What is your plan for when the internet goes down, or when a third-party vendor tool doesn’t work properly? There are many ways to reach students, send them reminders or assignments if you are unable to log into Zoom or Canvas for technical reasons. You may want to keep some documents in Word formats that are quick to email, or design some hands-on off-line activities that students can work on when connectivity problems arise.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Encourage students to take notes on readings by hand, or write hand-written outlines for a key section of a text.
  • Have at least one reading or course component for each module that cannot only be accessed while connected to the internet. For example, an article that can be downloaded, or a chapter of a book that can be saved as a PDF. 
  • Plan for low-tech times to be a moment of self-assessment. What can students recall about the previous week’s content, assignments, or activities without access to their course materials?
  • Encourage reflection and connection. Ask students to observe aspects of their offline life for connections to your course objectives, content, or major themes. Once you have connectivity or access to systems again, take a few moments to have students either upload their thoughts via text, video, or image, or discuss via a zoom session.
  • Tell everyone it’s OK to take a break. With work and home lives so enmeshed, it’s OK to take a few hours to disconnect and recharge for greater focus and concentration at a later time.

Make sure that your major course assignment dates, objectives, and course calendar are in an easy-to-download format that students can refer to if their internet is down. Encourage them to download your syllabus within the first two weeks of classes.


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