Use Instructional Technologies for Traditional Classroom Contingency Planning

Lone Star College (LSC) must be prepared to cope with possible campus closures in the event of natural disasters, communicable disease outbreaks, 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.

Plan Ahead

  • Address instructional and assessment-related matters. 
    For example, instructors should plan how to:
    • provide information and resources to students;
    • communicate or conference with students;
    • collect students' work;
    • administer exams; and
    • modify grading in light of changed course requirements (sequence of course topics, assignment deadlines, number of assignments, etc.).
  • Become familiar with technology available at LSC. 
    Instructors should take time early to learn the D2L software; become certified before its use is urgent. 
    • Watch video tutorials and read step-by-step quick reference guides for D2L; these can be found at vtac.lonestar.edu. 
    • Go to myWorkshops through myLoneStar for more information about ongoing training sessions. You can also visit vtac.lonestar.edu for a calendar of upcoming trainings.
  • Consider placing the following announcement, or something very similar, 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. In that event, I will provide an addendum to the syllabus that will supersede the original syllabus."

Alternative Ways to Share Information

Using LSC 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 tool 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 by posting important messages such as deadline changes or alternate submission methods due to illness or class cancellations.    
  • Email Students. Instructors can email students through LSC and D2L email.

Lecture Alternatives

  • Create electronic copies of lecture materials and store materials online for easy retrieval, upload to the Content tool, or email directly to students.  
  • Record audio lectures using TechSmith Relay. Instructors can use a headset and computer to easily record audio lectures on top of their Power Point slides and store them in the TechSmith "My Library."
  • 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 TechSmith Relay can greatly reduce the effort necessary to produce a video lecture.   
  • Hold discussions using WebEx. This tool 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 the D2L tools such as Announcements and the Content tool.
    • 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 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.   
  • Have students 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 can be automatically graded in D2L. If students miss an assessment, exceptions can be made for them.   
  • Give take-home exams. Instructors can distribute a take-home exam through D2L course tools 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 WebEx. This 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 D2L chat.

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