Continuity of Instruction

This document is designed to address the challenges of continuing instruction without being able to meet with students face-to-face. Anything from extreme weather to family emergencies can disrupt scheduled courses. The tools and strategies described here can minimize the effects of those unexpected changes. Since online courses are at a distance, the expectation is they will continue on as planned.

Blackboard

Currently, a Blackboard course shell is automatically generated for every University of Louisville course offering, including face-to-face, blended, and distance learning sections. Each course shell is populated with students enrolled in the course. The shell is active and an instructor is able to make content available to students at any time. It is strongly recommended that this platform be used in the event that face-to-face classes are temporarily suspended.

It is a long-standing requirement that a course syllabus must be developed by each instructional faculty and distributed to students at the start of the academic term. A syllabus is defined as “a summary outline of a discourse, treatise, or course of study or of examination requirements.” This syllabus should be included with the course in Blackboard.

Considerations Prior to the Start of Class

  • Record e-mail and phone number of your director or other appropriate point of contact for your primary program or department.
  • Back up critical teaching materials, including lectures, assignments, instructions, quizzes, discussion topics, the syllabus, schedule, and other artifacts. You may be able to provide these materials to your students via the Internet in the event of a significant classroom interruption. (You may not be able to save some materials such as reserved readings, library resources, etc.)

Once Class Has Begun

  • Record and backup student names, e-mail addresses, and phone contact information.
  • Access the course roster, highlight student information and copy (will not include phone contacts). Open a new spreadsheet, then paste student information.
  • Prepare a backup working copy of your gradebook to ensure continuity of grading and reporting to students and administrators if your primary online gradebook is not available for an extended period of time.
  • At the start of the course recommend that students download the syllabus.
  • Let students know of your plans for continuing instruction and communication in the event of disaster or significant interruption.
  • Remind students regularly about the importance of keeping backup electronic copies of their assignments.

University Recommendations for Syllabus Considerations for Face-To-Face Classes

Lengthy weather-related closures and power outages in the past few years left many students and faculty concerned about how to respond. The Delphi Center provides the following guidelines as a resource for setting student expectations regarding coursework when the university is closed or delayed. The following considerations should be included in your syllabus. These are guidelines only, not policies. You are encouraged to incorporate them into your syllabus and modify them as you see fit for your course(s).

University Closure

It is the instructor’s responsibility to post instructions for students on Blackboard. It is the students’ responsibility to check Blackboard for an update from the instructor.

If the University of Louisville is closed due to a holiday, weather-related conditions or other unusual circumstances, planned real-time activities in classes will not be held. As an alternative, course activity will continue via Blackboard. If Blackboard is down, the instructor will communicate a plan via Blackboard as soon as the system is up and running. Continue to complete work as possible until Blackboard is restored.

University Delay

If the University of Louisville is on a delayed schedule, on-campus classes are canceled up until a certain time, and classes that begin at or after the delayed time meet at their regular time and include the full instruction period. Coursework is due as planned and should be submitted via Blackboard.

Internet Outage or Inaccessibility

A student will occasionally lose his or her Internet access due to an outage where both the cause and solution are outside of his or her control. Examples include an extended power or cable outage causing a loss in Internet access. It is at the discretion of the course instructor whether to require documentation and to determine a reasonable course of action.


Resources

The following resources are meant to address issues that may arise in the event of university closure or widespread absences. You may also want to consider how these suggestions could be adapted for single absences (such as one student’s prolonged absence due to illness or your absence for a conference). Download a Quick Reference Guide for Continuity of Instruction [PDF]

  • Click to Show/HideCommunication Modes

    Available ways to address communication with students.

    Blackboard Announcements

    Announcements is a tool available in every Blackboard course. Announcements are typically one of the first areas you see when accessing your course. This can be used to notify students of information about the course you would like them to see as soon as they access your course.

