Using Instructional Technologies for Traditional Classroom Contingency Planning

Lone Star College System (LSCS) must be prepared to cope with possible localized and/or wide-spread campus closures in the event of potential communicable disease outbreaks, or other emergency. The following are suggestions for alternatives to lectures, homework and exams, class discussions, office hours, and grading to prepare faculty for the possibility of disruptions in courses. Links to HELP and PDF documents are provided for additional assistance. In the event of an emergency, please go directly to the STEPS FOR MAINTAINING INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY.


  • Address instructional and assessment-related matters. 
    For example, instructors should plan how to:
    1. Provide information and resources to students,
    2. Communicate or conference with students,
    3. Collect students' work,
    4. Administer exams, and
    5. Modify grading in light of changed course requirements (sequence of course topics, assignment deadlines, number of assignments, etc.).
  • Become familiar with alternative technology available at LSCS. 
    Instructors should take time early on to learn the LSC Online Brightspace system and become certified - before use is urgent. 
    • Watch video tutorials and step-by-step quick reference guides for Brightspace. 
    • Go to myWorkshops through myLoneStar for more information about ongoing training sessions.
    • Determine if guidance to students regarding the use of alternative technologies is needed: Brightspace Resources for Students
  • Consider the following announcement in your syllabus: 
    "In the event of the disruption of normal classroom activities due to an extended college closure, the format for this course may be modified to enable completion of the course. In that event, I will provide an addendum to the syllabus that will supersede the original syllabus".

Alternative Ways to Share Information

Using LSCS Email

Email is not a robust way to facilitate your class, but it should be considered when there is an extended closure.

JOB AID: View and Print Class Roster in Faculty Center LSC [You must login to to open these documents]

JOB AID: Sending Email Attachments in Faculty Center LSC [You must login to to open these documents]

More iStar Job Aids are available on the Faculty tab under Faculty Quicklinks.

Using Brightspace

  • Upload and publish content in Brightspace.  Use the Content page to make course files such as your syllabus or course notes available to students.    
  • Place announcements on your course home page using the News widget. Keep students informed of important messages such as changes to deadlines, alternate methods of submissions due to illnesses or class cancelations.    
  • Email Students. Instructors can email students via LSCS email or Brightspace email.   

Lecture Alternatives

  • Create electronic copies of lecture materials.  Store materials online for easy retrieval or email directly to students.  
  • Record audio lectures using Brightspace Capture.  Instructors can use a headset and computer to easily record audio lectures on top of their Power Point slides and store them in the Brightspace Learning Object Repository.  
  • Create video recordings of lectures.  Though video recordings usually take more time and effort, and require either a webcam or digital video camera, programs like Brightspace Capture can greatly reduce the effort necessary to produce a video lecture.   
  • Hold discussions using Brightspace chat. The chat function allows for real-time, synchronous discussion and is one way of determining students' understanding of course materials using a question and answer format.     
  • Assign additional readings. Use News announcements and/or a document in Brightspace.  
    • If students do not have sufficient access to materials from their course materials, instructors can take advantage of e-Reserves at LSCS Libraries.   

Homework Submissions and Exam Alternatives

  • Submit assignments using the Brightspace Dropbox. Students can submit their work for instructor review. Although students can't view each other's work using this method, instructors can pull submitted assignments from the Dropbox area and publish them in the course for all students to view if desired.   
  • Submit assignments via e-mail. To help manage assignments and incoming e-mail, have students use specific e-mail subject lines and filenames. For example, in the subject line, put the course or assignment name/number. In the filename, put the student's name, assignment name and/or date.
  • Create an online assessment in Brightspace. With the exception of essay questions, online assignments are automatically graded in Brightspace. If a student misses an assignment, exceptions can be made for them.   
  • Give take-home exams. Instructors can distribute a take-home exam via their Brightspace course or through email. 

Discussion Alternatives

  • Hold asynchronous discussions via the Discussions tool. Share class notes and/or allow students to share notes with others who may be unable to attend class. Instructors can post questions and have students post responses and analyses. Word counts and other requirements should be specified.   
  • Hold synchronous discussions using Brightspace chat. The chat function allows for real-time, synchronous discussion and is one way of determining students' understanding of course materials using a question and answer format.    The same can be done using WebEx.  

Grading Alternatives

  • Adjust grade sheets or rubrics. This may be necessary to capture the same learning as the face-to-face class.
  • Extend assignment deadlines. Assignment due dates may need to be rescheduled for live performances, speeches, group work, research, laboratory work, fieldwork, and field trips.
  • Create alternative assignments. These could include attending web-based, virtual field-trips, accessing various multimedia, or visiting particular sites.
  • Build your gradebook in Brightspace. Begin by setting up the gradebook.  Then create a grade item for each activity.   

With grateful acknowledgment to K-State University, University of Maine and the CDC