Keep Teaching: Academic Continuity in Disruptive Times

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There are many possible scenarios that can lead to a disruption in our regular teaching schedule, and many possible degrees of disruption. The purpose of this website is to help you plan ahead, and to familiarize yourself with available resources so that you and your students can be as prepared as possible. Ensuring continued, equitable access to the learning environment helps you sustain your vision for the quarter, and helps students meet their own goals.

As you peruse this page, please keep in mind that there is no one-size fits all solution for all faculty, or for all students. Some students may not have access to personal computers or reliable internet access.  Developing and implementing contingency plans requires a flexible and responsive approach. For example, you may need to connect students to free public resources or offer additional time and/or alternate ways of submitting assignments.  

Plan ahead

  • Start by sharing information about the disruption with your students.  Let them know that their well-being is most important and give them the information they need to stay safe and well. Review the College’s institutional response with them.
  • Work with your faculty team to develop a communication plan with your students in the event of a disruption to physical spaces or digital tools.  Keep in mind the following:
    • Not all students will have access to high-speed internet
    • Many students will rely on mobile phones to access online content
    • Your own access to technology and internet off campus may be limited
    • Power outages may prevent access to networked technology
  • Review your absence policy and develop a clause for students who can’t attend class due to illness, quarantine/ isolation, or family care.  
    • How will students access assignments or other course materials?  
    • How will they submit assignments? 
    • How can they participate in class remotely?  
    • Check-in with Access Services to ensure student accommodations are adequately met. 
  • Test it out. Inevitably, you will meet hurdles with access and technology.  Have everyone in the program practice participating in the communication structure now so you can work through those hurdles together.

Moving to Remote Teaching

As you begin to move pieces (or all) of your teaching online, start by reviewing your learning goals and imagine how students will meet them if you can’t meet face-to-face. Choose strategies that will support that vision and select tools that are familiar to you and your students, to the greatest extent possible.

A note about inclusive teaching practices:
In the best of circumstances, underserved and minoritized students experience opportunity gaps (Milner, 2012). Disruption during a quarter can lead to challenges that will be experienced differently by students and moving online might make those impacts invisible to you. As you develop protocols for conducting your courses remotely, consider ways in which you can support the success of ALL students. Visit the Inclusive Online Teaching guide for some strategies you might try – or suggest your own!

Strategies & Tools

Flower Darby’s guide, How to Be a Better Online Teacher, at The Chronicle of Higher Education has some useful advice for anyone teaching (or thinking about) teaching online.

The most robust tool we have at Evergreen is Canvas, which supports offering course content, accepting assignments, and communicating with your students.  Canvas offers easy-to-use mobile apps for teachers and students. For those of you who aren’t yet comfortable in Canvas, we’ve offered some alternatives below.


Identify the primary communication platform you will use to share information with students and set reasonable expectations with them for frequency of checking for updates. 

  • Reinforce the importance of checking email inbox regularly.
  • Canvas Announcements can be used to message students and creates a searchable record of all communications within the course site.
  • Slack can also be used as a communication tool. You’ll need to set up a Slack workspace if this will work for you. Slack works well for live chat and for sharing documents, and requires relatively little bandwidth.

With all of these tools, you and your students will need to be prepared before an interruption by downloading the apps to devices and logging in.  A good way to make sure everyone is ready for communication is to devote some time during class to ensure everyone is prepared.

2-Sharing Content

Determine your protocol for sharing documents, assignments, readings, or other content with students electronically. Consult these Accessibility Guidelines for wise advice about how to ensure your documents are accessible for screen readers, mobile devices, and other assistive technologies.


Lectures can be pre-recorded or offered in real-time.  Consider recording any real-time lectures for students who are unavailable or have slow internet connections.

  • Zoom is a robust video conference tool that supports screen sharing, recording, break-out rooms and mobile apps. To request a zoom license, submit a Help Ticket at (Free zoom accounts give you access to 40 minute video sessions)
  • To record a lecture for asynchronous viewing, PowerPoint with recorded audio narration offers a relatively simple strategy for adding voiceover to a slide show.
  • If student engagement is not necessary for your lecture, and you’re not comfortable with Zoom, we recommend recording and then uploading it, rather than trying to record online via a tool like Canvas Conferences. 

4-Assignments and Quizzes

Have your students submit assignments or take quizzes electronically. 

  • Set up assignment submission or Quizzes in Canvas. Portfolios can be submitted to a Canvas assignment as a document (.pdf, .docx, etc.) or a link to a Google drive or other online source.
  • As an alternative to Canvas, ask students to submit assignments by email – a robust filename convention will help you keep the files organized.


Sometimes moving teaching online can result in less direct feedback to students on their work.  Make a plan for how you will continue to provide effective feedback to your students.

  • In Canvas, Rubrics and  Speedgrader are tools you can use to provide individualized feedback on assignments.
  • Alternatively, feedback can easily be sent by email.  If you prefer writing on student papers, snap a photo with your phone and send it through email.

6-Seminar (synchronous discussions)

Create mechanisms for remote participation in synchronous seminars, discussions. 

7-Asynchronous Discussions

Create mechanisms for remote participation in asynchronous seminars and discussions.

  • Canvas discussion boards allow students to start and reply to discussion topics. The advantage here is that it’s fairly easy to move students into Groups if you want to have separated discussions; it’s slightly more challenging for students to self-select into Groups.
  • A group email thread is another option for hosting an asynchronous discussion.

8-Virtual Office Hours and Evaluations

Some alternatives to in-person office hours and evaluation conferences include:

  • Zoom is a robust video conference tool that supports screen sharing, recording, break-out rooms and mobile apps. To request a zoom license, submit a Help Ticket at (Free zoom accounts give you access to 40 minute video sessions)
  • Skype or other video chat tools – use what you know!
  • Conference call – most smartphones will allow you to add multiple users to a call.

Getting Help

For support with any of these tools, please visit There you can submit a help ticket or browse through a wealth of support articles to do some just-in-time learning.