Digital Learning Blog

Checking in and Catching up After Hurricane Ian

October 14, 2022  / Digital Learning  / Tags: Hurricane Ian, Trauma Informed Pedagogy, Checking in


Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

-Michael Jordan

Checking in with Students 

We learned many lessons about Trauma-Informed Pedagogy from the COVID 19 Pandemic.  We can use those lessons now as we begin to recover and rebuild from Hurricane Ian.  One of the best ways to help students to succeed and persist is to check in with them regularly.  Here are a few tips about checking in with students after a collective trauma like Hurricane Ian:

    • Students may need a private communication space to reply honestly. Asking “How are you doing?” in a discussion forum may impede honest answers. 
    • Sending students work assignments and new due dates is NOT a “check-in.”
    • Ask specific questions to find out what resources students have available so you know what you can and cannot assign at this time (Do you have access to internet/computer? Can you travel to campus? Do you have necessities like shower, food, shelter?)
    • Respond to students with empathy. Provide links to resources.
    • Check in regularly. Recovery is fluid at this time and what might have been the case last week is now different this week.  

Midterm Feedback

Faculty have been asking about mid-term feedback.  Should they send out their usual mid-term feedback questionnaire? Should they wait and send it out later? Should they just skip it this semester?

Getting mid-term feedback is critical in creating and delivering a course that is responsive to student needs.  Here are two ways you might utilize mid-term feedback after Hurricane Ian: 

    1. If you choose to send out the mid-term feedback before making any course changes, ask a few questions about what students need and can do at this time. They are fabulous problem solvers, and you might ask them how they think you might make up the content.  You’ll be surprised by their creative answers.
    2. If you have already implemented some changes in your course, give it a week or two then deploy the feedback survey. Make sure you ask questions about the changes and have students suggest solutions to the noted problems. 

Please review the Digital Learning blog post, Time to Check-in With Your Students, for more ideas about soliciting student feedback mid-term. 

Catching Up with Content

There is never enough time in teaching! When a disaster strikes, and days are lost from the semester, it is very stressful to everyone.  Here are a few tips that might help you catch up with your course content.

    • Take an honest look at your course content. Identify what elements are critical, important, and not essential (this is hard but necessary). 
    • Utilize technology to work smarter.
      • Instead of having students read a 50-page chapter, you can create a 5-10 minute video explaining/demonstrating the important concepts.  
      • Utilize the flipped classroom method. Have students read/view content online then come to class and do the lab or activity.
      • Extend the discussion from class online. If students have questions or important points they did not have time for in class, provide a Flipgrid or discussion board for them to continue the discussion.
      • Move in class assessments online to give you more class time.
      • Look for content videos on Khan Academy, Coursera, EdX, and Academic Earth
      • Utilize Open Educational Resources to save you time and effort.
    • Look for ways to integrate and combine course content
      • Look for ways your content is connected and integrate those concepts with homework, projects, exams. Providing explicit connections between concepts is a great way to help students understand the bigger picture (course goals). 
      • Use Project Based Learning to combine assessments and provide authentic learning for your students.  

These are just a few ideas for beginning classes after Hurricane Ian.  You are not alone at FGCU.  You have many resources to help you find the answers you need to complete this semester successfully.  If you need additional support, please contact: