COVID-19 Instructional Continuity Update

Dear Deans and Department Chairs, 

The mission of the GW Libraries and Academic Innovation Instructional Core for Advocacy, Research, and Excellence (ICare) in Teaching and Learning is to support the instructional and learning enterprise of George Washington University.

You are receiving this email because you are designated as a key stakeholder in the Libraries and Academic Innovation Instructional Core’s COVID-19 Instructional Continuity Plan. 

In light of our extended Instructional Continuity Plan now enacted until the end of the semester, we will continue to provide the instructional community with new and more relevant resources based on the need to sustain continuity of instruction. 

This update provides key items especially useful for the start of Instructional Continuity starting on March 23, 2020: 

  • Disclaimer about Internet Slowdowns or Disruptions
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with answers to ensure timely and seamless support to instructors. 
  • Key Documents, Websites and Points of Contact
  • Workshops and Trainings

Disclaimer about Internet Slowdowns or Disruptions

Please be aware that as GW and other universities move to online instruction, most employers are also moving to telework, and most K12 students are at home using the internet for various activities. Given that we will be operating under unprecedented circumstances, it is essential to plan for the possibility of service degradation or interruption due to the load on the overall network. 

If you plan only to use synchronous communication to conduct classes, please develop a plan B in case your internet service at home is unable to connect to Blackboard Collaborate or WebEx during your class session.

If you experience this sort of interruption, don’t panic. Contact the Instructional Core at [email protected]. We also ask that to control communications in light of a disruption, minimize communications and speak directly with the Instructional Core, we will in turn provide information based communications to the GW community. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should I plan to teach online based on the present guidance?

  • Until the end of the semester.
  • The University will update its guidance periodically in light of the evolving situation and its impact on Summer and Fall 2020 coursework. 

What do I do if I am encountering a problem with Blackboard?

  • Email [email protected] or call GW IT at 202-994-4948
  • Blackboard support is available 24/7

What do I do if I am encountering a problem with an academic technology tool (e.g. ECHO 360, Collaborate Ultra, Lecture Capture, etc.)?

  • Email [email protected] or call the ITL at 202-994-0485
  • We have technicians available to help you with your problem and/or walk you through the process so that you are functional.

Is there assistance available if I am encountering a problem while I am teaching?

  • Yes, however, we are depending on your patience as we most likely will be responding to multiple instructors at any given time. 
  • Email [email protected] or call the ITL at 202-994-0485 for Instructional Technology Issues
  • Call GW IT at 202-994-4948 for connectivity and functionality issues

What do I do to get the most expedient assistance to a problem I am having?

  • Email [email protected] or call the ITL at 202-994-0485
  • This email is managed from 9:00am to 10:00pm (Monday through Friday)
  • Your request will be dispatched to an Instructional Core Professional. In most cases you can expect a response within a couple of hours. 
  • The Instructional Core has cross-trained an expanded response team to help you. 

What do I do if I need to talk through a pedagogical problem I am having?

  • Email [email protected]
  • You will be connected with one of our Instructional Core professionals and/or paired with an expert online faculty member as part of our Peer-to-Peer Program. 

How do I conduct remote proctoring of a test or quiz?

  • Use Respondus Monitor
  • Instructions and training materials are provided below

Key Documents, Websites and Points of Contact

The Instructional Core is committed to continue to be a guiding force in the process of transitioning from face-to-face (F2F) learning to online delivery. This stated, we will continue our plan of training and assistance outlined below. At any time you can reach the Instructional Core at [email protected]. Until further notice, ALL regularly scheduled workshops will occur using Collaborate Live. This guidance has resources available so that all instructors can access these trainings. Below are key documents and websites to support instructors as they go online.


**NEW** Cross-Training Module for School-Level Support Staff

We encourage the training of any personel that may be able to support instructional continuity. We realize that many schools have individuals that are already deployed to assist instructors. This short training can be used so these employees can gain greater skill in many of the tools and techniques that instructors are using in their online classes. 


**NEW** Resource for Instructors: Peer-to-Peer Online Faculty Support

The Instructional Core has compiled a team of expert GW online teaching faculty from around the university. These faculty are available for one-on-one consultation by appointment to assist faculty new to online learning. The Peer-to-Peer expert group can share best practices, discuss pedagogical approaches, novel ideas to ensure high quality active learning, and share experiences and tips especially geared to online learning. Instructors interested in pairing with a peer should email [email protected] and request a contact. The Faculty Development Department will facilitate introductions with our Peer-to-Peer Team Members. 


**NEW** Online Faculty Development Course
A self-guided training course on how to teach online has been revised and updated for use by everyone with instructor status in Blackboard (faculty and TAs). It is available on the MyBlackboard page under the heading “Special Use” as Online Faculty Development. The course has six modules, including online discussion, assignments, activities, media creation, and rubrics/grading ideas. Instructors are entered as students and are able to try several multiple choice tests, upload assignments, and see grades as students do. 


Instructional Continuity Website: We recommend that faculty are made aware of this resource that has information and checklists for both students and faculty about how to transition with little effort to online learning utilizing simple tools available within Blackboard and supported by the Instructional Core. (


Instructional Core Email: Direct access to ICare dispatch can be gained by using [email protected]. Faculty questions will be answered within the business day and dispatched to any number of Instructional Core professionals who will provide swift support as needed. 


