Unexpected situations may arise in which you aren’t able to meet your students in the classroom during regularly scheduled class time. This can happen due to inclement weather, or the need to fulfill an off-campus responsibility.
The tools below will help you take measures to ensure that your students can keep learning even if you are not present.
View the Preventive Measures Checklist for a list of potential concerns and possible solutions to keep students engaged and learning while you are away.
2. Communication Plan
- Describe how you can be reached during the interruption (if it differs from your syllabus contact information).
- Consider any applicable If --> Then situations that might arise in your course.
- Example: IF we lose connection in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, THEN we will reconvene in that unit’s discussion board in an asynchronous discussion.
- Example 2: IF class is cancelled, THEN students will be notified via email and on the Blackboard course Announcements page.
- Give detailed instructions on all aspects of the assignment or session that differs from the syllabus.
- Prepare and include instructions and support materials for using any new technologies.
3. Alternative Activities or Assignments
- Develop a repository of case studies to use for assignments when learning is interrupted. These can be housed in Blackboard, in a Preventive Measures folder.
- Short (no more than 10-15 minutes) videos that cover lower-level knowledge can be developed over time and used in case of interruptions.
- Maintain a list of discussion questions you can use to stimulate discussion in the discussion boards in case you can’t meet synchronously.
- Consider alternative ways to spur student interaction using various tools such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
4. Practice the Plan
- Have students access the various technologies to ensure they know how to perform the required tasks and have the appropriate equipment.
- Have students test their sound (microphone and headphones)
- Encourage students to connect to a wired connection, especially for synchronous discussions.
- Consider having students complete a short low stakes activity to practice any alternative assignments or activities. This will also give you the opportunity to try out the new instructional approach you may be taking (facilitating discussion, holding an interactive synchronous session, etc.).