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Campus Closure and Academic Continuity. Sloan-C International Symposium Carefree, Arizona Thursday, May 8, 2008 Palo Verde I, 1:05 – 2:05 p.m . Live and Learn. Introductions. Ray Schroeder Professor Emeritus of Communication Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning

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campus closure and academic continuity
Campus Closure and Academic Continuity

Sloan-C International Symposium

Carefree, Arizona

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Palo Verde I, 1:05 – 2:05 p.m.

Live and Learn


Ray Schroeder

Professor Emeritus of Communication

Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning

University of Illinois at Springfield

Don Spicer

ECAR Senior Fellow & Assoc Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, University System of Maryland

Adelphi, MD

Bruce Chaloux

Director, Student Access Programs & the Electronic CampusSouthern Regional Education BoardAtlanta, GA

Janet Moore

Chief Learning Officer, The Sloan Consortium






rescue, relief



Threat review

Emergency Notification



IT data backup

Administrative Services

Emergency Operations

Disaster planning

Disaster Recovery



Campus Safety and Security



IT Systems

Institutional Resilience

Student readiness


Faculty readiness

Mode of instruction


Academic Continuity


Learning Mgmt System

Scalable courses


Special needs populations

effective practices for academic continuity from three perspectives
effective practices for academic continuity from three perspectives

Course and program

Institution and infrastructure

Region, nation





Campus lock-down (?)



2300 Ci Cs-137

3000 lbs ANFO

Dose Distribution


Academic mission

Reputation, ‘culture of readiness’

Survivability, sustainability

Enhancing routine operations

live and learn campus closure and academic continuity

Live and Learn: Campus Closure and Academic Continuity

Program and Course Level

Ray Schroeder

University of Illinois at Springfield

program and course level
program and course level

Preparedness begins at the course and program level

Without preparation and participation by the faculty member, no plan can succeed

From a student perspective, the course is the building block of the degree

Preparations must extend to every faculty member, course and program

course level students
course level (students)

We take for granted that students can easily navigate LMS and Web 2.0 – not always the case

At UIS this fall 48.5% of the students are taking at least one online class – 73.4% of the grads last spring had an online class

Blackboard created for every class – used in approximately 85%

Building familiarity among students

course level students12
course level (students)

Best practices:

Develop a student orientation program in which all students are taught the technology tools which are used to deliver classes online

Encourage all students to use the course management system, web conferencing for discussions, access to course syllabus, etc.

Assure that students are experienced with the technology before an emergency occurs

course level faculty
course level (faculty)

Faculty members need to be facile with the technology before the crisis occurs

One time trainings just don’t do the job

Daily use of the LMS, web conferencing, and related technologies

Build the tools into the class – blend some portion of your classes

Put class materials in LMS or content management system (saves on copying!)

course level faculty14
course level (faculty)

Best practices:

Use the electronic tools regularly – they are efficient, less expensive, and green

Store content on the LMS or Content Management System

Try blending at least a portion of your classes so students and faculty members build electronic rapport

Build relationship with faculty members at other institutions – use virtual guest lectures

course level faculty15
course level (faculty)

Prepare for alternative approaches to teaching – outside the LMS

wikis, blogs, e-mail, telephone

See what Farleigh Dickenson University is doing:

program level chair
program level (chair)

Advising and detailed records are kept at the program level

Too many departments still have a row of file cabinets with hanging files

Assessment records, coursework samples, syllabi are too often in paper form

Student major records, contact information and program plans are on paper

Program computers are not regularly backed-up off campus

program level chairs
program level (chairs)

Best practices:

Keep your records electronically – more efficient, economical, and environmental

Back-up all computers off campus or at least to an electronic storage facility elsewhere –

ICCN is 400 Gbps 500 mile loop linking three campuses – SCSI arrays and VM servers

Develop collegial relationships with analogous departments at other universities

an institutional perspective

an institutional perspective

Donald Spicer

Assoc. Vice Chancellor, Univ. System of Maryland

Senior Fellow, Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR)

background of my perspective
background of my perspective

I am a Chief Information Officer for a System

I have had similar positions on campuses

As an ECAR fellow I have participated in studies related to emergency response, disaster recovery, business continuity

I recently participated in writing an ECAR Research Bulletin on new views toward these issues, focusing on UMUC as a model of an institution that understands the need for continuity of operation

it organization perspectives
IT organization perspectives

IT organizations typically have long experience in continuity of operations

Driven by many institutional processes depending on IT

Auditors look closely at these processes

Traditional IT disaster recovery views

About data center operation

Prepare for flood, fire, electrical outage, human error, etc.

Preparing to react

Plan, design redundancy and backup, train, test, etc.

institutional business continuity
institutional business continuity

Historically focused on business functions

ECAR study [Shelter from the Storm: IT and Business Continuity in Higher Education (Yanosky, 2007)]

The message of the study: Strong incentives, limited resources

Business continuity unthinkable without continuity of IT operations

Institutions invest in emergency response teams, but do not make substantive investments

IT is often involved in continuity planning with business units, much less so with that of academic units

pandemic flu may be different
pandemic flu may be different

The scope of discussions likely to be institution wide. Recognition that the institution may be closed for a substantial time

Within our System, there was preliminary discussion of continuing the academic program via ALN

Only a couple of our institutions have a hope of doing this



Institutionally LMSs are broadly used

Have a substantial number of faculty who have course support already in a LMS

Students substantially use LMSs in their courses

Again, for course support


Typically faculty don’t have enough of the course online for offering entire course

Laboratory Courses are generally not doable without substantial revision

Have no plans or triggers or communication plans to switch to fully online delivery in case of closure

additional factors
additional factors

While many faculty are trained to use the tools for online learning, many aren’t

Faculty support is not easily scaled up

It will be hard to justify more investment in faculty development support for this purpose outside of an actual emergency

other issues
other issues

Many institutions have no systems in place for fully online students for assessment, advising, text books, etc. that would be needed if the closure is long term.

