Get started with your instructional continuity plan

How to facilitate your class online in the context of COVID-19 related disruptions

When you realize you have to move your class online quickly, consider the following right away:

  • Get details about the closure or event: Campus closures or emergencies will be reported via the College's Emergency Rave Alert System. In addition, you can get communications from the College about the current Coronavirus on the Union College website. These are the best locations to look for information, including estimates of how long you may need to teach your course online. You can check the ITS Alerts webpage, ITS Twitter page, and/or contact the ITS Help Desk for information about the current availability of IT services.
  • Check with your department chair: Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for classes. Chairs may want the department's classes handled in similar ways, so check with your Chair before doing too much planning.

  • Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't have a plan in place yet, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Nexus (Union College's learning management system), so you can get them more details soon.

  • Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction: What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? Do you just want to keep them engaged with the course content somehow?

  • Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your priorities during the disruptionā€”providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.

  • Review your syllabus for points that must change: What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them.

  • Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a closure is caused by a local crisis, it may be already taxing everyone's mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.

  • Identify your new expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lack of power/internet connections, or access to resources (like specialty software only available on campus machines). Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.

  • Create a more detailed communications plan: Once you have more details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with more information about how they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). A useful communication plan also lets students know how soon they can expect a reply. They will have many questions, so try to figure out how you want to manage that.

 Please contact our Learning Design and Digital Innovation (LDDI) team for help and more information.

Keep Teaching! During prolonged campus or building closures Home Page

[With appreciation, the above recommendations were compiled/modified from Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning and the Indiana University, Teaching and Learning Center]



Article ID: 100282
Sun 3/8/20 11:20 PM
Mon 8/23/21 11:16 AM