Plan B Assignments
The purpose of a “Plan B assignment” is to enable courses to continue online in the event of a crisis that necessitates campus closure and prohibits faculty and students from meeting face to face. The C3 (Course Continuity in a Crisis) program, funded by the Office of the Provost, awarded grants to faculty for the development and testing of Plan B assignments.
Plan B Assignment Video
To help you get started, the CST created a video overview of Plan B assignments:
Preferred Assignment Types and Features
The following guidelines and assignment types are based on the collective experience of C3 grantees and their students. If you would like assistance in preparing a Plan B assignment, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engaging assignment types
- Project-based tasks that students create, build, or author
- Group projects in which students work in teams of two to six and receive peer feedback
- Projects driven by student choice, initiative, curiosity, and interest
- Projects thematically related to a possible emergency
Successful and effective assignments
- include student feedback structured by the instructor and consistently used throughout the course
- leverage existing online media (videos, blog posts, data sets) that students can critique, replicate, and build upon
- simulate a professional activity related to the discipline
- include formative assessments by requiring timely and periodic feedback by both peers and instructors to help offsite students achieve academic goals
- engage students by providing tangible benefits to the larger community, promising a real-world value in the case of an actual emergency, and offering students a situated and authentic learning experience
Guidelines for Implementing a Plan B Assignment
- Before an emergency happens, activate your Blackboard course.
- Describe the Plan B assignment to students at the beginning of the semester and consider adding information about it to your syllabus.
- Familiarize yourself and your students with the technologies to be used for the Plan B assignment.
- Provide clear expectations for student participation in synchronous online meetings and completion of asynchronous online activities.
- Provide timely feedback.
- Hold virtual office hours via such options as Skype or Google+ Hangouts to provide opportunities for student contact.
- When classes resume on campus, debrief with students to understand what worked and what did not work about the online/offsite Plan B assignment.
Faculty have used the following technologies to implement Plan B assignments:
- synchronous, live audio teleconferencing over phone systems and/or Internet-based videoconferencing (e.g., Adobe Connect, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, etc.)
- collaboration, document and file sharing, online discussion and peer review tools (e.g., Google Docs, Blackboard Groups and Discussion Boards, VoiceThread, etc.)
- a publishing platform (e.g., Blogger.com, Twitter, etc.)
- video and multimedia hosting platforms (e.g., YouTube, Flickr, etc.).