Monday, February 6, 2017

Revisiting Snow Days

Are you concerned your courses might be impacted by snow days? Are you looking for a way to continue student learning even when classes are cancelled due to weather? 

NSCC in the snow
NSCC in the Snow!
February 2017
North Shore Community College’s learning management system, Blackboard Learn, is a great instructional technology tool that can aid you in maintaining the continuity of your course. All courses automatically have a Blackboard Learn course shell that provides faculty with a “private classroom” area for you and your students. In Blackboard Learn, faculty can post announcements about the status of class with instructions on how to proceed through related learning activities; upload various types of content such as assignments, readings, lecture notes, or PowerPoint slides; link to related online resources such as YouTube videos or web sites; set up assignment submissions areas drop boxes where students can submit homework; and facilitate discussions for students to engage with the course materials. 

CTLI's Instructional Technology and Design team has created a list of a few instructional technology tools that can be used to extend the teaching and learning environment outside the classroom walls to support your students’ engagement with the course content and facilitate your communication with them.

What other instructional technologies have you used to extend the teaching and learning environment and to keep your classes moving forward even with snow day cancellations?

When one of my evening classes was cancelled due to snow, here is how I used various instructional technologies to keep the students on track and not miss a beat.
  1. I sent an email to all my students providing them information on the activities we would be completing instead of class and directed them to the learning management system for more detailed information.
  2. In the learning management system, I posted an announcement with detailed directions on the learning activities that the students needed to complete during the week to make up for the cancelled class.
  3. I used Screencast-o-matic to record several mini-presentations demonstrating the key tasks and concepts covered in the chapter (we were just getting started with Excel) and walking them through the steps of the project that they needed to complete. These videos were posted up in YouTube and then linked into the learning management system for students to view.
  4. In the learning management system, I posted directions for a project that the students needed to work on and then submit through the assignment drop box feature of the  learning management system.
  5. I also held a discussion forum in the learning management system where students posted their thoughts on and discussed with each other the benefits of using Excel, the ways it could be used personally and professionally, and the types of decisions that need to be made when creating workbooks and charts.
What specific strategies have you employed to keep the learning process going when classes are cancelled due to snow?

Please contact itd@northshore.edu if you need any additional information or support to implement these in your courses.