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Faculty Resources for
Continuity of Instruction

We recognize that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could impact student attendance in class and employees reporting to work, and we are providing the following resources to help assist faculty and accommodate students.

Preparing to Transition a Course Online

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

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 Faculty Resources page 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 Faculty Resources page for the technical details on posting content, using discussion boards, collecting and grading assignments in Blackboard.

For additional resources, please review these links:

Holding Class through Zoom

Getting Started with Zoom [pdf]

Training Videos via Zoom:

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?

Create, Manage, Assign Participants to Breakout Rooms [pdf]

Managing Video Breakout Rooms via Zoom Help Center.

How do I share a Zoom Recording?

Sharing to Google Drive [video]

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.

Additional Support: Blackboard & Online Learning Experts

For additional questions and support on the essential skills listed above, please first reach out to the Blackboard expert or Online Learning expert identified in your department or the additional faculty who have volunteered to provide assistance to faculty across campus. Those individuals will be your first line of support by phone, email or through Zoom to help answer any questions you may have as you transition your courses to the online format. Additional questions will be escalated through those experts to Katie Sabourin and OIT staff for additional levels of support.

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.

Schedule of Continuity of Instruction Webinars

Transitioning Assessments Online Webinar

Tuesday, March 31 • 10 - 10:50 a.m. 

Char Smith and Stephanie Spain from Wegmans School of Nursing

Thursday, April 2 • 3 - 3:50 p.m.

Kim McClure Brenchley from School of Arts & Sciences and Joellen Maples from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education

Transitioning Assessments Online Webinar Overview

These two webinars will highlight different faculty from around campus who have prior online teaching experience. They will walk through the process they have used to transition assessment from their face-to-face classes for online delivery and provide you with best practices to use in your own assessment design.

Join the Zoom Meeting Transitioning Assessments Online Webinar
Meeting ID: 472 935 565

Handling Scientific Notation Dependent Work Online Webinar

Wednesday, April 1 • 4 - 4:50 p.m.

Kim Chichester and Lafayette Eaton from the Chemistry department will share tips and best practices for transitioning scientific work online, especially work that involves equations, diagrams and formulas and is usually done on paper. Both faculty have previously taught chemistry courses online and will share how they have shared this type of content with students electronically and how they have collected student work that includes this type of notation.

Join the Zoom Meeting Handling Scientific Notation Dependent Work Online Webinar
Meeting ID: 472 935 565

Cybersecurity: Working Safe from Home Webinar

Friday, April 3 • 10 - 10:50 a.m.

Dan Kinsman, Director of Network Services in OIT will discuss important cybersecurity strategies for faculty, staff and students to consider in a work/learn from home environment. The session will provide a brief overview of the main cybersecurity issues to be aware of, unique challenges based the current situation with a global remote workforce and allow for plenty of time for you to ask your questions.

Join the Zoom Meeting Cybersecurity: Working Safe from Home Webinar
Meeting ID: 472 935 565

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