Use Instructional Technologies for Traditional Classroom Contingency Planning

Lone Star College System (LSCS) must be prepared to cope with possible campus closures in the event of a potential communicable disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Following are some suggestions for alternatives to lectures, homework, exams, class discussions, office hours, and grading that can prepare faculty for the possibility of course disruptions. 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 technology available at LSCS. 
    Instructors should take time early on to learn the LSC-Online D2L system. Become certified before use is urgent. 
    • Watch video tutorials and read step-by-step quick reference guides for D2L; these can be found at 
    • Go to myWorkshops through myLoneStar for more information about ongoing training sessions. You can also visit for a calendar of upcoming trainings.
    • Determine if guidance to students regarding the use of alternative technologies is needed: D2L Resources for Students
  • Consider placing the following announcement in your syllabus: 
    "In the event of disruption of normal classroom activities due to an extended college closure, the format for this course may be modified. 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.

You can find iStarJob Aids, including one for Sending Email Attachments in Faculty Center, on the Faculty tab in the myLoneStar portal under Faculty Quicklinks.

Using D2L

  • Upload and publish content in D2L. Use the Content page to upload course files such as your syllabus or course notes to make them available to students.    
  • Place announcements on your course home page using the Announcements widget. Keep students informed of important messages such as changes to deadlines or alternate methods of submissions due to illness or class cancellations.    
  • Email Students. Instructors can email students via LSCS email or D2L email.   

Lecture Alternatives

  • Create electronic copies of lecture materials. Store materials online for easy retrieval or email directly to students.  
  • Record audio lectures using D2L Capture. Instructors can use a headset and computer to easily record audio lectures on top of their Power Point slides and store them in D2L Capture Central.  
  • 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 D2L Capture can greatly reduce the effort necessary to produce a video lecture.   
  • Hold discussions using D2L Chat. The chat function allows for real-time, synchronous discussion and is one way to determine students' understanding of course materials using a question and answer format.     
  • Assign additional readings, using Announcements and/or documents in D2L.  
    • If students do not have sufficient access to courses materials, instructors can take advantage of e-Reserves at LSCS Libraries.   

Homework Submissions and Exam Alternatives

  • Have students submit assignments using the D2L Assignments tool for instructor review. Although students can't view each other's work using this method, instructors can pull submitted assignments from the Assignments folders 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 D2L. With the exception of essay questions, online assessments are automatically graded in D2L. If a student misses an assessment, exceptions can be made for them.   
  • Give take-home exams. Instructors can distribute a take-home exam via their D2L 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 D2L 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 rubrics. This may be necessary to capture the same learning as in 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 virtual field-trips, accessing various multimedia, or visiting particular websites.
  • Build your gradebook in D2L. 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