Professor of Finance & Associate Provost for Assessment and Strategic Planning
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
COVID-19 teaching, learning and working resource updates for Saint Joseph's University faculty, students and staff.
The Instructional Continuity Planning (ICP) Committee was formed to generate suggestions to offer to faculty appropriate options for providing lapse-free curricula in the event of class disruptions. The guidelines presented here are our suggestions concerning best practices for dealing with disruptions of instruction.
Disruptions of instruction include:
- Community-related disruptions such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Weather-related school closings
- Power outages
- Technology outages
- Temporary building closures (including those for fire drills)
- Anticipated instructor unavailability (e.g. conference, pre-planned medical procedures)
- Unanticipated instructor unavailability (e.g. transportation problems, illness, family emergencies).
Planning ahead of time with regard to how one might respond to such events is helpful for ensuring smooth communication with students about alternative plans, make-up class dates, and/or the conversion of some course activities to online or take-home activities. Reliance on online activities will require an understanding of the Canvas Learning Management system. There are multiple ways to obtain Canvas support, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, please refer to the SJU Support Portal for detailed information.
We hope that you find these guidelines useful. Please send any comments and suggestions for improvements to Rajneesh Sharma. Your comments will help improve this guide.
Instruction Strategies for Short Term Disruptions
The following table contains some suggested alternate learning and instruction strategies for different types of instructional disruption. Note that all of the listed Instruction Strategies require some form of planning prior to the class disruption itself.
|Instructional Strategy||Learning Activity||Evidence of student attendance or participation|
|Condense previously assigned materials to fit into fewer class sessions while continuing to meet course learning outcomes.||Students may be asked to read more pages for a particular class session or to independently review and summarize a skipped reading||Students meet course goals as verified through assessments.|
|Conduct a web conferencing session using Zoom at the assigned class time (or an alternative time if necessary). Please see Zoom Terms of Service for student consent and closed captioning requirements.||Read a summary of faculty lecture notes or view a copy of the video recording if a student misses the live class.||Attendance and participation is logged during web conferencing session.|
|Video lectures or narrated slides of stand-alone topics/chapters. Closed captioning is required.||View video lecture and complete an assignment such as writing a summary, addressing specified questions, and/or participation in a Blog or Discussion Board related to the video lecture.||Completion of assignment or assessment on the material.|
|Independent/take home assignment||Independently complete assigned additional readings or video viewings. The videos must have closed captioning.||Completion of assignment or assessment on the material.|
|Invite a guest lecturer to speak to the class or ask a colleague to provide course coverage in your absence.||If necessary, complete an assignment such as a reflection or written summary.||Completion of assignment or assessment on the material (e.g. guest lecturer material will appear on the midterm exam, etc.).|
|Related lecture/event||Encourage student attendance at a course-related lecture or extracurricular event.||Completion of assignment or assessment related to event, or completion of alternative assignment.|
For information on Saint Joseph's University weather and emergency-related closings, safety tips and cancellation information, please visit our Weather and Emergency Status website.
For additional information on Canvas, Zoom, and Kaltura at Saint Joseph's University, check out our resources on SJU support portal.
For information related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit www.sju.edu/coronavirus.
A number of university-supported tools are available. Beneath each tool is a brief description and some examples of how you can integrate it into your course to meet your teaching and learning needs. The tools are all cloud-based and available from anywhere with an internet connection.
Canvas can be used for a variety of purposes in an emergency. Every course at Saint Joseph’s University has an accompanying Canvas course shell that can be published and used for you and your students to interact. On Canvas, you can communicate with your students via Announcementsand Inbox Messages. You can share a variety of course-related resources for students to access via Modules, and you can create assignments for students to complete using Assignments, graded Discussions, or Quizzes.
Canvas provides a platform for you to share materials with students, as well as facilitate synchronous and asynchronous communications. It also integrates with other tools you can use to help support instructional continuity, such as Zoom, Google Docs and Kaltura.
Zoom is a web conferencing tool that allows you to meet remotely or create recordings. You can use Zoom to hold a “live” class as you would normally, but with everyone at their computer, either by setting it up through Canvas or by sending students a link. For those who may have had their Internet connectivity affected, the session can be recorded for later viewing. Also, you may want to schedule a number of virtual “office hour” sessions that students can attend as their schedules allow. If students were scheduled to present during a class that cannot meet in person due to an interruption, students can record their presentation using Zoom and share it with you and the other students in the course.
