetings for online office hours, exams reviews and Q&A sessions.
Can I still meet with TAs?

Absolutely. Teaching assistants will be available to all students.

If I have an issue with Zoom during a Q&A or TA session, how do I get help?

Zoom support is available 24/7 to all faculty and students.

See resources on this page for technical support contact information.

How will I take quizzes & exams?

All quizzes and exams will be given through and proctored by ExamSoft.

If I have an issue with ExamSoft, how do I get help?

ExamSoft support is available 24/7 to all faculty and students.

See resources on this page for technical support contact information.

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