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Contingency Checklist for Online Teaching During Emergency Closures

Below is a checklist to help you during an emergency instructional situation where you may not have the opportunity to teach on-site with your students.  You may choose to utilize the Blackboard learning management system (LMS) to ensure that you can deliver your course content and engage with your students in a secure environment supported by FSC Distance Learning and Open SUNY ITEC.

Finding and Logging Into Blackboard LMS:

  • Go to
  • Click on myFSC at the top right corner.
  • Login with FSC credentials.
  • Click on "Blackboard Learn" from the left navigation menu on the next page.
  • Once the Blackboard page opens, click on the "FSC Login" icon in the middle of the page to be logged in.
  • From there, click on "Courses" to see your course site(s).
  • Video: “Logging into Blackboard” a video tutorial is available with step-by-step instructions on how to log into Farmingdale State College’s Blackboard LMS.

Faculty Resources:

Student Resources to Share:

Please share the following with your students as they transition to online learning:

  • Student Resources for Learning Online:
  • Student FAQ's about Online Learning:
  • SUNY Online Support Services Help Desk:
  • Student Hotline: The Dean of Students office has established a Hotline to answer questions about the resources available to you during the coronavirus emergency. You can reach the Hotline at 934-420-5500 between 9:00 am-5:00 pm Monday thru Friday.

SUNY Center for Professional Development is offering remote teaching clinics on the following topics:

• Blackboard Tips and Tricks
• Communicating with Students in Blackboard
• Blackboard Interface Overview and General Settings
• Creating Discussions and Drop-box Assignments in Blackboard
• Creating Exams in Blackboard
• Blackboard Grade Center
• Live Remote (Synchronous) Lecturing Options: Collaborate
• New Workplace User- Quick Training
• Planning for Digital Accessibility in Remote Teaching

These and other workshops/videos are available:

Virtual Training for Blackboard, Collaborate, and Panopto with FSC Instructional Designers:

Blackboard Basics/Collaborate Training for Faculty:

  • By appointment
  • This is a link to the Introduction to Blackboard & Collaborate workshop recording –OR copy and paste the link in your browser:

Using Collaborate Ultra Only Training for Faculty:

  • By appointment 
  • This is a link to the Collaborate Ultra workshop recording –OR copy and paste the link in your browser:

Using Panopto Training for Faculty:

  • By appointment 
  • This is a link to the Panopto workshop recording –OR copy and paste the link in your browser:

Steps for Getting Started in Blackboard:





Email to request access to the FAR 101: Introduction to Blackboard self-guided training site. 

Upon accessing FAR 101 you will have access to the following resources:

  1. Learning Modules menu item to learn how to set-up your course site, add/upload content, create assignments and discussion forums.
  2. Emergency Course Planning Resources link and How-To Videos for brief tutorials 
  3. Additional Resources menu item to access helpful College resources that can be shared with students in your class/syllabus

Login is required with FSC credentials into Blackboard and must be enrolled into FAR 101

by emailing


Locate and access your course site(s) in Blackboard


Upload/Post your course syllabus to your course site(s)


Upload two weeks worth of course materials to your course sites (lectures, presentations, slides


Create an announcement for your students to let them know about anything important related to course updates, upcoming deadlines, etc. 


Create an assignment for your course in Blackboard where students can upload work to you for grading 


Use Collaborate to schedule real-time virtual meetings with your students; record and post sessions for review  


Create discussion forums in your course site to engage with your students on any topics that you want to cover for your course

You can also view these directions as step-by-step screenshots in the presentation that is covered in the Distance Learning training.

After you have completed these steps, please email the Office of Distance Learning at for follow-up OR if you have any issues with any of these steps, please contact us.  Due to increased volume, we will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner.  

Emergency Course Planning:

Other things to consider as you plan your course for online in the case of emergency closures:

  • You will be successful since you already have the technologies (Blackboard) to develop simple communication forums and upload content
  • Student rosters and emails are already integrated within Blackboard course sites and you have access by logging into Blackboard 
  • Effectively communicate with your students online to help students’ expectations and to communicate updates, changes, and other relevant information
  • Keep grades and feedback consistent and timely to students.  It is recommended that student emails/communications be responded to within 24 hours and assignments are graded within 7 days.  

General Principles: 

Before you begin transitioning course plans and materials for remote instruction, please consider the following general principles: 

  • Prepare your students:  let them know early if you plan to conduct class remotely during emergency closure
  • Communicate often:  cultivate instructor presence with students in the course; this is one of the most important factors in successful online teaching.
  • Focus on learning outcomes:  you may need to adjust activities that contribute towards those outcomes in the online format, however, you should keep students moving towards them and avoid any “busy work”.
  • Prioritize course activities:  focus on delivering activities with the most impact on learning outcomes.
  • Maintain normal course scheduling:  you can utilize Collaborate Ultra to hold synchronous activities, but please do not penalize students who cannot participate.  Record sessions and post for students to view later.
  • Consult your divisional dean/chair:  about any division-specific considerations.
  • Use tools that are familiar:  to you and the students, to the greatest extent possible.

