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Emergency Remote Teaching Guidelines

Emergency Remote Teaching Guidelines Banner

Faculty teaching at Montgomery College may come across a variety of reasons that require them to move their course content into an online environment with short notice: weather instances, campus closures or virus outbreaks. The Office of Academic Affairs wants all full-time and part-time faculty to be aware of the resources available to them should the on-campus teaching and learning environment be interrupted. Technology is available to help faculty make quick changes to deliver their course content electronically through Blackboard.

In the event of a situation that closes the College for an ongoing period of time, you may need to move your course online quickly. We have outlined a few things to consider in the space below.

Stay Alert, Be Prepared

  • Visit MC Alerts and sign up, if necessary, for the College's emergency and closing alerts. 
  • Assess your technology needs and access ahead of time so you aren’t caught off guard. For example, do you and your students have a strong wifi connection at home? Do you and your students have a laptop or mobile device to engage with each other and course content?

Reach Out to Students Immediately

  • Tell your students in advance what is needed to connect to your course and get their lessons on Blackboard.
  • Even as you form a plan, use email or Blackboard to communicate with your students.
  • Share your expectations for checking email or Blackboard for information. 
  • Share when you will be available by phone and/or by Blackboard Collaborate.
  • Students will have a lot of questions; manage expectations for how quickly they can expect a response from you.

Be Creative, Be Flexible

  • Depending on your course situation, it may take some creativity to envision a new way to produce the same results. 
    • In-class presentations? Have students record a video. 
    • In-class discussion? Use a live webinar such as Blackboard Collaborate, a phone call, or a discussion board.
    • Written exam? Convert to digital format and have students submit as attachment through Blackboard. Faculty can also build the exam in Blackboard.

Consider User-Friendly Tools

  • Any emergency event creates a lot of stress. Be gentle and flexible with yourself and your students.
  • Introducing too many new tools and approaches may leave even less energy for learning.
  • It’s okay to select low-tech solutions to accomplish course outcomes.
  • Ensuring accessibility of your Blackboard course, essential for students with disabilities (e.g., students who are blind, have low vision or who use assistive technology), is beneficial to all students.

Your learning goals developed for a traditional face-to-face instructional modality can still be met if you must move online suddenly, particularly if you attend to some changes in the instructor-student, student-content, and student-student dynamics. The following principles are best practices of online teaching and learning.

Instructor to Student

Inform Your Students of Changes

Students will look to their instructors for information and clear direction as well as a sense of normalcy when a crisis impacts all or part of campus. Be timely and specific about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety. Taking advantage of tools to broadcast your message (e.g., Announcements, email) will save you time in dealing with lots of individual questions.

Some helpful tips to consider:

  • Communicate early and often, but don't swamp students with email. Suggest that students change their Blackboard notification preferences to alert them when new Announcements are posted or new messages have been sent.
  • Use your syllabus to set expectations about the means and frequency with which you will communicate with students. Regardless of the instructional modality, it is always a good idea to tell students both how often you expect them to check their email and how quickly they can expect a response from you. Define what communication methods you will accept, e.g., the Blackboard Course Mail.
  • Use a discussion forum to share your response to frequently asked questions so all students can benefit from the information. Encourage students to check the forum first for answers before emailing you.

Submit Assignments Online

Blackboard assignments can be designed to accept digital content from students. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers and a network for doing the work and accessing the learning management system.

  • Require only common software: Students may not have access to specialty software located in on-campus computer labs. Faculty and students have free access to a broad spectrum of Microsoft Office products.
  • Avoid emailed attachments: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but larger classes might swamp your email inbox. Use Blackboard to receive and review student work.
  • Require specific filenames: If you plan to download student submissions to grade offline, you will find it easier to manage 20 files with unique, but similarly structured file names (e.g., FirstnameLastname-Essay1.docx) than 20 files named Essay1.docx.

Quiz and Exam Alternatives

Use features in the Blackboard quiz tool that randomize the order in which possible question answers are provided; use question banks to deliver a different quiz experience to each student.

Consider alternatives to quizzes for doing formative or summative assessment. Scaffolded, multi-part projects enable students to demonstrate not only their grasp of concepts but also their critical thinking and digital fluency skills.

