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March 13, 2020 Communication to faculty from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Communication from David Cordle, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 13, 2020

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Thank you for your patience as we strive to meet our students’ needs and keep our university community safe in response to COVID-19.

I recognize that moving our face-to-face classes to remote delivery by Monday, March 23 will not be easy.  The challenge is especially great for faculty members who have not previously taught online, and for courses that don’t lend themselves as readily to remote instruction.  But our Learning Technologies team has worked hard to put together a package of resources and support to help you with the transition:

Teach Anywhere and Other Online Resources

  • This is a good place to start:  The Teach Anywhere website provides a wealth of remote learning resources and information, updated frequently to meet the needs of ESU faculty and students during this transition.
  • You can track important updates on a more timely basis by following the Learning Technologies Twitter and LinkedIn social media feeds. Search for @esulearningtech.
  • A blog maintained by Learning Technologies will also provide important updates relative to the transition. You can find it athttps://esulearningtech.blogspot.com/ You can subscribe to the blog at Learning Technologies Weekly Update.

Individualized Assistance: Learning Designers and Faculty Champions

  • Our Learning Technologies team includes highly capable Learning Designers who are ready to assist you.  Their contact information is located at Teach Anywhere, and you can communicate with them using Zoom, phone (during certain periods), Teams, or Email. They will respond as quickly as possible.
  • Learning Designers will be proactively reaching out to faculty over the coming days to assist in this transition, with special attention to courses that are especially crucial to students’ progress and completion this semester.
  • Several faculty members from across campus have agreed to serve as Faculty Champions to aid in this transition. These are individuals who have completed JumpStart training and/or have experience teaching online. When those details are finalized, the information will be available at Teach Anywhere.

Training Workshops

  • Several training workshops, some on-ground and some online, will be taught by our Learning Designers starting on Monday and running at least through Friday. A schedule will be posted at Teach Anywhere, hopefully today. You will not need to register. All on-ground events will be held in the Richel Learning Commons; online opportunities will be held via Zoom.

Useful Tools

  • Learning Technologies has developed a special Canvas course template that includes blueprint information to help you easily get started. This special template spans weeks 8-16 so that you can complete the semester. If you would like to employ this template, please contact one of the Learning Designers.
  • All faculty will be provided a Zoom Pro account so that they can host longer meetings and seminars. Information will be posted at Teach Anywhere very soon.
  • Lockdown Browser, a technology that ensures a higher level of test security than standard Canvas assessments, will be available to all faculty who teach remotely using Canvas.

Accessibility

  • Please be mindful of accessibility and Universal Design as you transition to remote learning. Students needing individualized support may not have the same access to the SASS office as they do currently. Learning Designers are prepared to assist you in ensuring that your course content is accessible for all students.

A few other items related to teaching, advising, and general information:

  • For the sake of clarity and consistency, the suspension of face-to-face instruction must apply to all in-person work between ESU instructors and students—including independent studies, private lessons, and laboratory courses.  Hopefully students in such courses will be able to continue their work with guidance that you provide remotely.  If these students are here on campus, and if they need access to specialized labs and studios to do their work, they will not be denied that access—as long as they aren’t gathering in groups larger than eight, and as long as the space permits appropriate social distancing.
  • External placements such as student teaching, Nursing clinicals, and off-campus internships are not considered to be face-to-face courses for the purpose of this guidance.  The academic unit responsible for such a placement will determine whether or not it continues, in consultation with the placement site.
  • Enrollment for summer sessions and fall semester is still on—there is no change in the schedule.  Faculty advisors will soon receive a list of advisees who haven’t yet enrolled.  Please reach out to your advisees and encourage them to enroll.
  • We’re moving the deadline for submission of midterm grades back three days, from 5:00 pm on March 17 to 5:00 pm on March 20.  This will give faculty members a bit more time to focus on transitioning their face-to-face classes, and will still allow students a week before the withdrawal deadline on March 27.
  • Keep an eye on ESU’s COVID-19 website for comprehensive information and communication about the virus and the university’s response to it.

Thank you for all that you do every day to give our students a great ESU education.  And please know that your special efforts to maintain our academic mission at this challenging time are greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
David Cordle, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs