Instructional Continuity

Due to concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on face-to-face teaching a number of instructors are seeking information about how to rapidly switch over their studies (study groups, independent studies) to fully remote options. The steps and resources below will help you move your face-to-face studies into a remote environment in cases of location closure.

If you move your studies into an online, remote, or distance environment, please keep in mind the following points in order to make the experience as smooth as possible for your students:

  • Establish clear communication with students. If there is a closure of one or more locations, be sure to communicate with all of your students and mentees about any changes to your studies. Let your students know how the rest of the term will look for them. Provide as much information as possible, and continue to communicate with them throughout the rest of the term. If you are using Moodle, be sure to use the announcement feature throughout the week to communicate.
    • Let students know how you will be communicating with them, and then monitor that communication carefully. Review the guidelines for FERPA to ensure that you’re communicating remotely with students and faculty/staff within the law’s guidelines: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Clarify expectations for students. Students may have questions about what is expected of them in case of a location closure. Be sure to craft clear and consistent instructions and expectations for students who may have had a face-to-face class change.
  • Remain active and engaged. A location closure can be disrupting in a number of ways, and our students will be better able to focus on their learning if their instructors are engaged and active in the course. You should be active in your studies on a regular basis, engaging with discussions, replying to student questions, giving feedback on assignments, and providing instruction in other ways depending on the nature of the study. Instructional presence in these courses is a key element of student success.

Faculty who do not have a lot of experience teaching online can also find useful tips at the following sites:

Preparing for Teaching Remotely via Skype for Business

This webinar is designed to assist faculty who wish to make the transition from in-person study groups to a virtual environment. We will be reviewing tools and best practices for online instruction. This is an opportunity to learn how your classes can be conducted remotely.

Have questions? Email us at

The webinar on this topic conducted on Wednesday, March 11th, is available to view as well.

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General College Updates about COVID-19

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 at SUNY Empire State College

Getting Started

  • If you have a laptop, take it home with you in case of any breaking news and/or changes to your plan.  
  • Adapt your course using tools that are familiar to you. 
    • Devise asynchronous and synchronous methods for conducting classes. 
    • Direct students who have questions about how to use Moodle and/or technology to the ITS Service Desk for assistance/guidance. They will be able to expedite the process for you.
  • Think about the files and programs that you’ll need to access from home, so you know what applications you’ll need to download:
  • Download/print copies of your class lists and student contact information from Banner in case you have difficulty accessing the system remotely.
  • Email/post to your students on the best way to contact you.
    • If you need to call a student and don’t want your personal phone number to be shown/displayed, enter *67 and then the number you want to dial (ex. *671555-555-5555). The number will appear as “Restricted” to the call recipient.
  • Log into your Outlook Email and Calendar to stay updated about news, alerts, and updates from students, as well as the college.

​For the Spring 2020 term, all face-to-face study groups and residenency studies have had a Moodle shell created for them. By default, these Moodle shells are available to faculty but not students.  This is to give individual faculty members a choice about whether or not the shell is used. Some study groups only have 1 or 2 students enrolled and instructors may not want to use a shell.

If you would like your Moodle shell to be opened to your students, please email with your course name, number, and section and we will get it turned on quickly.

If you are teaching an independent study and would like to request a Moodle shell to complete the term, you can request a shell from the Instructional Design team by visiting the ID Portal (log in required).

Once at that site, you can click on the “Request Support” icon.

Then choose Request a Moodle Shell from the next set of options:

Image of the Request a Moodle Shell option

*Please include as much information in the form as possible so your request can be completed quickly.

The instructional design team is available to give advice, assist with course design (including emergency design measures), and support your teaching in online and blended formats. Please contact them via the Consultation from on the ID Portal.

Image of the Instructional Design Consultation Form

Click Here to Enroll in Moodle Training

  • Select "Enroll me in this course."   
  • Direct access to the course once enrolled: Moodle Training

Image of the Enroll me in this course link

​For students who are seeking a tutor, please refer the student to

All requests will be reviewed by an academic support team member and the student will be connected to the best tutoring option.

If the student is seeking general academic support resources, including tools, OERS, etc., the MyESC Academic Support (log-in required) page is an excellent option with 24/7 access.