Suggestions for Teaching in an Emergency

Instruction and Research Technology offers support to faculty members in the following ways for dealing with the possibility of an emergency. 

Preparation Strategy (before the semester begins)

Before facing any crisis, consider the following ways in which you can prepare a course. You need not employ all the possible strategies mentioned below, but you can choose those most appropriate for you and your students. IRT will be happy to discuss with you which options would be best.

  • Setting up the Attendance Policy, including the following:
    - Urging students to stay home if they suspect they are ill (e.g., with the flu)
      (they will not be counted as absent)
    - Adding an item for Excused Absences that are considered legitimate by the university
    - Asking to report using any possible means of communication in case of illness or as a result of the emergency.
  • Establishing Communication Strategies
    - Setting up email for individual contact
    - Establishing a course listserv
    - Using Blackboard to post announcements
    - Creating a Blog for posting announcements or updates
  • Adding a Make-up Policy
    - Informing students that they can make up missed assignments and tests in this emergency
    - Providing information about how to receive full credit on assignments and tests they missed
  • Using alternative technologies and methods of delivering lectures and assignments
    - Utilizing a faculty web page to post announcements, syllabus, lecture notes
    and assignments
    - Using Blackboard to distribute announcements, syllabus, lectures, assignments, or tests
    - Recording your lectures with Bb Collaborate system and deploying them over the Internet
    - Providing audio podcasting to listen to the lectures your students have missed
    - Employing Blogs to collect student assignments
    - Encouraging your students to use Journals to show their individual work progress

Contingency Strategy

In the event of an emergency, course requirements, course delivery methods, deadlines for assignments and grading percentages are subject to change. Please feel free to choose any of the following methods in which you might want to change your course(s):

  • Modify the course requirements
    - Inform students how they can communicate during their absence to receive full credit on assignments
    - Reset due dates for assignments
    - Adjust the student's grade based on remaining work
    - Provide detailed information on making up any missed assignments
    - Adjust the deadlines for assignments and Grading percentages
  • Be flexible in delivering course content
    - Make adjustments to course content, assignments and other substantive elements of the course
    - Post any course related materials and web links using Blackboard
    - Record class lectures using Bb Collaborate for later viewing and downloading
    - Create voiceover slideshows using MS PowerPoint for students at home
    - Utilize Blackboard's Discussion Board to promote discussion among students
    - Set up alternative means of collecting assignments using the Blackboard Assignments feature
    - Use Blackboard's online test features
    - Provide service to collect assignments

For more information or assistance in teaching in an emergency, please contact IRT.