Original email sent May 6, 2020
From: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
After consulting with the chairs on Monday about the most efficient and effective way to have our courses prepared for most likely at least starting the fall semester online, I need you to get me some information so we can begin our planning. As a quick summary of what we discussed:
- We will not be able to return to the fall semester with 30-40 students in a classroom
- Even if there is a time during the semester when we can come back to campus with smaller groups of students (potentially running a class where you meet with half the class at a time and the remainder of the time they do the work online), we still need to make concessions for students and faculty who either become infected with COVID and so must work remotely for an extended period of time or have underlying health issues that do not make it possible for them to come to campus at all.
- We need to have all our courses certified to be approved online courses through our Ed Tech Leadership Council and we need everyone teaching to go through the online initiative course.
- Decision that was made: we should focus on making one section of every course approved to be offered asynchronously and then everyone teaching the course can use that shell and make minor changes to meet their personal needs (ie. Changing a textbook or assignment, due dates, etc.) but the structure of the course remains unchanged.
- Decision that was made: each department should identify which fulltime faculty will design each online course for their department. We will have these faculty go through the appropriate trainings in June to have the courses created and approved. The remaining faculty will then go through the training for teaching online (a much less onerous task if they do not also have to create an online course) and be able to use the course developed so they become familiar with that course and also be able to make some minor tweaks if they chose (again, changing an assignment, due date, etc.). These trainings will happen throughout the remainder of the semester.
- Decision made: ideally, we will keep all department faculty together in their online training class and have someone from that department serve as a mentor to them. For instance (times made up at this point), all English faculty can take the training at the beginning of July in the same course with ed tech staff and an English faculty mentor and at the end of July, all Natural Science faculty will take a course together. This will help with developing strategies specific to your discipline, such as labs, using a white board for math equations, etc.
- Action needed: We need to identify which courses are being offered in the fall that have not been previously approved. The list of courses already approved can be found in the link below. Also, remember there are a number of courses also being developed for this summer, whose shells can be used or just tweaked. Once the courses needing conversion are identified, please let me know which faculty will be working on which course. You can have more than one faculty but I ask that it isn’t more than 2 faculty for each course. You can always instruct those faculty to consult with a specific group of faculty to get feedback along the way, but to manage the numbers, it wouldn’t be helpful to have 4 or 5 people per course going through the training at the same time. We don’t have the staff to offer the kind of support we are trying to keep in place. Please send these to me by Friday May 15th.
- Follow up on our end: as soon as we have these, we can put plans in place to have this first stage happen in June and also set up courses and schedules for everyone else to get trained throughout the summer. We also will have an additional course available for the end of August to support those adjuncts who might be hired/assigned at the last minute due to increases in enrollments (we can only hope!).
- Any questions, let me know. If you want to discuss, let me know. We will pay everyone for these trainings. We are hoping to receive some of the CARES stimulus money that is supposed to help colleges pay for the expenses related to COVID. This is one of those expenses. If we do get the money, we will also go back and pay the full time faculty who are currently taking the training for the summer classes. It seems only fair.
Link to classes already approved:
I hope you are all doing well- we are making it to the end of the semester.