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Maintaining Class During University Closures

Faculty members are expected to meet all scheduled classes during the semester (see sections VIII.P and IX.B of the Faculty Handbook). In the event of a University closure, illness, scheduled academic conference, or other unavoidable reason, there are several options to stay connected and maintain your coursework. Faculty members are encouraged to develop a plan and inform students at the start of the semester so that they understand class expectations.

Finding out when classes are canceled

Instructional Continuity

Faculty Handbook Guidelines

The following guidelines (from the Faculty Handbook) are proposed to mitigate the damage that an extended or untimely closure will cause.

Be Prepared

Each instructor, committee chair, supervisor, or key person should have a plan. Instructors should publish their general policy on their syllabus and/or Moodle, indicating: a.) whether assignments will still be due when an intervening class date was missed; b.) whether assignments may be submitted electronically; and c.) how a class will proceed when partially affected by a late opening or early closure. It is strongly suggested that instructors tell students on their syllabus how communication will take place during closure times, so that students will assume that such information is available to them.

Be Proactive

During such an emergency, each instructor can establish communication with class members, and if the closure is going to be long, construct alternative ways (e.g. online discussions, video links, and readings assignments) to achieve learning objectives of the course. Graduate students may be facing additional recovery challenges in their work or home lives. It is often difficult during a crisis to predict its duration, so communication with your students and a standing source of current information that they can consult (Moodle postings as well as email, perhaps) will help.

Be Prudent

If not all that is missed can be made up by additional classes, assignments, or alternative learning, the instructor should decide quickly how to attain the course learning aims, and communicate that to students. Be aware of how the alternative presentation of your course might have unequal impacts on individuals or types of students.

Instructors should document their adjustments so that they and others in their discipline can assess the effectiveness of responses to the changes in the conduct of the course.