In the event an inclement weather closure, follow these guidelines for migrating your course or part of your course from on-ground to online.

Who you are as an instructor on-ground is who you are as an instructor online.

Best Practices

  • Adapt Your Course Schedule

    The tools available to you in D2L will allow you and your students to successfully adapt your course schedule in light of shifts to the online environment.

    When migrating an on-ground class to an online one, you may chose to give your planned lectures synchronously in the online environment. This means that even though students are no longer meeting in-person on-campus, they could be meeting online in the course shell at the same time that their on-ground course was scheduled. Keeping your scheduled meeting time will help students maintain their daily schedules while also maintaining course interaction.

  • Ramp Up Communication

    When meeting with students on-ground, many instructors rely on in-class announcements to keep students on track and alert them of upcoming deadlines. In the online environment, increasing communication through the use of the news tool, email, and links in the content section of your course will increase student success and ease of access. Increasing rate of communication and diversifying modes of communication amplifies your message and increases student interaction.

  • Use What You Have

    Migrating a course or portions of a course mid-semester from an on-ground mode to an online one can seem daunting. However, maintaining the course assignments and assessments without major alterations to either their form or function will increase continuity and student success rates. So use what you have! You may need to make minor changes to the method of submission (using a dropbox instead of turning in a hard copy), but they should be minimal.


When teaching in the online environment, consistent communication with students is imperative. In order for students to work effectively online, you need to communicate wiht your students regularly and clearly. D2L has a variety of communication tools. The three most commonly used communication toosl are email, news/annonucements, and the discussion tool.

  • Email:
    D2L email is an internal system. This means that students and faculty can email one another within D2L, but communicating with external email accounts is not an option. Using D2L email for communication with students helps keep privileged student information and communication in one place.
  • News Items:
    Use the News tool to remind students of schedule changes and upcoming due dates. You can also utilize this tool to inform students to other changes to the course.
  • Discussion Board:
    The discussion board is a powerful tool for ensuring communication both between the student and the instructor and among students. You can create discussion forums where students can introduce themselves, post their overall questions about the course, and communicate with one another to answer each other's questions. Encourage students to interact with classmates by responding to others' posts. You can also use the discussion board to create evaluated discussion assignments (see Assessments below).


Much of your face-to-face classroom instruction has students interacting with content, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. “Content” includes the syllabus, course schedule, and handouts. It can also include reading assignments from assigned texts. The goal of a mid-semester shift to online learning is to ensure that all of the ways that you had planned for students to interact with content in the classroom be translated to the online environment while maintaining the course objectives and overall assignment design you had intended. Thus, course content and class activities can all be modified in some way and uploaded into modules in D2L.

Content in the online environment can also include virtual lectures where the instructor speaks to students in a live web room and, if applicable, shows their PowerPoints or any other screen images important to the lecture. Note: If you have a student who requires close captioning or a sign language interpreter, please contact the Access Center to discuss transferring these accommodations to the online environment. To begin the process of translating your on-ground content, assignments, and activities to the online environment, you will need to know how to:

  • Create Modules to organize content in your online course:
    Putting material into modules helps organize large amounts of information into manageable chunks for students. When transfering on-ground courses to the online environment, organize your modules by week. Keep all content and assessments for each week within the appropriate module.
  • Upload Files into Modules:
    Upload your syllabus, course schedule, lecture notes, handouts, and any other course material into modules in D2L. When uploading content, be mindful of how that content meets ADA requirements.
  • Broadcasting Lectures:
    Live broadcasting (using web conferencing) your lectures is an excellent way to use class time to stay connected to students while sharing instructional content. Our preferred tool for live meetings is Zoom. The free version of Zoom allows up to 40 minutes of broadcast time. (We are exploring options to extend this time.) See Zoom for more information on utilizing Zoom.


As an instructor, you have built in both formative and summative assessments to let students know how they are progressing in our courses. Formative assessments are quizzes and activities that do not count toward a student’s final grade. Summative assessments are quizzes and activities that do count toward a student’s final grade. Understanding the following tools will allow you to translate these assessments to the online environment:

  • Quiz Tool:
    D2L’s quiz tool allows instructors to create a variety of quiz questions, including multiple choice, ordering, matching, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and long answer.
  • Assignment Dropbox:
    D2L’s dropbox function allows students to submit files to their instructor up to 24.14 MB. Directing students to use dropboxes to set up assignments rather than submitting them via email will help streamline the submission process both for instructor and students.
  • Discussion Board:
    Many instructors use discussion boards as a place for students to demonstrate understanding of concepts and the ability to engage the ideas of their peers.

Additional Resources

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