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As your institutions have started preparing contingency plans in the event that courses, academic, and administrative functions are disrupted by COVID-19 or coronavirus, Blackboard is also preparing. To help you think through your own plans and readiness activities in response to the coronavirus, we are proactively providing you with information to help.
We have dedicated additional resources from our engineering and development operations teams to this situation and will continue to evaluate the best options available given this evolving situation.
Through our partnership with clients in affected regions and beyond, we are continuously improving our own processes and readiness. Our cloud-based technologies, including Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate, allow us to scale in times of heavy usage to the maximum extent possible. We are working with our technology and hosting partners and internal engineering teams to make sure we have solid plans in place for continuity of service.
Creating these plans requires collaboration and discussion. You can play an important role in our planning by working with your account and support teams to discuss your current usage, monitor changes in behavior over time, and communicate what potential pedagogical changes you plan to roll out in response to the coronavirus.
As you are thinking about how to take your courses online and drive virtual engagement across your institution, here are some Blackboard resources that you can leverage in your planning:
1. Preparedness Webinars: Starting on March 10, our product and faculty development teams will host a series of sessions titled Preparing to Scale Online Teaching and Learning. During this session, we will provide suggested practices and share experiences from other institutions who have transitioned to online during times of crisis.
2. Learn from the Community: We created the Continuity of Education space on the Blackboard Community Site for you to learn what your peers are doing and to share resources and plans with other institutions.
3. Drop-In Office Hours: Keep an eye out on the Community Site for a series of technical office hours (March 5 and 6) where you get more information about the technical capabilities of our solutions.
4. Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate Guides: Many of you have asked for more “cheat sheets” in addition to what we have available on help.blackboard.com, so we will build those out based on your feedback.
As you are continuously planning, know that we are planning too. There is no one-size-fits-all template for situations like the coronavirus, but we hope that the above resources will be helpful to you.