TO: All NC State Instructors of Record, Fall 2020
FROM: Warwick A. Arden, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
SUBJECT: Shift to Remote Instruction for Undergraduate Coursework, Fall 2020
DATE: August 20, 2020
Earlier this afternoon, Chancellor Woodson announced that as of 8 a.m. on Monday, August 24, NC State will be moving all undergraduate instruction that is not already online to a remote instruction format. Graduate courses will remain in their existing format. This decision was made after careful consideration of the rapidly increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases in our community.
I know that each of you prepared your fall courses for face-to-face, hybrid, or remote instruction with the awareness that, should we experience outbreaks of the virus on campus, we may need to shift to fully remote instruction at some point in the semester. We are now at that point, and I am asking that you work with your students to help them make this transition as smooth as possible. For those of you who started the semester in a face-to-face or hybrid format, this will require some adjustments. I’ve attached a tip sheet, developed by the Office of Faculty Development and DELTA, to this memo. The tip sheet includes ideas for consideration as you make these changes, as well as links to resources that are available to you during this transition.
I want to say again how grateful I am to each of you. As a result of the pandemic, we have been dealing with a great deal of uncertainty and many changes to our work. It certainly has not been easy — each of you has had to manage stressors and challenges related not only to your teaching responsibilities, but also to your scholarship, outreach, service, and engagement activities, as well as in your family and personal lives. Your dedication to your students, colleagues and the university remains steadfast, and I remain profoundly grateful for your efforts to keep our academic programs moving forward regardless of the situation at hand. It is in these times that I am reminded of and reassured by the collective strength of our Wolfpack community. Thank you.
Transition to Online Teaching: Tip Sheet for Faculty and TAs
With the decision made to move undergraduate instruction fully online, the following tips will make this transition easier. Please review these tips, and reach out to DELTA (firstname.lastname@example.org), NC State University Libraries (www.lib.ncsu.edu/askus) and the Office of Faculty Development (email@example.com) if they can assist you in any way.
Please note that in late July of this year, all faculty and graduate assistants were designated as mandatory employees. Other staff, including postdoctoral scholars, may have been designated as mandatory by their college or unit. Your mandatory designations will not change in this transition. With a mandatory designation, you will have the same access to your offices and classrooms even after this shift to remote instruction for undergraduates.
Immediate Transition “to dos”
- Communicate to your students your transition plans, even if you don’t have everything in place. Give them direction on where and how to access course materials and readings, lectures, and lab activities for the first two/three weeks during the transition.
- Continue to provide timely communications to students, noting any changes to the schedule and/or syllabus, reminding them of upcoming assignments, etc. You cannot communicate too often with students.
- Let students know about the hardware, software and bandwidth requirements for accessing your class materials and participating in course activities online.
- Give your students (and yourself) time to adapt to the new set of circumstances and allow students to move and find new living and learning arrangements if necessary. For students who are moving off-campus, keep in mind they will need time to move and adjust. Some students may seek off-campus housing in the area rather than return to their hometowns, which may be challenging. Some may return to their permanent residences and be sharing resources at home with younger siblings who are also participating in remote learning, or parents who are remotely working. It may take a week or more for students to find stable learning environments.
- Be flexible with your expectations, assignments, and assessments during this time.
- Review your Academic Continuity plan. What will you need to adjust/change based on that plan? How will you address continuity in each part of your course?
Apply Lessons Learned During Spring and Summer
- Students returning to low-bandwidth environments (e.g. moving back home), may experience challenges with using certain technologies.
- Reassess the use of synchronous class time where all students need to be online at the same time (e.g., consider pre-recording lectures instead of requiring a synchronous Zoom session). For sessions that are synchronous, allow for an audio only participation option, and an option to watch the recording later if students can’t participate in real time.
- Respondus Monitor (online test monitoring software) requires both a high bandwidth connection and a web camera to work. Be prepared to accommodate students who may not be in environments where they can use this software. Rethink giving a monitored exam.
- Ask your students to try out all required course technologies in advance of any for-credit/high-stakes learning activity in order to understand what accommodations may be required for students who, when moving away from campus, no longer have reliable technology access (for example, a brief practice quiz in Respondus to troubleshoot potential issues; a check-in via Zoom, etc.).
- Get equipped with any hardware and software you may need for remote instruction.
- Talk to your department head about any equipment you need to take home with you.
- Check out the Libraries lending program to see what technology is available for you and/or your students to checkout.
- Related articles that may be helpful:
- Trauma-informed Teaching: Resources and Tips from the Field
- Building CommUNITY through Peer Engagement Online
- Reflections and Results: Faculty look back on Spring Exams
- Alternative Assessment Resources for Teaching and Learning Online
- Moving Class to Online: Tips from Professor Kim Allen
- Important Considerations for Teaching Online When That Wasn’t Your Original Plan
- Tips from Faculty for Quickly Preparing to Teach Online
- Level the Playing Field: Strategies to Ensure Equitable Access in Online Courses
- Remote Teaching and Assessment: Some Considerations and Concerns for Exam Monitoring and Online Testing
- If you are currently in a lecture capture classroom, options for moving your lecture online include:
- Coming to your classroom during your scheduled time to do your recording (you should maintain your existing building access during this transition, so please contact your building liaison immediately if you cannot access the room).
- Scheduling time in a classroom to do multiple lecture recordings to get you through the rest of the semester.
- To request access to record in a DELTA classroom, Mini Studio, or in Park Shops, please complete this form.
- Using My Mediasite at your home or office to record your lectures and share them with students.
- Teaching with Zoom and recording those meetings. (You can share links to Zoom recordings or publish them to My Mediasite which is explained in this KBA and this video.)
Get Help/Give Help
- Attend a faculty meeting about “Teaching in Uncertain Times” offered weekly over lunch.
- Review the webinar “Creating an Academic Continuity Plan” (duration: 53 minutes) or sign up for the self-paced academic continuity module.
- Contact an experienced peer who belongs to the Faculty Peer Support Network.
- Watch the DELTA video series about “Getting Your Course Online Quickly.”
- Consult the DELTA website with tips for a speedy online transition, “Online Course Creation Support guide.”
- Learn more about DELTA-supported tools and technology through previous workshop recordings.
- If you are well situated with your remote teaching, reach out to a peer who needs help. You can also volunteer to be listed as a Faculty Peer Support Network member by completing this form.
Find a PDF version of this memo here.