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. We strongly recommend taking a proactive approach to ensure that your face-to-face class can easily be continued as an online class. This article will help you to quickly convert your class to a fully online course even if you are starting from scratch with a blank Canvas course site.
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Where to start if you have never logged into Canvas before
Step 1: Set up your course content & university resources in Canvas
Step 2: Determine how you will be delivering course lectures
Step 3: Consider creative ways of converting offline activities into online activities
If you have never logged into Canvas before, you will first need to gain familiarity with Canvas's most basic functions. Watch the video below for a general overview of Canvas and review our Getting Started resource for instructors detailing how to log into Canvas, get Canvas help, and basic how-to tutorials. If you only have time to focus on a few skills, then the most important things to learn are:
You will be able to access your courses from your Canvas Dashboard. If you don't see your desired course on your Dashboard, you will find it on your All Courses page: Simply select Courses on the global navigation menu on the left of the screen, then select All Courses.
Feel free to customize the courses your Dashboard displays.
Another item that can help you in the event of an emergency closure is FSU's Canvas Emergency Module. This module contains several items to help facilitate clear, quick communication between you and your students. The "Instructor Overview" page details how to use the module items and contains sample messaging that is easily adapted as needed so that you can communicate quickly and efficiently with your entire class via Canvas course announcements. Though you may find that you do not need to utilize every component of the module, it is helpful to have this resource in your course in case you need it!
Your students can only access your Canvas course site once you have published it. Similarly, students can only access the individual items in your course site that you have published as well, so make sure that you publish everything you want students to access. Publishing your course also means that you can now communicate with all your students via Canvas announcements. When teaching online, communicating with students via regular course announcements is crucial to keeping everyone on the same page and encouraging students to remain engaged in your course.
Depending on the length of the university closure, you may need to make alternative testing arrangements.
Closures shorter than two weeks
If you had already arranged with FSU Assessment & Testing for your students to take proctored exams at our Testing Center, review this information for rescheduling exams. Please also review FSU Assessment & Testing's University Closures, Rescheduled Exams, and Displaced Students resource.
If you did not previously require your students to take exams at FSU's Testing Center, or you now feel that you need to have students take exams via an online proctoring service: Familiarize yourself with FSU's Proctored Testing information and review this University Closures, Rescheduled Exams, and Displaced Students resource. If you have questions, please reach out to FSU Assessment & Testing by email at email@example.com.
Please keep in mind that during university closures you may experience a longer response time than usual.
Closures lasting longer than 2 weeks
Keep in mind: Prolonged closures may require alternative assessment plans
If the university is closed for longer than one or two weeks, it may be impossible to reschedule exams at the FSU Testing Center. In this case, you will need to consider alternative means of assessing student learning. Consult our Online Alternatives to In-person Proctored Exams resource for ideas.
Would you like to deliver lectures asynchronously (i.e., creating a video that students can watch at any time), or would you prefer your students be "present" and engaging with your lecture in real-time?
There are two options available for asynchronous lecture delivery:
If you wish to have your students "present" during your lecture, then use the Zoom web conferencing tool. We recommend recording all your Zoom sessions just in case some of your students are unable to be present during the original session.
Keep in mind: We do not recommend using Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton)
Canvas Conferences are much more limited than Zoom; Conferences will retain recordings for only 14 days and we do not have any way of downloading these recordings out of Canvas, so even if you record your session it will essentially be lost.
You will have two options available: synchronous (real-time) online activities, and asynchronous (time-delayed) online activities. When choosing the types of activities to use, think also about the type of interaction the activity facilitates. Which type of activity you choose will depend on what you feel will best serve your course objectives and the type of interaction you want to facilitate: instructor-student interaction, or student-student interaction.
For example, if your students were originally going to participate in in-person discussions, you could use Canvas's Discussion feature to facilitate asynchronous discussions. If your students were originally going to give presentations, they could record a video and upload it to Kaltura Media to share with you and their classmates. Or, you could opt to use the Zoom web conferencing tool for real-time presentations and discussions. Our Options for Engagement in Online Courses resource contains more ideas for you to consider.
For more ideas, see our Online Alternatives to In-person Proctored Exams.
Class meetings via Zoom web conferencing are available. Consider some example scenarios when deciding whether web conferencing is the best option for your instructional needs. If you do opt to use Zoom, be sure to record your sessions and to follow these web-conferencing best practices for the smoothest experience.
Virtual office hours and one-on-one meetings with your students via Zoom web conferencing. When scheduling a one-on-one meeting with a student, make sure to schedule the meeting through your own individual Zoom account. Then share the meeting's "join URL" with only that student via an email or a Canvas Inbox message.
If you experience trouble or have questions, please feel free to reach out to FSU ODL Technical Support via a support ticket or our firstname.lastname@example.org email. Our phone line will not be operational during official university closures. Please keep in mind that during university closures you may also experience a longer response time than usual.