Teaching and Learning During Emergencies

This page will be continually updated as more information is added. Please check back! (Updated 8/18/2020 - Added SUNY resources section)

For Campus Status please check the DCC Updates Page. The information below is for faculty, should a situation arise that requires alternate delivery methods.

In the event of an emergency, the ability to teach courses on campus may be affected. This guide helps you identify alternatives to face-to-face instruction for use during situations when campus may be closed and teaching must take place fully online. Please contact tlc@sunydutchess.edu for assistance or more information. 

General Pre-Emergency Planning Tips for Faculty

At the beginning of each semester: 

  • View and update your class list information from your official class lists on myDCC. If you plan to use Blackboard, your students are automatically loaded into your Blackboard courses. You do not need to add students yourself.
  • Send your students a welcome email and Course Announcement in Blackboard that includes your contact information. Encourage students to keep the email until the end of the course.
  • Post your syllabus, schedule, and other important class documents to Blackboard. Remind students to download/save and print a copy of the syllabus. Include your contact information in the syllabus.
  • You may wish to offer your students multiple ways to contact you - Blackboard course messages, myDCC email, etc.
  • Backup copies of your teaching materials prior to the start of the semester in the event you are unable to access the files on myDCC/Blackboard. 

Resources from SUNY

SUNY Resources for Transitioning Online

SUNY Workshops and Recordings

Accessing your Desktop at Home

Faculty are able to access their work desktops from home using the Horizon VM Client. Instructions for accessing this client for both Macintosh and Windows computers are located below. We suggest that this client be used to access files and programs that are not accessible at home. We do not suggest streaming video, recording video, or doing live webcasts such as Zoom within the Horizon client. Video/audio will work better from your personal computer or mobile device.

Installing the Horizon Client for Windows
Installing the Horizon Client for Macintosh

 Video Information

Video Tips for DCC Faculty and Staff (Recorded by Eric Greenop)

Creating Super-Simple Videos for Teaching Online (Michael Wesch, Kansas State University)

How can I offer synchronous lectures/meetings for my students?

Collaborate Recording: Synchronous Methods Webinar (3/19/20) (56 minutes)

Zoom is a web conferencing application where many individuals can join the same meeting and share audio and video. It also allows for screen sharing and presentation mode. Free Zoom accounts allow anyone to set up sessions lasting up to 40 minutes. 

Equipment needed: 

  • Device with a good internet connection, preferably Wi-Fi (laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Headphones or earbuds (optional)
  • Microphone (if possible; a separate microphone can be better than your device’s built-in mic)
  • Web camera (optional, preferred for face-to-face contact)
  • More information about using Zoom can be found at the Zoom Help Center.

Instructions on Hosting a Meeting
Meeting Participant Instructions

Zoom Features: Using a Second Camera - If you have a second camera available to connect to your computer, you can use it as a document camera to possibly present written examples.
Zoom Features: Breakout Rooms - You can do small group rooms with your students on Zoom.
Zoom Features: Waiting Room - This feature allows you to put a queue on your Zoom meeting and allow participants in when you are ready.

Sending Messages to Participants in the Waiting Room

Participants do not need their own Zoom account to join a meeting. They can either install the app on their computer/tablet/phone to join a meeting, or they can join from a web browser.


Blackboard Collaborate is also a web meeting application where your class can join a synchronous session directly from your Blackboard course (on the web or on the Blackboard Mobile App). This software is available at DCC for the Fall and Spring 2020 Semester.

Faculty may access Collaborate from the "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra" link in the "Course Tools" section of your course menu. In order for students to access it from the web, you can point them towards the "Tools" menu, or you can add Collaborate as a "Tool Link" on your left-hand menu.

Adding a Tool Link for Collaborate in Your Course

By default, Collaborate creates an open "Course Room" for each course that can be used at any time. If you plan to use Collaborate in your course and would rather not allow your students access to the Course room unsupervised, you can find information on how to turn the room off at the following link.

