Teaching During Schedule Interruptions

Date Published: 
January 18, 2018
Norm in the snow

Center for Teaching and Learning Recommendations for Making Up Missed Class Time

Both planned and unplanned events may prevent classes and labs from meeting at their usual time and location.  Schedule interruptions can create some difficulties, but they also present us with opportunities for growth, empowerment, and to develop a collective sense of resilience and community. In order to maintain the highest standards of excellence in teaching, some instructors may need to make up lost course time occasioned by schedule interruptions.

The Center for Teaching and Learning has developed recommendations for instructors seeking to address this issue. We have divided these recommendations into categories based on the degree to which these changes may be challenging for instructors in terms of time and workload. The Center for Teaching and Learning is firmly committed to teaching excellence and will strive to support all instructors working to address this matter.

Degree of Difficulty for Faculty: Easy

Adding New Assignment(s) to the Course – At any time during the semester, it is possible to add an assignment for students to complete so as to support their learning. This can take the form of a long answer or essay question that your students could respond to. It could be a reading assignment with accompanying questions. It could be an additional performance that students will engage. The activity or activities may or may not be graded but should be detailed and involved enough to appropriately make up any missed instruction time. This provides a new way for your students to learn the course material and possibly be graded for the experience.

Resources for Adding New Assignments:

      Grading Assignments:

Creating an Online Discussion – Using Canvas, it is possible to create an online forum that allows instructors and students to post questions or discussion topics to an online message board that elicits responses from course participants. Each student could then respond to one another’s comments or responses provided by classmates. In this way, you will generate a discussion of course content in a manner that involves all of the students.

Resources for Adding a Discussion:

Degree of Difficulty for Faculty: More Challenging

Creating Simple Lecture Video(s) –  A simple lecture video is a video of you, the instructor, speaking to your class. This is a simple way to make up missed time for delivering lecture materials. This may be connected to an existing assignment or readings or you may choose to connect it to a new assignment. This solution would not allow for real time questions from your student but it allows you to cover the material in a way that you may be very accustomed to. Simple videos may be created using laptops with built in camera or with smart phones or tablets with build in cameras. The resulting video file may be posted to Canvas or you may upload it to YouTube if appropriate.  

Creating Video(s) of Your Computer Screen  – This solution allows the instructor to create a video with sound of whatever is on your computer screen. This approach has come to be associated with the Khan Academy approach to online instruction and is a common instructional method on YouTube videos. This approach is useful when teaching about how to do things using a computer. This solution will require the use of some screen casting software such as Kaltura CaptureSpace Desktop Recorder or Camtasia. Both software titles are supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Creating a Synchronous Online Course Meeting – This is an approach that will involve making a time for all the course participants to meet together online. This would allow participants to listen to a lecture and also ask questions of the instructor or engage in simultaneous online real time discussion. This solution will require the use of online discussion software such as WebEx Training Center which is supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning. This would allow you to cover lecture material while engaging student in real time discussion. It would also require that instructors schedule a specific time for course participants to meet online.

For any of these supplementary activities, it may be useful for instructors to create handouts or other materials that may help students engage the content.

Finding Your Comfort Zone

We believe that the best way to address the loss of class time is to consider your comfort level with using synchronous and asynchronous tools for course content delivery. We strongly recommend that you use technologies and tools with which you are already familiar and comfortable. Learning new technologies is very empowering and can make you a more confident instructor. However, using new approaches usually involves unforeseen and unplanned for complications and set-backs that should be avoided particularly at times when there are time constraints.

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers a wide range of learning opportunities for learning and implementing new instructional approaches or developing skills with the use of instructional software. We have regularly scheduled workshop and “drop-in” learning opportunities. We also offer phone support for Canvas and other tools and individual consultations are available. Please visit the Center for Teaching and Learning calendar at http://teaching.uncc.edu/calendar to view our scheduled events and workshop times.