COVID-19 Weekly Update (6/17)

June 18, 2020



(This message was originally sent on June 17, 2020. It is being published here for preservation.)

Dear Department Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, Vice-Chancellors and colleagues:

Every time we turn around, there seems to be more information to share. This week’s updates capture the hard work that every one of you is engaged in.

Fall 2020 Schedule
A BIG thank you to all our chairs, and associate deans who have been revising the schedule for Fall in order to allow for social distancing in our classrooms. I know that this has taken a tremendous effort. Please assure faculty colleagues that updates to the Fall are in process now, but things will not be finalized for a few weeks. The registrar will be back in touch with units as necessary and as the schedule gets finalized.

I find the weekly chairs meeting, and my weekly meetings with deans, extremely useful in facilitating communications. Questions from chairs and deans have helped us rethink ideas and clarify plans. Below are some FAQs that have come up in multiple meetings that relate to details about the fall semester. Please send us your comments/questions and concerns so we can address them and share with the entire group in FAQ format.

Mizzou Celebrates Juneteenth
Thank you to our colleagues at IDE who have compiled a list of resources that include Mizzou and community-wide events on their website celebrating Juneteenth on June 19th. To add your event(s) to the list, please email them at diversity@missouri.edu.

T4LC Resources
Our T4LC offers timely guidance on assessment – please share with faculty who may be interested in signing up for the seminar shown below

Authentic Assessment – Making Learning Relevant to Students’ Lives
Thursday, 6/18, 10:00am-10:45am
Facilitated by Dr. Jonathan Cisco
Details and RSVP here.
Resource: Tips for Inclusive Teaching Online, PowerPoint

Proctoring Resources/Alternatives
We have received emails from a few students concerned about online proctoring and privacy breaches if the proctoring software requires access to a computer’s camera and microphone. We’re also aware of proctoring challenges related to reliable internet. Our Office of eLearning has created a set of resources and alternatives you might consider using if you can eliminate the need for proctoring your assessments. We also have a set of policies related to the use of remote proctoring services.

FAQ for Chairs about Fall 2020 Planning from the Provost’s Office

Note: This FAQ sheet will be updated weekly, with any changes highlighted in bold.

June 16th FAQs

Will any of the large venues – like Jesse Auditorium, The Missouri Theatre, Mizzou Arena – be made available for classroom space?
The Academic Operations Team is working with Operations to see how many large spaces of this kind will be available. If they do become available, the Registrar will begin scheduling large courses in them.

Are faculty required to deliver a face-to-face course remotely to students who are sick or quarantined?
Faculty have always been responsible for helping students with medical issues make up the classwork and stay on track in the course. The difference in Fall 2020 is that, because of the scope and scale of the situation, faculty should have a plan ahead of time for how they will do this. Faculty are not being asked to create fully online and F2F versions of the same class to accommodate this possibility, but they are being asked to think about how they would offer a reasonable approximation of the course, should this situation emerge. Example strategies might include having students participate remotely via Zoom or a similar platform, or recording their class lecture which the student could view and review at their convenience.

June 3rd FAQs

When will the spreadsheet from Registrar be circulated?
The spreadsheet will be circulated this week, and chairs will have one week to complete and return it to the Registrar. Spreadsheets were returned on Thursday, June 11.

Do chairs need to find new rooms for their courses?
If the room is one that is centrally scheduled, then reassignments of rooms will be handled centrally; chairs don’t need to find new rooms. The new capacity for each room will be indicated on the spreadsheet, so chairs will need to indicate if they are requesting a new room for a given course. If the room is one that is scheduled by the department, then chairs should shift things around (or request a centrally scheduled room) if necessary.

 Should chairs prepare faculty about possible changes to their schedule?
Some faculty may have changes to their schedules, for instance in a case when an appropriate room cannot be found at the time they were assigned to teach. We will make every effort to not change class times, but suspect that some changes will be inevitable. You should wait on communicating this to faculty until you know more details.

Will there be 10 or 20 minutes between classes?
While the initial recommendation from the Academic Operations Team had been for 20 minutes, this was going to be very disruptive to the schedule. We will stick with the regular schedule of 10 minutes between classes. If faculty find that there are any issues in terms of students exiting and entering the classroom, they can consider alternative arrangements (e.g., ending class a few minutes early and implementing activities to make up for missed class time).

Should chairs automatically honor faculty requests to move online. Are there criteria that chairs should be applying?
Chairs should reach out to their faculty who want to teach online. Faculty who are at risk for complications from COVID should be accommodated with online teaching. Our HR policy uses the CDC’s definition of risk, which includes those who are 65 years and older, or those with underlying medical conditions. Chairs should also make decisions about moving other faculty online as it is appropriate to their curriculum, and to the students in the class (as much as possible, preserve face-to-face experiences for freshmen classes).

Can chairs give honoraria to faculty to do online learning courses to improve their teaching for fall?
As part of their appointments, as a campus, we expect faculty to engage in efforts to improve all of their teaching. If appropriate, chairs with agreement from the Dean, should follow the University of Missouri’s CRR as related to extra compensation.

Can incoming faculty sign up for the summer online training courses?
Yes they can, and chairs should encourage them to do so. The department that is hiring the new faculty member must work with their departmental IT professional to create SSO IDs (pawprints) for the new faculty members. The IT professional can get them whenever you have a definitive start date of employment. This is the best way to access the sites.

 Should chairs reach out to students to let them know about changes to courses that they are registered in?
No. The Registrar will be in touch with students about changes to their schedules.

Can chairs move a course online even if it is a course taken by first year students?
Our goal is to ensure that first-time college students have the opportunity to take a significant amount of their courses in person, but we recognize that it may not be possible for all classes populated by first time students to be delivered face to face. Chairs should work with their deans to ensure that the freshmen experience is largely face-to-face.

 If faculty prefer to teach upper level courses online, can chairs honors those requests?
Chairs need to look at all of their offerings to strike a balance among those that can be offered face to face, online, and in a hybrid format, while also making decisions that make the most sense pedagogically.

Sincerely,

Latha Ramchand