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 at the beginning of the semester 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 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.
  • 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! Please put in a help desk ticket or email webhelpdesk@guilford.edu 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 at the beginning of the semester.
  • 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.