Online Teaching Resources


Please ensure your USC Zoom and Blackboard accounts are active and up to date. Zoom meetings can be scheduled and managed from Blackboard.

For your reference, Blackboard Help for Faculty provides a comprehensive overview of Blackboard and all of its features.

Please consider the following as students adjust to our new learning reality:

  • Be sensitive to the different conditions in which our students are now working.
  • Varying time zones, connectivity issues, and available working space may all impact a student’s leaning environment.
  • Class sessions should be recorded to accommodate students who might not be able to attend the session at the given time for these and other reasons. Students could then be able to watch the class session as needed.
  • View an instructional video and a step-by-step guide on how to record your class sessions with Zoom.


Instructions on downloading and activating your USC Zoom account can be found here.

  • From a web browser, go to
  • Login in by clicking on “Sign in with SSO,” with the company domain (if asked) “
  • You will be directed to the red Shibboleth page.

The Two Zoom Guides below – one for hosts/facilitators, and one for participants – provide step by step instructions on accessing Zoom as well as practical tips for successful videoconferencing.


Zoom Guide for Facilitators
Zoom Guide for Participants
Making your TA a Zoom Co Host
How to Share Computer Sound When Sharing Video

Communicating with TAs, studios and other groups

To ensure communication remains open between groups of students (be they TAs, private students, various classes of students etc.), consider using different platforms to stay organized:

  • WhatsApp (Recommended) Works well for groups and across all phone operating systems
  • Instructors can also communicate with class cohorts through
  • Facebook Groups (Not recommended) Requires creating Facebook account

Since Zoom is optimized for speech rather than musical sound in real time, studio classes can be supplemented with recordings that are shared between students. Students can record their playing in advance, then distribute the file (audio or video) to their teacher and studio mates for critique ahead of scheduled Zoom sessions. For this, we highly recommend your USC Google Drive account.

File Sharing and Storage

Now that we’ve shifted to online instruction, the requirements for sharing and storing large files have become critical. For most of our classes at USC Thornton, Blackboard will work very well to accommodate both instruction and file exchange & storage. However, in areas of our school where there are multiple teachers and students enrolled in one section, such as ensembles, individual instruction and capstone projects, another solution for sharing data is highly recommended. The following options below, allow for more robust storage and an efficient interface when dealing with larger files:

Google Drive (Highly recommended)

  • Google Drive offers unlimited storage and is accessible from a desktop or mobile phone. As a Google product, it interfaces with other apps in the Google suite, including Google Docs, Google Sheets and Gmail.

OneDrive for Business – Office 365 (Highly recommended)

  • OneDrive for Business offers 5 terabytes of storage and is accessible from a desktop or mobile phone. As a Microsoft product, it interfaces with other apps in the Microsoft Office 365 suite, as well as Microsoft Outlook.

Please note: Our University agreement with Dropbox will end on June 30th, 2020 and is not recommended for file sharing and storage. All files must be transferred before this date.

Netiquette Guides

Running a class using Zoom requires a rethinking of student etiquette in this different environment. Please review these two guides to ensure your online classrooms from USC Thornton and the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Optimizing Sound on Zoom

For all Zoom sessions, all but the current player should be on MUTE to minimize audio interference. For student performances, use the Preserve Original Sound feature to best reproduce their musical performance.

  • Please note, at present, only desktop/laptop (Mac and Windows OS) versions of Zoom support Preserve Original Sound. For students and faculty with access to desktops or laptops, the ideal configuration is for both to run Zoom from like devices.

How to Activate Original Sound on Zoom

Make sure to have updated Zoom to the latest version. Across all types of users, the process roughly is as follows:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation panel, click Settings.
  3. Click the Meeting tab.
  4. Under In Meeting (Advanced), verify that Allow users to select original sound in their client settings is enabled.

For a more detailed breakdown of these processes, follow the guide to enable Preserve Original Sound.

Sharing your computer desktop with Zoom

With this option in Zoom, students will be able to “visit” your desktop to look at visual material (PDF scores, etc.), listen to recordings and watch videos. This sharing of your screen also allows for guided group exercises using music notation software such as Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore and other similar programs. Please refer to the connection guide below:

  1. Launch Zoom and start a meeting, or schedule one in advance. Once all students are in attendance, notify that you will be sharing your screen.
  2. Click the green “Share Screen” button at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Check the box in the lower left corner that says “Share computer sound.”
  4. Click the blue button on the lower right that says “Share.”
  5. To return to the regular Zoom meeting format, click the red button at the top of the screen that says, “Stop share.”

For more information, consult these modules on sharing your computer desktop with Zoom and sharing sound.