Just as they would during a major weather event or natural disaster, your students will face the same stresses during a public health emergency as do many other community members, such as child care challenges and uncertain work schedules. We encourage you to communicate with your students early and often. If you have a plan in place, let students know what that is before a closure. If a closure is announced, communicate with students right away, even if it is just to let them know that you are working on a plan.

Consider what aspects of your course are most essential so you can plan to refocus on those elements in the event that completing work missed due a closure becomes impossible or unreasonable.

While it may be difficult, faculty need to make an informed judgment about how to cover the student learning outcomes in an abridged timeframe – even if that means that some content may not be delivered and some student work must be removed from the course plan.

As you plan for and develop course materials, consider preparing materials in different formats and preparing submission alternatives should classes be canceled or students miss class due to illness or isolation. Start by thinking about your course outcomes. What do students need to practice/know/do in order to be ready for their summative assessment?

Every course has a Canvas shell already provided. If you haven't yet used yours, the beginning of the quarter checklist can help you get started. You can also check out the Remote Teaching Toolkit Canvas shell for directions on how to use all the tools listed below. If you want to learn the basics of Canvas, check out SBCTC’s Canvas 101. Within and outside of Canvas, you have several options for providing content and activities that you would have done in class. Some examples:

  • Record your lecture with Panopto (short 5-8 minute videos are best!)
  • Use Zoom or Google Hangouts to hold a virtual class meeting
  • Have students review/create study guides based on what they've learned so far
  • Use a discussion board to engage students with course concepts
  • Search for streaming video for your students to watch (check out these databases through the library: Films On Demand)
  • Set up online assignment dropboxes in Canvas for any assignments students would have submitted in person
  • Think about Alternatives to Traditional Testing
  • Quizzes: Canvas Quiz Setup Guide Worried about academic integrity? Try shuffling possible answers or creating question groups. Don’t forget about student accommodations when setting up timed quizzes.

If you have any technical questions or would like assistance brainstorming ideas, eLearning will still be responding to emails sent to eLearning@lowercolumbia.edu in the event of any campus closure. There are also answers to many questions in the Canvas Instructor Guides and Canvas Video Guide.

Overall, we encourage you to be flexible and understanding of the variety of situations our students are facing. Provide multiple modes and opportunities for students to engage with content and demonstrate understanding. Not all students will have access to devices with unlimited data or laptops with internet access at home. They might be struggling with illness or caring for family members.
  • Establish online presence (usually by publishing your course in Canvas)
  • Communicate your plan to your students
  • Add your syllabus to your Canvas course, with modifications
  • Decide how students will access content (videos, lectures, powerpoint)
  • Set up Assignments in Canvas for everything that you want students to submit online
  • Decide when you will hold any virtual office hours (through Zoom, Google Hangouts or other method)
  • Set up class discussion boards
  • Decide how you can move/transform your assessments to an online format
  • Decide how you will use the Canvas gradebook (if you weren’t using it already)
  • Make sure that materials provided meet accessibility guidelines

Content was adapted from Everett Community College with a CC-By license.

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