Suggestions for Academic Contingency Planning  

The Department of Learning Technologies is offering the following suggestions to assist faculty and teaching staff with planning for course continuity should a flu outbreak cause significant student absences or should you need to be absent yourself:

Contingency Planning:

  1.  Consider establishing contingency plans ahead of time for how students can continue their work in the event of a flu emergency. 
  2. Consider adding such plans to or amending your syllabus early on to explain how you might make unanticipated changes in your course should the need arise.
  3. Use your course Blackboard site to create a contact point for students to receive updates on your plans.  Whether you currently use your course site or not, a Blackboard site is created for every section of every course listed in the Master Schedule through VIP.  Your Blackboard course site can be used for:

Maintaining communication  

Use the Blackboard Announcements and Communication tools to inform about and/or email students any course updates. Students registered in each course section are automatically enrolled in Blackboard, making emailing all students in the section simple and easy.  Click here for a short tutorial on posting an Announcement and using the email function in Blackboard:  

Updating syllabus information, course materials & class continuation policies  

Use your Blackboard site to post and update your syllabus as necessary.  This can include how your attendance expectations may be modified as a result of flu-related absence – yours or your students’.   Copies of lecture notes, PowerPoint slide decks, and other instructional materials can be easily posted for student use.  Select 'Adding Documents and Files' from the Video Demonstration collection here.

Continuing discussions  

The Blackboard Discussion Board offers a way to continue class dialogue in an online format where students can respond to you and each other; as well as attach images and other files to support their posts.  Learn how to create a Discussion Forum here. If you are new to using online threaded discussions, view suggestions and a brief introduction here.

Recording lectures/presentations  

Adobe Presenter enables creation and recording of narrated PowerPoint presentations. Instructions for downloading Adobe Presenter can be found here.  View a tutorial on getting started with Adobe Presenter here

Jing is a free program that lets you capture, save and share images, as well as audio and video from your computer screen. You can download and install it on a Mac or Windows computer by going to the Jing Project web site at http://jingproject.com.

Managing assignments & evaluating online student participation  

Several Blackboard tools can help to manage & evaluate student assignments online.  Documents and electronic materials can be submitted via the Digital Drop Box or as an email attachment, if you prefer.  In addition, the Assignment tool can be used for submission and marking of student work with an automatic entry into the online Grade Center.  For demos of several Blackboard Assigment and Grade Center functions, visit the Video Demonstration Collection here.

Additional Resources:
Tutorials and Handouts - for many of the campus applications are available on the university network “S” or shared drive in a folder entitled Faculty and Staff ITS Info
Blackboard Training Course - An extensive collection of materials and demos on teaching and learning with Blackboard is available on the Blackboard Training Course.  For access to the course, email Tom Davis.

For further assistance and information, email Cindy Jennings or phone at 503-5470 or Tom Davis or phone at 504-5502.

For more detailed resource material on teaching and learning online, visit the Upstate Teaching Online wiki and request an invitation to join.