Contingency Plan Ideas

Here are some ideas to help get you started thinking creatively about ways to provide meaningful learning experiences for students across the spectrum of teaching pedagogies:

Lecture courses:

  • E-mail PowerPoint slides to the students or post them on D2L. More . . .
  • Emphasize the importance of reading the assignments. Consider asking students to send questions about the reading to you (again, on e-mail or via D2L) by set deadlines and posting answers to the compilation of questions back to students.
  • Assign additional readings that students can access through D2L or on the web (e.g., a personal UWGB web site or course share).
  • Type up your lecture or lecture notes and post to students via e-mail or D2L. More . . .
  • Record your lectures with MediaSite (supported by ADP).
  • Record video or audio-only lectures. More…

Discussion-based courses:

  • If you use D2L, set up on-line discussion groups. More . . .
  • If you do not use D2L, group students into reasonably sized groups (four or so people) for e-mail discussion. Send discussion questions out to each group. Rather than monitoring all e-mail between groups, consider asking for a single group-approved response to be sent to you.

Tests and Homework:

  • Homework can be mailed or e-mailed to the instructor or put in the Drop Box of D2L.
  • Test dates can be changed.
  • In class tests can be replaced with take home tests or papers or other assignments can be substituted.
  • The nature of assignments may need to be modified to include greater use of electronic resources (web, D2L, simulations, etc.) by the students.

Laboratory-based courses:

  • The order of laboratories can be changed so that those that teach a use of a particular piece of equipment, for example, are offered when face to face scheduling resumes.
  • Text book companies and others sometimes provide electronic laboratory exercises. Others are independently available on line.
  • Consider very carefully the learning objectives of the laboratory. What elements of that learning objective can be met in other ways? For example, could a mini-research project substitute?
  • Can the lab be rewritten to use only materials that students will safely have access to at home?
  • Are there film clips of key parts of the experiment available online?
  • Provide careful description of steps, observations and data, and ask students to write a dry lab. Consider including critical thinking questions (what would happen if…) to focus on the main learning objectives.
  • Consider lab groups through D2L, e-mail, or blog discussions
  • Record a video of the lab activity and post it online (YouTube, etc.)

Studio Courses:

  • Substitute a mini-project using only supplies/resources/physical space that students are likely to have available.
  • Supplement projects which are temporarily on hold with creative papers, visual powerpoint posters, presentations, etc.
  • Look into online studios or other visual or creative electronic resources.
  • Assign a large project culminating in a paper, a work of art, a taped or live presentation, etc.
  • Include a course blog for comments on readings or projects.
  • Assign field trips to relevant local institutions.
  • Think of this as a practicum situation.
  • Set up a project around surprise baskets, in which each student is supplied with (or needs to obtain) identical materials and tries to be the most creative in whatever assignment goes with it.

Individualized lessons:

  • Music lessons can be conducted over the phone or via recording.
  • Skype VOIP or videoconferencing

Choir and play rehearsals:

  • Set carefully stated performance goals for each day.
  • Suggest activities, exercises which target those goals
  • Practice music can be made available online
  • Students can be paired for phone practice reading lines, practicing entrances, critiquing how well assigned performance goals are met

Class management regardless of pedagogy:

  • Communication to students can be made via course distribution lists or D2L or Facebook or whatever technology you use with the class.
  • Students need to know this plan in advance, and know to check your determined method for contact in the case of extended class cancellation.
  • Think creatively about ways to make meaningful experiences for your students, recognizing that they will not be as extensive or carefully controlled as you would do in your regular course. Begin with the learning objectives rather than your regular teaching methods, and utilize the web, other electronic sources, and materials that will be available to students in order to explore creative ways to meet those objectives.