If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that disruption can happen at any time. We spend a lot of time planning the best learning experience for our students only to have a snowstorm, a strike, or a pandemic, pull the rug out at the last minute.  

So how do we plan for the unexpected? What are the options for Plan B? 

Your department may have its own policies around what measures you need to take to ensure that students still have access to their classes, so be sure to check those first, but here are some options to consider: 

  • Take the course fully online. If only a handful of students can make it to your in-person class, it may be easier for everyone if you pivot fully online. Just make sure that you communicate quickly and comprehensively with your students so that they know that they need not come to campus and where they can access the course activities and materials.   
  • Add a Zoom room to your in-person class. Effective hyflex learning takes planning and specialized equipment but, in an emergency, you can add students to a live in-person lecture class by adding a web cam and a microphone to your setup in a classroom. IT/DTS has some of these available to borrow from their library desk. Remember that writing on a whiteboard will not be visible online, and you may have to repeat questions from students in the classroom. You may want to assign a student to check the chat to make sure that online students’ questions are also addressed. Set your Zoom settings so that live captioning is available to online students to help with any audio challenges via your Zoom settings at https://capu.zoom.us.
  • Go asynchronous.  Zoom will allow you record the class and so will Teams or you can pre-record a lecture in Kaltura and make it available on the eLearn or Teams course site for those unable to attend. Think about alternatives to in-class activities that will help the online students meet the outcomes for the class.  

Need a refresher on all things Zoom? The Zoom Learning Centre is a great resource with lots of  ‘how-to’ videos and quick answers to frequently asked questions.

Planning ahead for these possibilities will help reduce the stress and confusion for both you and your students in the event of a disruption. If you need some help designing these alternatives or setting up your emergency Zoom meeting in eLearn, book some time with the Educational Developers and Educational Technology Specialists in the CTE.  

The CTE will be hosting workshops on Planning for Disruption in the months ahead – stay tuned for more details soon.