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Instructional Continuity Planning: Preparing a backup plan for teaching

Emergency closings and unforeseen course cancellations can occur for a variety of reasons: inclement weather, flu outbreak, Shelter in Place orders, family emergencies, etc. This guide will walk you through some considerations for emergency situations. 

Create an emergency plan.

Don't wait until the last minute. Have a communication strategy ready in case classes are cancelled. Tell your students where to find course information and how they can contact you. These guidelines will walk you through formulating and communicating your plan with your students.

  • Create your plan
    • Identify your plans early: In your syllabus, include a clearly stated course policy regarding make-ups and absences that takes into account emergency closings. Leave some room in your schedule/syllabus for changes and modifications. Post your syllabus in your myLesley course site so that your students can easily access it.
    • Check with your department/program: Check with your department/program and with colleagues teaching the same and similar courses. How do they plan to handle emergency closings?
    • Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't have a plan in place yet, reach out to your students as soon as possible. Let them know that class has been cancelled and what your expectations are for checking email or myLesley for more information.
    • Review your syllabus: Think through some options for how to make up missed class time. Identify your priorities: distributing content, class discussions, collecting assignments, etc. Which activities can be rescheduled or made up online? Will you make up the missed time right away or spread it out throughout the week? Your approaches may vary depending on your course schedule and content. 
    • Identify your expectations: Reconsider some of your expectations, including participation, communication, and deadlines. Keep in mind the impact that the emergency may have on students' ability to meet these expectations, including illness, power outages, family commitments, etc. 
    • Create a detailed communication plan: Once you have worked through your options, send a detailed message to your students. Let them know what your have changed and detail your expectations. Let students know how to contact you (email, phone, online office hours, etc.) and how soon they can expect a reply. 

Communication and Collaboration

Keep communications flowing even when you’re not in the classroom. Communicate in real time or whenever it’s convenient for each person. Create opportunities to collaborate with your students or allow your students to collaborate with each other.

Move course content and assignments online

Uploading content to your myLesley course is not only useful for emergency preparations, but also a convenient place to store your course content so that you and your students can easily access them throughout the term. Add documents, readings, and video content to your course. Collect student assignments and provide feedback online.

Flip your classroom.

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model where faculty deliver instruction online, outside of class. This could take on many forms, including directing your students to existing tutorials, recording mini lectures from your webcam, and creating quick screencasts. A flipped classroom doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach; you can use pieces of the flipped classroom idea to make up for lost class time.

Help and Resources 

The IT/eLIS Support Site provides resources and tutorials for all Lesley-supported technology, including myLesley, Microsoft Teams, Kaltura Media, and more. Not finding what you're looking for? Put in a support ticket for more information or to set up a training.

Hoonuit (formerly Atomic Learning) features hundreds of self-paced video tutorials for popular software, online tools, tech integration, college readiness, and more. Log in to Hoonuit with your myLesley username and password.

Do you have questions or don't know where to start? Reach out to eLIS and set up an appointment to learn more. eLIS staff are available to meet with you in person in University Hall, online, or on the phone. Email eLIS to set up an appointment.