Recent Updates

 

Communicate to Students (7 Point Plan)

Regular and substantive interaction with students is not only important for effective remote instruction, but this connectedness and continuity will provide students with much needed emotional and social support.  Of course, just as we always strive to convey to our students that we care about them and their academic challenges and success, doing so is even more important during this upheaval.

1. Clearly state how you will communicate with students and on what schedule. Please make it clear that they are expected to devote the same amount of time to classes being offered remotely. Ensure that you have a valid email address for the students in each of your classes, lab sections, or other courses, and that you have ready access to this information offsite.

2. Explain your plan for replacing in-person classes. 

  • For lectures, you might use live broadcasts, record videos, or post narrated PPT files.
  • You might use the discussion forum feature of the LMS, or schedule open office hours on WebEx.
  • Labs might focus on identifying specific learning goals and developing alternate virtual examinations of data sets, or a faculty may want to perform a lab session over WebEx, provide data, and require students to do the analysis.
  • For independent studies, honors theses, and other capstone projects, faculty should develop alternate methods of remote completion.
  • Discuss attendance and that it will be monitored (if applicable). 

3. Instructors should devote (at least) the same amount of time as you would for regular class meetings. Simply uploading materials does not constitute regular, substantive interaction. 

4. Explain how you will alter assignments, exams, and other graded work. Consider converting exams and assignments that require proctoring to an open-book/take-home format. Provide students with information on how to submit course assignments via the course website. If this is not feasible, make sure your students have a valid email address for you so that they can submit assignments to you that way.

5. If you need to reweight any elements of the grade to reflect the adjustments above, clearly explain that to students. Explain whether they will still receive a letter grade or a Pass/Fail for the semester. Special care should be taken to ensure that students’ grades do not suffer from these disruptions. 

6. Confirm that all students have a reliable way to access the internet.  High-speed internet access and large cell-phone data plans are not distributed evenly among our students. We need to be especially thoughtful about this and try to employ the lowest tech options available. Of course, this will not always be possible.

  • RU libraries and computer labs are remaining open with heightened cleaning protocols and social distancing. Here is a link to the schedule for computer labs. https://oit-nb.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/SpringBreak2020_0.pdf 
    • It says Spring Break for now but will change accordingly. Not all labs will be open next week, for the moment. OIT decided to focus on the labs that coincide with the Libraries so we can share space and support.
    • OIT is setting up the labs for social distancing by turning off every other computer. The support folks will monitor attendance given the EOC guidance for no more than 15 people grouped. If more students need to use the labs, OIT will try to expand accordingly.
    • As a caveat, OIT relies heavily on student workers for lab management so will have to balance with FT staff, which there is not a lot of. The support team is working on contingency plans accordingly.
  • Comcast announced Thursday that it will be increasing speeds for the "Internet Essentials" program and making the program free to new customers for two months, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Those who become “Internet Essentials” customers can also purchase a refurbished laptop or desktop computer from Comcast for $150 + tax. Comcast is offering 'Internet Essentials' package free for low-income customers for 60 days: https://www.wxyz.com/news/national/coronavirus/comcast-offering-internet-essentials-package-free-for-60-months-during-coronavirus-outbreak (https://www.internetessentials.com/ is the actual link to sign up for internet essentials wifi.)
  • Vice Chancellor Felicia McGinty has announced that NB is loaning laptops to students that need them – students should contact Dean of Students.
  • We are reminded that “remote instruction” does not only mean online. We may need to use email and/or snail mail, telephone contact, etc. This is uncharted territory where we do the best we can knowing that our best falls short of perfect.

7. Students with disabilities may be impacted differently when switching from in-person to online instruction. Be prepared to provide and/or revise student accommodations. For more information about accommodations, please visit https://ods.rutgers.edu/.