Create a Blog
Create a blog that can host class material and facilitate class discussions, have your students create blogs too. Add your student’s blog links to your page so that everyone has access to each other’s blogs. This creates a classroom community.
- Go to http://www.blogger.com/
- Follow the steps on the Blogger.com page to create an account
- If you have a gmail account, use that login information to create the blog.
- If you don’t have a gmail account, use the email address you would like students to
Create a Wiki
Create collaborative web pages for you and your students to edit, post, and comment about topics using “wiki technology.”
- Go to http://www.pbwiki.com/
- Fill out the information in the "Get Started for Free" area.
Paper-Based and/or Excel Gradebook
If you use Blackboard to track your grades, think about:
- Setting up a back-up spreadsheet in Excel that will store and calculate your grades, OR
- Track grades in a paper gradebook, or a simple notebook. This is a fantastic backup if all your technology fails!
Find Good Online Resources
If Blackboard is down, you can still have your students access the internet. Have a few websites that contain information they will be learning about for each lesson. If Blackboard is down, have the students go to these websites and discuss their findings in your new class blog!
Keep Student Contact Information “Offline”
Make sure to have current contact information for your students that is not “housed” in Blackboard. Keep a paper copy of student emails and phone numbers and one that is on your computer hard drive and/or a thumb drive. This will allow you to either email or call your students to inform them of your “Plan B.”
Always Keep Course Information in Multiple Places
You never know what technology won’t be working when you need it. Keep your course materials on a thumb drive, a CD, and on your computer. Make it a habit when you update your assignments or other course materials to also update each location that “houses” these materials. If you create a Google account: https://www.google.com/accounts/Login, you can upload documents and other course materials in the Google Docs area. This will allow you to access materials from any computer in any location.
Explore Additional Online Learning Environments
Make sure there are other places for your students to meet and learn online. These places should be in addition to Blackboard, not necessarily used only when Blackboard is down. Below is a list of free open-source online environments that have potential usage in the college classroom (please note that these environments can be private for only your class to see and interact within).
- https://www.google.com/accounts/Login: Access to blogger (blog), document and spreadsheet sharing, discussion groups, etc…
- http://www.myspace.com/: Access to a blog, image posting, and collaboration…