Faculty Updates

Faculty Updates on Remote Teaching

March 18, 2020

From Marcel Rindisbacher, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Research

Colleagues – as you all know the situation we operate in is evolving constantly. Here some updates:

  1. In our communication to students shared with you, we emphasize that given the announcement to on-campus students residing elsewhere not to return to campus to retrieve their belongings (click here for the  Dean of Students’ communication about this), faculty is asked to accommodate the disruptive challenges of some students by showing flexibility with regard to attendance policies, class participation, and course assessments etc.. We appreciate your efforts to work with your students in helping them to adjust to their new situation.
  1. As long as there is  no shelter-in-place order issued  that prevents faculty to teach from the office, we encourage you to continue to teach from your ofifce, in particular, if you have concerns about support or face technological challenges at home. However, to prepare for a situation where  the Questrom building is closed and offices inaccessible, please start to think about  contingency plans  for how you would teach from home or a place that remains accessible. As a shelter-in-place order can be issued without much lead time, please make sure that at any time you will have access to all the teaching material you need in order to switch to a remote delivery mode outside of Questrom. If you anticipate challenges, please inform your department chair.
  1. Overall we get very positive feedback from students about your efforts and commitment to make remote delivery of synchronous classes a positive experience. However, we currently cannot run Zoom reports to make sure that all students have access to their courses either synchronously or asynchronously via recordings. Students who do not have access  may in fact not even be able to alert you.  We therefore suggest that by email now and/or  in person at the beginning of next week’s classes, you ask students if they are aware of any fellow students who can neither access live Zoom classes nor recordings. To identify students without access, allows us to make special arrangements  that allow these students to successfully finish their semester. You efforts and help with this is  appreciated.
  1. Currently the biggest challenge teaching with Zoom remotely appears to be the uploading of recorded sessions in a timely manner. We are working internally and with vendors to  find better upload solutions. Please stay tuned.
  1. Any changes to our normal grading policies  such as a pass/fail grading schemes to mitigate the profound disruption of this semester will be made at the University level. We are discussing grading questions with program leadership within BU and Questrom.  On Monday, we will  send a recommendation to the Provost. Your department chair has or will solicit input on this.

We are facing a challenging situation but are encouraged by the  spirit, commitment and effort all of you are showing to help students to finish their semester.