There may be policy issues that need to be resolved a priori in order to change a course to fully online from some other mode

more factors
more factors

While we are talking about fairly abstract plans and processes, experience has shown that everything depends on people at the time---and in an emergency they will have conflicting demands

We still have to deal with an attitude of “we do things the way we do them”

Runs counter to developing collaboration and sharing

can we discuss and resolve these
can we discuss and resolve these?

Katrina was regionalized and was 2 years ago. Many say “it can’t happen here”

Pandemic Flu certainly caught attention but the wind has gone out of those sails

Institutions are overwhelmed by immediate issues

Crisis notification being the immediate emergency concern

Spellings Commission issues

This all seems like buying insurance


Academic continuity either institutionally (with a few exceptions), regionally, or nationally is not going to happen spontaneously.

While it is important that plans be developed, promoted, and implemented, someone (or organization) is going to have to take the lead

an emerging consideration
an emerging consideration
  • Green or sustainability efforts are gaining prominence
    • Will encourage much more working at a distance
      • Teleworking for faculty and staff
      • Hybrid and ALN classes
    • As these take hold, much more network based engagement by faculty and students
final thoughts about another approach altogether
final thoughts about another approach altogether

Implications of ECAR Research Bulletin

Articulates a principle of “Resilience”

Design sustainability of operation into everything you do and be willing to pay to implement it

Quite different than the reactive approach of the past----disaster recovery

Much easier to discuss in IT, though not widely adopted even there

Need to start with the premise that “we are going to be out of operation for an extended period of time----how will we survive as an academic institution?”

Bruce Chaloux

Director, Student Access Program and the Electronic Campus

Southern Regional Education Board

A Regional and National


regional national efforts a key to survival
regional/national effortsa key to survival?

Local campus and system-wide efforts and actions are essential to maintaining continuity of operations but…

Your relationships, partnerships and connections to regional and national organizations might get you through a crisis

Why regional and national efforts are key

What we learned from Katrina -- seven strategies/actions you should take

why regional and national efforts are key
why regional and national efforts are key

It can extend your network of assistance

It can operate when you can’t

It can mobilize resources and get them to you or

You can move your students/operations to them

It can help sustain academic continuity for students

It can serve as a “bridge” for students from your institution back to your institution

lessons learned
lessons learned

There are a large number of good people in the higher education community. The fact that so many institutions would come forward to offer their courses for free, and that so many faculty would take on an additional class with only a small stipend, speaks volumes about the high quality of these institutions and their staff.

lessons learned36
lessons learned

Given the right set of circumstances, you CAN cut through academic “red tape” to get things done. Given a common goal and purpose, you CAN build an “institution” in three weeks.

We need to build on the Sloan Semester effort and establish a national system that will be ready to respond to the next inevitable disaster.

strategy one
strategy one

Develop academic emergency plans as facility/IT plans are being formulated

Faculty Component

Administrative Component

Student Component

Focus on re-establishing or continuing academic activities/services

strategy two
strategy two

Develop a plan for re-establishing institutional Web sites…fast

Clear evidence from Sloan Semester that academic communities turned (attempted to in any event) to their web sites

Have a back-up hosting site

Develop a system for approving messages

strategy three
strategy three

Develop student continuation plans—online learning should be a key component

Migrating courses to online format

Course continuation strategies

Course sharing arrangements

It is difficult to develop online courses or to undertake faculty training in a crisis

strategy four
strategy four

Develop a set of guiding policies and obtain policy commitments. Include…

“Admission” to another institution

Tuition and fees

Financial Aid

Credit transfer/recognition

Course completion/extension of terms

strategy five
strategy five

Establish and have ready online repositories of courses…join now



State and system online initiatives

strategy six
strategy six

Design an academic “buddy system”

“Partner” with another institution(s)

Student services/support

Faculty (joint course development)

IT back-up/sharing

Strengthen relationships

Sloan C, NUTN, ADEC, others

strategy seven
strategy seven

Once you have developed a disaster recovery/continuation plan, don’t hide it!!!

Make it known to the community

Review and revise regularly

Provide access to it in an emergency


Academic Continuity-Emergency Management Workshop Report (and resources)

Sloan Semester

Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery

Changing Ideas of Campus Disaster Recovery: Designing Resiliency into Systems, Suresh Balakrishnan, Robert "Rob" Sapp, Eric Spangler, Donald Z. Spicer, EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, Volume 2007:20 20

College checklist for pandemic flu

Fairleigh Dickinson University Faculty Quick Start Guide

Learning After Loss

Shelter from the Storm: IT and Business Continuity in Higher Education (Yanosky, 2007)