Steps to take before an interruption:
- Review class syllabi or other materials provided by your instructor for their plans in the event of an interruption of class time.
- Ask your instructor what tools will be used to continue instruction in the case of an interruption and familiarize yourself with them.
Steps to take during an interruption:
- Check your @mun.ca email account, or your Brightspace course site for specific instructions from your instructor.
- Make note of changes to assignments, including any revised deadlines.
Preparing for the continuity of a course in the event of a future interruption will allow you to think about how you would revise your instructional and assessment strategies.
If you make the decision to teach remotely, you may not have the time you would like to fully prepare an alternative learning experience. When faced with an immediate shift, your goal should be to develop an instructional plan that allows students to complete their face-to-face course remotely, not to convert your course into an online course.
Consider the best mix of learning experiences and technologies that will help your students demonstrate their achievement of course outcomes. In some cases, this does not need to be complex; it could be as simple as facilitating a seminar for a graduate course over the phone.
We also cannot predict the level of internet connectivity at a student’s home. A student’s best device might be their mobile phone, and students’ different levels of access to the internet should be considered when thinking of using of an online tool.
You are not alone in this work - CITL can consult on the development of a plan that, in the event of an interruption of the semester, would allow you to achieve your instructional goals and recommend appropriate assessment strategies and educational technologies to achieve those goals.
1. Consider some of the following questions in the design of your continuity plan:
- What elements of your face-to-face class can be supplemented using online content?
- A rapid shift online will limit the time you have available to create content; can you re-use or adapt material that has already been created and is freely available online?
- Could you record and post lectures for students if a session is cancelled?
- Research shows that short (10 minute) videos work best for student engagement in the online environment; consider chunking material into five 10-minute videos rather than recording one 50-minute video.
- How will you meet with students who are remote to you?
- Setting office hours and establishing time for synchronous communication with students will be key to their continued engagement.
- Consider how students can best contact you outside office hours.
- What instructional resources do you plan to use in your class (i.e. reading, handouts, worksheets), and which could be made available electronically?
- Memorial Libraries can help students access some electronic material through their online course reserve system, Leganto.
- What assessments are planned until the conclusion of the term, and which require in-person invigilation?
- Are there alternative methods of assessment that you could use with the same instructional outcome that are better suited for remote teaching?
- In-person invigilation of tests or exams to ensure academic integrity is highly unlikely during an extended disruption; how can you change your assessments in light of this limitation?
2. Review and select the tools you would use to achieve the outcomes of your plan.
To help prepare, review any training materials or practice using the tool in a non-instructional context.
3. Let your students know today how you intend to maintain contact with them in the event of an interruption. Continue to be empathetic in times of uncertainty.
- Retention of students during times of interruption is a priority. During interruptions, we know that students are more likely not to complete a course. Clear communication with your students, and expressions of compassion, will help them navigate this change. In turn, they are more likely to be successful.
- Keeping all your communication within one system (e.g. Brightspace or through email) makes it easier to manage. While you are free to select the means of communication for the learning experience, your choice needs to be shared with your students.
4. Familiarize yourself with appropriate academic regulations, reviewing what might be required in the case your plans include a change to the syllabus and methods of evaluation.
- As per Undergraduate regulation 6.7.4, the head of the academic unit needs to approve any proposed change.
- Given the nature of the interruption, some regulations could be changed or updated, or certain portions suspended. These will be communicated at the time.
- Monitor communications of the university and your faculty/school for decisions/changes that may impact standard regulations.
1. Take stock of where you are in relation to completing your instructional goals for the term.
- How does the current situation match your continuity plan? Are there any modifications to make given the situation?
2. Revisit your assessment plans.
- Clearly communicate any changes to assessment details, deliverables or deadlines with students.
3. Communicate with your students using the method you have established to inform them of the revised plan to finish the course, including (as applicable):
- The shift of instruction from face-to-face to remote;
- The revised schedule of class meetings;
- How those meetings will be facilitated, including the tools to be used;
- Where students can find instructional material for the course;
- How and when students can communicate with you;
- Updates to course assessment details, deliverables and deadlines;
- How students will submit their work to you;
- How students will get feedback on their work from you.
- Any institutional changes that impact your students.
Remember, you are not alone in this work - CITL staff are available to consult with you to help achieve instructional continuity in the case of an academic interruption.