Best Practice Technology Guidelines for UPSOM Courses

Best Practice Technology Guidelines for UPSOM Courses 2020
Updated May 20, 2020

General guidelines

  1. Consider a) using active learning techniques, b) dividing online learning into focused small “chunks” of 15 minutes or less, c) interspersing frequent quizzes and assessment and d) maintaining consistency throughout the course.
  2. Record new online content using Panopto to replace your lectures.
  3. Make sure that all course learning events and resources are accessible from Navigator.
  4. Stick to Pitt-managed cloud-based applications such as Navigator, Zoom, Teams, Panopto, and others.
  5. Take care to log into Zoom and Teams with your account and NOT UPMC or personal accounts. This may require using a Pitt-managed computer or your personal device. While both of these applications are available from both Pitt and UPMC, they are not part of the same system.
  6. Reach out for help by starting with your Curriculum Specialists

Maria Garcia - for pre-clinical courses

Denise Downs – for clinical clerkships

Creating pre-made videos for students to view asynchronously online

  1. PREFERRED: Panopto lecture recording from home or office
    1. Panopto is a software application that you download from the Pitt website and use on your office or home computer:
    2. Panopto allows you to record video, PowerPoint, and digital resources creatively on your own time for asynchronous learning before class.
    3. Detailed, SOM-specific instructions for using Panopto and how to make a good online video will be available shortly.
    4. NOTE: Installation of Panopto desktop application is blocked on UPMC managed computers. See Greg Wagner at OMED for a loaner laptop if you have no other options.
    5. Work with your Curriculum Specialist to place links to your videos in Navigator.
  2. ACCEPTABLE: Record a Zoom meeting using your Pitt credentials from home or office.
    1. Access Zoom from the Pitt web portal to ensure you are not on your personal or a third-party account.
    2. Recommended for live lectures, otherwise use Panopto for better quality. Zoom recordings done through Pitt are automatically copied to Pitt Panopto folders and available for student access.
  3. AVOID: Zoom or Teams using a UPMC or personal account and other third-party video and file hosting websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive and others.

Delivering a LIVE lecture or a classroom event (in real-time)

  1. PREFERRED: Zoom meetings from home, office or lecture hall
    1. Events must be scheduled ahead of time through your Curriculum Specialist.
    2. Can communicate live, use the whiteboard and conduct live surveys/polls.
    3. When set to “Cloud Recording” lectures are saved to Pitt Panopto servers for easier access by students from Navigator.
  2. AVOID: UPMC or your personal account on Zoom or Teams and all third-party video capture software like YouTube and Google Meet.

Holding office hours

  1. We recommend setting office hours through an open Zoom meeting that uses the same meeting code throughout your course.
  2. Share this meeting code number with your students. Setting it up without password or log-in requirements will make access easier but does increase risk of “Zoombombing."
  3. Add your office hours as a dated and timed event in Navigator. This will make it visible on students’ personal calendars.

Tips for recording

  1. Video - Use natural daylight shining on your face. Avoid having a window or bright light behind your head. If possible, avoid home indoor lighting which tends to have an unattractive warm yellow tint, especially when lit from above only. Natural sunlight or “daytime” LED lights are more flattering.
  2. Audio – Find a quiet room and at a minimum use an inexpensive headset with microphone instead of your computer’s built-in microphone. A dedicated microphone will sound dramatically better. While your laptop microphone is acceptable, it tends to pick up background room noise.
  3. The School of Medicine is planning a dedicated recording space and will inform the faculty when it is available.

Preferred active learning platforms

  1. Navigator tools – interactive quizzes, assessment exercises, links to external digital resources
  2. Poll Everywhere and Zoom polling during live activities
  3. Virtual Patients (vpSim) online - see
  4. Teams software for small group learning
  5. AVOID: Zoom or Teams using UPMC or personal account since files will not be available to students on Navigator.

Additional online learning help and resources

Greg Wagner – for technical help, Zoom, Teams, Panopto

Lab for Educational Technology – for Navigator, learning technologies

Cynthia Lance-Jones – for curriculum design, learning methods

Pitt technology resources:

Pitt Panopto website:

Panopto recording tutorials here.

Zoom tutorial on YouTube here.

Teams and Zoom tutorial on LinkedIn Learning (Pitt login required)

Zoom tips:

Academy of Medical Educators “Best Practices for Online Learning”

Overview on UPSOM technology guidelines presented to the Curriculum Committee (6/15/20): Presentation by Dr. JB McGee