In a time of heightened awareness about the spreading COVID-19, it is important that we all take proactive steps to ensure that we can continue to educate students through the challenges that may be ahead. The University has undertaken a comprehensive and inclusive process of reviewing and revising its pandemic preparedness plan, which outlines four primary levels of response. Briefly, those four response levels are as follows:
Response Level A – Planning
Response Level B – High Alert ← we are here!
Response Level C – Full Alert (Social Distancing)
Response Level D – Pandemic Period
The University is currently operating at a Response Level B. Under response level B, the University is: increasing communications about the disease; implementing disinfecting protocols for high-traffic, high-touch areas; closely monitoring University-sponsored travel; and beginning to plan for the possibility of implementing social distancing mechanisms.
It is this last point where faculty involvement is especially critical. In a social distancing response, we expect that in-classroom instruction will be suspended and faculty will continue educating students primarily using an online modality. As preparation for this possibility, we encourage you to begin thinking about how you would accomplish the following in an online environment:
- Communicate with your students right away: they may be concerned, so try to reassure them that ‘we will get through this together’.
- Distribute course materials and readings
- Deliver lectures
- Foster collaboration and communication amongst students
- Collect assignments
- Assess student learning
To assist you in this planning, the Teaching and Learning Corner has published a concise set of resources to assist you in developing your instructional continuity plan. If you don’t already have access to the online tools that you need, you should request that access now and begin to familiarize yourself with those tools.
Additionally, the TLC is offering a series of pop-up webinars focused on academic continuity. Please consider attending one of the following:
Lastly, connect with your colleagues to learn and share with each other. Many faculty already have extensive experience teaching in an online format. If we need to enact social distancing, the team in OIT will become overwhelmed if they have to immediately support hundreds of faculty transitioning their courses at the same time. If you are experienced with the use of online teaching tools and willing to lend your expertise to your colleagues, please consider joining the Faculty and Friends Network.
By working together we can ensure that we are well prepared for the challenges ahead. It is your hard work and dedication to educating students in all circumstances that makes Clarkson great.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to either of us.