Technology Summary:

  • Post Course Materials: Blackboard Learning Management System: upload course material, engage with students, post/email announcements for classes, accept assignments, and facilitate assessments/exams.
  • Schedule Real-Time Virtual Sessions and Record: Collaborate Ultra: real-time video conferencing tools that lets you add files, share applications/screen, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. You can record sessions and make available for viewing.
  • Use Live Online Proctors for Exam Integrity: ProctorU can be used for online exam proctoring service that provides live online proctoring services to ensure integrity.

Guidelines to Help Maintain Instructional Continuity

(Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education “Going Online in a Hurry: What to do Where to Start”)

1.  Begin by going over your course assignments for the coming weeks. Are they accessible online, so that students can find the instructions and materials that they need? Is it clear how students will be turning in their work? Have deadlines changed, and are all of those deadlines prominently posted?

Tips from the DL Team:  

  • Utilize Announcements in your Blackboard sites to keep students abreast of upcoming important dates for assignments, exams, virtual sessions.
  • Set up a course schedule for the next few weeks and post it in your Blackboard course site so that students can plan ahead.

2.  How will you give feedback on their progress? Consider how students will be able to practice the key skills and objectives you want them to get out of the course — things they would normally do in class. How will you give them opportunities for practice and feedback, for both small-stakes and high-stakes assignments? Undoubtedly those opportunities will be different from what they were before you moved the class online. Just be sure that it’s very clear how students can access those opportunities.

Tips from the DL Team:  

  • As mentioned previously, provide communication and feedback in a timely manner; within 24 hours for email communications; no more than 7 days for assignments/exams from time of submission

3.  Then, move on to the in-class experience.  What do you normally use your in-class time for? Try to define what you do in class at a higher, more goal-oriented level (e.g., presentation of content, checking for understanding, collaborative project work — instead of just saying "lecture," "quiz," "discussion"). If you keep those goals in mind, you will have a better idea of how to achieve them online, as well as what aspects of the in-class experience you ought to focus on simulating.

Tips from the DL Team:

  • Consider offering virtual sessions using Bb Collaborate to create a rich online community; be sure to record your sessions and post for those students who cannot attend synchronously.

4.  Decide what you’re going to do about any high-stakes assessments, particularly exams.  There are no easy answers here, especially if you planned to have a good chunk of a student’s grade hinge on what would have been a proctored, in-person test. Perhaps you could take another route to summative assessment for the course, such as replacing a big supervised test with some type of project that is easier to personalize and less dependent on proctoring.

Tips from the DL Team:

  • Utilize Blackboard exam feature to assist with creating exams with options such as timed exams, shuffled questions, etc. 
  • Consider utilizing online proctoring for high stakes assessments/exams.  The College has acquired the services of ProctorU is a live online proctoring service for online proctoring of exams and assignments. ProctorU is available 24/7 however; students will need to schedule a proctoring session at least 72 hours in advance to avoid any on demand scheduling fees.

5.  Consider the course materials.  In all likelihood, your readings and other materials exist in digital form, and you may have posted them already. But you’ll need to double-check that any readings, videos, problem sets, quizzes, and the like are accessible, along with key documents such as the course syllabus and calendar.

Tips from the DL Team:

  • Consider using LinkedIn Learning to curate digital course materials based on thousands of available videos across different subjects/topics.  The platform is free for all FSC faculty and students logging in with FSC credentials.  

6.  Once you’ve dealt with those things, the name of the game is communication.  In the face of all this uncertainty, you need to explain — as clearly as you can and in a variety of places — what students can expect about the course in the next few weeks. Be sure to cover what it is that students are responsible for doing, how they can find the things they need to meet those responsibilities, and what they should do first. Make sure the lines of communication are two-way, as well. When in doubt, offer more ways to get in touch with you (text, messaging app, email, video call), not fewer.

Tips from the DL Team:

  • Set a communication policy early on and make it clear to your students about how long they can typically expect to hear back from you regarding questions, grading, feedback, etc.
  • Log into your Blackboard course site several times a week and be sure to establish a virtual presence by posting in the forums, giving feedback, and responding to student inquiries.

Getting Help:

The Office of Distance Learning is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM: 934-420-5300 or email

For additional help you can also contact Open SUNY Helpdesk:  available Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 12 AM; Saturdays from 10 AM to 5 PM; Sundays 1 PM to 9 PM: 1-844-673-6786 (1-844-OPENSUNY) or email

General resources to support online teaching through Open SUNY are available here:

SUNY Online also offers the following services to individual campuses that may be helpful. Contact Kim Scalzo at to learn more:

  • Guidance, consultation, mentoring to campus staff, including academic administrators, instructional designers, and student support staff
  • Success coaching or Concierge Services for online students
  • Instructional design as a service

distance learning

Greenley Hall
Monday-Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Last Modified 2/22/24