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:
SECTION 1: What can you do NOW to prepare for emergencies?
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 our 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.
- Visit the Remote Teaching Strategies Canvas site for strategies to develop a “Plan B” for your course
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:
- What can I do now? There are lots of things to do, but what needs your attention right away?
- Which describes me best? Consider your current experience level in teaching with technology when making decisions for teaching remotely.
- How do I create a plan for teaching remotely? What in-depth planning can you do for long term disruptions?
SECTION 3: What Resources are Available for me to Learn to Teach Online?
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
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 on how to register, visit the Get Up to Speed with Online Teaching page.
Join us in the Remote Teaching Community Canvas site to interact and share ideas with other CSUN faculty about teaching remotely. Here you will find resources and discussion forums on key topics including, Managing Remote Classrooms, Building Community Online, Keeping Students Engaged, and Promoting Academic Honesty. Supporting this site are our eLearning Ambassadors, faculty members who are enthusiastically interested in sharing their knowledge and experience learning how to effectively merge their pedagogical needs with possible eLearning solutions.
- CSUN as One, a hub of safety measures and support for CSUN employees and students
- Oviatt Library: COVID-19 updates and resources
- IT's Academic Continuity page: for students, staff & faculty. Take note of these pages:
- Internet Connectivity for Users Who Do Not Have It