Teaching Continuity: Connect from Off-Campus

Extreme weather, family emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances are some examples of events that can disrupt scheduled courses. In the event of a campus closure, how can you communicate with students? How can existing assignments be adapted when class is cancelled or you are unable to meet with students face-to-face?

Blackboard, the University’s online learning management system, provides resources to keep your students engaged in class activities and assignments allowing them to stay on track when class is canceled. Students can work concurrently (synchronously) or independently (asynchronously).

There are a variety of ways to engage students in classwork when the University is closed or you cannot be present for your class.  Below are some tools that are available in Blackboard that you may want to try:


Synchronous Tools

  • Zoom Enables an online collaboration platform with several different methods of collaboration available:  two-way audio, video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, etc.

Asynchronous Tools

  • Journals Journals are a personal space for students to communicate privately with you about their opinions, ideas, and concerns about your course, or discuss and analyze course related materials.
  • Discussion board The discussion board is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials
  • Blogs Blogs are an effective means of sharing knowledge and materials created and collected by the group in the course.
  • Blackboard Wikis A wiki provides an area where students can collaborate on content. Users within a course can create and edit wiki pages that pertain to the course or a course group.
  • Panopto / Coursecast A lecture capturing software that allows lectures to be recorded for viewing online by students at a later time. Faculty can record audio, video, and desktop screenshots.


With the ongoing weather crisis and unpredictability of class cancellations, we want to remind you of the options available to pre-record classes, hold live online classes, and record lectures in the University’s studio in Sargent Hall.


You can record make-up classes at the newly updated UMS STUDIO
The Studio is open to ALL faculty members across the University.

Please contact the Help Desk (or call UMS directly at x1600) if you are interested in using this excellent resource. A member of the UMS team will contact you, reserve the Studio, and guide you through the process.


To record lectures and distribute to your class via Blackboard, or (for those who do not use BB) through email, use Panopto Coursecast.

To hold a live online class, use Blackboard Collaborate.