Instructional Continuity Planning - Emergency Response Preparedness

Aerial photo of Stockton's Galloway Campus

This site has been created to assist faculty in making good pedagogical and technical decisions to assure the continuity of instruction in the event of a personal or University-wide emergency.

Emergency scenarios might include: instructor illness, instructor inability to reach campus, students unable to attend class, or campus shut down due to an emergency situation.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Read this document.
  2. Poll your students to determine what technology resources are available to them in the event that the University is closed.
  3. Review contingency planning materials offered by Informaton Technology Services
  4. Determine which strategies will work best in each class that you teach each term.
  5. Arrange for any additional training you may need in order to carry out your plan.
  6. Prepare your students.
  7. Prepare your content. Have materials for upcoming lessons that you or a substitute instructor can use in case of an emergency.
  8. Test your plan ahead of time. Make adjustments, as needed.

Communicate with your students. Send basic instructions using multiple methods to reach students, allowing for individual situations and communication resources.

  • Record a greeting message on your Stockton voice mail with basic instructions (where to get more information, what homework to do, when class will next meet) that students can listen to if they call your office phone.
  • Send email with basic instructions using an email distribution list or online class list available in Banner

Implement your existing plan or quickly create the best plan you can using the advice in this document to guide you.

I like technology and use it all the time.

If this describes you, then you may only need to skim the technical section for the suggestions. Think about pedagogical or process changes that may be necessary in time of crisis—your own illness, lack of access to normally available resources, and/or higher than normal levels of student absenteeism -- and plan for these changes.

I use some technology but am not ready to go fully online with my classes.

If this describes you, then the suggestions that follow can provide some guidance on the available tools that match your comfort level.

I feel comfortable with chalk boards and the telephone.

See the Guidelines for Implementing Resources section for details on telephone-based communications.

In addition to Stockton e-mail, there are a multitude of free tools that can be used to keep lines of comunication open between faculty and their students during an emergency situation:

  • Zoom Teleconferencing - faculty and students may create Zoom meeting that allow dial-in teleconferencing.
  • Remind - a popular group messaging app used widely in K-12 environments.
  • Groupme - another popular group messaging app
  • Slack - an online messaging and collaboration tool

Additionally, if your students are comfortable sharing this information, you may collect phone numbers for calls or group texting.

Think about how your students may be impacted by a regional disaster like a hurricane or forest fire. Do your students still have computers, Internet access, course materials, and textbooks? Are you or your students dependent on campus resources that might be inaccessible? How will you handle deadlines? How will reduced student participation impact your online learning activities?

Synchronous Lectures

Tools:  Zoom

Techniques: Using a laptop/desktop web browser, Zoom may be accessed through the Blackboard system. Using a modern web browser or the Zoom mobile app, Zoom may be accessed using smart mobile devices. [The apps are available from the Apple iTunes app store and the Google Play store at no charge for Stockton community members.] Students can communicate with the presenter by voice (Internet connection or telephone), chat, and polls. This tool is also helpful in situations where some students may be present on campus, but others are not able to reach campus.  Your computer screen may be shared so that students see live what you see and what you are doing. Remote students can also share their desktops. 

This tool enables students to interact in real time. Online chats/conversations do require some management. Be sure to establish ground rules and etiquette prior to an online chat.  Prior to moving to Zoom share the setup instructions with your students found on Zoom's website.  Students can also test their Zoom settings prior to attending a meeting by joining a test meeting at

Asynchronous Lectures

Tools: Files can be shared via Blackboard, a personal webpage, or a blog.
Note: Materials posted on a web page or blog will be accessible to the world. If you wish to protect your intellectual property and your students’ rights under FERPA, choose an option that requires your students to login with username and password.

Techniques: Post presentations, images, web links, documents, videos or sound files. Those comfortable with technology may wish to use an audio recording program such as Audacity or Garage Band. Record lectures or other audio material and upload it to a file sharing location. Create a screencast using a tool like Camtasia, voice-over PowerPoint, or Zoom and host it on Google Drive or within Blackboard.

You have a number of options for recording your lecture or your lecture slides. A recorded lecture or slide presentation can be shared with your students, for instance, by uploading it to Google Drive or directly to your course site on Blackboard or Canvas. 

  1. Zoom: You may use Zoom as a recording tool, and record a lecture that your students watch later. For instructions on how to use Zoom, see Pedagogical and Technical Help

  2. Record a narrated PowerPoint presentation: Open the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint, and enable the Play Narrations checkbox. Click the Record Slide Show button to enter the slideshow mode, which will automatically begin recording. When complete, click the End Slide Show button at the top left of the screen. To export your recording as a movie file, select File > Export … and select MP4 from the File Format dropdown menu. Make sure the Use Recorded Timings and Narrations checkbox are enabled.

