March 9 Provost Memo

From: Joe Glover, Provost

Transitioning Instruction

Given what we know about the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., we recommend that instructors move their courses from face-to-face delivery to an electronic delivery mode effective immediately, wherever possible. While this is not a requirement at this time, there is a strong probability that it will become a requirement before the end of the Spring semester, and so we encourage instructors to transition now to avoid the rush with the accompanying last-minute headaches. There is ample help available to assist faculty with transitioning. It can be found on eLearning’s Keep Teaching page.

While there are many ways to move from a face-to-face presentation to online, we expect many instructors will be able to rely on three different modes of delivery.

  • Asynchronous courses without recorded lectures
  • Asynchronous courses with recorded lectures
  • Synchronous courses taught through the Zoom platform

Through Zoom, courses can continue to be delivered “live” during scheduled class periods. Each Zoom session can accommodate up to 300 students simultaneously. Anyone with classes larger than 300 should contact the eLearning Support Team through the eLearning website or by phone (352) 392-4357 (choose Option 3 for more guidance).

Through asynchronous delivery, instructors can pre-record lectures so that students can view them at a time of their own choosing. Whenever practical, the lectures should be available at the scheduled class period so students can adhere to their daily schedule as much as possible.

Instructors should continue to follow their syllabus, assignment and exam schedules, and office hours schedule. Instructors are responsible for notifying their students in advance about the shift to the online format and to communicate regularly to them expectations surrounding assignments, exams, etc. Instructors do not have authority to cancel classes, radically redesign course structures, or change exam schedules without approval from the College Office. They may hold office hours by phone, online using Zoom or an analogous methodology.

Incomplete grades should only be assigned as appropriate and consistent with university guidelines, and there should be no “mass assignment” of incomplete grades. Incomplete grades inconvenience students in many ways, including financial aid and in making timely progress to degree.

We will make every effort to be considerate of instructor and student concerns during this unprecedented situation. We hope that instructors will be similarly solicitous of student concerns.

As of now, the University is planning to deliver the usual Summer sessions. However, it is possible that circumstances may require all courses to be delivered online.

I recommend you factor that possibility into your current and Summer plans.