Disruption to Classes
- 1 Academic Continuity During Unplanned Course Interruptions
- 2 Students
- 3 Instructors
- 3.1 Accessing Help
- 3.2 Communication
- 3.3 Deciding and Delivering Remotely
- 3.4 Assessment and Grading
- 3.5 Instructors' Most Frequently Asked Questions
Academic Continuity During Unplanned Course Interruptionsctl@uwindsor.ca) or the Office of Open Learning (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help and more information.
Keep an eye on this page for updates to resources during the disruption!
For updated hours of support, further instructions about how to access the Cafe, as well as links to other resources and supports, please visit the COVID-19 Preparedness Workshops wiki page.
- Setting up a Test? Check our Best Practices in Setting up Tests page to minimize problems. Also, introductions to test, assignment, and grading settings can be found on our Assessments help page (Tests and Assignments), and our Grading Help Page
- PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD ANY LARGE FILES (video, audio, or otherwise) TO BLACKBOARD. For more information, visit our Sharing Large Files Article
- Check out essential videos for using Blackboard at uwindsor.ca/bbvideos.
Want to practice using some of Blackboard's tools?
Log into Blackboard, go to your Courses tab, and scroll to the bottom of your course list to the section that says "No Term Assigned". You will see a course there called SO-20-21: Student Orientation to Blackboard where you can learn about Blackboard and practice using Tests or Assignments and visit a tutorial on using the Virtual Classroom.
The following resources will also help you with Blackboard and online courses:
- A YouTube video with instructions about how to access your virtual classroom
- Online self-help page for instructions on how to use common Blackboard tools.
- Best Practices for Taking Tests Online
- Having trouble in Blackboard? Submit a Service Request.
The UWindsor Together Information Page has information for current and incoming students about university resources and supports, learning online, and the Winter 2021 term
The following tips are a useful practice regardless of any emergency or threat to assist instructors in preparing for an interruption in a regularly scheduled class.
- Download student contact information from either UWinsite Student or Blackboard should you need to get in touch with your students.
- At the beginning of the term/semester, send your students a welcome email of post an Announcement in Blackboard that includes your contact information. Suggest that they hold on to the message until the end of the course in case they need to get in contact with you.
- Remind students to download or print a copy of the syllabus.
- Copy into your site previous materials from older sites and update them to save you time recreating content. Course Copy can be a Blackboard utility to bring in parts of a course as well as the entire site. Course Copy Part 1 and Course Copy Part 2 videos can help save you time.
- Learn how to use the Virtual Classroomavailable in all Blackboard Course sites (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra). A tutorial for your students on using this tool and instructions on how to embed in your course site is found in the "Get Help" tab at the top of Blackboard Learn.
- Ensure you have set up your Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) so that you can log in from home. MFA is now required for secure access to major campus systems and needs to be set up in advance. More information in the Multi-Factor Authentication article by ITS.
- Here is a checklist from Syracuse University that can help you organize and plan for the upcoming semester
- Visit HTTP://www.uwindsor.ca/teaching-online to discover practices, supports and resources to help you develop your online teaching at UWindsor.
For a complete list of support resources for teaching online, including virtual one-on-one support; workshops; links to videos, tutorials, and self-paced courses; support for GAs and TAs; and more visit COVID-19_Preparedness_Workshops, Tutorials, and Resource Link
For all topics related to how the campus is being supported through the current situation, including information about COVID-19, and relevant FAQs for students, instructors, researchers, and staff, visit the UWindsor Together main page.
How do I communicate with my students?
In times of disruption, communication is key. We encourage you to communicate frequently with students to help reduce their anxiety and ensure they are aware of your plans going forward. Let students know that you are on their side, and will do your best to ensure that any accommodations they require will be addressed.
- Blackboard has an Announcements tool that is available in all course sites on the left course menu. Remember to select "Send an email immediately" found at the bottom of the Create Announcement screen if you wish the announcement to arrive in the student's email. Announcements will also maintain a copy of the announcement on your course site.
- Alternatively, you can get the student roster with emails from UWinsiteStudent or use the Email tool found in your course site left menu where you can easily send attachments.
Can I get my voicemail messages?
Yes! You can have your voicemail forwarded to your email so you can retrieve your messages even if you are not in your office. Please read the TeamDynamix article on voicemail forwarding.
Students can share comments, files, links to videos with the entire class or within smaller groups using the Discussions tool (the link can be found in the left navigation bar).
- Blackboard's instructions for setting up the Discussions tool can be found here
- The Discussions tool is also group-friendly and can be assigned to individual groups (either through the Groups tool or through Adaptive Release once the group has been formed) to contact each other. Instructors can monitor activity in the main discussion board forums, or within the individual group discussion areas.
