Remote Instruction

August 19, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to provide both a reminder and an update on guidance for remote instruction that was provided earlier this year (my April 3 guidance on remote instruction can be found here.)

I wish to thank each one of you for the extraordinary work you did to rapidly transition online teaching in the midst of the spring semester and all you have done to prepare for mostly remote instruction during the Fall 2020 semester. Thank you for your understanding, patience, and commitment to our approach that follows the guiding principles of ensuring success and progression of our students while protecting the health and safety of our community.

I would also like to recognize the over 380 faculty took the UMBC PIVOT program that began in May and the over 400 faculty who participated during the summer in the more intensive, and discipline-based, PIVOT+ learning communities. DoIT has now made available PIVOT Solo to help faculty refresh or enhance their knowledge through the Fall semester and beyond.

Consistent with our mission and shared values to ensure a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all of our students, I encourage you to provide clear guidance to your students regarding online classroom expectations while encouraging sharing of diverse perspectives. Template language for inclusion in syllabi is available here.

If examinations or tests are to be held synchronously online, they must be scheduled at a regularly scheduled class time, or in the case of final examinations, according to the final examination schedule.

We all recognize that the Covid-19 pandemic may create disruptions to students’ personal lives resulting in missed classes, assignments, or assessments. Please continue to provide flexibility and support to students who encounter these situations.

I would like to take this opportunity reiterate my recommendations that you consider these best practices for remote instruction:

  1. Please consider developing asynchronous approaches for your courses, including recording of live sessions, discussion boards, and collaborative documents, to enable those students with access issues to be able to review those materials when access is available to them. Information about how to record live sessions and how to grant your students access to the recordings is provided through the DoIT’s Academic Continuity site.
  2. Please consider administering online assessments and exams in a manner that avoids requiring students to complete them exclusively during synchronous, scheduled online sessions when access issues may be a challenge for some students.

Finally, I would like to remind you of the following campus resources for remote instruction:

Thank you again for all you are doing on behalf of our students during these challenging times. Please take care of yourselves and your families. Stay safe and healthy.

Philip Rous, Provost