Take Care of Yourself First
When boarding a flight, they always tell you if the oxygen masks drop down, put yours on first before assisting others. The same applies to courses moved online because of a campus closure. If you or a member of your immediate family becomes ill, notify through your department communication chain and then take care of your personal situation first. This includes your mental health as well.
When that’s taken care of, then come back and help your students and other parts of the PPCC community.
Plan Ahead, but Be Adaptive
A lot is coming out right now about how to prepare for a campus closure. One of the ideas a previous eLearning Director pushed is having a one-week “back pocket” assignment ready in D2L for if/when the closure happens. The assignment can be anything the students can do asynchronously (not at the same time you are online). For example, you can have the students write an observation journal or have a Discussion about a topic in the class. By having the students work on this for a week, you’ll buy yourself, and others, time to plan for week 2.
However, expect plans to be in flux as the closure continues. Expect tech issues. Expect some students not to login or to give less than optimal work. Expect the college and/or your department to change expectations. In short, do the best you can to get ahead, but be ready for it to be a very fluid time.
Take Care of Your Students
As a child, my parents would get upset with me when I would get my school clothes dirty on my walk home. However, I quickly learned those rules went out the window when it rained. Coming home with some mud on my clothes wouldn’t even get a second glance. It was just expected.
Well, my friends, if we close our campuses and move classes online, it’ll be raining at PPCC. That means we’ll be expecting some muddy clothes. If a student needs an extension you don’t normally give, do it. If you need to post a video, but have issue with captioning, put it up. We’ll do the captioning when we get back. A lot of rules will go out the window during this time. Just do what’s best for the students and it will all get cleaned up later!
Use and Offer Resources to Help
Here in eLearning, we’ve developed a Discover course to help with the D2L tools. This blog and the Knowledge Base will remain up, even if we fall ill. D2L even has a page to help convert your class online.
Also, please take note of the 24/7 Help Desk (help.cccs.edu) and ITSS (502.4800). You can also contact eLearning by email (e.Learning@ppcc.edu) or by calling 502.3555. Please note though, we likely will be more delayed in responding.
Finally, if you have the ability to help others, I’d encourage you to reach out to others in your department and offer to assist. It’s at times like this that you can really make a difference.
Be Calm and Carry On
While the “Keep Calm and Carry On” message developed in 1939 wasn’t widely used during the war, the message remains. There’s a lot of fear going around the world right now. Let’s face it, when talking about disease and death, it’s a normal reaction.
Our best course of action though is to try to stay as calm as possible and keep doing our part to take care of ourselves, our families, our students and our community!