Teaching Options for a Snow Day
Teaching can go on if snow or other unforeseen problems prevent you and your students from getting to class.
Before deciding if you should cancel class, be sure to check the Penn home page or call 215-898-MELT (6358) to see if the University is operating on a normal schedule. You should also check with the program office for your school (e.g. LPS, Fels, Dynamics, the College).
Here are a few suggestions for how you can keep your students engaged even if you can't get to the classroom.
Stay in touch with your class
There are easy ways you can get messages to your students
Conduct online, asynchronous discussions
Discussion boards allow you and your students to post and reply to questions. It's also a useful way to engage students in review & comment on each other's work.
Telephone or online conferencing services
A variety of conferencing services are available and can help you pull together an impromptu meeting. Please check with your program or business office before engaging any services that will involve fees
FreeConference, Standard Service
|Telephone conferencing service.|
Teacher/Meeting host can sign up for a free account and gets a phone number and access code that can be used at any time. Accommodates up to 150 participants.
No charge to meeting host, but toll charges apply to all callers.
FreeConference Premium 800 Service
|Teacher/Meeting host creates an account. Callers use a toll-free number and meeting host is charged $.10 per minute per caller. Recording service available for additional fee.|
A popular internet communication service with a variety of service options.
Voice conferencing over computer or telephone; video or screensharing optional. Up to 25 people can participate in a conference call. No charge for users talking via computer, but users need to have Skype accounts and have the program installed. Charges apply for calling to standard phones or for group video calls.
For situations when the students can make it to class, but the instructor can't, please see our instructions about how to connect to a classroom through Skype.
Conferencing feature in Canvas
Canvas includes a feature called Big Blue Button which provides for live audio, video, screen sharing and chat function. You can access Big Blue Button through the Conferences area of your Canvas site.
Google Hangouts provide free audio and video conferencing (including screen sharing) for groups of up to 10 participants. All participants must have google accounts. Please note that Google Hangouts are NOT included in Google@SAS accounts; all participants must join through "regular" Google accounts (e.g. email@example.com).
An easy to use webconferencing system for groups of 15 or less. Includes voice over computer or telephone, screen sharing, text chat, recording.
|Web conferencing for groups of up to 100 people. Includes voice over computer or telephone, screen sharing, text chat, recording.|
$99/ month. 30 day free trial available, but requires credit card number to sign up. You must cancel before the end of the 30 day trial or you will be billed for monthly service.
Adobe Connect Professional
|A full featured web conferencing system for up to 150 participants. Includes audio via computer, video support, screen sharing, text chat, polling, file sharing and more. |
Somewhat complex for meeting organizers to use; requires advance training and planning.
Accounts can be obtained through SAS Computing for $150 per year. Contact John MacDermott of SAS Computing for details