Tech Tips Tuesday!

Tips, Tricks, & Hidden Gems

Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

In the fall, classes were canceled due to extreme flooding. Last February, icy bridges also caused campus closures. This can wreck havoc on your class schedule.

In the event of bad weather or an emergency, are you ready to continue teaching from off campus? Steps must be taken NOW, before campus closures, so you and your students do not lose precious time.

A few tips:

How will students know what to do?

As you prepare your classes, craft a policy that establishes expectations and procedures in case an emergency occurs. For example, Penn State encourages faculty to adapt the following language for their syllabi:

In the event of a campus closure, course requirements, classes, deadlines and grading schemes are subject to changes that may include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, class materials, and/or classmates, a revised attendance policy, and a revised semester calendar and/or grading scheme. Information about course changes will be communicated through [e-mail, etc.]. Students are expected to...

How will you deliver content?

One of the biggest decisions to make is how you will continue to deliver content to your students. Voicethread is one of the most user-friendly options for faculty. It allows you to upload your slide decks and then provide a voice-over (or webcam recording). It's completely free and students access the tool through OAKS.

How will you communicate with your students?

A second decision is how you will communicate with students. Will you use email? Use the OAKS News tool to post announcements?

There are even apps that will allow you to text message your students without either party knowing the other's phone numbers. One of these free tools is called Celly (I've used it and it works great).

When campus is closed for a longer period of time, you may want to communicate with your students synchronously. Skype and Google Hangouts provide simple and free options for hosting virtual, synchronous meetings. The OAKS Discussion tool can also be used for conversation and collaboration.

Want to Learn More Strategies?

Join Us January 11th at 2:00 PM

We'll be discussing tips and tools to help you better prepare for campus closures, including:

  • preparation for loss of faculty email access
  • alternative storage options for your course content
  • tools for communicating with students
  • strategies for moving content online
  • tools to create online lectures


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Questions? Contact me!

Jessica T. Smith, Ph.D.

Instructional Technologist

School of Business