This page has been established to address the challenges and possible solutions of continuing coursework if meeting with students face-to-face is not possible. As extreme weather, natural disasters, or other unexpected events can disrupt scheduled courses, the tools and strategies described here can minimize the effects of those unexpected situations. All faculty members should prepare for the possibility of an interruption to face-to-face instruction. This includes proactively communicating detailed instructional plans, expectations, and alternative instruction strategies in their course syllabi.
As you are getting started, instructors will want to:
- Ensure you have proper technology requirements.
- Have electronic copies of text material readily available.
- Reach out to students early and often!
The resources below can be of assistance to all faculty regardless of previous experience teaching online. They will help you make quick changes to instructional delivery from the face-to-face to online mode. Instructors can choose which tools to use. Best practices incorporate communication, student engagement, and collection of assignments.
Stay in communication with your students: Use Announcements
To avoid having to send multiple e-mails to the whole class and being swamped by students asking the same question (and you having to respond multiple times), use the Announcement feature in Blackboard. This is by far, one of the easiest and most effective ways to communicate classroom updates or changes to assignments or schedules. Announcements are an ideal way to post time-sensitive, critical information. When you add an announcement, an email is sent to the students in your course. Students receive the announcement even if they don't log into your course. Follow this link to learn more about creating Announcements in Blackboard.
Facilitate Student to Student Interactions: Use Discussions
Don’t let an emergency closing throw off the class discussion schedule. Online discussions can easily take place if the university has to close for a period of time. You can create a forum and have your students exchange ideas asynchronously. Visit the Faculty Center Tutorial Site and learn how to engage your students in the online platform.
Continue Collecting Student Work: Use Assignments
How will you collect and grade student assignments during an emergency closing? Did you know that you can generate an assignment link in Blackboard that will collect student work for you? Once a student submits a paper, the instructor can review, provide feedback and a grade. Follow this link to learn more about Blackboard Assignments.
HOST VIRTUAL LECTURES: USE Zoom
Did you know that you can still conduct lectures for your class during an emergency closing? Zoom provides faculty with a fully interactive web conferencing environment that students can access through a computer, tablet or mobile device. As the instructor, you will create the meeting link in your course and synchronously meet with your students. The session can be recorded and reviewed at a later time for those students who could not attend live. Follow this link to learn more about Zoom.
Service Desk (24/7 Blackboard Support)
The Lewis University Service Desk can be reached online, through email or telephone. If you are in need of Blackboard assistance, reach out to the Service Desk group and they will generate a ticket for our staff to address. Use this link to access the Lewis University Service Desk page.
- Service Desk Phone: 815/836-5950
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online: https://servicedesk.lewisu.edu
Faculty Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Please know that you are not alone and we are always here to help! The Faculty Center staff will monitor Service Desk tickets assigned to us, email and voicemail communication during emergency closings and get back to you as soon as possible.
Visit the Faculty Center Tutorial site and the Faculty Center YouTube page.
The Faculty Center staff is here to help you Keep Teaching. Contact us by submitting a service ticket via the Lewis University Service desk page.
On the go? Download our Teaching Online Preparation Toolkit here.