Instructional Resilience Best Practices + Preparation Checklist  

Last Update 03/09/20

This checklist is provided to help instructors with planning for possible disruptions to instruction. This will be revised and updated as Instructional Resilience task force work progresses.

This preparation checklist is provided to help faculty with planning for possible disruptions to instruction. In some cases, these options will include alternative pedagogies. These may be competitive with existing pedagogies, and there may be advantages to using a blend of pedagogies. This is not always true. We recognize that faculty have already made informed pedagogical choices in the design of their courses. The options below are meant to minimize disruption of learning when circumstances make your chosen pedagogy impossible. We encourage you to adopt tools that solve problems not addressed by the tools below, though please consider issues of student privacy and accessibility when making those choices.

In your course, there may be good reasons why these options would be unmanageable. You may decide that it is best to remove some material from your course, and/or an assignment is best cancelled, changed to ungraded, or otherwise altered.

DSP partners with instructions to ensure students' disability accommodations are provided. For assistance in creating accessible content for students who use: real-time captioning (; ASL: (; accessible formats: (, proctoring: ( or note taking: ( Please contact for additional questions or assistance regarding student accommodations; disability specialists can advise regarding accommodating students in online environments. Please note that all class content needs to be accessible to students with disabilities in your class when you post it. 

For ease of reference purposes, the check marks indicate universal preparedness best practices regardless of individual pedagogical approaches.  The 🔷 diamonds indicate digital options to consider.

What to do before the semester begins



Set up your bCourses class site(s)

Getting Started w/ bCourses

Become familiar with bCourses Announcements, a streamlined way to message your students

*Add to course

*Attach files

*Detailed guides

Determine how you will operate and communicate during disruption, including:

  • distributing documents and readings
  • adding course policies to your syllabus covering how you will continue instruction
  • developing a clear policy and plan around whether exams will be held given campus closure. It’s a best practice for instructors to have flexibility of exams if closure occurs
  • ensuring your GSIs are aware of your plans and are prepared to execute on them

Getting Started w/ bCourses

Develop a plan for make-ups or dropping content if one or more labs have to be missed

Add a contingency plan to your attendance policy allowing for emergencies and disasters accommodating individual student situations

Plan & coordinate with other members of your course team and confirm roles and responsibilities

Make sure you are signed up for WarnMe/Nixle, UC Berkeley’s mass notification system


Consider scheduling one more exam that is needed so one can be dropped in case of an outage


Prepare for delivery of alternative assessments by creating one early in the semester for practice and familiarity

*Quizzes guides

*Quiz question types + behaviors

*Gradescope Integration


Prepare for delivery of alternative assignments by creating one early in the semester for practice and familiarity

*Create an Assignment - basic

*Peer Review

*Detailed Assignment guides


Prepare for delivery of alternative, asynchronous discussions.  Place a practice discussion in bCourses early in the semester for familiarity and practice

*Small Classes +  Large Classes

*Detailed Discussion guides


Become familiar with using the Library’s OCR scanners for more accessible pdfs when converting a hard copy to pdf

*OCR Scanners

*Accessible Wizard Adobe Acrobat


Set up your Zoom account and practice with friends/family in preparation for alternative live discussions and virtual office hours (record for sharing).



If you need 1:1 consultation and support in preparation for using digital methods for teaching, schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with a Digital Learning Services Consultant.


If your content feels difficult to deliver digitally, schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with a Center for Teaching and Learning Consultant.

*Digital Learning Services

*Center for Teaching and Learning

What to do on the first day of class (and within syllabus)



Make your syllabus available digitally within bCourses

bCourses & Syllabus

Discuss instructional continuity with your students

  • Establish a mode of communication to use in case of emergency
  • Communicate expectations, including that class will continue and they are expected to keep up with the course work.
  • Invite them to think about how they would maintain their engagement with the course and stay on schedule.

bCourses announcements, Syllabus, Student Responsibilities


Identify an option for holding class and/or office hours virtually (if appropriate). You can fall back on your chosen option if it is expected that several class periods will be missed.

Zoom Quick Guides


Establish method of providing students with grades and feedback on their work in the event of an emergency


What to do just prior/during an emergency event



Check Berkeley’s Office of Emergency Management and look out for CalMessages from campus administration

Office of Emergency Management

Coordinate plan of action during outage with course team (GSIs, readers, tutors, etc.)

Ensure messaging is consistent with course team members and students

Notify students of what will happen should class be unable to meet

Notify students of mode of communication that will be used should class be unable to meet

Contact students to confirm any revisions to due dates and assignments

Practice communicating and/or delivering content, interactive classes, and/or assignments

What to do when classes resume


Remind students of any content posted during the time when campus was shut down.

Remind students of (changed) upcoming deadlines for assignments and exams.

Take questions from students

Meet with GSIs to debrief, share feedback, review procedures and expectations

Other resources

  1. DSP Office
  1. Proctoring request
  2. List of staff to assist
  1. Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  1. Email:
  2. Voice: (510) 642-0518           TTY: (510) 642-6376
  1. Instructional Resilience Teaching and Learning Technologies
  1. Digital tools, use cases, and resources to get you started
  2. CTL and DLS Consultations - In person and Virtual using Zoom
  3. Updates and Communications for Instructors

The content in this document was influenced by meetings and listening sessions of UC Berkeley’s Task Force on Instructional Resilience that were held in the Spring of 2020. The content also borrows from resources on instructional resilience used at Tufts University and Georgetown University. 

Version last updated 3/2/20                                                                                                         of