In the event of a campus closure that would force classes online, it may be helpful to start considering how you might take the following 5 steps to ensure your course continues smoothly and effectively.
Step 1: Communicate with Your Students
Reach out to students as soon as possible – even if you don’t have all of the details or plans in place yet. It’s important that they hear from you and that you explain when and how you’ll be communicating with them throughout this period. Students will need to know how you plan to manage the course during this period and if there are any new or altered expectations that will be important to their success in the course.
Step 2: Set Realistic Goals
What do you think you can realistically accomplish online during this time period? Will it be possible for you accomplish everything that you had laid out in your syllabus and course schedule? It will be important for you to determine how best to continue forward with your class while understanding that serious changes may be necessary.
Step 3: Utilize Familiar Tools and Pedagogy
Moving a course online quickly can be challenging. While faculty are welcome to explore and utilize all available tools in support of their classes, it may be best to keep it simple and rely on tools and approaches familiar to you and your students. Introducing new and complex tools can add unnecessary stress during an already hard and ambiguous time.
Step 4: Check with Your Department
Your department may issue guidelines or details about their expectations for classes. Make sure you understand what is expected and required to ensure that you’re acting in accordance with your department.
Step 5: Stay Informed and Pass it Along
The University will surely be communicating throughout the closure period. Make sure you are reading these messages and communicating pertinent changes with your students. You don’t want to automatically assume that your students understand what’s expected of them during a closure or when the university is set to resume classes.