The Bus Can’t Stop: Setting up your classes to continue in your absence

The Bus Can’t Stop: Setting up your classes to continue in your absence


Let’s face it – nobody wants to consider ‘worse case scenarios’.  But things can and do happen.  Balancing your personal content while assuring your class can proceed well in your absence is tricky, and not all will agree with strategies presented here.   
In 2008 I was hit by a car, broke my leg and pelvis, was in the hospital for 6 days and bed ridden for another week after that.  This was in late April and finals were on the horizon.  In those ‘olden days’ D2L shells were not automatically created for every class.  Most faculty either taught in class with no course shell or were fully online.  There were a few blended/hybrid courses, but that was a fairly new thing.  I have also had adjunct instructors leave quite abruptly for greener pastures on 3 occasions in the past 20 years.  Thus, I’ve had the opportunity to experience dramatic transitions that can be mildly traumatic for students.  A plan is needed! 
The first major strategy is to utilize the D2L shell for everything!  Sure, you can use hard copies for in-person classes, but be sure to put digital copies in D2L.  The syllabus absolutely needs to be on D2L and sent to Chelsea in AEI.  Grading should be performed in D2L and should occur within 48 hours of the due date (or sooner).   
A second strategy is the organization of your materials within D2L.  One possibility is to utilize the template from AEI.  It’s great and can be easily customized.  If D2L is not your strength, reach out to any of the faculty tech coaches.  No judgement - just help from that crew.  Having a well-organized online platform is not only great for students but makes a transition much easier in the event you are unable to continue teaching (temporarily or otherwise).   
A third strategy is a simple class diary that can be integrated with D2L and/or put on a shared drive with your department.  I like to include what I actually covered (comparing to what was planned), what I might need to move to the next class, what was clearly a muddy point and needs to be reviewed and any other observations and thoughts/ideas.  This only takes a few minutes to do after class and is more applicable to synchronous and in-person than fully online/asynchronous classes.  
You will note that all of these strategies are also best practices in teaching and learning.  Our focus should be on our students.   The bus can’t stop for them – it’s too soon to get off.   

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