Continuity of Learning: Preparing for when classes cannot meet


The GRCC Center for Teaching Excellence along with Distance Learning Technologies has compiled the following toolkit of technology recommendations to help instructors prepare for possible disruption to campus operations (for example, instructor absence or extended severe weather). This toolkit will help you to:

  • Prepare in advance for a disruption,
  • Conduct classes during a large-scale disruption to campus operations (i.e., major snow event) and
  • Organize your course materials and communicate with students during normal operations.

Keep in mind that during a major “disaster” many of the tools referenced herein may not be available until they are recovered.

This toolkit is not a definitive list of technology resources, nor is it designed to address non-technical issues, such as attendance policies or pedagogical best practices.

Some comments before you begin

You will not need to take action on every recommendation in the toolkit. Simply pick and choose the information that is most useful for your teaching context. 

Readiness Quiz

Are you prepared for…?

1. Put your course materials online

Yes NO Question

I have a Blackboard course or course website for each of my courses that contain the most current course information.

    I have a way to distribute assignments to my students online such as a Blackboard course site.
    I use audio or video materials in class and I know how to share these with my students.
    I use the Blackboard LMS to make materials available to my students.

If you answered “no” to one or more of the statements above, learn more in the How to Put Materials Online section below.


2. Establish channels of communication with your students and colleagues

Yes No Question

My students know how to contact me remotely if they have a question.


I have a way to facilitate discussion with groups of students remotely.

    Students have a way to contact each other and collaborate online.

If you answered “no” to one or more of the statements above, learn more in the How to Communicate Online section below.


3. Establish ways to conduct your class at a distance

Yes No Question
    My students can read, listen to, and/or watch my lectures online.
    My students can turn in homework and take exams online.
    I know how to use the Blackboard Grade Center to respond to and record graded work.
    I know how to submit final grades to the Registrar online.

If you answered “no” to one or more of the statements above, learn more in the How to Conduct Your Class Online section below.


4. Set up remote access to important resources

Yes No Question
    I have a computer or laptop at home that has the software and Internet connectivity I need to work remotely.
    I have the knowledge and capability to remotely conduct their quiz sessions.

If you answered “no” to one or more of the statements above, learn more in the How to Access Your Course Materials From the Home section below.


How to put course materials online

Having course materials online helps you to be prepared and ensures that students always have access to the content they need. The following list contains a number of ways you can share various types of course materials with your students online. Using Blackboard, the official learning management system of GRCC is a simple way for your students and you to stay connected. Course sites are automatically created in Blackboard each semester and allow instructors to:

  • Post the course syllabus.
  • Post-class lectures.
  • Provide course materials, including assignments, readings, and audio/visual materials.
  • Collect completed assignments.
  • Manage quizzes.
  • Record and submit grades.
  • Post urgent messages.
  • Hold conferences (e.g., online office hours) and broadcast lectures live.
  • Set up and manage online asynchronous discussions.
  • Set up and manage group work.

View Blackboard Tip Sheets and Videos

    How to communicate online

    Useful for both emergency situations and general course activity, this list provides suggestions on establishing lines of communication with and between your students and colleagues.

    Access your GRCC email

    Modern smartphones and cell connected devices provide the best way to access email during emergencies. Cell networks are often buffered from the disruptions in power and are less susceptible to wind damage than cable, phone and fiber networks. When the worst does happen cellular services are some of the first systems to be restored. Visit GRCC Knowledge Base to learn more.

    If you find yourself without access to the computer on which you normally run your email program of choice, but still have access to a web browser, you’re in luck! The primary and only fully supported interface for GRCC G-Suite Gmail is web-based and accessible from most places via the Internet. Just remember that if you are using someone else’s computer or a public terminal to:

    • Check to make sure the system is running Antivirus. Accessing GRCC systems from unprotected systems, even via the web, is a violation of policy and a good way to get your password compromised.     
    • Don’t accept untrusted certificates if warned by the browser’s security.
    • Don’t cache your password.
    • Do Logout and close all browser windows.
    • Do delete any file you downloaded that contain FERPA or otherwise sensitive data.

    How to conduct your class online

    Facilitate classroom and other campus-based activities, such as lectures, student questions, discussion, homework turn-in and exams, with these technology tool options.

    Use Blackboard, TechSmith Relay Cloud, Zoom or Google Tools

    Zoom allows you to meet virtually with students and colleagues. (Even the free accounts!) Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, group messaging, and a software-defined conference room solution into one easy-to-use platform. For more information on Zoom, ...

    As part of the G-Suite, you and all of your students have access to these Google Tools: Chat and Meet. 

    Record and share lectures with TechSmith Relay Cloud
    TechSmith Relay (Relay) is a cloud-based lecture capture service. Relay lets you record and publish lectures and other class activities right in Blackboard. Students can then view (and review) the published materials using a web browser or mobile device. 

    Offer students online tools for group work

    Zoom and Google Meet are collaborative tools where students can work together on group projects and assignments. The University of Minnesota has a great comparison chart if you want to know more about the features and capabilities of each option.

    Assess student learning online with Blackboard

    Every Blackboard course includes the ability to create and review quizzes, assignments, discussion boards, and more. Learn more about assessing students in Blackboard.

    Track student grades with the Blackboard Gradebook and submit grades to the registrar online through PeopleSoft

    The Blackboard Gradebook can help you record student scores online, track student progress and calculate final grades. (You can even track attendance in face-to-face courses!) Grades for each assignment can be calculated as points, percentages, complete or incomplete, pass or fail, and letter grades. 

    Stay in touch with GRCC DLIT for the latest instructional tools available to enhance student learning.

    How to access materials from home

    Log in to Information Technology's TeamDynamix service with your GRCC credentials to view information on how to:

    Get help