In a research bulletin titled Being Prepared for Technology Snow Days, EDUCAUSE states that, "institutions and instructors should assume that technology will occasionally fail." Though written in 2002, this advice is applicable today. The EDUCAUSE document is advice for faculty.
Creative Commons image by Adam Smith.
What about your students? Consider an event like a hurricane or snowstorm that might affect power and Internet connections. What do you do for students when technology fails in your online or hybrid course? How will you calm your students? The following advice, also available in PDF format, is a good resource to post for students in your online or hybrid course.
Tell your students:
We rely tremendously on digital technologies for eLearning courses. As you know, technology is not always 100% reliable. Please print these instructions and keep them handy.
First and foremost *Remain Calm*
The Canvas servers rarely experience unscheduled downtime. As with any technology, it is possible that the system could go down, but highly unlikely. The following steps can help you prepare for any issues.
- Print your syllabus and keep it handy on the first day of class; make note of your instructor's email and phone.
- Make sure your file really is attached to your assignment drop box or discussion post.
- To prevent server traffic jams, submit your work an hour or more before the deadline.
- If you double checked your assignment is attached and turned it in on time, assume that it was received. Do not email your instructor and ask if it was received. If you are worried, you can check your Canvas course grades to see if your assignment was received. You will be able to see what you submitted.
- If you cannot submit your assignment *remain calm*.
- Check the NCTC Home Page for notices of any Internet outages on campus.
- In such cases you should still be able to access Canvas off campus.
- Check the eCampus Help Desk and eCampus twitter for notices of any Canvas outages.
- If you can’t access Canvas either on campus or off campus.
- Notify your instructor if you are having difficulty. Refer to the syllabus you printed for contact info.
- If you cannot access the Internet, check for local issues with your Internet Service Provider.
Submit your assignment using an alternative method if you cannot do so in Canvas.
Do only one of the following. Be sure and check the syllabus you printed for any specific instructions on alternate methods of submitting assignments.
- Attach and send your assignment via Internet email ONLY if your instructor has indicated this is acceptable.
- Send a hard copy via overnight mail to your instructor’s office. The syllabus should contain department information and an office number. Call and check to make sure someone can accept your assignment.
- Call the department and see if you can fax the assignment. Bear in mind that a fax could run out of paper on a weekend if large documents are sent.
- Hand deliver your assignment. Note that some buildings are closed on Sundays and Holidays.
As a final note, Canvas has support who are able to fix problems quickly. Try to maintain a sense of humor through technology blips. Canvas support wants to help you solve your issues.