Instructional Continuity and Contingency Planning

This page is a resource for the policies and procedures pertaining to instructional continuity and contingency planning, guided by the University policy on Making Up Missed Instructional Time due to Suspension of Instruction.

In the event that inclement weather or other emergencies force campus to halt operations, delivery of instruction will be impacted.

For a short-term closure or multiple closures totaling up to 14 days in a full-semester course, or 7 days in an 8-week course due to inclement weather or other emergencies, a course instructor will determine how their subject matter will be covered and how students will satisfy course requirements.

For a long-term closure, or multiple closures totaling more than 14 days in a full-semester course or more than 7 days in an 8-week course, executive leaders may determine it necessary to hold classes on previously schedule holidays or weekends, or may extend the semester. These measures ensure courses will meet state and federal credit hour requirements.

A partial closure during exam week will result in extending exam week by the appropriate number of days.

Creating an instructional continuity plan for your course(s)

Because of the unexpected nature of emergency situations, it is difficult to establish a fixed plan of instructional continuity. Learning how to use the instructional technology available to you through the University ensures you are ready to adapt to a different mode of instruction. Canvas, our course management system, has many built-in and integrated tools that are simple to use, but may require some practice. The Office of Faculty Excellence holds regular trainings in using these tools.

Identify alternatives for your regular activities that best suit your teaching style. Consider, these online options for content delivery, assignments, and interactivity:

  • Use Canvas Studio or Panopto video or screen-cast software to record a lecture
  • Use a Canvas page to deliver information using text, graphics, and video
  • Use Canvas Quizzes or Canvas Assignments to check student understanding
  • Use Canvas Discussion Boards or integrated interactive tools like H5P to keep students involved

To help students understand what will happen in the event of an emergency, include a statement about continuity of instruction in your syllabus. Here is an example:

“In the event of a campus emergency that disrupts academic activities, course requirements, deadlines, and grading policies are subject to change. Information about changes in the course will be communicated as soon as possible by email, and on Canvas.”

Recommended steps following an emergency closure

  1. Assess immediate needs. How will the emergency affect you and your students? Will students require additional support? Will they have access to necessary course resources? Keep in mind that students may be required to take on additional responsibilities at home or work during extended emergencies, so maintaining synchronous class time may be impractical.
  2. Prioritize course material for flexible, online instruction. How will you adjust the delivery of instruction and the expectations for students during the closure?
  3. Evaluate deadlines. Do you need to reschedule, extend the deadlines, or add flexible options for major assignments?
  4. Communicate with your students via email or Canvas as soon as possible. Let them know what adjustments you will make to deadlines or grading policies, and what is expected of them. Encourage students to communicate their individual challenges with you.