Fall 2020 Questions & Policy Answers

The purpose of this document is to share answers to common questions, sources of available support, and critical policy information to assist you in preparing your courses for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Are classroom assignments final? Where are they? 

The Office of the Registrar has published revised course schedules and classroom assignments in InsideND via Class Search. If you have questions about your new classroom assignment or meeting time, please contact your dean’s designee for fall scheduling matters, typically an assistant/associate dean. Please note that the classroom assignments are not yet final, as adjustments will be made as we learn which faculty members will be teaching online during the fall semester. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through these issues.

How do I know what technology setup is in my classroom?

The OIT has published this list, which will be updated regularly

What will my students’ experience be like in Fall 2020?

Remember that the Fall 2020 semester will have no breaks and the day-to-day circumstances for living and learning will be unusual for all of us. As you design your fall courses, please consider adding a degree of breathing room while maintaining high academic expectations. It is critical to cultivate interpersonal connections early in the semester. 

Three Typical Forms of Student Experience in Fall 2020 Courses:

  • In-Person / Residential: Participate in person as scheduled. Some courses may include alternating-attendance plans, online recitations or tutorials, hybrid designs, or other modifications. Courses taught by accommodated faculty may be 100% online.
  • Remote on campus: Participate in class live but remotely, during a period of quarantine or isolation only.
  • Remote at home: Participate in all learning activities and co-curriculars fully online for the duration of the semester. May apply to some International students and students with accommodations.

Will I have remote students in my class?  What is this “dual-mode” I’ve heard about? Does this mean I am simultaneously teaching to a live in-person group of students with some others on Zoom?

Yes. You should assume that you will, for part or all of the fall semester, have remote students. We encourage you to design instruction, activities, and assessments with this in mind.  You do not have to prepare separate course designs. “Dual-mode” means a residential course in which some students participate in-person and others participate remotely via Zoom.

What Should I Be Doing Right Now?

Resilient courses are designed to withstand involuntary disruptions while enabling students to achieve stated learning goals. Taking intentional steps now will mitigate the effects of a future disruption, and assist any remote students you have in achieving equity of learning opportunity.  Assume you will have remote students (either through an accommodation or due to required quarantine or isolation). Four things you can do right now: 

  1. Participate in ND Learning readiness programs.
  2. Use the attached Fall Teaching Resilience template to prepare a readiness plan.
  3. Consider changes to your course design that might include alternative assessment strategies, adoption of digital learning materials, and adapted teaching strategies. 
  4. Prepare your course materials and Sakai site as soon as possible.

What kind of advice and assistance will the University provide?

ND Learning is offering a regular series of dedicated fall readiness workshops on topics such as course redesign, resilient assessment strategies, active learning and group collaboration, and effective asynchronous learning. Find a convenient time here (we will continue to update the site with additional times). Past workshops have been recorded and are posted on this site  for your convenience. ND Learning  also offers individual and group consultations, resilient pedagogy working groups, drop-in office hours. This website, the downloadable playbook, and the self-paced online minicourse are designed to provide different ways of accessing pedagogy advice, critical knowledge and action steps you can take. 

I have a lot to do to get organized in time for August 10. Can someone help?

Your department may have access to remote student interns who can assist with course readiness effort right away (organizing materials, gathering library reserves, Quality Assurance / proofreading, uploading to Sakai, etc). Ask your dean's office for more information.

Are there any common descriptions of course delivery?

To provide a shared vocabulary we are using the following descriptions:

  • Residential Dual-Mode: The norm. Taught with instructors and most students in person, with some remote students as appropriate.
  • Hybrid Course: Designed intentionally to use a combination of live in-person and asynchronous learning to achieve learning goals.
  • Alternating-Attendance: Due to classroom size constraints, students alternate between live in-person and live online participation.
  • Fully Online Course: All instruction and participation happens online, with instructors and all students physically separated.

Instructors should work to ensure that their syllabus and Registrar’s course data accurately reflect the course delivery mode in order to provide students and their advisors with accurate information.

May I teach my classes 100% online? In hybrid format?

The Office of Institutional Equity is managing faculty requests for accommodations, which will take a variety of forms. Any instructors provided accommodations to teach remotely should check with their dean's office to understand any training requirements or expectations. All courses meeting online should be clearly designated as such in the Registrar’s course data in order to guide students and their advisors. ND Learning will offer accommodated faculty customized training in effective online teaching. 

As Provost Burish and Provost-Elect Miranda wrote on June 23, “questions about hybrid approaches should be resolved at the local (college, school) level. The provost’s office does not plan on issuing “rules” on hybrid approaches. We simply ask that you remember the importance students place on interacting with faculty and that you leverage technology in ways that give you better opportunity to connect with our students.” Check with your dean’s office if you have any questions.

Besides the new technology, how will the new classrooms work? Must I wear a mask while teaching? 

The face coverings policy applies to teaching. Instructors must wear face coverings.  Classrooms will have assigned seats to facilitate contact tracing, designated entry and exit patterns, and visible distancing signage. Longer passing periods (time between classes) will help students to depart and arrive on time. As previously noted, we are exploring the use of face shields for instructors -- this is an evolving issue and we will keep you updated.

Who will monitor the remote students while I’m teaching?

Some classroom assistants (student workers) will be available upon request to help instructors without assigned TAs operate the technology during live instruction. Instructors assigned to Registrar classrooms can request this support from OIT later in July. 

How will students work and interact in groups while remaining physically distant in class?

Classroom testing suggests that students in physically distanced classrooms will be able to converse comfortably during small group work. We suggest groups of 2-3, and when needed, the use of digital documents or physical artifacts such as handheld whiteboards that allow for physical distance.  Some group collaboration may also be shifted online, outside of the scheduled class meeting time, when pedagogically appropriate. In most classrooms, wi-fi will not support large numbers of simultaneous student Zoom video meetings intended to facilitate small group work. 

How should I conduct office hours and informal learning events?

Student feedback from Spring 2020 endorsed holding scheduled office hours via Zoom. Using a waiting room feature for Zoom office hours can maintain privacy. Face coverings and physical distancing are also viable approaches to office hours and informal learning.

What if I want to create asynchronous materials (e.g. short lecture videos, screencasts or worked examples) as part of my course design?

Great idea. Learn how to do so effectively in an ND Learning workshop or by consulting this resource. You can book time in ND Studios if you prefer in-studio filming and production.

Are instructors required to record all courses? Must students attend class?

Attendance policies are unchanged. Instructors with remote students should record live class meetings. Recordings can be a very valuable learning resource for later study. Recordings will be made with Zoom and posted in Panopto to provide maximum control over their circulation. More details on this process are available in this knowledge base article. Please consult our posted guidance on this site for a more detailed discussion of privacy, using classroom recordings, advice to students, and the like.  

Are there external resources I should consult?

To supplement our offerings tailored to Notre Dame, we recommend the following resources created by our colleagues: 

How do I provide feedback? Who should I talk to with questions about teaching, fall readiness, learning strategies, and the like?

If you have questions about pedagogical strategies, resilient course design, inclusive pedagogy, or if you wish to help offer guidance and mentorship to colleagues, please be in touch with learning@nd.edu

If you have questions about teaching technologies contact the OIT Help Desk at 574-631-8111, oithelp@nd.edu or chat online at: https://help.nd.edu.

Any questions about policies, permissions, requirements, or classroom assignments should be directed to your dean's office.