What technology can I use to support academic continuity during emergencies?

Whether classes are postponed due to weather, illness, utility and infrastructure, or other emergency, DoIT offers many resources beyond Blackboard to support academic continuity. Know which instructional technologies you can use in your Go Online (GO) Kit to maintain academic continuity when your class cannot meet in person. Get more tips about transitioning your course to an online environment at our Academic Continuity site.

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn is the University's learning management system. It is hosted by Blackboard to ensure a stable and reliable environment 24/7. The Blackboard system offers three core platforms: 

Content Management

  • Upload syllabus, course materials & handouts

  • Post presentations

  • Share links & resources

  • Embed YouTube videos

Communication, Collaboration & Engagement

  • Facilitate & continue course discussions

  • Send email & messages

  • Post announcements

  • Manage small group activities

Tests & Assignments and Gradebook

  • Distribute & collect assignments

  • Grade electronically and provide feedback

  • Post grades & maintain a digital gradebook

  • Deliver tests

  • Score with rubrics


1. Courses designated as "lab, lecture or discussion" and their enrollments into Blackboard are fully automated through the registration process. 

2. By default, courses are "unavailable" meaning students cannot access them. It's up to the instructor as to when they would like their course to be made "available" to the enrolled students.

Additional instructional technologies:


Akinidi is a bubble sheet assessment tool that can be printed and scanned from any local printer/scanner. After students complete their assessment, faculty scan returned bubble sheets into any printer/scanner to create a PDF, which is uploaded into Akindi. Results are processed within moments and grades are immediately posted to Blackboard. The Akindi importer is particularly beneficial for faculty that wish to quickly create large question pools by converting a Word or PDF document into a format that can be digested into Blackboard.


Instructors can use Ally and Accessibility Support to gauge the accessibility of course content. Ally provides reporting tools to give feedback on the accessibility of linked course content and tools to help improve content accessibility with Ally's step-by-step instructions. In addition to providing you with insight to your content accessibility, Ally automatically creates alternative versions of your files. This allows students to choose the type of file they want that best suits their needs. While you're in the process of improving files, students still access alternative copies.

Blackboard Mobile Apps

Both faculty and students can access their courses using a unified mobile app for iOS and Android. Faculty can upload media such as images or video, add documents from Google Drive, and create content by simply typing on the touch interface on the mobile device. Users can maintain communication on the go or out of town. For example, instructors can post announcements while students can check their grades. Instructors and students can both follow and participate in discussions. UMBC is pleased to offer the Blackboard's mobile apps at no cost to UMBC faculty and students for our Blackboard site.


Collaborate (owned by Class Technologies) supports live, real-time lectures, presentations, and conversations with a wide range of tools such as 2-way audio; interactive whiteboard and desktop sharing; breakout rooms; video feeds; and session recording. Use Collaborate to deliver live lectures or study sessions, host virtual office hours (VOH), demonstrate software such as SPSS or Photoshop, host guest speakers, and more. Import PowerPoint or images with easy to use tools. You can later convert your recordings to MP4 to upload to YouTube, or leave the recordings in place for students to stream from their desktop or mobile device. Broadband internet is strongly recommended to enhance the Collaborate experience as well as a microphone and/or headset. However, both faculty and students can access a live Collaborate session via mobile browser via wifi or cellular.


CourseArc is a digital content creation tool that enables easy creation of engaging, interactive, and accessible hybrid / online courses. Content can be integrated into any Blackboard course and maintained across multiple shells and terms for consistency in curriculum delivery.

Google Apps for Education

Google offers a cloud-based solution for email, calendar, video streaming, create/edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations in a collaborative, real-time editing environment. There is no cost to faculty or students to use Google. Users receive unlimited space.

Office 365

Through a partnership with Microsoft, UMBC offers online access to all Microsoft Office products, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. UMBC students, faculty and staff also have access to 1 terabyte of cloud storage through Microsoft Office 365 and its related OneDrive. Additional tools include Sites, Delve, Sway, and OneNote. 

OneNote Class Notebook

The OneNote Class Notebook is an app that will create a class notebook, which includes three types of sub-notebooks:

  • Student Notebooks — private notebooks that are shared between each teacher and their individual students. Teachers can access these notebooks at any time, but students cannot see other students’ notebooks.

  • Content Library — a notebook for teachers to share course materials with students. Teachers can add and edit its materials, but for students, the notebook is read-only.

  • Collaboration Space — a notebook for all students and the teacher in the class to share, organize, and collaborate.


Sometimes it’s just easier to show than tell. Panopto is a lecture-capture/screencasting software that allows for easy recording and sharing of course lectures and presentations in a video format. Recordings in Panopto are viewable on most web browsers and mobile devices. 

Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus LockDown Browser secures the testing environment within the Blackboard. Students cannot print, copy, visit another website, or use other programs when they are using the secure browser. Once the test starts, students cannot leave until they submit it for a grade. If students try to take a test without the secure browser, they are blocked. DoIT has provided a specific download link for faculty to give to their classes, which is unique to UMBC’s license.

Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor works with the LockDown Browser. It uses a student’s webcam to record the assessment session. Respondus Monitor enables online exams to be taken in non-proctored environments and deters students from accessing other resources during an exam (such as a phone, a second computer, etc.). It also ensures the right student is taking the exam, and that the student isn’t getting help from others.


Box is an online file sharing system that you can access from multiple devices (computers, smart phones, and tablets). Box also allows you to share your files and folders with others easily. Faculty, staff and students can access UMBC Box through myUMBC -> Apps or through the direct link. UMBC Box is especially useful to distribute or receive very large files from students. Users receive 25 GB of space and files as big as 5 GB can be uploaded.


VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in several ways – text, voice, audio file, or webcamFaculty can create and share a VoiceThread with students and colleagues for them to review in presentation mode or to record comments for increased engagement and feedback.


Webex is a video conferencing and collaboration platform available to all UMBC faculty, staff, and students. You can use it on your computer or on your cell phone with the WebEx mobile app. The app features video and chat as well as presentation and desktop sharing, online whiteboards, and annotations. Recording the session is also available.

Learn more about all third-party tools for Blackboard and other software available at UMBC. 

Review our growing list of resources available for third-party publisher integrations.