- Other tools to promote student interactions include blogs and wikis. For more information, please see our Communication and Collaboration Tools Wiki.
Deciding and Delivering Remotely
Moving Your Classes Online
The first consideration when moving your classes online is whether you will need real-time synchronous lectures and what content you can share asynchronously. Blackboard's Virtual Classroom and MS Teams are both available for conducting lectures or meeting in real-time with your students. See our Comparison between Blackboard and Microsoft 365 for Use in Classes chart to help you decide.
A range of other tools will allow you to post files or stream content for students. There are some Tutorials for Virtual Classroom and PowerPoint lectures here. The Essential Videos Collection will provide guidance on other methods and tools.
There are many tools built directly into Blackboard, including Journals, Wikis, Discussions, Self and Peer Assessment that can help you actively engage your students in discussing and reflecting on course material, both synchronously and asynchronously. Most of these tools in can also easily be set up for grading so they can also be used to help ensure students are on the right track, as well as for summative assessment.
- For strategies to effectively build active engagement into your courses, visit the Teaching Online website
- For direct links to instructions for using specific interactive tools, visit the Instructors: Assessments wiki page
Remember to consider accessibility when creating materials and assessments online. While there are many advantages to online course delivery, including potential improvements to accessibility, there are also some notable risks. Both the institution as a whole and individual instructors are considered “educational service providers” under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and are required to provide equitable access for students with disabilities. The duty to accommodate persists so long as teaching, learning and assessment continue - even in the face of disruptions due to severe weather, outbreaks of communicable illnesses, and labour unrest. Learn more in the Accessibility and Blackboard wiki page.
Assessment and Grading
Exams, Alternate Assessments, and Academic Integrity
There are many options available to shift from in-person to online assessment. Blackboard has a range of tools that can be set up as gradable alternate assessments, including Assignments, Tests, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Wikis, and Journals. These can facilitate individual, group, and class assignments, as well as provide opportunities to students to interact with each other. More about alternate assessment tools and more ideas for alternate assessment strategizing.
The shift from in-person, invigilated exams to online formats often raises concerns that students will be more likely to cheat. The Academic Integrity at UWindsor article provides several strategies to mitigate dishonesty. Note that online proctoring will be possibility (stay tuned!), but comes with many implications for cost and student privacy. Where possible, alternate assessment strategies are recommended.
Can I collect student assignments online?
Blackboard's Assignment tool allows you to collect assignments digitally, provide students with feedback, and share student grades. We have produced a short video on how to create and access an assignment to make the process easier to understand if you prefer watching videos.
- To add an assignment to your Blackboard course site, access a Content Area (such as Resources). Once you open this area, you will notice four menu items at the top: Build Content, Assessments, Tools, Partner Content
- Select the Assessments menu and from the drop-down list, choose Assignments
- Complete the details you wish to customize the assignment and provide instructions for students (please visit the Assignments Tool Warnings for Instructors page for issues to be aware of)
- For more information on setting up and using Assignments, please visit the Creating and Marking Assignments Wiki page
How can I facilitate online tests with my students?
Blackboard has a Tests, Surveys and Pools tool that enables instructors to author multiple-choice, essay, short-answer, and up to 17 different types of questions. The Test Options screen enables you to control when each test is available and other editable features such as a timer, or when the test is available or unavailable to students. There are also options enabling you to provide extra time or different release dates for specific student accommodations.
- To learn how to set up a test, please see More on tests and assessments
- Caution: Do not enable the Force Complete setting. For more information about best practices and known issues for instructors, please visit our Test Best Practices and Troubleshooting Wiki page.
- Do you have a publishers' testbank that can be imported into the TestGen software? If so, this video will show how to import it to Blackboard.
- There are a few test generators with online software that may produce a useful version (though it doesn't always produce great results). There is online documentation to support their use as well. https://quondam.csi.edu/blackboard/bbquiz/
- This video demonstrates how to use the first online software to import a test to Blackboard
- Use at your own discretion!
Blackboard allows you to communicate individual grades, category grades, and total grades with students through Blackboard's Grade Centre. Students view their grades through the My Grades tool.
- Additionally, instructors can add new columns to capture grades that occur outside of Blackboard, such as a face-to-face midterm, presentations, participation, etc.
- Online help pages for using the Grade Centre are available at Blackboard's Grading pages
- The University of Windsor has created some customized tools to facilitate online grading and transferring of grades including Import to Grade Centre, and Transfer Final Grades, both found in the Course Tools section of the left menu when an instructor is in Edit Mode "On."
The Instructor's Most Frequently Asked Questions article is changing frequently, so if you have a question that isn't listed there, contact the LMS Team at by submitting a Service Request at HTTP://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp
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