There are a number of reasons that campus may close unexpectedly for a short or an extended period of time. Regardless of the reason, we need to be able to continue to provide the best educational experience possible given the closure. This site provides access to tips and tools for managing courses remotely if required due to a campus closure.

Faculty and staff should also review the resources in the Blackboard Course UT-FACOLSUPP. If you are teaching a course at UT and do not have access, please contact Gary Simon.

It is a good idea for you to have plans in place for your personal health and protection regardless of the type of emergency. There is a safety checklist available on SpartanWeb that can help you think of what you need to do to stay safe and to prepare your office space in case of a campus closure. While the checklist focuses most heavily on hurricane preparedness, there is relevant information for any type of emergency.

The Emergency Operations Team will be monitoring all situations and will communicate with the campus community through a variety of means.

Planning Ahead for Campus Closures and Emergencies We never know what might happen that will impact our ability to deliver our courses... more » close »

We never know what might happen that will impact our ability to deliver our courses on campus. Figuring out what to do when an emergency happens is stressful, and it can be difficult to implement appropriate strategies quickly. There are many things that faculty can do ahead of time to make the transition to managing a course remotely go more smoothly. The key is to think about what tools and techniques can be used to help you adjust your course to still meet the course objectives. The following list provides some things that you may want to consider:

  • How can I communicate with my students?
    • Consider email, Blackboard, group chat apps such as GroupMe or WhatsApp
    • Remember that depending on the reason for the closure, you or your students may not have easy access to laptops or desktop computers, so you may want to consider ways to use mobile apps
    • Make sure that students are aware ahead of time how you plan to communicate with them
  • How can I let students know about my expectations?
    • Make an electronic version of your syllabus available if you have not done so already
    • This can be done via email or Blackboard
    • Think about where you may need to adjust the schedule and how to highlight changes so that students can easily recognize them
  • How can I make sure students have the lectures, documents and readings that they need?
    • Create digital copies and provide by email, Blackboard, or a secure shared drive
    • There are mobiles apps, such as Genius Scan or others, that can be used to scan and upload documents without having a scanner available
    • Consider what resources you can use from the library databases – accessible through MyUTampa
    • Create narrated PowerPoints or VidGrid (accessible through MyUTampa) videos to post your lecture online – be sure to have them close captioned
    • Consider using Zoom for synchronous or recorded meetings
    • Are there YouTube videos that can be used to help convey content
    • Make sure that documents and videos meet accessibility guidelines or provide for accessible ways for students to have an equally effective means for learning and demonstrating the material when needed.
  • How can I collect student submissions?
    • Designate a way to collect submissions – and try to be as consistent as possible
    • Consider email, Blackboard or a secure shared drive
    • Students can use Genius Scan or other mobile scanners to submit a pdf of handwritten homework if that is needed
    • Consider using publisher provided online materials where appropriate
  • How can I manage class discussion?
    • Consider using discussion boards, wikis or blogs on Blackboard
    • Consider private groups on social media platforms
    • Consider using Zoom for class discussion
  • How can I manage virtual office hours or remote questions?
    • Consider using email, Blackboard or Zoom
    • Think about synchronous office hours vs. asynchronous responses and set student expectations
  • How can I give tests or quizzes online?
    • Consider using tests and surveys in Blackboard
    • Consider embedding quizzes within VidGrid video lectures
    • Consider using open source quizzing apps such as Socrative
    • Think about how you could use Qualtrics surveys
    • Think about whether you can use online quizzes or tests from the publisher
    • Testing accommodations: Please be mindful of students with accommodations when planning your quizzes/exams. If a student has presented you with a letter of accommodation that allows them extended time (either 50% or 100% additional time), please make sure to program your exam to allow the additional accommodation time for that student. This can be done in Blackboard using Test Availability Exceptions.
  • How can I provide grades and feedback to students?

Communication It is important to maintain communication channels between yourself and your students... more » close »

It is important to maintain communication channels between yourself and your students as well as yourself and the University administration. It is also important to provide ways for students to still interact with one another about the course.

  • Identify for yourself and your students the channels that the University will use to communicate with you during emergencies
    • Discuss in class before emergencies occur
    • Post an announcement in your Blackboard course with important links
    • Email students with important links
    • Read all global messages as well as messages from the academic administration – encourage your students to do the same
    • Make sure everyone is signed up for SMART Alerts
    • Messages will be sent by global email and posted on the UT homepage, Blackboard and through specialized alerts pages based on the situation
  • Make sure that your emergency contact information is up-to-date and encourage your students to do the same
  • If campus is closed, communicate early with your students so that they know what to expect for your course
  • Depending on the situation, you may want to request that students respond so that you know they are receiving the messages, i.e., severe weather, power outages, etc.
  • Blackboard, Zoom, private social media groups, chat apps can all be useful for communication as long as students are aware of your expectations
  • Be as encouraging and positive as you can – an emergency that causes a campus closure is stressful for all of us, but especially our students


Tips, Tools and Training There are a variety of ways to continue class remotely... more » close »

There are a variety of ways to continue class remotely. This section will provide some tips, tools and links to training to get you started. If you have examples of things that you have done that you would like to share, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning.


The University of Tampa provides a variety of training and support opportunities related to technology tools.

  •  Blackboard
    • Training through UT – UT has regularly planned webinars on various components of Blackboard – if you can’t make a training or you missed one that you are interested in, they have recordings and documents available
    • Service Desk Knowledge Base – access through MyUTampa (consider downloading the mobile app) – there are a number of articles that demonstrate how to use a variety of features in Blackboard
    • Blackboard Help
  • Zoom

    UT has purchased an Enterprise license for Zoom that is available through MyUTampa

    •  VidGrid
      • Access through MyUTampa
      • Training is available through the tutorials option once you have accessed the site
    • Microsoft Office 365
      • Microsoft Office 365 official training through Microsoft
      • You can also access a variety of Microsoft Office 365 training through Hoonuit located in MyUTampa
    •  Hoonuit
      • Access through MyUTampa
      • Relevant tutorials for students can be embedded in Blackboard – there is a tutorial in the Service Desk Knowledge Base


    • Using the discussion board in Blackboard for asynchronous discussion
      • Create forums for various course topics
      • Require students to respond to discussion prompts or videos
      • Require students to provide their own response to a discussion prompt or video before they can see other responses
      • Require students to respond to one another in depth
      • You can grade the discussion within the discussion board
      • Have student moderators that manage the discussion
      • Allow users to subscribe to forums or threads (and you can to) so that they are notified when there is a new post
      • Consider allowing students to tag or rate posts
    • Testing online
      • If you have students with accommodations for additional time, you can provide for that additional time within the Test Availability Exceptions. You can find tutorials on how to do this through the Service Desk Knowledge Base or through the Blackboard Instructor site.
    • Using groups within Blackboard to manage team projects
      • Group members can only see their team’s work
      • They can email, share files, have a private discussion board, use team wikis or blogs, create task lists or maintain a team journal
      • You can also create assignments that are submitted by group as opposed to by individual
    • Recording lectures and embedding questions
      • Use VidGrid to record lectures that students can watch later
      • Embed quiz questions to test learning as the students go
      • The quiz results can be automatically recorded in the gradebook
    • Use online publisher-based materials when appropriate
    • Use VidGrid to have students record responses to questions or discussion prompts