    Creating Announcements Help Guide and Video

    Blackboard Send Email Function

    The Send Email tool in a course is a send-only tool. You can send messages from your course to course members' external email accounts without having to launch your external email program. You can send emails to individual users or to groups of users. At UofL, the students enrolled in courses on Blackboard have their email automatically added to those courses.

    IMPORTANT: Blackboard Learn keeps no record of sent or received emails. When you receive or send an email, the email will appear in the Inbox of your external email client. Keep a copy of important messages in case you need them at a later date.

    Sending Email Video

    Qwickly

    Qwickly is a Blackboard add-on which allows instructors to make courses available or unavailable, send emails and announcements to multiple courses at once:

    • Make courses available or unavailable, many can be toggled at once.
    • Send emails to multiple courses at once (including adding attachments). Emails will be sent to all members of the courses.
    • Post announcements to multiple courses at once.

    Qwickly User Guide [PDF]

    CardMail

    CardMail is the student email system provided by Microsoft Outlook Live. It is now part of Office 365. In Office 365, you have access to tools such as Lync Online instant messenger.

    UofL Student Email Documents and FAQ

  • Click to Show/HideSyllabus

    Make your syllabus available digitally. At the start of the course recommend that Students download the syllabus.

    All syllabi should be loaded into courses in Blackboard. Syllabi can be posted to Blackboard in many formats and the instructions for proper posting are listed below.

    Syllabus Posting Instructions and Video

  • Click to Show/HideDistribution of Documents

    Decide how you will distribute documents and readings during a disruption. Become familiar with the process of making PDFs from hard copies. Familiarize yourself with how to use E-Reserves services offered by the University Libraries.

    University Libraries e-Reserves

    Instructors teaching classes that are classified as online courses or distance education can request Electronic Reserves. We encourage instructors to read the E-Reserve Policy before starting your request.

    The following link will take you to the E-Reserves Request Form. For more assistance with E-Reserves you can speak with a staff person in Access and User Services at 502.852.5566 or email dlls@louisville.edu.

    How to Create PDF Files From Paper Copies

    If you have paper copies of articles and other documents and are unable to find an electronic copy of those documents, you can create a PDF of those documents by using a scanner or Xerox machine with a “scan to email” function. Check with your Department for more information.

  • Click to Show/HideCollect Student Submissions

    Designate a centralized place to collect student submissions.

    Blackboard Assignments/Plagiarism

    Assess students in ways where they can apply the course concepts and demonstrate their knowledge in tangible ways.

    With assignments, you can create coursework, and manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. You can include an assignment description, point value, and file attachments. You can create assignments in several courses areas, such as in a content area or folder. You can also distribute assignments to course groups.

    Assignments

    Step-by-Step Instructions

    Prepare a backup working copy of your gradebook to ensure continuity of grading and reporting to students and administrators if your primary online gradebook is not available for an extended period of time.

  • Click to Show/HideClass Discussion

    Think about how you would continue class discussion in the event of a disruption. There are several tools that Blackboard provides that can assist you with discussions in the event of any interruption of instruction.

    Blackboard Blogs

    A blog—a shorthand term that means web log—is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public access and use. Most blogs also have some kind of commenting system, so that people can respond to and interact with one another. Blogs encourage students to clearly express their ideas and addresses the need to expand various aspects of social learning. Moreover, they are an effective means of gaining insight into students' activities and provide a way to share the knowledge and materials collected.

    In Blackboard, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them.

    Blackboard Collaborate

    Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing, partnering with the University of Louisville, now allows any UofL employee to engage with others (both within the university or the general public) in a meaningful, real-time way, online, and without need of a traditional classroom! Students, teachers, staff, administration and guest speakers alike log on at the same time for a live, versatile virtual classroom session with you. This tool can be used to connect you and your students in real time (synchronously) to share an electronic whiteboard, video, audio, PowerPoint, and more, and now with mobile support, Blackboard Collaborate can connect you with your audience on the go!

    Best Practice! Set the session to last for as long as your semester lasts instead of setting recurring sessions. This will allow you to use the same link the whole semester.

