Faculty Development

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Teaching Through Disruption

**This page is from an old version of CSUN's Faculty Development website. Find an updated version on the current Teaching Toolkit on Canvas.**

Message to CSUN Faculty

Remote teaching is back for the start of Spring 2022 reminding us that we are still in a pandemic. Whether your reaction to this news was surprise, relief or something else, a range of emotions is expected. And while this might feel like a sequel to our first remote teaching pivot two years ago, we do have a unique advantage because we have been through this before. So know this.

Your FacDev colleagues are still here and empathic to the reality that switching gears again is difficult. And you can count on us to support you and we’re always rooting for you. Our passion is serving you, CSUN faculty, so as you navigate this disruption, know that we care about you. If you need a familiar face on Zoom, email or even phone, we’re here. Our Teaching Through Disruption webpage is relevant for moments like this or anytime there’s a surprise and change in our original teaching plan. We hope this resource, among others, is useful.


 Life happens. What if an emergency reaches you or your students? How would you respond?

Extended campus closures may occur for a variety of reasons: weather events, unexpected campus threats, even a pandemic. These emergencies will most likely impact your ability to continue your teaching as you had planned. As faculty members, it's important to have a plan to be prepared to adapt instruction when needed so that we are ready to support our students to continue learning under difficult circumstances. We are in a unique leadership role where we can help our students navigate these challenges by being a focal point of communication and support.

On this page, we will cover three sections:

1. How do I proactively prepare for disruption?

2. It's time to switch to emergency remote learning. What to do now?

3. What resources are available to help me prepare for a disruption?


SECTION 1: How do I proactively prepare for disruption?

Below is a list with steps to to guide you through planning for an emergency:

 Create a Communication Plan

Make sure you can receive accurate university information during the event of an emergency and have a plan handy so you can quickly act when an emergency happens and you need to communicate with your students. Here are some ideas:

  • Download student contact information from SOLAR so you have a physical copy in case you need to get in touch with your students and either your internet or CSUN's systems are down. 
  • Make sure your students have your contact information handy.
  • Remind students to download or print a copy of the syllabus.
  • Use Canvas as the hub for student-instructor communications, leveraging Discussions where students have a channel of communication among themselves.
  • Include a line in your syllabus or in Canvas informing your students about what to do in case they can't reach you during an emergency.  

 Have a Backup Plan that Does Not Rely on Technology

It is possible that in the event of an evacuation during a wildfire or an earthquake, you (or your students) will not be able to rely on the internet. Have a plan for yourself and let your students know what to do should they lose access to power, equipment or software services. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Back up copies of any teaching materials prior to the start of the term/semester in case you are unable to access the files in Canvas or my CSUNBox
  • Throughout the semester, download and backup grading records and other key course information that is necessary for continuing instruction or completing the course.
  • Document and save key department contacts, including your Department Chair, Administrative Office Coordinator, or faculty colleagues who can assist if you are unavailable to access technology or provide direct communications to students.
  • Consider printing out emergency contacts that can be stored in a wallet or purse. Some important phone numbers to save include: IT Desk Help, your department chair, and one or two department colleagues you can call in an emergency.
  • Ensure you have provided clear directions on how students can continue instruction in the event that you cannot access Canvas or other learning resources. 

 Plan to Switch Modalities

Plan now and adopt instructional tools that will allow you to teach remotely to reduce stress if such a need arises. Try a quick trial run of new tools that you may need to use so you'll have some familiarity thus reducing the learning curve during an emergency.

  • Learn the basic features of Canvas: customizing your course navigation, organizing course content, sending messages and announcements, creating assignments and grading student work. 
  • Update your syllabus with your contact information, course materials, and instructions for students on what to do in the event of a disruption to instruction;
  • Emergency remote learning is not the same as teaching regular online classes. In case of an emergency, know what to prioritize: stick to asynchronous, low-bandwidth teaching strategies, be flexible with deadlines and your policies. 


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SECTION 2: It's Time to Switch to Remote Learning. What to Do Now?

The following pages are intended to help you think through decisions during a rapid transition of modalities:



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SECTION 3: What Resources are Available to Help me Prepare for a Disruption?

Faculty Development offers different options for professional development to fit the needs of faculty looking to teach online or incorporating technology- enriched practices to their teaching. For current information about our programs, visit the eLearning page. You can find the dates and links to our workshops on the Faculty Development Events page.Below are some options for our self-paced programing and resources that are available to you year-long.

 Faculty Development Resources

Get Up To Seep with Online Teaching Self-Paced Course

The Get Up to Speed with Online Teaching program is a self-paced ongoing program designed for faculty newer to online teaching but also a good option for more experienced faculty interested in new ideas to enhance their courses. For more information or to register, visit the Get Up to Speed with Online Teaching page

Faculty Development Teaching Toolkit

The Teaching Toolkit is a self-paced resource packed with evidence-based resources, tips and strategies on effective teaching. There, you will find tips & strategies we discuss in our Faculty Development programs, workshops & events as well as resources & opportunities across campus related to teaching.

New Faculty Toolkit

The New Faculty Toolkit serves as an introduction to our university and new faculty community. There you will find valuable resources such as campus parking, technology, key contacts, and critical information about teaching.

  We understand the extra stress that new faculty experience in a transition to a new job, and created a resource to help with some urgent issues at the time a class is assigned last-minute. Please see the Preparing Your Course in a Rush Google Doc.


 Campus Resources

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Where is FacDev located?

Valera Hall 215 (formerly University Hall)
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8473


How can I contact FacDev?



Who are the people in FacDev?

FacDev Base Team
Faculty Affiliates
Faculty Peer Reviewers
New Faculty Foundations Committee
Pathways to Tenure Grant Review Committee
Active Learning Ambassadors
eLearning Ambassadors