Prepare for when classes can't meet

Teaching during an unexpected disruption to face-to-face classes requires flexibility, creativity, and preparation. The information on this page is designed to help instructors think about ways to continue teaching despite student/instructor absences or campus closure.


UWF Global Online has compiled the following toolkit of technology recommendations to help instructors prepare for possible disruption to campus operations (for example, a pandemic or extended severe weather). This toolkit will help you to:

  • Prepare in advance for a disruption.
  • Conduct classes during a large-scale disruption to campus operations.
  • Organize your course materials and communicate with students during normal operations.

This toolkit is not a definitive list of technology resources, nor is it designed to address non-technical issues, such as attendance policies or pedagogical best practices. Please keep in mind that during a major “disaster” many of the tools referenced herein may not be available if there is no power or internet. You will not need to take action on every recommendation in the toolkit. Simply pick and choose the information that is most useful for your teaching context. 

Are you prepared to:

Put your class online?
  • Do you have a Canvas course for each of your courses that contains the most current course information?
  • Do you have a way to distribute assignments to students online such as a Canvas course site?
  • Do you use audio or video materials in class and know how to share them online with students?
  • Do you use the Canvas LMS to make documents, presentations, and other materials available to your students?

Other things to consider as you develop your Continuity Plan:

  • How do you want to deliver instruction? Instructors can pre-record and share lectures, presentations, and/or readings for students to access at their chosen time. Asynchronous classes allow for greater flexibility and accessibility for students, while also providing an archive of past material for students to review. Students will also have more time to adjust and engage with course material that is delivered asynchronously. Instructors and students can also gather and interact in “real-time” virtual environments. Synchronous sessions allow for a greater sense of community and direct engagement with the instructor, reducing possible miscommunications, and allowing instructors to be more responsive to students’ needs/concerns.
  • Can you make it easier by adapting your current lectures to the online environment? Upload files to canvas for your students to access. Add notes to your powerpoints, your lecture materials, and your readings to convey the information that you might normally share in a face-to-face class. Provide access to readings, videos, or other resources that give students the ability to meet your course objectives. You can also record yourself giving a “lecture” using Panopto or PowerPoint. Videos can be uploaded to Panopto and shared with students.
  • Can you easily adapt your current assessments to the online environment? Essays or research papers may not need modification unless students are expected to collaborate or use library resources. Students may use google docs to collaborate. Quizzes can also be easily adapted to be taken online via quizzes in Canvas. Quizzes can be timed or scheduled for a certain day or time period. Students can be granted additional attempts or time based on accommodations. The academic integrity of exams offered through canvas can be enhanced through the use of Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor, an online proctoring service.
  • Is attendance or participation required? If so, consider requiring participation in Canvas Discussion Boards, or other collaboration tools. Participation may not need to be synchronous in these cases.
  • Are there in-class activities that need to be adapted? Labs and classroom activities may need significant adaptation for use in an online environment. Consider which aspects of labs can be completed remotely, and search for online experiment tools or software that can replicate parts of your activities. Online resources such as Merlot may be used to locate free materials for some lab experiences. Check with textbook publishers to look for additional free materials as well. Your Subject Specialist Librarian may also be able to assist you in locating open source lab content.
  • Do you already use tools that could help? Avoid introducing unnecessary new tools. Low-tech solutions are ok! If email works best for you, use it. Be sure to test any tool that you want to use before trying it with students.
  • Am I making sure everything is accessible? Course accessibility is not only required, but it is also helpful to all students.Using Canvas Content Pages is a great way to develop written content that is accessible. Remember that students should work with Student Accessibility Resources when requesting accommodations.
Communicate with your students and colleagues?
  • Do your students know how to contact you remotely if they have a question? 
  • Do you have a way to facilitate discussion with groups of students remotely?
  • Do students have a way to contact each other and collaborate online?

Other things to consider as you develop your Continuity Plan:

  • Can you access your UWF email from your phone or the web?
  • Should you create a UWF email distribution list for your class?
  • Do you know how to use Chat, Voice, and Video to establish and maintain Instructor and Student Presence?
  • Should you use your office phone to create a Telephone Hotline?
Are you prepared to conduct your class at a distance?
  • Can your students read, listen to, and/or watch your lectures online?
  • Can your students turn in homework and take exams online?
  • Do you have a way to respond to student work and securely publish scores online?

Other things to consider as you develop your Continuity Plan:

  • Does the course provide adequate interaction?
  • Can you craft discussion questions that clearly align to course objectives and require students to reflect, analyze, and apply course concepts?
  • Do you know what your communication expectations will be for your course? Can you clearly communicate those to students verbally and in writing?
  • Do you have a plan in place to facilitate or further discussions, model appropriate responses, and intervene where necessary?


If you answered "no" to these questions, we are here to help! Join us for one of our Bootcamp sessions for answers to your Canvas, WebEx and Panopto questions. Other ways to get help are provided below. 

Submit a JIRA Ticket

Faculty can submit a JIRA Ticket to Global Online by emailing goldhelp@uwf.edu or by completing a GOLD Help Service Desk JIRA form. 

Submit a JIRA Ticket

Canvas 24/7 Support

Canvas offers 24/7 support via the Canvas Support Hotline, Chat, and Canvas Guides. 

Canvas 24 Hour Support

Contact an Instructional Designer

Global Online has an Instructional Designer Liaison for each college. Learn more about your Liaison or to view contact information by visiting our Contact an Instructional Designer page.

Contact an Instructional Designer