Difference between revisions of "Disruption to Classes"

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(Academic Continuity During Unplanned Course Interruptions)
(Academic Continuity During Unplanned Course Interruptions)
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* <b>Setting up a Test?</b> Be sure to consider [[Tests Best Practices and Troubleshooting|Best Practices in Setting up Tests]] to minimize technical challenges.  General information on settings for tests, assignments, and grading can also be found on our [[Instructors:Assessments|Assessments help page (Tests and Assignments)]], and our [[Instructors:Grading|Grading Help Page]]
* <b>Setting up a Test?</b> Consider [[Tests Best Practices and Troubleshooting|Best Practices in Setting up Tests]] to minimize technical challenges.  General settings for tests, assignments, and grading can also be found on our [[Instructors:Assessments|Assessments help page (Tests and Assignments)]], and our [[Instructors:Grading|Grading Help Page]]
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* This document details instructor [https://blackboard.uwindsor.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-280916-dt-announcement-rid-15581662_1/xid-15581662_1 '''best practices, settings, and considerations for tests''']. -->
* This document details instructor [https://blackboard.uwindsor.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-280916-dt-announcement-rid-15581662_1/xid-15581662_1 '''best practices, settings, and considerations for tests''']. -->

Revision as of 20:24, 26 August 2020

Academic Continuity During Unplanned Course Interruptions

"Devices connected digitally"
In the event of an emergency situation caused by any number of factors (such as the current contagious disease outbreak, all or parts of the campus are closed due to natural disaster, safety situation, etc.) your ability to continue your class in your regular manner may be impacted. The following guide may assist you in finding alternatives for these situations. Please contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning (ctl@uwindsor.ca) or the Office of Open Learning (openlearning@uwindsor.ca) for help and more information.

Keep an eye on this page for updates to resources during the disruption!

Hot Topics
"Steps to get to the Virtual Bb Cafe Classroom - Visit Organizations, select Bb Cafe - choose Virtual Classroom from the menu, select Click here to join the Virtual Classroom, then Join Session
Steps to join the Virtual Bb Cafe Classroom. Click image to enlarge

Need virtual help using Blackboard? Join us in the BB Cafe virtual classroom

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.


Below are links to tops that you might find helpful.


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 Inter/Summer session

Accessing Help

Bb Cafe Virtual Classroom link

Join us in the Bb Cafe Virtual Classroom for one-on-one support, any time between 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. (Please note that you need to be logged into Blackboard for this link to work).

COVID-19 Preparedness Workshops, Tutorials, and Resource Link

For a complete list of support resources for teaching online, including workshops, links to videos, tutorials, and self-paced courses, support for GAs and TAs, visit COVID-19_Preparedness_Workshops, Tutorials, and Resource Link

Webinars Revisited - Past Training Session Recordings

Looking for a training session that we hosted in the past? Missed a Sprint Session? Want to review content from a session that you attended? Visit our Webinars Revisited - Past Training Session Recordings page to look for recordings of sessions related to teaching and learning in the online space.

Tutorials for Virtual Classroom, PowerPoint

Instructors have been asking how to use Blackboard's Virtual Classroom and preparing PowerPoint presentations with audio so they can interact with their students or provide material for exploring topics asynchronously. We have prepared tutorials for Virtual Classroom, and adding audio to PowerPoint for enhanced learning.

Are there any videos to help me learn quickly?

We have a page in this wiki called Essential Videos where we list the task you'd like to learn, followed by a brief description and the length of the video so you will know how long to set aside.

University Coronavirus General Support Page

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 University Coronavirus 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.

How can students share comments and content?

"Course Menu with Discussion Board link"
Course Menu with Discussion Board link

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).

Deciding and Delivering Remotely

"student puzzled about choosing internet applications to use"

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.

Engaging Students

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.


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 Tips for Accessibility article.

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?

"Create Assignment location"
Create Assignment location in Content Area link

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.

Can I share student grades online confidentially?

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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We are constantly trying to improve the information in this Wiki.
If you notice any errors or omissions with this material, please advise the LMS Team or submit a Service Request at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp.