Are your courses ready for flu season?

If you or a significant number of your students aren’t  able to attend classes, how will you communicate with your students? Here are some ideas to get you started developing a plan.

Establish an alternative means of communication

Consider posting information about changes to your course as announcements in Blackboard. Check the “Email this announcement” box to also send your message to your students as an email.
Consider posting a test announcement early in the term to verify that your students are able to receive your messages, either through Knowledge or via email.

Consider alternative activities

If you’re unable to hold class (or if class attendance drops drastically), it may help to plan some alternative class sessions. Some traditional class activities can be roughly emulated online.

Online discussion

Pose questions to your class based on current coursework or readings and use Blackboard’s discussion forums to facilitate student interaction. For large classes, consider breaking the class up into smaller discussion groups. A group leader can then provide you with a summary of the group’s discussion activity.

Collect written work online

Blackboard’s assignment tool makes it easy to collect written work online. If you’ve already planned to collect homework during a “downtime,” consider collecting homework online instead. You may also consider assigning short essays or reflections on readings or lectures in lieu of in-class discussion.

Online lectures

Did you know you can use the Wimba LiveClassroom tool to create lecture videos that your students can watch any time? Consider pre-recording lecture sessions your students can watch from home or download to their iPods. If you’d rather not use Wimba, you can use Audacity to record pure audio files, or download the free iSpring plug-in to turn a narrated PowerPoint into a web-friendly Flash file. IDS has 5 production laptops available for check out that include software for producing high quality, web-friendly multimedia lectures.

Find out more about any of these activities by attending one of our workshops.