Student to Content

File Sharing Methods for Online Course Materials and Resources

You may need to provide additional course materials as you shift more instruction online. Remember that if the College is closed, requests for Course Reserves may not be processed; identify other web-based materials (or have your students identify and share content appropriate to a learning objective).

When posting new course materials:

  • Notify students of the availability of content and its location (Blackboard files, OneDrive, Google Share Drive, etc.). Suggest that students change their Blackboard notification preferences to alert them when new materials are posted.
  • Make sure your resources are “mobile friendly.” In a crisis, many students may only have a phone available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats; PDFs, mp3s and mp4s work well. Save Word and PowerPoint documents to PDFs, which are easier to read on phones and tablets, and keep the file size small. Remediate the accessibility of such files before saving them as PDFs*. Videos take lots of bandwidth, some students may not have the network capacity in their off-campus locations to view them. Any video shared must be captioned.
  • Make sure PDFs are searchable. Perform an optical character recognitionnew window on a scanned PDF document to provide actual text. Visit the Adobe websitenew window to learn how to convert scans or images of documents into searchable, editable PDF files. 

Move Face-to-Face Lecture to Online Environment

Many faculty use the lecture capture tool to capture presentations recorded on their personal device and upload the recording to YouTube and embedded into their Blackboard space for student viewing. You can record your voice (with or without a webcam), your computer screen (displaying PowerPoint, Keynote, other software program or web browser content), and additional input from another camera or document camera. If you are uploading your videos to YouTube and are using the Auto Captions, make sure you do manual corrections.

Blackboard Collaborate (which is integrated with Blackboard) allows you and your students to meet online in real-time. Students can participate using a computer or smartphone. Instructors can share presentations, their desktop or a whiteboard, as well as engage students with polling questions and breakout rooms for small group discussion.

Move Lab Activities Online

A major challenge of teaching during a building or campus closure is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.

Considerations for short-term closures might include:

  • Moving aspects of lab activities online, particularly those that require students to familiarize themselves with procedures or data analysis or manipulation.
  • Providing video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, and other pre- or post-lab work to prepare students to hit the ground running when the campus reopens.

Some helpful tips for developing course materials for students with disabilities

  • Ensuring accessibility of your Blackboard course is essential for students with disabilities (e.g., students who are blind, have low vision or who use assistive technology) and is beneficial to all students.
  • The most common academic accommodation is extended time for exams/quizzes. Blackboard allows faculty to provide extra time on all timed assessments (quizzes, midterms and final exams). Students taking online exams and quizzes should not be required to be proctored at the campus.
  • Ensure that all videos and multimedia used in your course (own videos and external sources) are correctly captioned.
  • Principles of PowerPoint Accessibilitynew window
  • Visit the ELITE's Closed Captions website to learn how to use YouTube Auto Captions feature to provide captions for your video.

Student to Student

Enhance Student Interaction and Collaboration

Fostering communication between students is important because it provides a sense of community (particularly during unusual times), and it allows you to reproduce any collaboration you build into your course to help keep students motivated to participate and learn. Many students are familiar with the Blackboard discussion tool and it provides an easy gateway to other student-to-student communication and collaboration strategies.

Consider some of these helpful tips:

  • Use asynchronous tools when possible: Having students participate in live online conversations can be useful, but be mindful of potential technology challenges they (or you) may have based on personal location. Bandwidth requirements for discussion boards are far lower than for live video tools like Collaborate.
  • Align student-to-student interactions to course and module outcomes: Activities well suited to online interaction can be strategically planned to meet outcomes and prepare students for additional assignments or projects.
  • Motivate active communication: Make sure students are accountable for the work they do in any online discussions or collaborations through clear assessment rubrics. Have students reflect on their contributions and on what they learned from the conversation through a personal blog shared with you.
  • Create student groups: You can create student groups in Blackboard, which gives each group its own breakout page and set of communication tools. Group assignments, peer review and Google Doc co-authorship are all valuable ways to facilitate group work in the online environment.

Strategies and Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching

Review the emergency remote teaching guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) for some resources as you prepare for remote teaching.


