In Boston, it’s currently snowing sideways so hard I can barely see across the street. It’s reasonable to expect at least one or two snow days during the school year in these parts and, having grown up in Buffalo, NY, I enjoy them greatly.
A Twitter conversation with a colleague prompted me to compile resources for staying on top of course material when the weather refuses to cooperate. If campus was closed and I was due to teach a face to face course today, I would hold the class online using the campus LMS discussion board. This is also helpful for situations in which falling behind on course material would negatively impact the rest of the semester (statistics and research courses, I’m looking at you).
Here is the syllabus language I use to communicate snow day expectations to students. We also review it together on the first day of class to address any questions or concerns students may have:
Inclement Weather: In the event of inclement weather and campus is closed, class will be held online using the discussion board in Blackboard. Instructions for class participation will be emailed to you.
Here are resources I have found helpful for holding class online:
- Online Teaching, It Turns Out, Isn’t Impersonal
- Developing Online Learning Activities for Blended Courses
- Online Teaching Tools and Resources from Yale University Center for Language Study
- MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching
- Netiquette: Ground Rules for Online Discussions (I use this often)
- Online Discussions from Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation
- Online Discussion Rubrics
- Create Accessible Narrated Powerpoint for Content Delivery Online
- Screencasts (I love Screencast-O-Matic)
- Consider adapting some of these Interactive Techniques for your campus LMS
- Crossword Puzzle Maker – great for learning vocabulary
- Online Scavenger Hunts
- Fill in the Blank Worksheet Creator
The hardest part of a snow day should be making sure you have french toast ingredients and keeping a mischievous cat out of trouble.
Stay warm and stay safe!