Preparing for Academic Continuity
This is an uncertain time for us all. Teaching during times of potential disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how instructors can support students in achieving essential core course learning outcomes. A single solution will not be possible for all programs, courses or content. Faculty are encouraged to talk to their Deans/Directors and program teams to ensure any modifications to the curriculum will still meet 80% of the learning outcomes.
The purpose of this site/document is to provide resources and tips for moving, a primarily face-to-face, course online to allow for academic continuity. This resource will provide faculty with support for the alternative delivery of course material. This is not a directive; it is a collection of resources for alternative delivery of content and methods of assessment.
For important messages and updates regarding Canadore's response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, please see Canadore Health Centre.
You will likely need to access several systems/programs during the disruption. Since 2018, Canadore has been using Office 365, a cloud-based means to access your corporate webmail/email account, OneDrive (for your files) and web-based versions of MS Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). You will also need to access your courses on iLearn to update content and communicate with students in your courses. LinkedIn Learning is also a valuable online resource offering video courses in software, creative, and business skills.
These tools are available to you via links on the college’s website under the About | Staff & Faculty Resources page.
Communicating with Students
Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren’t in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information.
Don’t swamp them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in class activities and/or updates to the broader crisis at hand (for example, the campus closure is extended for two more days; what will students need to know related to your course?).
Academic Continuity addresses the capability of an institution to maintain teaching despite a disruptive event- or the capability to quickly resume teaching given such an event. Planning is critical to ensuring integrity of curriculum is maintained.
Essential Learning Outcomes
Individuals’ mental and emotional capacities are likely to be taxed during and immediately following a significant disruption, streamlining information and activities and focusing on the most vital outcomes will reduce the overall load and support more focused learning.
Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. 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.
Examine your course curriculum to determine what changes need to be made:
- Identify learning activities and assessments that are readily transferable to a non-contact delivery mode – keep in mind accessibility for all your students
- Consider how alternative activities and assessments could be used to meet learning outcomes
- Discuss major changes to content or modes of evaluation with your Dean/Director
- Gather and prepare alternative resources
Significant disruptions may also impact planned experiential learning opportunities. Approaches to managing changes to planned experiential learning opportunities will vary depending on circumstances surrounding course disruptions. For planned experiential opportunities that you will be changing and/or cancelling, ensure that you have alerted all stakeholders and participants (students, guest speakers, venue staff, etc.) Contact your Dean/Director for guidance on planned experiential learning opportunities tied to your course and course outcomes.
You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind how the disruption may continue to impact students’ lives even after course activities resume, including ongoing illness, limited or no access to web-enabled devices and stable internet connections, or the need to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably and with compassion.
In the event of a disruption, students may need to access key course materials and documents remotely. To ensure equitable access to these materials by all students, it is important to follow basic principles for accessible document creation.
Guidelines and instructions for creating accessible Microsoft Office documents are available at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-accessible-office-documents-868ecfcd-4f00-4224-b881-a65537a7c155
Communicate with Students
Take time in an upcoming class or through an announcement posted to your iLearn course site to highlight key areas where important course content and communications will be posted prior to or after any potential disruption.
Remind students to refer to official College communication channels, such as the College website, to access credible and up-to-date information.
Students with Accommodations
Due to the nature of the online conversion, students with current Student Success Profiles (SSPs) will be asked to communicate specific concerns and requests with their instructors.
Please see the Accommodations Interim Measures procedure document.
- Keep things simple and be flexible.
- Consider limitations of technology for you and your students. Use technology that are already familiar to you and your students.
- Focus on sharing pre-created course content (e.g. documents, PowerPoint slides with detailed lecture notes, PDFs) instead of live content. Avoid live streaming your entire lecture. Find a mix between synchronous and asynchronous delivery.
- Curate resources that already exist - don't reinvent!
- Engage your students and be present.
If you have not routinely accessed or made significant use of your iLearn course site, you may want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with key features and functionalities. The ACE staff will be mobilized at each campus in North Bay during the week of March 16-20, 2020 to support the update of courses. Please attend the locations communicated for support.
There are several resources available in the iLearn Help Menu and NUT100 course.
Please log into iLearn and access NUT100 (from Resources drop-down menu). See the module call “Academic Continuity.” Content in NUT100 will be fluid and updated regularly.
Academic Continuity 2020
This document has been created from a number of resources shared among the members of the Educational Technology Committee. Notably from Algonquin, Cambrian, Fanshawe, Georgian, Niagara, and Seneca Colleges.