At Montgomery College, we use Blackboard as the Learning Management System for faculty who teach fully online or blended courses. Blackboard features exciting social learning and teaching tools that foster more logical, visually impactful and active learning opportunities for students.

Blackboard Essentials Training

Designed for faculty who wish to supplement their on-campus courses. This workshop can also be useful to faculty who are considering whether to add online teaching to their repertoire. Blackboard is an advanced application designed primarily for online course delivery.

Faculty can also use which have tutorials on Blackboard, online teaching tricks, online meetings, etc. Watch short Video guidenew window to help you log in to

Blackboard App

Blackboard Instructor is a mobile app that enables you to view course content, connect with students in discussions, and interact with your class in Blackboard Collaborate. For more information, see Blackboard Instructor app window

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is built specifically for live, multi-media, and many-to-many collaboration. Whether you have two students—or two hundred—Blackboard Collaborate enables world-class communication, collaboration, and education that transforms teaching and learning. For more information, see the Blackboard Collaborate websitenew window.

Additional Meeting Tool


Zoom video conferencing software makes it easier and more convenient to meet, communicate, and collaborate. Visit the IT Work From Home Tools websitenew window for additional information on Zoom.  Watch tutorial videonew window on using Zoom for faculty.

Deliver Tests to Student

Develop Tests in Blackboard

We encourage you to use Blackboard Assessments as a Learning Tool for your students. Online tests can give you valuable data about which students are on track with their studies, and which students might need extra help. Review the Blackboard Assessments Guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) to learn how you can create a simple test in Blackboard.

Create an Assignment in Blackboard

Review the Blackboard Assignment Tutorial (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) to learn how to create an assignment for your students.

Proctor U

Review the Smarter Proctoring guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) to get instructions on how to access the Smarter Proctoring platform for Online Proctoring in Blackboard.

Respondus with Blackboard

Watch the Respondus video tutorialnew window to get detail instructions on how to place an exam in Blackboard using the Respondus software. You can also download the Respondus Step-by-Step Guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) .

Disability Support

The Office of Disability Support Services is providing updated information to faculty in implementing accommodations in remote teaching classes. Please review the Disability Support Services Guidance (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) .

Training Dates

Register for these workshops using MC Learns. Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate link will be provided in the Outlook calendar invitation.

Blackboard: SafeAssign for Blackboard Online Training

  • See Workday

Holding Virtual Classes with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom

  • See Workday

The Valuable Employee Learning Pathway

The learning pathway is a series of 10 online classes. You may take any class independently and if you want to obtain a certificate of learning, you must complete all classes and submit a learning outcome report for each. The report template is posted at the top of the page. No registration is needed; the classes are independent study.

Linked In Learning

From the MyMC Training & Professional Development page, scroll down to the lower right corner to access hundreds of online classes.

Required Training

All employees are expected to complete the FY20 training requirements by June 30, 2020. The classes are accessed through MC Learns and selecting the Required Training icon. To enroll in these trainings, please log into MyMC and use MC Learns to register. Need help with registering? View the How to Register for an ELITE Workshop Guide. (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window)

Prerecorded Webinars

  1. Virtual Meetings via Zoomnew window

Blackboard is the learning management system used at Montgomery College. If you need a refresher on such tasks as uploading an assignment, sending a message to your instructor or checking your grades, please review the resources for students on the distance learning website. In the case of a prolonged campus closure, your instructor may choose to use Blackboard more intensely to keep your learning on track.

Blackboard Student App

The Blackboard Student app helps students react quickly to their changing course needs, while learning to plan for the future. With the Blackboard app, you can:

  • Quickly view updates to your courses and content
  • Take assignments and tests
  • View course, assignment, test grades, and more
  • Search your device’s application store.

Blackboard Tutorials

Need help with Blackboard Learn? Get familiar with Blackboard features in minutes. Watch short, engaging Blackboard Help videos on our YouTube channel. You can see the full list of student videos and choose which ones you want to watch, or you can view multiple videos in a row about a particular topic through the Blackboard Tutorials websitenew window.

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate offers live audio/video, break-out discussions, and archived class sessions. Your professor will let you know ahead of time if there is a Blackboard Collaborate session in the online course. If you are using Collaborate for the first time, learn how to log in by watching the video tutorialnew window.

