Continuing Instruction without Blackboard

If class is interrupted and Blackboard is also unavailable, a number of other tools are available to help assist in continuing instruction.


If you use E-mail as your primary communication medium, you will want to prepare for the massive flow of messages and a large number of email addresses effectively. In Outlook, you can utilize the following options to manage emails:

  • Create sub-folders under your Mailbox or Archive Folders
  • Configure automatic categorization of incoming E-mails into specific folders through the Tools — Rules and Alerts menu
  • Create groups of E-mail addresses so that you can choose a group E-mail address instead of typing or selecting E-mail addresses of individual students each time.

UR Blogs

Faculty may create a blog to compile student contributions. Request a blog here.

Interactive Instruction Tools

Interactive instruction most closely replicates the classroom experience by allowing your students to interact with each other and with you online during a class meeting.

The University owns several Adobe Connect “host” licenses that can be used by instructors to:

  • Provide real-time, interactive instruction for students.
  • Set up an Adobe Connect classroom for your classes on a specific day or time.
  • Allow your students to see and hear you and vice-versa, simulating a real-time class experience.
  • Permit students to lead classes by giving them the permission in Adobe Connect to share their computer screens with the rest of the class.
  • Record each class for later viewing or for students who miss the class.

For additional information on how to use Adobe Connect please review the QuickStart Guide for Hosts and the QuickStart Guide for Participants.

Another option that the University suggests is The system is very similar to Adobe Connect, but is more user-friendly. It can also record the class for students to view later. This service is free and can be used by any instructor in the event that classes are interrupted.


Box may be used to assign homework to students by creating folders and sharing them with students. You may also use it as a ‘drop box’ to collect student assignments. The CTLT provides workshops on using Box in an academic setting. Request a workshop through your Liaison or online.

Instant Messaging

You can also utilize the following non-university supported instant messaging programs to communicate with individual or small groups of students:

Help from the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology

While these resources will help instructors continue their classes in the event of a prolonged disruption, the CTLT is always available to assist instructors in finding the best options for their classes. Online tools can provide a great education experience if they are used correctly. Each academic department is assigned a CTLT Liaison who is there to help you set up and execute plans for online instruction.