Blackboard Help: The Course Room
Video: Working with the Collaborate Course Room

Collaborate Videos

Scheduling Collaborate Sessions
For Students: Joining a Collaborate Session

You can find more information at the Blackboard Help Center for Collaborate.

Blackboard Help: Moderating Sessions


How can I pre-record asynchronous lectures and videos for my students?

Collaborate Recording: Asynchronous Methods Webinar (3/17/20) (32 minutes)

YouTube allows you to record a video right on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and upload it directly to the video-sharing platform. You can opt to make your video public (accessible to anyone), private (only accessible to you), or unlisted (accessible to anyone who has the link). The TLC recommends that instructors upload course-related content, such as lectures, as unlisted. Users can control the availability of their YouTube uploads at their YouTube Studio dashboard. To share the recording with your students, you can provide the YouTube URL in your Blackboard course using the URL resource.

Uploading a Video to YouTube


Screencast-O-Matic allows you to record your screen with audio, a webcam with audio, or both the screen and a webcam with audio. It is used to create most of the video tutorials found on this page. This program is free and easy to use for tutorials, examples, assignment feedback, and any other screen recording you may need to do. A free account is provided hosting space for videos, which can be uploaded directly from within the recorder interface. The videos can also be saved as files or uploaded to YouTube. The free version can record videos up to 15 minutes long.

Beginners' Guide to the Free Screencast-o-Matic Video Recorder (From Screencast-o-Matic)

Blackboard Online Tool Information

Collaborate Recording: Basic Blackboard (3/17/20) (48 minutes)

How can I activate my Blackboard courses so students can see them if I haven't been using them?

Activating your Blackboard courses is simple, but you must do it for each course you plan to use, and you must do it each semester. 

Activating your Blackboard Course

How can I post course materials on Blackboard so my students can view them?

Posting course materials, Powerpoints, links, and other materials on Blackboard is a simple and easy way to make sure your students have access to them no matter where they are.

Creating Organizational Folders on Blackboard
Posting Files on Blackboard
Linking to Other Websites on Blackboard

How can I facilitate course discussions with my students digitally?

The Discussion Forum object provides an easy way to add discussions to your Blackboard course when you can’t meet face to face with your students. For whole class discussions on open ended topics, we recommend using Standard View. If you want students to provide their answer to a question first before seeing what other students have said, then you will want to choose "participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum."

Creating a Discussion Forum
For Students: Working with Discussion Forums (Recorded by Terri Burke)
Grading a Discussion Forum

How can I collect student assignments digitally?

The Blackboard Assignment feature allows faculty to collect assignments digitally, provide students feedback, and share student grades. Faculty can grade PDF and Word documents directly within the Blackboard interface, complete with annotations. Safeassign is also available for plagiarism checking.

Creating an Assignment
For Students: Working with Assignments (Recorded by Terri Burke)
Grading an Assignment

How can I share student grades confidentially and digitally?

Blackboard allows you to communicate individual grades and total grades with students. This is facilitated by the Blackboard Gradebook. Students will only ever see their own grades and not the grades of anyone else in the course.

Quick and Simple Gradebook Setup

How can I communicate updates, changes, and other relevant information to my students?

The TLC recommends that instructors use the Course Announcements tool in your Blackboard course to quickly and easily send information to your entire course. Course Announcements allows you to both post an announcement that students will see in the Blackboard mobile app and on the course home page, and to email the same announcement to students if you choose.

Sending a Course Announcement

How can I facilitate exams/quizzes digitally with my students?

Blackboard offers a Test tool that allows you to create tests of varying question types from scratch or import questions from a test bank such as Examview.

Creating a Test from Scratch
Blackboard Test Converter: Convert a test from a Word document to a Blackboard Test

Deploying a Test for Students
Setting Up Extra Time or Other Test Exceptions

For Students: Working with Tests in Blackboard (Recorded by Terri Burke)


(Prepared with inspiration from Purchase College's "Teaching during Campus Closure" page.)