Instructional Core Departments: The departments and the services of the Instructional Core can be found on the LAI face page: (


Blackboard Support: Blackboard is supported 24/7 through the Instructional Core team as well as through our vendor. Access to this support can be gained through calling 202-994-4948 in addition to using [email protected].


Self Help Guides: We provide a variety of helpful self-help guides that faculty have found useful. These step-by-step guides cover a wide variety of functions that lead to ease in constructing online activities. 

Recommended Reading Material

Easy Collaborate Live User Guides

ICare Quick Reference Guide and Technology Matrix

Remote Test Proctoring Tools

What is Respondus LockDown Browser? 

Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom Web browser It works by locking down the testing environment within a Blackboard course. Instructors can choose to require the LockDown Browser for any existing deployed test in their course. When a student uses Respondus, LockDown Browser, they are unable to print, copy, go to another website, or access other applications on their computer. When an assessment is started, students are locked into the test until it is submitted for grading. Respondus Monitor is an addon video monitoring service that uses the Respondus Lockdown Browser. It serves as a deterrent to students using secondary computers, phones, calculators, textbooks, or receiving assistance from other students.  After a student has taken an exam, instructors can review sessions to check for any suspect behavior. Respondus Monitor is suitable for low or medium-stakes exams that require student monitoring. Students can use either an internal or external webcam with Respondus Monitor. 

How Respondus Works

  1. First, exams are created on Blackboard and deployed using the Respondus LockDown setting (see tutorials below)
  2. Students can test on their own devices by pre-downloading Respondus LockDown widget using a unique link listed on Student Resources page (see below)

Respondus Instructor’s Guide

To get started:

  • Instructor Training Webinars on LockDown Browser
  • Quick Start Guides for LockDown Browser
  • Instructor Resources for LockDown Browser
  • Support and Knowledge Base for technical questions

Respondus Technical Support

  • All support requests from faculty and students should initially be directed to the instructor. If the instructor cannot resolve a problem, students should submit a ticket at
  • GW Instructional Technology Lab will assist with the Respondus Monitor in Blackboard

Policy Elements to Include for Students Using the Software 

  • Students must download the LockDown Browser from the unique to GW link at
  • Respondus LockDown browser only works on PCs, Macs, and iPads (chrome books and others are not supported)
  • Students should ensure that portable computers are charged sufficiently and can last up to 3 hours on a battery charge during exam use.

Respondus Training

Training is absolutely critical for instructors to be successful in using LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor. Training videos and resources are provided in the application itself, but we strongly encourage institutions to direct instructors to the training sessions provided by Respondus. During the month of March, these are being offered daily:

Workshops and Trainings

We continue to provide several opportunities for training and preparation:


Collaborate Live Training Sessions: Our general training schedule can be found here.

In addition to our regularly scheduled training portfolio, a special two/three-part series on instructional continuity has been designed that if utilized by instructors, we believe transitions to online learning will be fully achievable. Register here.


Teleconferenced School Training Sessions (Upon Request): We invite requests to provide face-to-face training sessions in your school. Special requests should be made through [email protected]. One of our professionals will arrange for a session that suits your needs and schedule.


Webinars: Registration is required for all webinars. You can register here

Friday, March 20 12:30 – 1:30pm

(Webinar) INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Monday, March 23 3:00 – 4:00pm

(Webinar)INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Creating Online Lectures and Live Virtual Classroom


Tuesday, March 24 3 – 4pm

(Webinar) INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Walk-In School Consultation (Discontinued). Collaborate Live After Hours Training Sessions: We have created an after hours training schedule to accommodate those who require it. We recommend suggesting adjunct faculty who may not be able to meet during the day to access these resources. You can register here 


Wednesday, March 25 6 – 7pm

(Webinar) INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Thursday, April 2 6 – 7pm

(Webinar) INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Expanded Schedules for Maximum Participation: We have expanded the general training portfolio of the Instructional Core. Consult our online schedule to access training times and locations. 

Workshops Location: Collaborate Live (All scheduled face-to-face workshops will be delivered online in the event of a closure)


Monday, March 23 11am – 12pm

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Tuesday, March 24 12 – 1pm

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Creating Online Lectures and Live Virtual Classroom


Wednesday, March 25 12 – 1pm

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Creating Online Lectures and Live Virtual Classroom


Monday, March 30 10 – 11am

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Getting Started with Blackboard


Tuesday, March 31 12 – 1pm

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Creating Online Lectures and Live Virtual Classroom


Thursday, April 2 11am – 12pm

INSTRUCTIONAL CONTINUITY: Creating Online Lectures and Live Virtual Classroom


Ongoing Technical and Pedagogical Support: As always the Instructional Core provides technological and pedagogical support to instructors working in BOTH face-to-face and online settings. Assistance can be gained by contacting [email protected].


We encourage faculty to take advantage of these opportunities, as they move instruction online. At anytime, you can contact the Instructional Core at [email protected] or if needed feel free to contact Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano, EdD, PhD,  Associate Dean for Innovative and Collaborative Pedagogy at [email protected]






Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano, EdD, PhD

Associate Dean, Innovative and Collaborative Pedagogy
Associate Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership

President, International Network for the Science of Team Science

Director, Doctoral Candidacy, PhD in Translational Health Sciences


For scheduling and contact inquiries please contact: 

Ms. Ashley Blount | Administrative Associate | [email protected] | 202-994-0461


George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The Watergate

George Washington University Libraries and Academic Innovation, Gelman Library, 2130 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20052

Washington DC, 20037 [email protected]; 202-994-9855; 202-994-1594