Here are some tips for using Zoom:
- Speak clearly: Make sure the microphone on the computer sounds clear and you record in a place with minimal background noise.
- Keep it short: Break up your long lectures into shorter pieces to keep students engaged.
- Include activities: Between segments, have students participate using the chat feature or in breakout rooms before moving on to the next segment.
- Turn on your camera: Even if it is just for a few moments, students are more engaged with instructor content when they can see their face and not just the slides.
Kaltura is a powerful video-sharing tool. Integrated into Canvas, you can record, edit, and embed a video using Kaltura. You can use this tool to record a voice-over-powerpoint lecture, which you can then share with students via Canvas. You can also access analytics on the videos to see who watched what and when.
The Google Apps platform contains many tools you can use to maintain your course instruction without a hitch. With Gmail, you can create an email distribution list to communicate with students. With Google Drive, you can share resources with your students. With Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can build content and either share that with students to view only or for them to edit.
- Before the start of the semester
- Select one or more alternate learning or instruction strategies (see end of the document for examples). Your choices for how to proceed may depend upon the material being covered, the point in the course schedule during which the disruption occurs, etc.
- Add relevant information regarding personal policies, practices, or plans to your syllabus.
- Prepare a draft communication regarding your instructional continuity plans to send to students and post on your Canvas sites.
- Please inform the Department Chair of any planned absences and communicate your plan for instructional continuity.
- Start of the Semester
- Make the syllabus available on Canvas.
- As part of the syllabus, inform the students about any planned alternate learning or instruction strategies.
- Inform the students how you plan to communicate in the case of an unplanned course cancelation such as a weather closing. Let them know that you will provide complete instructions and how they should expect to be contacted (e.g. Canvas, e-mail, phone call).
- If you plan to use Zoom for a lecture or virtual office hours, ensure that students are familiar with using this program. This can be achieved, for example, with a short class demonstration early in the semester.
- In the event of a group assignment, ensure that students can obtain the contact information of their group members.
- During the Disruption
- Communicate with students informing them of the disruption and of any alternate instruction or assignment. Clearly state your expectations and any preparation that is required prior to the next class meeting.
- Increase your availability by email, messaging, or phone if the alternate assignment is due before the next class.
- Inform the students if and when you are planning to hold virtual office hours.
- After the Disruption
- Send an email to students informing them of the instructional plan for the next class. If appropriate, hold additional office hours (e.g. the week before midterm or project due date) in-person or virtually and communicate this availability to students.
- Increase your availability by email, messaging, or phone.
The TSC has technicians standing by to assist you with your technology needs, 24 hours and day, 7 days a week at 610-660-2920. Alternatively, you can submit a ticket online using the support portal.
Support hours are 24x7, including Public Holidays, where agents are available for email or live support with these options:
- Online submission
- Chat live with a Zoom Support team representative (click this link to be redirected to the Zoom Technical Support page, then click the Live Chat link on the page)
- Phone dial-in +1.888.799.9666 ext 2 or +1.650.397.609 ext 2.
You may access Canvas help via the “Help” link located at the bottom of the global navigation menu (far left part of your Canvas screen). You have several options:
- Search the Canvas Guides: this should be your first stop, especially for “how-to” questions. The guides are indexed, easy to search, and always up to date. This is likely to be the quickest way for you to get the answer you are looking for.
- Report a Problem: will generate a ticket with Canvas and should be primarily used for reporting bugs or errors.
- Canvas Support Hotline: a 24/7 hotline unique to SJU for speaking directly with Canvas Support – 610-660-2920, option 2.
- Chat with Canvas Support: opens a live online chat session with Canvas Support.
- Ask The Community: will direct you to the Canvas user forums, where you can review and discuss feature requests, best practices, etc.
- Request a feature: if you have an idea to improve Canvas, you can submit it here.
We also offer Canvas open sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am - 12 pm in the Faculty Learning Lounge (Drexel Library 160) and online via Zoom.
Please visit this IT Knowledge Base link for additional resources for instructional continuity during campus or building closures.