Planning Ahead for Canceled Classes, Oct 2015

The sighting of snowflakes on Sunday reminded many of us that winter weather—and its incessant interruptions—is right around the corner.  This time of year, we may be faced with the need to improvise teaching plans in the moment.  One way to avoid the upheaval caused by weather-related cancelations is to plan ahead and incorporate a variety of online activities, assignments and assessments into the curriculum.  It’s never too late to get started!

Add an online component to your course via HuskyCT:

  • Design a HuskyCT assignment focusing on analyzing and reflecting on a case study.
  • Use Course Blogs:  Assign a reading and ask students to each start a HuskyCT discussion thread and respond to their classmate’s threads. Give clear direction as to the content and how many threads to respond to.
  • Create quizzes or other forms of assessment to be administered and graded via HuskyCT—for students to self-check major concepts illustrated in class.
  • Create a discussion board forum in place of the discussion topic you would have facilitated for the day. Be sure to give clear directions regarding your expectations for student participation and the quality of the posts. Prepare a grading rubric with explicit and descriptive criteria aligned with your learning objectives so students fully understand what they need to produce in the discussion board to be successful.

Take advantage of UConn’s lecture capture technology, which makes hybridizing a class a breeze:

  • Mediasite is one of the University’s solutions for lecture capture and streaming. Whether you are teaching online or face to face, reinforcing a difficult topic or making up a missed class, Mediasite can provide an appropriate and effective solution.  This tool can be accessed through two recording studios in the Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education or conveniently used from home, making it an excellent choice for offering a virtual lecture in case of a last-minute cancelled class due to weather.
  • UConn’s lightboard offers another, more sophisticated form of lecture capture.  This new technology allows faculty to integrate PowerPoint while discussing key concepts, illustrate lessons with a diagram, or explain a formula without blocking the written content with their bodies and without turning their backs to their students.  UConn’s Lightboard is located at the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) in the Rowe Building.

Make this experience a professional development opportunity:   All of the techniques and technology discussed here can be used for online, hybrid/blended, flipped, and in-person courses at UConn. Many of your colleagues are already using these methods to increase effectiveness in and out of the classroom. Once you have used these techniques initially, we encourage you to continue exploring them as possible first steps in further bolstering the effectiveness of your courses through the use of educational technology.  Follow these links to connect with appropriate staff and resources as you further explore these opportunities: