Keep Teaching: Instructor Planning Guide
Our campus community is often called to demonstrate resiliency by adapting and responding to a number of unexpected events. Some of these events are merely disruptive, such as rolling blackouts to counteract increased energy consumption or unexpected downtime of critical technology. Some events are catastrophic, such as the social and economic disparities endured by our most vulnerable populations, compounded by a global health crisis, or local forest fires that displace faculty, staff and students, and create hazardous breathing conditions.
Below you will find a list of resources to help you keep teaching.
Keep Teaching: How to Plan for Unexpected Events
Please review the questions below within the context of your own teaching, and consult the resilient teaching and learning planning resources in the sections below:
- Communications Plan: How will you (or your students) communicate with each other and receive accurate university information during the event of an emergency?
- Resilient Teaching Plan: What will you (or your students) do if one should fall ill or if circumstances prevent you from being in the classroom?
- Technology Plan: What will you (or your students) do if one should lose access to power, equipment or software services?
- Emergency Assistance Plan: What will you (or your students) do if one should lose access to housing, food, or other basic necessities?
- Health & Wellbeing Plan: What will you (or your students) do if one should require mental health services or medical assistance?
What will you (or your students) do if circumstances prevent you from being in the classroom?
- Create your SF State email account, check it regularly, and encourage your students to do the same;
- Ensure your emergency contact information is current within SF State Gateway so you will receive emergency alerts from the university, and encourage your students to do the same;
- Use the SF State Learning Management System, Canvas, as the hub for student-instructor communications.
Resilient Teaching & Learning Plan
What will you (or your students) do if one should fall ill or if circumstances prevent you from being in the classroom?
- Ensure you have provided clear directions on how students can continue instruction in the event that you cannot access Canvas or other learning resources
- Download class rosters and emails for all courses, either through Canvas or the SF State Faculty Center, and save these in a location you are likely to have access to even in an emergency, such as your mobile phone, SF State Outlook Web Access, or your SF State Box.com account.
- 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.
- Create contact lists for each of your classes outside of Canvas, in Outlook Web Access, so they can be quickly available from any location.
- Consider creating a print out of emergency contacts, without any sensitive information, that can be stored in a wallet, purse, or other area that are often with you.
At a minimum, set yourself and your students up for success before any disruption occurs by using Canvas and the SF State Syllabus tool to post your contact information, course materials, and instructions for students on what to do in the event of a disruption. Be sure to prioritize asynchronous, low-bandwidth teaching and learning opportunities during disruptive moments. For more support developing a resilient teaching plan:
- CEETL's Online Teaching Lab helps faculty develop fundamental skills to teach remotely at SF State;
- Review the Resilient Course Design for Challenging Times module in the CEETL Online Teaching Lab, and use these strategies to develop “Plan B” approaches for your course;
- CEETL's Teaching Through Transitions and Teaching New and Newly Returning Students help faculty learn additional teaching strategies to use during periods of disruption, especially as we return to campus;
- Review the Equity & Resilience quickguide for strategies on how to provide an intentional focus on equity and inclusion to help promote and sustain resilience in times of crisis.
- Consider various teaching and learning modes for a resilient course design.
Resilient Teaching & Learning Plan Syllabus Statement
CEETL encourages instructors to create their own resilient teaching and learning plan to include on their syllabus that provides instructions and guidance to students on how, within reason, you plan to “keep teaching” and how they can plan to “keep learning” during periods of disruption. Trauma-informed teaching emphasizes the need to provide students with choice and flexibility, since they did not have the choice to avoid the trauma they experienced.
CEETL has prepared this suggested format that instructors may complete (either before class begins or as a collaborative class activity) and adapt for their courses:
Our campus community is often called to demonstrate compassionate resiliency by adapting and responding to a number of unexpected events, or disruptions, such as personal illness or injury, the COVID-19 pandemic, or unhealthy air quality and power outages due to wildfires. A disruption is a situation that will prevent you, me, or the entire class from participating in 'class as usual' for a reason we could not have predicted at the beginning of the semester.
Our goal as a learning community is to do our best to keep teaching and learning with as little interruption as possible, so here’s my plan to keep teaching in the event of a possible class disruption:
If I’m out:
- How I will communicate my absence:
- How I expect you to participate in my absence:
- Possible alternative assignments in my absence:
If you’re out:
- How you can communicate your absence:
- How you can keep pace with the course in your absence:
- Possible alternative assignments in your absence:
If the campus is closed:
- How I will communicate with students about next steps:
- How the course will change:
- Possible low-bandwidth assignments in case poor access:
For more information and to help you prepare to “Keep Learning,” visit the Instructional Continuity website.
The Instructional Continuity website provides a collection of resources on many topics that support teaching and learning during times of disruption and unforeseen events, including instructor planning guides on resilient teaching, teaching modalities, equity and inclusion, academic integrity, technology, and well-being.
--Adapted from: In Case of Disruption Plan by CSU Channel Islands
What will you (or your students) do if one should lose access to power, equipment or software services?
- Include instructions in your course syllabus on how students can continue learning in the event you or they lose access to power, equipment or software services. For example, encourage students to download and print a hard copy of the syllabus for future reference, include an alternative assignment or activity that does not require power or technology, and refer students to places they can access technology and Internet services such as the SF State or public libraries.
- Plan for disruption by including pre-recorded videos that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. SF State supports a range of technology solutions for live (synchronous) video and recorded lectures, which are described in this support guide: How to Choose a Video Platform for Instruction. These include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Camtasia, Canvas Studio and Coursestream (supported by Mediasite). These are the recommended SF State options since students and faculty can access support through our campus help desks.
- In the unlikely event these SF State supported resources are not available to you, there are a number of third-party live (synchronous) and recorded video tools available on the market, such as YouTube Live, though they are not directly supported by our campus help desks because they have not been vetted for CSU accessibility and information security requirements.
What will you (or your students) do if one should lose access to housing, food, or other basic necessities?
- Direct students to the SF State Basic Needs site to receive housing, food and economic assistance during a crisis;
- Faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program for free financial and legal consulting and referrals to other support services;
- Faculty and staff displaced from their homes in an emergency may request temporary shelter from SF State housing, as available, by emailing Jim Tomkins-Raneyj in SF State Conference Services.
- Due to health and safety measures, access to faculty offices is limited. Faculty members can reserve one of the six Group Study Rooms in the 1st floor Research Commons to use as an individual single occupancy teaching space by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will you (or your students) do if one should require mental health services or medical assistance?
- Direct students experiencing emotional or psychological distress to the SF State Counseling and Psychological Services;
- Faculty and staff can access emergency mental health services and referrals from the SF State Counseling and Psychological Services, and more extensive support from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning
Instructors can access support resources, participate in professional development opportunities, or contact CEETL directly to receive assistance transitioning course materials and activities to remote modalities.
CEETL continues to provide consultations over Zoom, by appointment Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. In-person consultations are available by appointment on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. The best way to get in touch with CEETL is to email email@example.com.