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Incorporating emergency preparedness into your course design

As Floridians, we are no strangers to hurricanes and other intense weather events. As 'Noles, we are especially proud of our Panama City instructors, students, and staff who showed great resilience in the wake of Hurricane Michael's destruction. FSU's Office of Distance Learning has learned a great deal from our experience working with the instructors and students affected by this event and we have been reflecting on those lessons learned. We have spent time brainstorming how to better equip and assist instructors and students to navigate emergency events from an instructional and student-retention perspective.

The information in this article is the result of our reflection and brainstorming, and is intended to help keep your course running as smoothly as possible in spite of any emergency we encounter. We hope you find these ideas and recommendations helpful! If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact FSU ODL Technical Support.

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Proactive preparation before an emergency event

1. Incorporate ODL's FSU Emergency Module into your course

We believe the best way to deal with an emergency is to take proactive action. With this in mind, we designed a "FSU Emergency Module" to help you with both proactive and reactive emergency responses. We strongly recommend importing the FSU Emergency Module from Canvas Commons into your course sites and development sites. Learn more about the FSU Emergency Module and how to use it.

2. Create an asynchronous course module that can easily be deployed at any time

In conjunction with using the FSU Emergency Module, we also recommend creating an unpublished, asynchronous course module. This module should ideally be something you can deploy at any time during the semester. It might contain a lecture, reading, or another assignment that would creatively help your students to avoid losing out on class time in the event of a prolonged (more than 3-day) university closure.

During an emergency closure

The top priority is for all instructors and students to take measures to ensure their health and safety. During closures due to adverse weather events, it is usually not appropriate to try to continue teaching during the university closure. However, some emergency university closures may not be related to infrastructure damage or outages. In these cases, if it is safe to do so you can continue to teach your classes online in order to avoid losing valuable class time.

Response to an emergency event after it has passed

1. Publish FSU Emergency Module items

You will need to publish the Post-Emergency Check-in Survey and Post-Emergency Discussion Prompt. We recommend sending out an announcement asking students to check in via the post-event survey. You can also let them know the discussion item is available as an optional activity so those interested can debrief together.

2. Deploy your asynchronous course module

We recommend you post an announcement letting students know the new module has been deployed, along with any related instructions. The module will keep students engaged in the course content during a prolonged (more than 3-day) university closure. It will also allow you time to assess whether converting your course to a more online-based method of delivery is necessary.

3. Assess instructional needs

After an emergency situation there are always questions, and these may be the most crucial concerns regarding instructional needs:

  • Are you and/or your students displaced as a result of the emergency?
  • How long will your FSU campus location be closed? (This information will be accessible on the FSU Alert page.)
  • Will you need to adjust availability dates and due dates for graded items in your course?
  • Will you have students who need to utilize proctored testing services?
  • Will your in-person course need to be converted to an online distance learning format quickly?

Once FSU's main campus has reopened, the Office of Distance Learning and its Technical Support team will be available to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions you have - we are here to help get your course sailing smoothly as soon as possible after an emergency! Learn more about the available options to make up class time and quickly adjust your course to an online-based format in our Post-Emergency Course Recovery article .

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  • 02-Mar-2020
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