H1N1 influenza contagion is on the rise throughout the United States. Of particular concern in higher education settings is the fact that 19- to 24-year-olds are especially susceptible to severe illness from this flu strain. There have already been cases at UVa, and increasing H1N1 activity is anticipated during the fall term.

For these reasons, faculty should be prepared to continue teaching and to maintain course integrity even if absenteeism is high due to illness, or class attendance is discouraged by medical authorities. Please do not ask for a physician's excuse for absence due to illness.

Maintaining Class Continuity With UVaCollab

The UVaCollab course management suite is designed expressly to foster discussion and collaboration around course content, regardless of proximity between instructors and students. UVaCollab offers a number of tools that can help maintain class communications and facilitate the distribution of information during a flu emergency. They include:

Remember that the UVa Honor Code can allow for some flexibility in offering tests and quizzes to students in unproctored settings.

The UVaCollab Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, accessible from the FAQ link in the footer of every screen, provides comprehensive information about the system's many features. The UVaCollab team also offers Quick Start demonstrations and Advanced Tutorials to provide more information about the full range of course management features and how to use them. Find out more on the UVaCollab Demo Schedule page or email collab-demos@virginia.edu.

Additional Strategies

Other technology tools suggest additional ways for instructors to continue course activities during a severe flu outbreak.

Once you create a slide presentation or digital recording, you can post it as a resource in UVaCollab where your students can access it online. In the case of a video or audio production, you can also publish it in UVa's iTunes U site.

Finding Help

Note that if you plan to use a tool or technology that you've never tried before, start now. In the event it becomes necessary to continue instruction without traditional class meetings, help resources will be strained and personal support could be limited.