We are continuing to monitor the latest COVID-19 developments and we are taking steps to comply with best practices and direction provided by public health organizations.
It is important to understand the distinction between S&I online classes and the temporary COVID-19 remote learning options. To increase understanding about remote learning options, please become familiar with the following definitions:
Remote Learning Definitions
S&I Online Classes:
Canvas – The learning management system approved for teaching S&I curriculum in blended S&I classes
• Other learning management systems are not approved for S&I online classes
Blended Classes– Students complete course work in Canvas and then meet together with their class for a learning experience. If the class meeting is done via videoconference, this is considered a virtual online class. If the class meets together in a physical classroom, this is considered a hybrid class.
• Blended seminary classes are available in all program types
• Hybrid institute classes are available with approval from the associate administrator
• Virtual institute classes are available in area online institute programs
Online Institute Programs – An institute program without a building which houses all virtual online institute classes in that area.
Pathway Integration - The enrollment of BYU-Pathway students into virtual online classes.
• In development and available in online institute program types
COVID-19 Remote Learning Options:
Online/COVID Class type – These approved options were created in response to the shutdown of classes due to COVID-19 and are found in the steps below.
Video Conferencing – The use of a tool such as Zoom, Teams, WebEx, BigBlue Button, etc. to hold class remotely.
Messaging tools – WhatsApp, texting (for institutes), and email for communicating and receiving assignments. You may also use WISE to one-way text and email students.
*In areas where Canvas is not available, area and region directors should work together with the Associate Administrator to determine how to best provide remote learning experiences for students that achieve the S&I objective. During remote teaching, S&I teachers, leaders, and coordinators should be sensitive to the needs and abilities of the stake teachers with whom they work.
Step 1: Please consider the following to best inform your students:
Communicate with your students right away: As soon as possible, inform your students, and their parents if necessary, that changes may be coming. We will be communicating through email, text, or canvas announcements. Consider adding links to specific Church communication regarding COVID-19.
Set realistic goals: Determine how you need to adjust your original schedule to keep your students engaged. Plan reading and other assignments that provide flexibility to fit your class needs.
Establish expectations for students: Keep in mind the impact remote learning may have on the students' abilities to meet your expectations. This includes being mindful about personal illness, lacking electrical power or internet, accessibility challenges or needing to care for family members.
Communicate details to your students and their parents as they become available: Once you know further details from S&I administration about the extenuating circumstance, communicate those details to students and their parents.
Step 2: Choose the Remote Learning Technology
While S&I continues to be impacted by COVID-19 restraints, it is vital that we communicate with students, deliver approved curriculum, and facilitate effective learning experiences. As you consider the options that are available, focus on what will provide the best learning experience for your students. The following may be helpful as you contemplate remote learning options:
Option 1: Telephone calls, emails, and text messages
Group or conference calls
You can use WISE to send a text or email to send your lesson content to students or parents. The contact email and text number you use was provided at the time of registration by parents and students.
Option 2: Canvas
Canvas is a learning and teaching hub that provides access to several tools for communicating, interacting as a class, teaching, and accessing curriculum that has been created to help guide the students through the scriptures.
To create a Canvas class for seminary, ask your administrative assistant to setup an online class in WISE. This is available in the following languages: English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
To create a Canvas class for institute, please contact Michael Goldhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 3: Communication Apps & Programs
When having a weekly videoconference call using Zoom or a similar program, it is most effective to give meaningful and edifying assignments for students to complete during the week. These should be taken from existing curriculum materials. The weekly videoconference call should not be used to lecture but should be focused on the needs of the learners. Seek to provide an environment for students to engage with each other in ways that will build faith in Jesus Christ. Students should be given ample opportunities to share insights, ask questions, and interact with each other. Zoom is a videoconference tool that is free for use for 40-minute sessions with up to 100 participants.
Released-Time Seminary teachers are only approved to use Zoom, Canvas, or WISE to communicate with students.
Stake Seminary teachers may use other communication apps and video conferencing tools.
Institute teachers may continue to use their preferred approved communication channels and apps.
The Student Experience
As you prepare online lessons, focus on helping students connect with the Savior and His Gospel, with each other and with you as their teacher.
The following are guidelines that you might want to consider:
Introductory Lesson of the Week
There are several ways you can introduce your students to the lesson materials for the week. You may consider building a PowerPoint and/or recording audio or video of yourself introducing your students to that week’s plan.
Scripture Study & Assignments
Students should be given clear instructions about reading and assignments to do each week. Reading and assignments should continue to come from the seminary and institute manuals and approved online resources, and can be delivered in the following ways:
- mySeminary or myInstitute (keep readings updated in WISE).
- Students could have instructions given to them in a WISE email.
- Students could be given modules in Canvas to complete.
- Students could have a PDF or paper copy of the student materials to complete.
Have Students Connect with Each Other
Students connecting to each other is vital for an optimal learning experience. Organizing discussion boards in Canvas and Zoom is a simple way to do this Zoom tutorial.
The Book of Mormon teaches that the members of the Lord’s Church should be numbered and have their names recorded so that they can “be remembered and nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4). Please continue to be acutely aware of the needs of each student and the level of their engagement in remote learning options. Reach out in love to those who need encouragement to participate, and be willing to adapt to individual needs.
At least once a week, organize a 40-minute class session on the video conferencing tool you have selected.
Facilitate a student-centered class discussion from the doctrines and principles studied at home that week.
- Teachers may not purchase an additional or unique learning management system (LMS). Please use Canvas.
- Google Classroom is not permitted as an online learning environment for Seminaries and Institutes.
- No student information should be shared on any public channel.