Although face-to-face instruction may seem like a “normal” classroom experience, there are some changes to ensure social distancing and academic continuity.

Face-to-Face Instruction Defined

Face-to-face courses are taught synchronously in person, with classroom-based teaching and learning activities. This method still includes technology-delivered components such as online syllabi and lecture notes. Lectures should be recorded or streamed for students who temporary adjustments.

Class Meetings:  Requirements + Best Practices

  • Record and livestream all classes. This will allow for academic continuity for instructors and students who may not be able to attend in-person for health or quarantine reasons.  
  • Balance the need for face-to-face meetings with reduced seat capacity.
    • Maintain a minimum social distance of 6 feet or more.  In large lecture halls, some seats will be blocked or physical separation will be installed to promote distancing. In smaller classrooms, desks should be spread out to preserve an appropriate distance.
    • Divide students into groups sized to fit in your classroom according to the Registrar’s Social Distancing Classroom Capacities documentation.
    • Assign one portion of the students attend in person one class meeting while the others attend virtually, switching so all students attend in both capacities where possible. 
    • Provide lectures to students to watch before class time. Meet with small groups of students during class time. 
  • All individuals present in class are required to wear face coverings. 
  • Clean classroom equipment.
    • Disinfectant wipes will be provided in the classroom or a nearby location so instructors and students may clean their work surface before class begins. Cleaning spray will be available for disinfecting classroom technology components.

Communicate with Students

Encourage students to schedule calls or virtual meetings for one-on-one conversations.

Hosting Virtual Office Hours with Zoom
Communication Features in Blackboard Learn webinar (Recorded Mar 27, 2020)

Track Student Attendance

Using the Blackboard Attendance Tool
Collaborate Ultra Attendance Reporting
View Zoom meeting participant details
View Panopto Session Statistics for participation information
Online Polling with TurningPoint Web
Blackboard Retention Center

Engagement Tools for All Students

When students attend class simultaneously, in the classroom and remotely, it is important to foster an experience that is equal and engaging for everyone.

  • Set expectations during first class and in your syllabus. When creating assignments, especially discussion boards, state requirements for a good response. Use your syllabus to establish course goals, learning objectives, technology requirements, and where to go for help in various situations (Covid-19 related allowances, technology help).
  • Whenever students are attending class remotely, be sure to monitor chat windows (such as in Zoom, Collaborate Ultra, or Panopto) or assign a student/TA to be the “voice of chat,” voicing any questions that come up in text.
  • Have students use online platforms even for in-class activities, even when in the classroom, so that all can participate.

Online Polling with TurningPoint Web – Anonymized engagement & just-in-time responses
Blackboard Discussion Boards – Asynchronous discussion for introductions and prompts
PeerMark Turnitin Assignments – Peer review essays & research papers

Group Work and Collaboration

Many tools are available to encourage group work and collaboration from a distance. – Collaborative annotation tool integrated with Blackboard
UA Box – Collaboration tools for sharing, storing, and editing documents
Collaborate Ultra Breakout Rooms

Zoom Breakout Rooms


You can use Blackboard tests to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students. Face-to-face instructors can use online tests outside of class or in a pre-scheduled computer lab. Best practices for testing include:

  • Share our Testing Tips for Students with your class to help them avoid typical technical problems.
  • Prepare a practice test, in Blackboard, that has similar types of questions and settings to graded tests for your course.
  • We do not encourage the use of the Force Completion test option. Any issues with Internet connectivity can cause the student’s test attempt to submit before they have completed the test.
  • Be aware that Blackboard has a 3-hour inactivity time limit. Ask students to save their answers after answering each question, and save essay questions frequently to avoid timeout
  • A Submission Report shows after students submit their test. You may ask the student to print or email you a screen capture of the report in case of a technical issue.

Blackboard Test Security

  • When creating or editing a question, there is a Randomize Answers checkbox for question types with multiple options.
  • Utilize these settings in Test Options:
    • Set a timer for the test.
    • If using a timer, turn on Auto-Submit.
    • Use Display After and Display Until to control when the test link is available to students. Note: It does not have to be available for the duration of the test. If the test should last from 9AM-10AM, and your link is also available, students can start the test at 9:59 AM.
    • Uncheck all boxes under Feedback to Students to show only the score after an attempt.
    • Check the option to Randomize Questions.

For more test security, you may use Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor. Respondus Lockdown Browser closes all computer programs while testing in Blackboard. Respondus Monitor is an add-on feature that requires students to use a webcam while testing to remotely proctor the assessment.

Ensure Access

Accessible course content makes it easier for everyone to read and access your materials and can help improve overall quality and usability. Visit the Accessibility Resources page for in-depth guidance on how to create accessible documents, images, audio, video, and web content or contact the technology accessibility team for help.

Continuity Planning

All instructors teaching in Fall 2020 should develop a course continuity plan, in consultation with their department chair, to be activated in the event the instructor is unable to teach due to illness. Course continuity plans might include pre-recorded lectures, Box directories containing notes and course materials for prospective substitute instructors, etc. Instructors who become ill should contact their department chairs immediately to discuss course continuity.

CIT Academic Continuity & Remote Work Resources

Ending the Semester Remotely

The Fall 2020 academic calendar is being updated to provide instruction and testing remotely after Nov. 20. The semester, scheduled to begin on campus with mostly in-person instruction components, will shift to remote just before Thanksgiving week. Calendar changes include:

  • Mid-Semester Study Break (previously scheduled for Oct. 29-30) is canceled. Classes will take place as scheduled on these days.
  • In-person instruction ends Nov. 20, and any remaining instruction will be remote.
  • No classes held Thanksgiving week, Nov. 21-29.
  • Study week will continue remotely after Thanksgiving, and finals week will remain Dec. 7-11. All final exams will be conducted remotely.