  3. Record a narrated Keynote presentation: From the Play menu in Keynote, select Record Slideshow. This will enter a slideshow mode with recording controls visible at the bottom of the screen. Before starting your recording, watch the audiometer while speaking to verify that your microphone is working. Use the red Record button at the bottom of the slideshow to begin and end your recording session. To export your recording as a movie file, select File > Export to > Movie … and select Slideshow Recording from the Playback dropdown menu. 

  4. Record your camera’s video feed (on macOS): Open the QuickTime application and select File > New Movie Recording. Click the dropdown arrow next to the red Record button and verify the correct camera and microphone inputs are selected. Click the Record button to begin, and the Stop button at the same location to end the recording. Select File > Save and select a location to save your file.

  5. Record your camera’s video feed (Windows): At the bottom-right of the Windows taskbar, right-click the Volume icon and select Recording Devices, choosing your desired microphone input. Open the Camera application and click the Video button on the right side of the application’s window, located directly above the large Photo button.  Press the Video button once more to begin recording, and the red Stop button to end recording. Recordings are saved to your Pictures > Camera Roll folder.

  6. Record your screen and voice (Windows): In Windows 10: Recording the screen in Windows 10 relies upon a Windows feature meant to record games. Once in the application, you wish to record, press the Windows key + G. (If nothing happens when you press Windows key + G, you may first need to download the free Xbox GameBar app from the Windows Store.) The finished recording will appear in the Videos folder on your PC. For more detailed instructions, see this reference. If the microphone is greyed out once you open the GameBar, follow the prompts to the settings, and give microphone permissions to the Xbox GameBar app. Windows 8+: Download the free Open Broadcaster Software.  This QuickStart guide to OBS will help to set up your computer for audio and video recording,

  7. Record your screen and voice (Linux): Download the free Open Broadcaster Software. This QuickStart guide to OBS will help to set up your computer for audio and video recording,


Technology enables you to have a synchronous (same time) discussion or an asynchronous (anytime) discussion. 

Synchronous Discussion

Tools:  Zoom

Techniques:  Using a laptop,desktop, or mobile device, Zoom may be accessed by all Stockton Students. Zoom is available to download from the Apple iTunes App store and the Google Play Store. Students can communicate with the presenter by voice (Internet connection or telephone), and chat. 

This tool enables students to interact in real time. Online chats/conversations do require some management. Be sure to establish ground rules and etiquette prior to an online chat. A Blackboard Collaborate chat may be archived for future reference.

Asynchronous Discussion  

Tools: Blackboard, blog

Techniques: For larger classes (i.e., thirty-five or more students) break the students into smaller groups (5 to 10 students each) to assure that all students can easily participate and their individual voices are heard. If you are using Blackboard, the group manager can be used to organize students into small groups. Blackboard Discussion topics can be configured as either threaded or blog style discussion. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your discussions. With a little bit of planning you can use online discussions for debates, role playing, and simulations.


Tools: Blackboard, email

Techniques: The Blackboard Assignment tool can be used to distribute and collect homework individual student projects. Alternatively, students may send files as email attachments. Please be aware that the maximum attachment size is 10MB.

Quizzes, Exams, and Other Assessments

Tools: Blackboard

Techniques: The Blackboard Test and Survey tool provides support for administering anonymous surveys and graded quizzes. Many different question formats are available (e.g., multiple choice, short answer, essay, matching). The Test and Survey tool provides a number of useful options to help minimize this risk of student cheating. A pre-specified number of questions may be chosen at random from a larger question set. Answers on individual multiple choice questions may be presented in a random order.

Tools: Acrobat, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Blackboard Assignment tool

Techniques: For assignments where significant instructor feedback is to be provided, Blackboard Inline Grading provides comment and annotation functionality for files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF format.

If desired, assignment files may also be downloaded via the Blackboard Grade Center for review and comment on a personal computer.

If you collect assignments via email attachment or download the assignment files, Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Professional provide mechanisms for commenting and marking up documents. In Word you can use “Insert Comment” or “Track Changes”. In Excel, you can use "Insert Comment" or "Track Changes". In PowerPoint, you can use "New Comment". In Adobe Acrobat, use the Comments tool.


Determine in advance activities that you can assign to your students to be completed virtually or with readily available materials. Examples include:

  • Virtual science lab activities that may be available through your textbook publisher’s website.
  • If designed with safety in mind, students may be able to conduct an experiment in their own home or dorm room.
  • Students in a performance class could watch/listen to and critique broadcast or recorded performances.