UH Hilo Distance Learning

Frequently Asked Questions about Distance Learning

On this page:

Question: My students say that the Course Menu is missing. What’s wrong?
Answer: Their display’s resolution may be set too high. They will get the best results if they reset their resolution to at least 1280 x 1024 for a PC or 1280 x 800 for a Mac.

Question: My student is telling me that the left side Tools menu is not visible on their smartphone or tablet, so how do they navigate my site?
Answer 1: On mobile devices, the Tools menu is located at the top of the screen:

Laulima "Tools" button on a mobile device.
Once they click on the Tools button, a screen will appear showing buttons for all of the tools used in a course that they can use for navigation:

List of a course site’s tools in Laulima on a mobile device.

Answer 2: They may have accidentally collapsed the Tools menu. Tell them to click on the chevron at the bottom of the menu:

Tool menuʻs expand/collapse button.


Question: Is there a syllabus template that can help me get started?
Answer: Yes, our Syllabus Template (Google Doc version ) (Word Doc version ) will provide a good foundation with helpful sample text that you can modify for use in your course. It includes contact and office hours information, course attendance and expectations, university policy and service statements, technical assistance information, a course schedule, plus course completion requirements that you can fill in.

Question: How can I get my online students to read the syllabus thoughtfully -- before the course begins or very early in the term?
Answer: There are a few options:

  • As their first assignment, give a syllabus quiz and make it count for a few points. You can use one of Laulima’s assessments tools, or you could do use the Assignments tool: post the questions in an assignment and have students type in their responses.
  • Make a video and post it in Laulima. A good creation tool is the free ScreenPal . Walk students through the major sections, highlighting one or two key points for each section.
  • Create an infographic showing the key points of each section. An easy creation tool is Piktochart .

Question: What is a good statement to include in my syllabi to direct students with disabilities to the Disability Services Office?
Answer: Please refer to the Support Available for Students webpage.

Question: Is there one place that lists all of the university policies and service statements?
Answer: Yes, you can go to the Support Available for Students webpage.

Question: I need help with crafting a statement on the use of Artificial Intellience in my course. Are there any resources to help me with this? Answer: Yes, the UH System has provided "new AI recommendations for the university system ," including sets of "sample AI icons and AI statements " for your syllabi. These recommendations were provided to help faculty determine their policy on the use of AI in their courses and how to include it in their syllabi, or “adapt a statement as [they] deem appropriate.”

But, no matter what parameters you choose for your class, it is essential to communicate them clearly to your students so that they are aware of the expectations you have set. The system also provided a guide that can be given to students on how to use AI responsibly .

For more information, view the UH Systemʻs Generative AI website that, in addition to the links above, includes definitions and background on AI. Plus, it provides information on limitations and concerns, as well as privacy and security.

Discussion Board Management

Question: How can I make sure my students respond to the prompts on Discussion Board only when I want them to respond, not earlier or later?
Answer: You can set release and closing dates when you establish a topic.


Question: Help, the gradebook columns have dashes or empty spaces making my students’ grades higher!
Answer: A dash mark or empty space will appear in place of a score for students who have gradebook items that have not been graded. The dash or empty space is NOT a zero and may result in a higher grade for the student. The associated gradebook item will not be included in the calculation of that students’ final course grade. To fix this:

Gradebook Classic

  • Click on the "All Grades" button and look for dashes.
    • For students with dashes either:
    • go to the associated tool and enter a grade or zero, or
    • if the gradebook item was manually created, click the itemʻs name link and enter a grade or zero there.

Gradebook Classicʻs All Grades button.

Gradebook (New tool)

  • For gradebook items that were manually created, scroll through the columns to find empty cells. Click in the empty cell and enter a grade or a zero.
  • If a column has a "padlock" icon, this indicates that another Laulima tool (e.g., Assignments or Tests & Quizzes) created the Gradebook item. A grade must be entered in that tool.

An empty cell with a padlock in the Gradebook tool.

Narrating Presentations

Question: Is there a good way to narrate my presentations?
Answer: Yes, there are a few options:

  • Use a Screen Recorder for Application-independent Narration

    • Use a screencasting application like ScreenPal , which is free to UH Hilo faculty and easy to use.
    • UH Hilo’s Premier version of ScreenPal can automatically caption your video using speech-to-text, gives you video editing capabilities, and you can directly upload your recordings to your YouTube or Google Drive accounts.
  • Use Zoom and record to the Zoom Cloud Service Note: To record to the Zoom Cloud Service youʻll need to request a UH Zoom Cloud Recording account . Once submitted youʻll receive further information and instructions from UH Zoom IT.

    • Pros to this option:
    1. itʻs already online.
    2. itʻs automatically closed captioned.
    3. to use the recording, you log into your Zoom Cloud Storage , copy the URL, and paste it into Laulima.
    • Cons to this option:
    1. you canʻt edit the recording in the cloud. You would have to download it, take it through an editor like ScreenPal, and upload it to YouTube.
    2. these recordings are automatically deleted at the end of the semester. But, you can easily download the recordings to archive them so not a big con.
  • Within PowerPoint

Students and educators are eligible to use the online version of Office 365 Education for free (It’s not a trial) , including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools. All you need is a valid school email address.

Important Note: Only the online browser-based version of Microsoft 365 is offered free to educators and students. The Office 365 suite should not be downloaded and installed on your computer!


Question: How can I reschedule an exam for just one student?
Answer: Depends upon the assessment tool you are using:

Question: How can I know that the person, who is taking a test, is the very student who registered for the course?
Answer 1: As much as possible, have a series of assignments throughout the course with students writing that may have life experiences. You will develop a sense of a students’ style. Because a student is working continuously throughout the project with frequent feedback all semester long, the student has no need to plagiarize or cheat on the final exam or paper.
Answer 2: As much as possible, have demonstrations of knowledge in group projects where the students interact with each other.
Answer 3: A test can be proctored at a testing site from the link below. Students are required to show a picture ID, and the proctoring staff have a testing code that they put in Laulima for the student. Here is the link to the list of proctors statewide. Faculty are required to submit a proctoring request form to set up this service for their students. Proctoring website .

A Question for You: In a traditional class, how do you know that the person attending and taking the tests is really the person enrolled in the class? You really do not know.

_Updated 01/18/24