Blackboard will remain up
The university will not close during an evacuation. 48 hours after an evacuation has been ordered, academic instruction will continue online as long as the academic term has begun.
Our Blackboard servers are located in Virginia; therefore, there will be no down-time during an evacuation scenario, even if power is lost to Loyola's main campus. You should include an emergency plan on your syllabi that includes the Blackboard URL (http://loyno.blackboard.com) and the 24x7 blackboard helpdesk phone number (which will be available throughout an evacuation scenario and can be reached at 1-866-562-7278).
In the event of an evacuation, the library will ensure that current LORA enrollments are updated in Blackboard. You should plan to use the system to contact students. It might be a good idea to create a discussion board in each of your classes so that everyone can keep in touch.
In addition to regular course content - including syllabi, eReserves, PowerPoint presentations, etc. - we encourage you to work ahead of time to request that supplemental instructional material (including streaming media or web tutorials) be posted in your courses. Working in advance will ensure that your material will be ready in the event of an evacuation. Last minute requests will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as time permits.
Planning for Instructional Units
As you plan for a possible evacuation, look ahead in two-week intervals and prepare an instructional unit for that period. What will the students have to read? What will you expect in terms of assignments? Use the following template to help guide your work:
Presentation – How will you convey your lecture to students? This might be accomplished via PowerPoint or Prezi, or a narrated presentation, a podcast or vodcast, a live, synchronous lecture via Skype or a similar site.
Readings – Will you be using a textbook, e-Reserves, or other material (journal articles, book chapters, etc.)? Make sure that these files are available in the system before you evacuate.
Interaction / Communication – Will you use the Discussion Board? Do you have an external blog site? If you plan to use a blog but do not have one, you might want to set that up and send students the URL before evacuating. Will you plan for any synchronous “meetings” while you are away from campus? If so, be sure to let students know what time you plan on meeting, being mindful of time zones.
Other instructional material – Supplemental resources should be included in your Blackboard site. This might include web sites, material from publisher course cartridges, etc.
Assessment – What, if anything, will you require students to submit for grading while they are gone? Will you have them submit assignments through the Blackboard assignment function, or will you have them send material directly to you via email? Will you have a policy for missed work?
At the beginning of each semester, every courses section that exists on LORA is created in Blackboard. Before evacuating, please check Blackboard to ensure that you are listed as instructor in the appropriate courses.
Students will be required to sign on to Blackboard to keep up with course assignments within 48 hours of evacuation.
Again, planning is essential. If facing an evacuation, make sure that you know what you will expect from students while campus is closed. Post these expectations as announcements and email your students as well. In Blackboard you can us the Performance Dashboard or Grade Center to see when students are logging into the system.
Overall, we are well poised to handle a campus closure and/or evacuation and should have no problem continuing instructional activities online. For more information or to begin contingency planning, feel free to contact any member of the Monroe Library's Online Learning Team: