Tips and Strategies for Faculty

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In times of significant disruption, the key goal is to help students get the support they need to meet core course objectives. This site will help you develop a contingency plan for supporting your face-to-face classes in the case of a temporary disruption of campus operations.

General tips

Keep in mind that students have differing levels of access to technology and internet connectivity, and that the availability of computer labs, libraries, or other public access points may be limited during an event that causes a campus disruption. Alternate assignments or accommodations may be necessary on a case by case basis.

Keep in contact with students and encourage them to communicate with each other. Ongoing communication will help students stay engaged and feel connected.

Share materials with students

Option 1: Use Blackboard announcements. When you create an announcement, students are notified at their CSCU email. You can attach files, like readings or assignments, to announcements. Announcements have some advantages over email: you can attach larger files than you can with email (though there is a file size limit) and there is a running record of what you have shared.

Option 2: Organize your materials in Blackboard content areas. Create weekly folders with all of your course materials.

Option 3: Organize your materials in OneDrive. Learn more about this robust tool.

Communicate with students

Option 1: Use Blackboard announcements to communicate with the entire class. When you create an announcement, students are notified in their CSCU email. You can attach files, like readings or assignments, to announcements. Announcements have some advantages over email: you can attach larger files than you can with email (though there is a file size limit) and there is a running record of what you have shared.

Option 2: Use Blackboard email to communicate with individual students. If you do not have a list of student email addresses, you can use the Blackboard email tool to contact students. You can select individual students or multiple students to email.

Option 3: Communicate in real time using WebEx. WebEx is a web conferencing tool that you can use to video conference, screen share, or text chat with individual students or groups of students. CSCU Support Site for WebEx.

Option 4: Use Blackboard Collaborate. Set up a Virtual Office Hours in your Blackboard course. You can leave the virtual room ‘open’ all day or only during certain hours for student access.

Facilitate student-to-student interaction

Start a conversation on the Blackboard discussion board. The discussion board allows you to create multiple spaces, or “forums,” for different topics. You can start the discussion and students can respond to you and to one another in a threaded format.

Give lectures online

Option 1: Make a video presentation to share online. There are many tools that you can use to create a presentation, from the camera on your phone, which you can use to make a video of yourself, to tools like Screencast-O-Matic, which allow you to capture slides on a computer screen and narrate them. You will also need a place to put your video files. Our Online Lectures page goes over some of the options.

Option 2: Give a lecture in real-time using WebEx. WebEx is a web conferencing tool that you can use to video conference, screen share, or text chat with individual students or groups of students. CSCU Support Site for WebEx.

Collect assignments from students

Option 1: Students email their work. Students can email you a file (e.g., Word document) containing their assignment.

Option 2: Students submit work their work via the Blackboard assignments tool. The Blackboard assignments tool allows students to upload their work and organizes it in the Blackboard grade center for you to review.

Option 3: Students share content that they created online. Students may create work using an online tool, such as Google Docs, and share their work with you. Students will need to know your email address in order to set the sharing permissions. In most cases, the tool will generate an email notification that a file has been shared with you.

Alternatives to quizzes/exams

Option 1: Utilize alternative assessment methods. Consider using writing assignments or other student projects in lieu of exams. These types of assignments engage students and may be simpler to manage in the event of temporary course disruption.

Option 2: Create Blackboard tests. These can range from low-stakes checks for understanding to high-stakes exams. We recommend against high-stakes tests unless you already have experience working with Blackboard tests. Visit the Blackboard help center page with instructions for creating and working with tests.