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Faculty Resources for
Continuity of Instruction

There are many unforeseen situations that can arise that impact our ability to continue instruction, including the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has impacted our ability to deliver in-person instruction and may continue to alter the traditional delivery of instruction on campus. The following resources are provided to help assist faculty in the continuation of delivery of instruction under a variety of circumstances.

Preparing to Transition a Course Online

There are four key activities that faculty should do to be prepared to transition online in a short time-frame. These include posting content within Blackboard for students to access, facilitating discussion through the Discussion Board, holding live class sessions using Zoom, and creating assignments to collect and grade student work.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Online Learning

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Online Learning

There are two options for instructors to facilitate class sessions remotely:

  • Synchronous: instructors and students gather at the same time and interact in “real time” with a very short or “near-real time” exchange between instructors and students.
  • Asynchronous: instructors prepare course materials for students in advance of students’ access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each over a longer period of time.

Instructors may choose to engage their students synchronously or asynchronously depending on the course content or material that needs to be taught. There are many advantages and disadvantages to asynchronous and synchronous teaching options.

Advantages of Synchronous Teaching

  • Immediate personal engagement between students and instructors, which may create greater feelings of community and lessen feelings of isolation
  • More responsive exchanges between students and instructors, which may prevent miscommunication or misunderstanding

Disadvantages of Synchronous Teaching

  • More challenging to schedule shared times for all students and instructors
  • Some students may face technical challenges or difficulties if they do not have fast or powerful Wi-Fi networks accessible

Advantages of Asynchronous Teaching

  • Higher levels of temporal flexibility, which may simultaneously make the learning experiences more accessible to different students and also make an archive of past materials accessible.
  • Increased cognitive engagement since students will have more time to engage with and explore the course material.

Disadvantages of Asynchronous Teaching

  • Students may feel less personally exchanged and less satisfied without the social interaction between their peers and instructors.
  • Course material may be misunderstood or have the potential to be misconstrued without the real-time interaction.

At Fisher, if you choose to use synchronous sessions as part of your remote teaching strategy, you may pick between either Collaborate or Zoom as your platform of choice. If you already have experience with either platform, we recommend you stick with the option you already know. If you have not used either tool before, we recommend using Zoom as your synchronous learning platform. Please see the information below for the technical details on using either platform.

At Fisher, your asynchronous learning platform will be Blackboard. All students and faculty have access to Blackboard and it is the home-base for all online learning activity. Please use Blackboard as your primary means of communication with students and encourage your students to check their Blackboard site daily. Please see the information below for the technical details on posting content, using discussion boards, collecting and grading assignments in Blackboard.

For additional resources, please review these links:

Posting Content in Blackboard

Posting Content in Blackboard

Using the Blackboard Discussion Board

Using the Blackboard Discussion Board

Holding Class Through Zoom

Holding Class through Zoom

Getting Started with Zoom [pdf]

Zoom Training Videos

Zoom FAQs

Can my participants record?

Participants will only be able to record locally, and only with permission from the host.

Assigning Recording privileges to a Participant

  • Within a Zoom meeting, click on Manage Participants
  • From the Participants menu navigate to the user who will be granted recording privileges, click on More next to their name.
  • Select the option Allow Record.
  • Participant will receive a notification and when participant is recording the recording icon will be displayed next to their user name.
  • To disable ability to record, click More and select Forbid Record.

Assigning Recording Privileges to a Participant via Zoom Help Center.

How do I create a Breakout Room within my Zoom Meeting?
How do I share a Zoom Recording?

More information, training, support, and webcam loans are available by contacting the OIT Service Desk at, (585) 385-8016, or you can create a self-service ticket on the OIT website.

Collecting and Grading Assignments in Blackboard

Collecting and Grading Assignments in Blackboard

Continuity of Instruction Webinar Series

This webinar series is intended to support faculty as they consider ways that they might continue instruction in their courses in the event that individual students cannot attend class, in the event that they cannot attend class in person or in the event of a larger scale campus closure.

Continuity of Instruction Webinar Recordings

The Continuity of Instruction Webinars are recorded. To access a recording, please use the link below and find the folder for your specific topic of choice.

Continuity of Instruction Webinar Recordings

Socially Distant Teaching Professional Development Session Resources & Recordings

Please use this link to explore the slides and resources shared during the on-campus professional development events related to socially distant teaching, as well as recordings of these events and any of the socially distant teaching webinar sessions.

Resources & Recordings - You must be logged into Google with your Fisher account to access

Online Course Instruction FAQs

Please find some additional information regarding online instruction.

I have videos that I show in my class. How can those be transitioned for online delivery?

First, contact Lavery Library at to verify if we have access to the video and if it can be digitized. If so, the video will be digitized by OIT and posted on Ensemble for you. You will then be able to embed the video within your Blackboard course. If this is not an option, the library will check to see if the video is available through other online options like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. It may be available with a subscription or for a fee. If so, access must be acquired individually by each student in the course. It is up to the discretion of the instructor if this is still a required component of the course online or if other activities can be made available to replace the content included in the video. Your liaison librarian can help you find alternative video resources including Kanopy videos, which we will be reopening for faculty use.

What are the technical requirements necessary for online classes?

You will need to have a computer (either Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.8 or higher) and a high-speed Internet connection. If you plan to hold synchronous live sessions or record video lectures, you will also need a webcam and a headset with a microphone. We recommend the Logitech H570E Stereo USB Headset. We also recommend the latest version of Chrome or Firefox as the preferred web browsers. Other browsers such as IE, Edge, Opera, or Safari are also acceptable, but may not provide full functionality for all campus resources. For more detailed technical specifications, please visit the student computer recommendations on the OIT website.