Course Winterization

With unpredictable weather upon us now's the time to Winterize your face-to-face courses for potential class cancellations. With an internet connection you can use a variety of tools to neutralize the inclement weather and minimize your course downtime during campus closures.

Planning Ahead
  1. Consider alternative lessons. Consider alternate course delivery options for your lessons during the winter months, such as discussion forums or web conferences.

  2. Inform students. Make a note in your syllabus and D2L homepage that students should check D2L or student email for alternative arrangements/assignments in the event that the University is closed.

  3. Be flexible. With any winter weather event, there is the possibility that some students - on or off campus - may lose power or internet connectivity, so try to accommodate these students or allow for a make-up assignment at a later time.

  4. Go mobile. Providing students with a mobile number to reach you during a winter weather event can ensure student understanding and productivity, and services such as Google Voice and WhatsApp can provide an alternate contact method for students so that you don't have to provide your personal mobile number.

Use Zoom!

Zoom allows you to create online spaces that can be used to hold a virtual, synchronous (real time) class meeting. All you need is a computer with a microphone and an internet connection and you're ready to go! In the event of a university cancellation you can create an online room and still hold the planned class during the scheduled class time.

For more information on Zoom, including detailed user guides, check out KU's Zoom support.

Use D2L!

Stuck at home with a shovel when you need to be covering critical content? Luckily we have a solution! The following D2L tools can help you hold class from any warm and cozy location on those pesky snow days.

  • Assignments

    The D2L Assignments folder allows you to virtually collect assignments, and can track user submission times, view and download submitted files, and return submissions with grades and feedback to students in a timely manner.

    Check out the Assignments setup guide for implementing the Assignments folder in your course. You can also combine this with Turnitin Studio to edit, grade, and check for originality.

  • Discussions

    The D2L Discussion tool is an active learning strategy that allows instructors and students to share thoughts, answer questions, and engage one another about course topics. The instructor establishes a forum and topic with a question or prompt. Users then correspond back and forth on the topic asynchronously, with instructor engagement along the way to push the discussion along or change direction entirely.  Discussion forums can be used to address higher order learning skills through active engagement.

    The Discussion Setup guide can assist you in setting up and maintaining Discussions in your course.

Use Other Tools!

D2L is not the only tool that you can use to support your courses.

  • Office 365

    Built with teaching and learning in mind, the Office 365 suite includes powerful tools and features designed to increase engagement and enable accessibility in the classroom.  The Office 365 suite is available to all current KU faculty, staff, and students and is compatible for use on any Windows, Android, OS X, or iOS device. Visit our Office 365 for the Classroom page to learn more.

  • Learning Glass

    This is an innovative lecture capture system that allows you to create video lectures and interact with handwritten notes and diagrams while speaking directly to your students. 

    The Learning Glass is a pane of glass suspended in a metal frame with embedded LED lights that provide dramatic illumination of hand drawn information. The diagrams and notes seemingly float in front of the presenter. iPad-based recording provides a mechanism whereby you can create interesting, high-quality videos. Please contact the Office of Distance Education for more information.

  • Screencasts

    A screencast can record everything that is happening on your computer screen with your simultaneous audio narration and is available through KU's Mediasite Desktop Recorder, or free tools such as ActivePresenter, OBS Studio, or APowersoft.

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)

    Open educational resources (OER), such as OER Commons, Merlot, and TED Talks, are freely accessible and openly licensed educational materials and media that can be used for teaching, learning, and assessing.

Need more?

For more information about the above tools, please contact the Office of Distance Education.