Class Contingency Planning

Remote teaching, especially in the context of a global pandemic, introduces new potential disruptions to our courses based on our reliance on internet bandwidth and networks and a range of 3d party tools including Canvas and Zoom. We encourage those teaching courses to make a backup plan in case of disruption and to communicate it in advance to students.

Unplanned technology outages are the new snow days. Think of your planning in a similar way to how you might plan for a snow day. If class has to be cancelled because Zoom or another technology is not working, you can:

  1. schedule a make-up class session at another time including during reading period,

  2. provide an alternative way for students to get the material from the class day, such as readings, recorded video, or online discussion, or

  3. hold class using an alternative technology platform.

See the HUIT Knowledge Article on managing outages for more detailed information about supported technology platforms and other strategies for managing outages (a brief overview can be found on this .pdf document). Use the HUIT Status Page to see the status of our main technology platforms and to sign up for alerts about outages.

One key difference between an unplanned technology outage and a snow day is that they sometimes occur without any advance warning. It is for this reason that it is especially important to communicate your contingency plan to students in advance, since last-minute or in-the-moment plans are likely to be hard to communicate effectively to every student in a class.

In addition to planning for global outages that affect everyone in the class, instructors should also make a plan for situations that affect them individually. You may handle this similarly to a global outage or you may be able to have co-teachers, TFs, or the students continue in your absence.