Online Quick Start

Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Online classes and activities help students learn in flexible ways that meet their needs. This brief guide will help you start using SF State’s online teaching and learning tools to provide a meaningful learning experience for your students.

Computer icon moving towards iLearn

Many SF State faculty extend the traditional classroom with interactive online resources and activities. In this post we will introduce you to some foundational strategies for teaching effectively online. We will examine four important areas: communicating with students, sharing class content, engaging students online, and assessing learning.

If you need help, contact the iLearn Services help desk M-F, 8-5, by phone (415-405-5555), by email (, in person (LIB 220), or by chat from the Help Block inside your iLearn class.

To request a one-on-one consulation with an instructional designer contact Teaching and Learning with Technology M-F, 9-5, by phone (415-405-5550), email (, or in person (LIB240).

Communicating with students

Use Quickmail to email students

iLearn provides multiple ways to contact your students; the easiest is the Quickmail block. To email your whole class, simply log in to iLearn and click on the Compose New Email link on your class iLearn page.

Post a News forum announcement

The News forum is a bulletin board for faculty to post class announcements. Students can review your News forum announcements any time they log in to your iLearn class. A copy of your message is emailed to your students as a digest at 3:00AM.

Sharing class content

Sharing files

Share resources with links to files and websites on your iLearn class page. Just drag files from your computer and drop them directly onto your iLearn class page.

Real-time online lectures with web conferencing

Web conferencing allows you to meet your students online using video, voice, chat, PowerPoint, and screen sharing. You can record these lectures so students can view them later, on their own time. Web conferences are added to your iLearn class as activities.

Pre-record your lectures with CourseStream

CourseStream allows you to record a lecture on your computer and post it in iLearn for your class. CourseStream is also available in some classrooms where your in-class lecture is automatically recorded and posted to your iLearn course. Contact the iLearn Services Desk to get started with CourseStream on your work computer or in your classroom.

Engaging your students


One of the best ways to foster student engagement is to use the iLearn discussion forums. A discussion forum allows you and your students to share text, images, video, and files in an ongoing, threaded conversation. Giving students authentic prompts that require some critical thinking and connect to the students' lives will help assure a meaningful discussion.

Web conferences

Students can chat with the instructor and other students while participating in a live online class session. Use breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions during the class.

Assessing your students


Use iLearn assignments to collect student work, provide feedback, and assign grades.

Plagiarism checking with Turnitin

Turnitin is an online teaching tool that flags instances of possible plagiarism, over-reliance on cited resources, and improper citation for text-based files submitted by students online. It also provides the ability to quickly mark the papers with comments and assign grades online, eliminating the need to download students’ submissions to your computer.


iLearn quizzes allow for many different types of questions including multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer and essay. Quiz scores are automatically added to the gradebook, saving you time.


iLearn has a built in gradebook to keep track of student progress and provide them with feedback. This powerful tool can be customized to suit your preferred grading method and caluculations whether it is points-based, percentages-based, or extra credit.