Expectations and Support for Moving On-Ground Courses Online
Lindenwood has made the decision to shift all instruction to an online format for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Instructors should expect to teach their courses through Canvas or other virtual means until at least March 30, 2020, but should be aware that longer-term adjustments to instruction may be necessary if circumstances warrant. This unexpected shift in learning modality will present many challenges for both instructors and students, and will require flexibility and continuous communication. This document will outline expectations of instructors during this time as well as support resources and services that will be available.
Instructors may not simply cancel class and exempt students from coursework. Insofar as possible, instructors should deliver course materials and provide for development of the same or substantially similar knowledge and skills as students would receive in a two-week period in their on-ground course. Instructors should take the following actions to ensure a quality virtual learning experience:
- Establish a means of regular communication with students;
- Assure that students have access to necessary course materials (readings, lectures, etc.) or adjusting to provide access to alternative materials;
- Promote appropriate interaction between students and instructor and among students;
- Adjust assessment of student learning as necessary to assure that students have a means of submitting assignments and receiving timely feedback.
Instructors should be aware that a move to online learning may be more disruptive for some students than others and be prepared to work with students who:
- May not have reliable access to broadband internet service;
- May only be able to access the course shell and course materials via mobile phone;
- May be unable to return to campus to retrieve textbooks or other necessary course materials;
- May never have taken a course online and be uncertain of how to handle asynchronous, self-directed, or distance learning;
- May be dealing with COVID-19 symptoms or caring for others who are ill.
Flexibility and creativity in handling pedagogical challenges will be a necessity, as will continual and open communication with students and academic supervisors. Instructors are expected to make themselves available to students via email, phone, Canvas chat, conferencing tools, or other virtual means as appropriate to their pedagogy. Communications from students should be answered as quickly as possible, and within 24 hours during the workweek.
Instructors may make any adjustments to their course that they deem necessary to promote continued learning in the coming weeks; this includes changes to master courses that were provided by the academic school. All adjustments to a course syllabus must be documented and clearly communicated to students in writing (preferably within the Canvas shell) so that potential grade appeals can be fairly evaluated. Instructors teaching courses not readily suited to a virtual learning experience (specifically laboratory, studio, and performance-based courses) should work with their academic dean to design reasonable alternative educational experiences for students.
Each academic school has established a team of administrators and experienced online teachers who are available to offer front-line support to faculty in their schools who need guidance regarding online teaching or course policies (list below). Initial questions should be directed to that team to alleviate the load on Lindenwood Online and Lindenwood Learning Academy staff.
Before seeking personal assistance, it may be useful to consult the attached Course Continuity Guide, which will provide guidance on frontline concerns and help instructors triage their course conversion.
Lindenwood has invested in 24/7 technical support from Canvas. The Canvas Instructor Guide is kept up-to-date and may provide a helpful starting point.
Lindenwood Online staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lindenwood Learning Academy Director of Faculty Development Kristen Norwood (email@example.com) will be available for individual consultations by appointment during regular business hours. Many universities are undergoing a sudden shift to online learning, and support resources available online increase hourly. A curated list of potentially helpful guides, articles, and apps may be found in the continuity guide below.
Students may continue to receive additional academic support from SASS and the Writing Center. Students are encouraged to make an appointment rather than dropping in, as tutor availability may be reduced. The Writing Center will have online consultations with staff members available by appointment. Students also have access to Tutor.com in their student portal and Canvas; this service provides 24/7 tutoring support in numerous subjects and offers drop-off writing consultation.
- Guide to Discouraging Academic Dishonesty When You’re (Suddenly) Teaching Online (Lindenwood Learning Academy)
- Guide to Making Online Course Materials Accessibility Compliant (Lindenwood Learning Academy)
- Indiana University’s Knowledge Base on How to Keep Teaching During Prolonged Closures
- Collection of Online Learning Materials for a Variety of Disciplines
- Online Learning Consortium Webinar on Instructional Continuity
- Transforming Your Online Teaching From Crisis to Community (InsideHigherEd.com)
- So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online (InsideHigherEd.com)
- Six Tips for Moving Online in a Hurry (Posted to LinkedIn by Lindenwood adjunct faculty member, Amy Peach)