COVID-19: Teaching Remotely Starting March 16
March 11, 2020
From Susan Fournier, Allen Questrom Professor & Dean
Dear Questrom Faculty,
By now you have seen the update from President Brown regarding university operations and the near-term plans for continuing classroom instruction remotely until at least April 13th. I write this evening to address some Questrom-specific questions you may have.
WHEN ARE CLASSES STARTING?
All classes will resume on Monday, March 16th. We understand that there will be a ramp-up period and that you will not be able to get everything right for the first session. However, the University has made it clear that they want students to reengage with their classes starting on Monday. You should use your first class session to reorient students to changes in the syllabus, deliverables, exams, and grading.
WHAT IF I’M NOT READY TO TEACH REMOTELY?
We understand that there is a great deal of effort needed to transition courses into a remote format. We also understand that a rapid transition to an online format will not result in a perfect class initially; we will do everything we can do provide online resources, in person training, and technological support to help you to adapt to this new situation. You should take advantage of these resources prior to the resumption of classes next week.
WILL I TEACH FROM HOME?
You should expect to teach your live sessions via Zoom from your home or office, whichever is more comfortable for you. We can provide additional technologies for the delivery of quantitative sessions that rely heavily on the use of chalkboards. Please contact Greg DeFronzo at Questromhelp@bu.edu if you need this level of support. For these cases, permission to teach in a classroom using video support may be granted by petition to Marcel Rindisbacher, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR TEACHING ONLINE?
If you are familiar with teaching on Zoom, you have taken your first step. If not, we have online training resources to get you started. For Step 2, reach out to your students ASAP to provide details on how they will join the first (and future) online class meetings. Frequent communication with students about their remote learning experience will facilitate this transition.
Before your first class, review your syllabus for any needed changes as you transition to online. We understand that some of the activities and content that you had planned might not work for this new format and you will need to consider other options. Please note that the learning goals of your courses should remain unchanged. Email email@example.com to work with an instructional designer .
Plan on delivering your sessions as scheduled; even though we are teaching remotely, the course schedule remains the same. In addition to holding live virtual class sessions, we request that you capture each session so they can all be accessed asynchronously.
Anticipate that accommodations may be needed for students who are facing unique circumstances (for example, students who are in different time zones and may face temporal and technological challenges).
Plan to offer office hours remotely, via Zoom, QuestromTools, or email.
EVALUATING STUDENT PERFORMANCE
If you change the way student performance is evaluated, assure that these changes are fair to your students and communicate them clearly. Given the circumstances, assume that exams will be open-note, open-book, unproctored, and thus collaboration between students is likely. Therefore, multiple choice exams are only useful as a check on comprehension and should not comprise a large percentage of the course grade. Short essay questions are recommended for exams. Make use of Turnitin (available on QuestromTools) as part of the upload process for written assignments and exams. Timed exams are an option for assessment and could reduce the potential for collaboration. Include an honors pledge on each assignment (available on QuestromTools).
WHAT SHOULD I DO IN MY FIRST ZOOM SESSION?
You should use your first session to show your students how you will use the Zoom platform and other technologies to deliver your class. You should also update them on any changes in course assignments, preparation, and/or requirements in your new, re-oriented remote course.
WHAT IF I WANT TO USE A PLATFORM OTHER THAN ZOOM FOR MY LIVE SESSIONS?
We expect that all faculty will use Zoom for live sessions. Our technology support teams are prepared to support the university-approved platform Zoom and are preparing student training documents for this platform. We want to reduce the number of platforms that the students must learn in an effort to minimize the disruptions as they transition to remote learning. Therefore, no other platform should be used for instruction.
WHAT DO I NEED KNOW ON ZOOM?
We expect that all faculty will have mastered the basics of Zoom: navigating the platform, muting and unmuting participants, using the raise hands feature, and sharing your screen. We will continue to offer training in the days to come on the following advanced features: running a classroom case discussion, creating small group breakouts, allowing others to present (e.g. group and individual presentations), managing analytics and computations, the white board feature, and using additional inputs for handwritten inputs. Make sure to visit the Questrom IT and Questrom COVID-19 sites for more information on upcoming trainings.
WHAT CHANGES SHOULD I EXPECT IN QUESTROM FACILITIES?
During this time, Questrom will be open, but will run on special hours, 7am-6pm. You will need your ID to access the building outside of these hours. In addition, we are restricting access to the 5th and 6th floor to ID access only during this period of time. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, we will be closing spaces that accommodate small and large groups. To that end, students will not have access to the following: team rooms, classrooms, student lounges, and the computer labs in Hariri. While we do not encourage you to be on campus or in the building, the Pardee Library will be open as will Breadwinners and Starbucks (Monday – Friday, 8am-2:30pm).
Colleagues, we are indeed in uncharted territory — in our professional and professional lives. This moment is challenging and it falls to us to do
what we need to do to continue fulfilling our mission, even as we ensure that we are doing our part as citizens of the world. Thank you all for doing what you are doing to make that so. I know you are working double time to ensure that we handle the tricky transitions required
by the moment. Please join us as we support each other during these unprecedented days. It will take patience and flexibility as we adapt to this new reality.
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