The Sheridan Teaching and Learning Continuity Kit serves to outline academic continuity options via SLATE which provides the online learning platform for Sheridan users; faculty and students.

Academic / Educational Continuity Plans

These plans are often referred to as academic or educational continuity plans. Academic continuity refers to the continuation of academic services in the event of all or parts of instructional sites and spaces being closed or unavailable.[1] Educational continuity is different from disaster recovery planning as it is a response to brief, unexpected disruptions to typical academic operations.[2]

For Consideration

  • Online Synchronous (at a specific time) versus Asynchronous (anytime) Activities
    • During periods of disruption asynchronous activities are preferred and recommended over synchronous activities, focus on simplicity and reliability.
    • Here is a very good reference – Videoconferencing Alternatives
    • Synchronous activities (E.g. Web / Virtual Classrooms) should be considered only when absolutely necessary and limited wherever possible.  Be creative and consider alternatives.
    • The same disruption impacting our institution is impacting others:
      • Instructors and Learners may:
        • Have issues accessing technology and their own personal technology
        • Issues with networks and access to the internet
        • Have increased demands on their time and schedules
      • Technology providers may:
        • Experience network disruptions
        • Have load / performance issues due to heightened demand
        • Unforeseen impacts affecting their services
    • All of these factors encourage us to consider alternatives (start simple and familiar and move to complex):
      • Choose simpler content options and post online
        • E.g. PDF, Word, Powerpoint, Text
      • Support with an online discussion or other forms of engagement
      • Pre-record lectures / content and post online
        • Short and simple are preferred
      • If you use a Web / Virtual Classroom approach be prepared with a back up plan
  • Focus on the completion of the semester
    • Based on where you are in the semester focus on completing your learning objectives
    • Focus on the remaining outstanding activities to complete the semester
    • Faculty should approach this transition to online learning as a complete process, versus, necessitating a fully online course development
  • Focus on tools and approaches that are familiar to yourself and your students[i]
    • Adopt new tools only when necessary
      • g. If you are familiar with PowerPoint focus on this for content
    • Learning new technologies and procedures might be counterproductive, particularly in the short term, unless there is a clear benefit.
  • Identify your new expectations for students[ii]
    • Reconsider some of your expectations for students:
      • Participation
      • Communication
      • Deadlines
    • Be prepared to adapt and adjust some of these expectations
      • Be prepared to handle requests for extensions or accommodations


[1] (Clemson University, 2020)

[2] (Brightspace / D2L, 2020)

[i] (Laurentian University, 2020)

[ii] (Laurentian University, 2020)

[iii] (Inside Higher Ed, 2020)