This Keep Teaching resource helps you make choices about how to ensure continuity of instruction in the event of a campus closure. It does not replicate the richer experience you would obtain by going through Online in 9 or one of the online course development programs. It is meant to be a just-in-time online teaching guide if you need to switch delivery modes quickly. 

Questions to Consider as an Instructor

  1. Review your syllabus for adjustments. What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them. You can find Blended and Online Syllabus Templates and Sample Syllabus Statements here.

  2. Be realistic. What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.

  3. Consider pacing. Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule?

  4. Guide students. Consider ways to guide students through the readings by structuring in discussions or assignments to add accountability and help students process what they’re reading.

  5. Focus on what's most important. Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc.

What can you do now to prepare for an emergency campus closure?

Sample Syllabus Statement or Announcement
In the case of widespread illness, severe weather or other emergency, the campus might be closed. Official closures and delays are announced on the UMSL website and through our campus alert system. In addition, local news and broadcasts may provide additional regional information.

It is expected that we will keep moving forward as a class to meet our learning objectives even during emergency closings or disruptions. Please refer to my special set of assignments and communication instructions found on the syllabus and on Canvas. I will review these instructions with you in class and throughout the semester, but I invite and encourage questions, comments, or ideas about how to maintain community support and achieve our course goals during any potential campus closures.

  • Download student roster from MyView in case you need to get in touch with your students. Use Canvas as your messaging platform to students.

  • Please note that not all UMSL students have a computer, printer, or webconferencing equipment at home, though most have smartphones. Do a technology needs assessment about technology for the class (Which device(s) do they use? What do they use for Internet access?) and use the results to make adjustments accordingly. You may find that everyone in class has what it takes to access your content or participate in class activities through at least a smartphone. This will help you know whether to offer synchronous real-time online meetings via Zoom or whether you need to develop asynchronous (not in real time) delivery of learning materials and activities.

    • Consider having your students participate in an icebreaker on VoiceThread. This will serve two purposes: begin to create a sense of community in your class, and familiarize students with the tool in case you use it later in the semester.

    • Consider having a short, optional, Zoom session early in the semester, for similar reasons.

  • Remind students to download or print a copy of the syllabus.

  • Consider issues of Internet accessibility and data bandwidth. Students may experience outages, or lack of access to the Internet, or have other issues with using data and bandwidth, particularly if they are using their phones to complete assignments.

  • Include a statement in your syllabus such as the one above that instructs students in the case of an extended campus closure.

Where to Find Help

Pivoting your course from in-person to online can feel daunting, but rest assured knowing that you have help. Reach out to any of the colleagues below, a trusted colleague in your department, your department chair, or any of the talented, innovative online instructors who can show you how to accomplish what you need to do.

CTL Staff

eLearning Staff

ITS Helpdesk