Every college or university has a different way to manage winter weather emergencies, depending on climate, campus structure and other factors. Whether or not you cancel classes, you’ll likely see attendance drop during winter weather events–for everyone, including staff and faculty. In bad weather, students living on campus may have an easier time making it to class than their instructors.
Handling Weather Emergencies
What qualifies as an emergency likely depends where you are; in Massachusetts, it takes a lot more winter weather than it does in Georgia. There are a number of solutions to manage these weather situations:
- Cancel classes, perhaps using your own guidelines or those of local public school districts.
- Continue classes, but avoid applying attendance policies, particularly for off-campus students.
- Cancel evening or early morning classes, but continue daytime classes.
Every college and university wants to balance the safety of staff, students and faculty with the need to continue classes. Fortunately, technology provides an alternative that can support any of these solutions.
Maximizing Learning during Winter Weather
When weather events happen and students or instructors can’t get to class, online learning can fill in the gaps for everyone. A snow day doesn’t have to mean a Netflix binge and campus snowball fights (although those have their place).
- When classes are in-session, but the instructor is snowed in or unable to reach the class, another staff member can set up and assist to enable the instructor to broadcast the course lecture from home, livestreaming it to the classroom.
- Cancelled classes can be captured from a home office or the classroom, if the instructor is on campus, and recorded or livestreamed for students to watch from home. For discussion oriented classes, students can engage with the instructor using video conferencing technology.
- Lecture capture technology can enable snowed-in students to maintain their classwork from home without disruption.
- Regular use of lecture capture throughout the year limits the disruption associated with weather emergencies–instructors and students are already familiar with the technology and can benefit from it year-round.