    Blackboard Discussion Board

    The Discussion Board can host many discussion forums (topics). Each topic or forum is a self-contained threaded list of postings and replies to a given question or situation by students or groups of students within a class. With the discussion board tool, course members can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom.

    Blackboard Discussion Board

    Blackboard Wikis

    Wikis are groups of pages that allow individuals to collaborate on material for a given topic. Watch this short video to find out what a wiki is!

  • Click to Show/HideLecture

    There are three tools available for facilitating a lecture when classroom instruction is not possible.

    Panopto

    Panopto allows you to create, edit and import video or lecture capture for your courses.

    Tegrity

    Tegrity is a fully automated lecture capture solution used in traditional, hybrid, “flipped classes" and online courses to record lesson, lectures, and skills.

    Collaborate

    Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing, partnering with the University of Louisville, now allows any UofL employee to engage with others (both within the university or the general public) in a meaningful, real-time way, online, and without need of a traditional classroom! Students, teachers, staff, administration and guest speakers alike log on at the same time for a live, versatile virtual classroom session with you. This tool can be used to connect you and your students in real time (synchronously) to share an electronic whiteboard, video, audio, PowerPoint, and more, and now with mobile support, Blackboard Collaborate can connect you with your audience on the go!

  • Click to Show/HideOffice Hours

    Research options for holding class / office hours virtually. You can fall back on your chosen option if it is expected that several class periods will be missed.

    Collaborate

    Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing, partnering with the University of Louisville, now allows any UofL employee to engage with others (both within the university or the general public) in a meaningful, real-time way, online, and without need of a traditional classroom! Students, teachers, staff, administration and guest speakers alike log on at the same time for a live, versatile virtual classroom session with you. This tool can be used to connect you and your students in real time (synchronously) to share an electronic whiteboard, video, audio, PowerPoint, and more, and now with mobile support, Blackboard Collaborate can connect you with your audience on the go!

    Instructors can set up a Collaborate session specifically for office hours – to span the duration of the class within the tool or set several date-specific sessions throughout the duration of the term.

  • Click to Show/HideEvaluation

    Think about how your methods for evaluating student learning could be moved to a digital space.

    Assessments

    You can create and edit online tests and quizzes using Blackboard’s assessment tools or other software. These assessments can be used for evaluating learning (grading). Tests and surveys are used to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students. You can create tests and surveys and then deploy them in a course area. You assign points to test questions for grading evaluation, but survey questions are not scored.

    If you wish to create a test/survey off-line we have another tool available for Windows operating systems called Respondus.

    Assignments

    Assess students in ways where they can apply the course concepts and demonstrate their knowledge in tangible ways.

    With assignments, you can create coursework, and manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. You can include an assignment description, point value, and file attachments. You can create assignments in several courses areas, such as in a content area or folder. You can also distribute assignments to course groups.

    Assignments Step-by-Step Instructions

    Grade Center

    Prepare a backup working copy of your gradebook to ensure continuity of grading and reporting to students and administrators if your primary online gradebook is not available for an extended period of time.

  • Click to Show/HideMedical School/ Clinical Plan

    All medical students are urged to sign up for the UofL mobile phone emergency information system, RAVE, which provides real-time text communications about any emergencies or long-term catastrophes.

    In the event that the course/clerkship is no longer able to meet face-to-face, students should immediately logon to the RedMed course website, where the course director or his or her designee will provide instructions for adjustments to the meeting schedule, delivery of instruction, assignments, or examinations and deadlines. Students are asked to check the RedMed site regularly throughout the interruption of instruction for updates. The course director will also use email to communicate regularly with students.

    In the event that students as a whole do not have access to the internet, alternative approaches to communicating with students will be arranged. However, should this occur, students should, depending upon their individual circumstances, make every effort to stay current with course/clerkship assignments/readings.

    In the event that a student is unable to attend class for an extended period of time, he or she should contact the course/clerkship director to discuss alternative means of fulfilling requirements.

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