Hege Library & Learning Technologies

For Faculty: Instructional Continuity

This guide gives instructors a rundown of strategies that can help ensure instructional continuity during situations that might interrupt instruction such as severe weather events, campus closures, and the like.

Preparation Checklist

  • Determine how you will communicate with your students during a weather or other emergency - consider that there may be widespread power or internet outages and your students might not receive communication. Consider getting alternate contact information (additional email address, cell phone number) or using an app like Remind.
  • Determine how you will hold your class sessions if not able to hold them in-person.
  • Poll students to determine how many have internet access or computer access off campus, and how many have their own computers, as well as how many have smart phones.
    • Here is an example of a student survey for COVID-19 planning, created by Danya Glabau, who teaches at NYU, and an example of a pre-semester survey, created by Meredyth Wegener, who teaches at Vanderbilt, gathering information on student access needs and questions about their interests and needs relating to the course. You could send something similar out to your students to get a sense of what equipment and levels of experience they have.
    • In emergency situations, the library will work with faculty to provide devices to students in need to be able to complete their coursework remotely for an extended period of time. Faculty are invited to fill out an application form on behalf of students in their courses. See more on the library's Continuity of Services guide. 
  • If you use Canvas, remind your students to download the Canvas Student app in advance.
  • Include a statement in your syllabus about how you will communicate.
  • Test out the hardware available to you to make sure it works: ensure your computer has a functioning webcam, microphone, and speakers (by testing a video conference tool like Google Hangouts, for example).
  • Practice with the technology you plan to use, so you can get a feel for it beforehand.
    • If you would like to test things out or create content in an empty Canvas course that does not have any students in it, we would be happy to create a Sandbox course for you! Simply fill out this Sandbox Course request form and we will get one created for you.
  • Determine the tools that you will use and practice with both the tools and your students prior to an emergency. For example, if you'll be using Google Hangouts to hold virtual office hours, try holding them with students a few times before an emergency occurs.
  • Above all, practice empathy - with yourself, and with your students.

Checklist adapted from instructional continuity websites at Georgetown University, UNC Charlotte, and East Carolina University instructional continuity websites.

"Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do & Where to Start"

This article from Michelle Miller, an expert in online teaching, provides some considerations of things to think about when trying to quickly move a course online. Here is a summary of her tips:

  1. Begin by going over your course assignments for the coming weeks.
  2. How will you give feedback on students' progress?
  3. Then, move on to the in-class experience.
  4. Decide what you’re going to do about any high-stakes assessments, particularly exams.
  5. Consider the course materials
  6. Once you’ve dealt with those things, the name of the game is communication.

"Transforming Your Online Teaching from Crisis to Community"

This article by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis discusses the importance of human interactions and community in this time. The authors recommend creating entry or exit tickets as a simple strategy for creating an engaged learning experience online: they outline several possible strategies for different class set-ups.

"QM Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist"

A list of tips, strategies and considerations for a temporary emergency move to remote teaching from Quality Matters.