If you need support on how to use Collaborate, visit the Blackboard Collaborate website. Students can also review the Blackboard Collaborate Tutorial (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) .

Library Resources

This series of videos will introduce you to the resources and services at the Montgomery College Libraries that are especially useful for Distance Education students. Visit the Online Library Orientation for Distance Education Students websitenew window.

Proctor U

If you are in the process of taking a proctored exam through Blackboard, view the Smarter Proctoring Guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) to prepare yourself.


eTutoring is asynchronous (you do not speak directly to the tutor). For eTutoring, students upload their paper to their appointment before the appointment starts. Once the appointment starts, the tutor will review the paper and provide written feedback. At the end of the appointment, the tutor will upload the paper with feedback to the appointment report, which will be automatically sent to the student. For more directions, please see the e-Tutoring Instructions handout (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) or watch a short videonew window on how to sign up for e-tutoring on our webpage under Services- Reading and Writing Tutoring.

Study Habits Guide

View this study habits guide (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) to learn how to adjust during COVID.

Feeling overwhelmed? There are a number of Montgomery College departments poised and ready to help you!

ELITE Blackboard Support

ELITE staff members are here to assist you remotely via Blackboard Collaborate and/or Zoom if you need assistance with Blackboard. Click on one of the staff members below to activate the Collaborate help session. 

Gloria is available via Zoom live help session. Please contact Gloria Barron.

Office hours for Tom Cantu for the week. Tom will be available via conference for immediate remote help session during the following hours:

  • Monday: 10:00 am – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00 am – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Tom is available via Zoom live help session during office hours. Please contact Tom Cantu.

Office hours for Michele Knight. Michele will be available via conference for immediate remote help session during the following hours:

  • Monday: 9:30 am -10:30 am, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00 am -11:00 am, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am -11:00 am, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am -11:00 am, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
  • Friday: 9:30 am -10:30 am, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Michele is available via Zoom live help session during office hours. Please contact Michele Knight.

Alison is available via Zoom live help session. Please contact Alison Yu.

Monday -Friday

9:00 - 10:00 am 

4:00 - 5:00 pm 

IT Service Desk and Blackboard Help Desk

For help with Blackboard and MyMC, contact the IT Help Desk at 240-567-7222 or For help with Blackboard follow phone tree instructions to the Blackboard Help Desk.

Blackboard Collaborate Help Desk

Collaborate has a specialized support group – their Help Desk number is 1-(877)-382-2293.

Part-time faculty are available to help other part-time faculty who have questions about Blackboard Collaborate.

Office of E-Learning, Innovation, and Teaching Excellence (ELITE)

Contact ELITE if you have questions or comments at

If you have questions about using Blackboard, you can contact any of the following faculty members listed below and they'll be able to assist you.

  1. Emily Rosado  - email
  2. Lea Landrus - email
  3. Carrie Fitzgerald - email
  4. Windy Jefferson-Jackson - email
  5. Christina Devlin - email
  6. Brian Kotz - email
  7. Daniel Jenkins - email
  8. Rita Mortellaro - email
  9. Harry Singleton - email
  10. Joseph Couch - email
  11. Matt Colburn - email

Library Access for Remote Learning Period

Montgomery College Library will be updating this Library Access for Remote Learning websitenew window with information about continuity of library resources and services during the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.

Video Presentation Recording

If you are teaching a course that requires students to do a presentation such as delivering a speech, you can ask students to record a video using their mobile or tablet device and upload the video to their personal YouTube account. The student can send you the YouTube link for their presentation.

App Suggestion

The YouTube app has a recording function within the app that allows user to record a video and upload it directly into their personal YouTube account. Students (and faculty) can download the YouTube app in the Google Play Store and/or App Store.

Watch some videos from MC faculty to find out what some faculty are doing during remote teaching.

  1. Remote Teaching - MC Faculty Video 01
  2. Remote Teaching - MC Faculty Video 02

March 5, 2020, Memo from Dr. Sanjay Rai (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window)

Unless otherwise specified, content on the Emergency Remote Teaching Guidelines website is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution 4.0 International Licensenew window.