Learning Technologies

Instructional Continuity

This page has been put together by the UWB Learning Technologies department to help faculty prepare for and conduct classes during a possible disruption to campus operations (for example, from a pandemic or extended severe weather). Even if a disruption does not occur, the information found on this page can be used to enhance interactivity with students and provide additional classroom resources and activities online. Note that this page is not a complete list of technology resources or official University policies.


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Putting Course Materials and Activities Online

Placing course materials materials online will enable students to easily access them, even in the event that they (or you) cannot make it to class on any given day. The following list contains a number of ways and technologies you can use to share various types of files with your students.

  • Canvas is the course management system in use at UWB. Instructors can use this tool as a central place to post course materials, resources, and links as well as provide a number of online classroom activities. Use Canvas to turn in assignments online, to grade online, and to create online student groups. Canvas courses are automatically created and provisioned for faculty through the UW registration system. If you are not teaching a class and would like a course for other purposes use the Canvas course request form.
  • UWB Library E-Reserve is a UWB service that can be used to make reading materials available to students on the internet. E-Reserves are produced by scanning or converting print material provided by the instructor into PDF files. E-Reserves can be linked to from a Canvas course site. There's also more information about the UWB Library's faculty resources for maintaining information literacy instruction continuity at the Library's continuity website.  

  • Podcasts can be used by faculty to create lectures that can be accessed remotely. They can also be used to share other audio and video materials with students on the internet.
  • UW Catalyst provides a collection of tools that can be used to enhance face-to-face courses. These tools are tied to student's and faculty's UWNetIDs. Catalyst tools can be used in conjunction with Canvas courses.
    • About UW Catalyst Tools
    • CommonView lets you create a course workspace where you can add organize and share resources like files, links, images, and other Catalyst tools.
    • ShareSpaces lets a group of people share files with each other. Features include being able to upload new versions with comments, tracking files with versioning, and receiving email notifications.

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Communicating Online

This list provides recommendations on establishing channels of communication between faculty and students. While these will be useful during course disruptions, using different methods for discussion may also benefit you during regular operations.

  • Email is one of the most common methods of online communication.
    • Faculty can use a Canvas course to email an entire class, individual students and groups. See how to use Canvas messages.
    • UW Email (UWNetID@uw.edu or @u.washington.edu) is given to every student, faculty, and staff member at the University of Washington and is an official method of communication, so students should check it frequently. Faculty can request an email class list in their MyUW space under the teaching tab. See using UW email for more information.
  • Online Discussion Boards provide a very effective way for faculty and students to interact online. Discussion boards can be used to hold online conversations about classroom topics, to have students post resources, to peer review work by other students, and to answer student questions. Discussion forums allow students to meet asynchronously when having people meet online at the same time becomes a barrier to academic continuity. To help students who may be out sick, consider doing online discussion assignments that run for two weeks rather than one. Building in extra time can often promote deeper learning as well.
    • Canvas Discussion Board is directly built into the content management system and available to all Canvas courses.
    • Catalyst GoPost is tool from UW Catalyst that can be used to create discussion boards.  
  • Canvas chat can be used to hold same-time online meetings with students for office hours or other course activities. Or consider using just a telephone for office hours if circumstances prevent meeting face-to-face.

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Accessing Materials From Home

Use the following resource links to access files and other materials from off-campus.


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Other Academic Considerations

  • Consider relaxing attendance policies if it's appropriate, so that sick students do not feel pressured to go to class and infect others. Also, remind students that if they get sick, they should stay at home until 24 hours after their fever has subsided.
  • Consider extending the time for completing an assignment and/or reducing late penalties to make it more manageable for students who are sick to finish their work.
  • Consider developing a plan of continuing classroom activities if you are unable to meet face-to-face.

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Getting Help

If you need help in using technology to prepare for a class disruption, please feel free to contact Andreas Brockhaus, Director of Learning Technologies, at abrockhaus@uwb.edu or 425.352.5393.

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Previous Alerts and Events

2009 Alert: Pandemic Flu (H1N1/Swine Flu)

Numerous cases of H1N1 (Swine Flu) influenza have been reported nationwide and in Washington State. In Spring Quarter 2009, several cases of H1N1 were reported at UW Bothell. Further, UW is expecting that a substantial fraction of the UW community on all campuses will become ill with H1N1 flu fall quarter, 2009. More information about the H1N1 flu and the UW's response can be found at UWB's Pandemic Flu site and at UWS' H1N1 site.

The H1N1 influenza may impact classroom activities either because students may be out sick longer or a significant number of students are out sick, making it difficult to have meaningful in-class activities. Instructors may also become ill. The following technology suggestions can help faculty prepare for a disruption and conduct course activities during a disruption.

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