IMAGE SOURCE: University College
Winter in Toronto can be unpredictable bringing with it the occasional snow day that can disrupt the usual rhythm of academic life on campus. Keeping this in mind, we’ve put together a short guide with some suggestions on how to best-prepare for any potential weather-based disruptions in the coming months and ensure a seamless experience for our students.
Virtual Learning Platforms: The heart of our contingency plan lies in leveraging technology. Making use of virtual learning platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams is the best way to pivot during a disruption. Given that it might have been some time since you’ve last used these tools, it’s important to refresh your familiarity with them so you’re ready for any sudden transitions. We encourage you to revisit our comprehensive guides on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Engagement tools such as Poll Everywhere can make an online class more dynamic. Virtual whiteboards mimic the boards in our classrooms. These are easy-to-learn tools that will turn an online class into a more authentic learning experience for students.
We also recommend some basic technical considerations for your at-home or campus office setup. Read them here.
Note: We generally recommend Zoom for virtual lectures and MS Teams for meetings/virtual office hours.
Clear and Prompt Communication: Communication is key during weather-related disruptions. Our priority is to keep students informed through timely emails or Quercus announcements. Whether you decide to cancel the class or offer it virtually, it is important to keep students updated in real time. For students experiencing their first Canadian winter, the unfamiliarity and uncertainty can cause anxiety. Clear communication is essential in helping to ease these concerns and provide a sense of reassurance. Clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page. The U of T Campus Status is a good resource for both yourself and the students to check the status of the St. George Campus. We recommend sharing it with students too.
Rely on Rotman Digital: Transitioning to remote work at the drop of a hat can be challenging, the good news is that we’ve all done it before during the pandemic. However, we’re still here to support our faculty and staff through these potential challenges, offering guidance and tools to make the transition as smooth as possible for the students, and for yourself. We have many resources you can turn to on this website, but if you can’t find the answer to your question, you can always email us at RotmanDigital@rotman.utoronto.ca and we’d be more than happy to help.
Feedback for Future Improvement: Your feedback is invaluable in refining our campus closure preparedness plan. We invite you to share your experiences and suggestions, helping us improve and adapt for the future. Again, you can send your suggestions to RotmanDigital@rotman.utoronto.ca and we can add it to this page.