Dear Faculty, We are coming down to the home stretch with just one more week of classes and then finals. I thank you for your continued support of our students and the way so many of you have stepped up to learn and implement the available technologies to facilitate our students’ learning. I suspect many of the new strategies you have employed during remote instruction will have value in your face-to-face and hybrid classes as well. As you look past the end of exams, I hope you will find time to pause and reflect on your teaching experiences this semester, and what you can carry forward into your summer and fall instruction.
I write to you this week with some new updates and a few reminders:
- If you are planning to give an online final exam in Blackboard, please be sure that you have worked through your exam format carefully and planned for possible challenges or disruptions. Based on faculty experiences giving online exams during remote instruction, we are encouraging faculty to consider alternative approaches to the traditional 2-3 hour exam. The Center for Teaching and Learning encourages you to review this critical information on test settings and troubleshooting information that will help you think through specific issues you may encounter during this year’s final exam period and to evaluate your assessment options. These include this checklist, which will help you identify and plan for challenges ranging from student connectivity issues and time zone differences, to how to manage student accommodations within your test. CTL will have additional workshops on creating tests and quizzes in Blackboard, or reach out for individual support by emailing email@example.com.
- In early May, students will be receiving a reminder of the P/NP deadline (noon EDT on May 14, 2020). Your advisees may reach out to you during finals week for guidance. Comprehensive P/NP information is available on the Spring 2020 Academic Support Accommodations website.
- If you are planning to use Blackboard's Grade Center to distribute grades to students, we have added detailed information about its use in the ETS Knowledge base. If you have questions about the Grade Center or would like to schedule a consult, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CTL, in collaboration with Writing in the Disciplines and UVM Libraries, invites you to participate in Pivotal Pedagogy: Preparing to Teach in Multiple Environments, occurring May 13 – 22. This new faculty development event is an opportunity to create or revise courses in a supportive and collegial environment that recognizes the benefits of proactive and flexible course design. Registration opens April 29. Visit the CTL website for updates and stay tuned for additional details.
- As UVM navigates this period of significant change and uncertainty, students experiencing anxiety and stress may be seeking support from faculty, especially as finals approach. CAPS has designed a workshop to provide faculty with ways they can support students. Please consider participating in this CAPS workshop for faculty from 1-2:30 pm on Mondays through finals week. To register email: email@example.com or Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org
- UVM supports Microsoft Teams and considers this to be the primary preferred video conferencing platform. Using the UVM supported version of a video conferencing platform is not the same as using your own version or subscription to a platform with the same name. Please review the latest issue of PrivacyMatters to reduce the risk of privacy and security incidents arising from videoconferencing platform use.
- Summer 2020 elective internship guidance was issued last week. The academic portion of internships, i.e., the credits for which a student registers, must be conducted remotely. The university strongly recommends remote options for internships this summer. In-person experiences may also be possible, depending on a variety of factors associated with the geographic location of the site. Health and safety concerns are paramount to internship decisions, and all protocols and regulations required by the host and local, state, and federal governments must be observed.
- Please visit the CTL teaching continuity website regularly. New information, resources, and events are posted frequently. Among them are new resources, including surveys ready to be imported into your Blackboard course, to help you determine whether your students are ready and equipped to complete the final exam, presentation, paper, or project.
- Please consider enrolling in one of two excellent teaching online programs: Summer Online Teaching Bootcamp (a two-week, 3.5 hour program offered regularly in April and May); or Teaching Effectively Online for faculty seeking a more in-depth online teaching experience for fall semester (a four-week, 20 hour program beginning May 18).
- Nominations for the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Awards are due May 1.
As the semester nears its end, I ask for your continued engagement with our students as they will need your guidance and support more than ever. As much as possible we want our students to feel they have gained the knowledge they need and experienced key content with your expertise shining through particularly in this remote instruction context. Let’s make these last few weeks really count!
With my best wishes to you and your families,