Plan Ahead

  • Have a communication strategy; tell your students where to find course information.
  • Plan how you will stay in touch with your co-instructors, guest speakers and TAs in the event they or you are sick.
  • Post your syllabus online and update it with course changes as needed.
  • Have a clearly-stated course policy regarding make-ups and absences.

Lecture-based classes

  • Post documents and assignments online in place of lecture
  • Use online chats for individual or small group office hours, meetings or discussions
  • Substitute Canvas’ discussion forum for class sessions
  • Record the class lecture for students to view/hear later [Educational Technology has a limited number of audio/video recorders available to loan]
  • Narrate a slide show from home and put on your course website for students to listen to. Our Educational Technologists can show you how to do this.

Lab or hands-on classes

  • Locate virtual labs online for students to complete, if possible
  • Arrange alternate activities in place of the lab, or to complete the lab activities at a later date

Distributing, collecting and grading assignments

  • Post assignment instructions and grades on the course website
  • Use the Canvas Assignment features to collect assignments electronically
  • Use online voice tools to comment orally on student work
  • Offer online quizzes, questionnaires or tests where appropriate

Managing student meetings and group work

  • Offer students online tools like discussion forums or chat areas for group work, in Canvas
  • Use instant messenger or video chat to communicate one-on-one (AIM, GoogleTalk, iChat, Skype, etc)
  • Use direct email or the announcements page in your Canvas course to tell students when you’ll be available online and how to contact you

Discussion Forums: Your class depends on your interaction and engagement with your students. But, if illness makes it impossible for your or some of your students to attend class sessions, how do you keep them engaged and in touch with you and their fellow students? Canvas has discussion forums which enable you to have course dialogue online, so that you and students can post comments for other students (or you) to read when they have recovered and can participate in class again. These forums even allow faculty or students to add attachments, such as a Word document or image, to discussion board posts and link to resources on the Web.

* We’d like to thank Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology for their permission to borrow some material.