Winter 2022 Academic Council Expectations

Academic Council Expectations Update for Winter 2022

January 6, 2022

The complete Academic Council expectations for Winter 2022 are still in effect and are modified by this update (see modified full expectations below this update). Due to a spike in student absences at beginning of Winter 2022 term because of travel-related and COVID issues, the Academic Council is providing the following update to Winter 2022 expectations. These clarifications are meant to ensure absent students have equitable access to course material and learning opportunities, and to minimize as much as possible faculty effort in managing student absences. In most cases, the simplest approach to achieve and demonstrate equitable access that will take the least effort from instructors is to record the class.

Recording of classes is required unless there is a valid pedagogical reason to not do so. Individual faculty are in the best position to make this pedagogical decision for their classes and for each teaching session. Recording may not be the best way to achieve equity for absent students for labs and discussion sections, studios, or for interactive learning activities etc. Faculty electing to not record will need to be able to achieve and demonstrate equitable access through other means. See below for examples and support for other approaches.

The university has upgraded general-pool classrooms to make recording simpler. See here for instructions on how to record while teaching in-person. Instructors will of course retain discretion in how they make their class recordings available so long as, at a minimum, absent students are able to access any available class recordings.

In some cases, instructors may want to allow remote access to live class sessions (what we call a “hyflex” format). See these instructions for setting up a hyflex classroom.

There may be good pedagogical reasons for approaches other than class recordings or hyflex. For example, for courses (or class sessions) that are discussion-based or experiential in nature instructors could:

  • Ask students to engage in the day’s reading and complete a written assignment in response.
  • Use discussion boards to engage students in the material for the day.
  • Use pre-loaded Canvas quizzes.

These are just a few examples and you can find others here. You can also reach out to TEP for consultations if you need additional support.


Academic Council Winter 2022 Guidance and Expectations during COVID-19 Pandemic

Originally Approved by Academic Council | November 30, 2021
Modified by Academic Council | January 6, 2022

 

Preface

The Academic Council met on November 30, 2021 to discuss guidance for Winter term 2022. Given that the university is continuing most of its COVID regulations and guidance for Winter 2022, including testing, quarantining and instruction not to come to campus with symptoms, the council decided to continue expectations from Fall 2021 into Winter 2022. While acknowledging the challenges faculty are facing in dealing with student absences and need for accommodations, the council concluded that the current guidance provides the best possible balance of flexibility for students and discretion for faculty to make decisions that maintain the integrity of the course. 

The council also recognized that some faculty are wondering how to best translate its guidance into practice. To help with that, the council offers examples of specific statements from its expectations alongside ideas for teaching practice (See Addendum at the end of this page). Moreover, the Teaching Engagement Program and UO Online have built the Council’s expectations into resources for course design and an updated Syllabus ‘Starter’ with sample course polices that faculty can adapt. 

Guidance and Expectations for Winter 2022

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Academic Council has approved the following guidance and expectations for Winter 2022 term under the University Senate policy on Academic Continuity (see: https://provost.uoregon.edu/files/appendix_a_-_2019-4-03-approved_academic-continuity-final.pdf and https://provost.uoregon.edu/academic-continuity-planning). These actions are necessary to provide flexibility for students due to illness or required quarantine protocols. Instructors should recognize that there is a high probability that some students will miss their class at some point during the term, perhaps for extended periods, for COVID-related reasons. Apart from the specific guidelines and expectations below, we encourage faculty to exercise their judgment and empathy for students in providing appropriate flexibility.

Standard Academic Policies

Please familiarize yourself with standard academic policies related to instruction and working with students. The Office of the Provost has created an Academic Policy library here: https://provost.uoregon.edu/academic-policies-procedures-and-guidance. Note the following new policies and guidance passed by the University Senate Spring 2021:

University Policy Guidance

Mandatory First-Class Attendance

(see https://provost.uoregon.edu/mandatory-first-class-attendance-policy)

Given that there may be students unable to attend the first day of class for COVID-related reasons, the Mandatory First-Class Attendance policy is suspended for Winter 2022 term.

Eating and Drinking in Classrooms While Masked

Eating and drinking in classrooms is not allowed.

Course Preparation

In general, it is good practice to plan course activities and assignment two to three weeks out to aid in responding to a sudden significant academic disruption. This can provide a cushion of material to work with should a disruption occur either for the individual instructor or the university as whole. Given the unpredictability of public health conditions and regulations, instructors should be prepared to switch to remote teaching with limited advance notice. The Teaching Engagement Program has resources here to help with that.

Additional information on the COVID Containment Plan for Classes, including downloadable slides to show at beginning of class is available here. We strongly suggest you share these slides during your first few classes to reinforce the information.

Syllabus statement – instructors shall include the following statements on all course syllabi or clearly indicate on the syllabus where this information can be found on Canvas (for instance, a page could be created called “University COVID Policies”).

Academic Disruption

In the event of a campus emergency that disrupts academic activities, course requirements, deadlines, and grading percentages are subject to change. Information about changes in this course will be communicated as soon as possible by email, and on Canvas. If we are not able to meet face-to-face, students should immediately log onto Canvas and read any announcements and/or access alternative assignments. Students are also expected to continue coursework as outlined in this syllabus or other instructions on Canvas.

In the event that the instructor of this course has to quarantine, this course may be taught online during that time.

COVID Containment Plan for Classes

As the University of Oregon returns to in-person instruction, the key to keeping our community healthy and safe involves prevention, containment, and support. Here is information critical to how the UO is responding to COVID-19.

Prevention: To prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms and on campus, all students and employees must:

  • Comply with vaccination policy
  • Wear face coverings in all indoor spaces on UO campus
  • Complete weekly testing if not fully vaccinated or exempted
  • Wash hands frequently and practice social distancing when possible
  • Complete daily self-checks
  • Say home/do not come to campus if feeling symptomatic
  • If you have mild viral symptoms that do not require medical attention and you have not tested positive for COVID in the previous 90 days, students can drop by UHS to get a free COVID-19 self-test kit to more quickly determine if you have Covid
  • Complete the UO COVID-19 case and contact reporting form if you test positive or have been in close contact with a confirmed or presumptive case.

Containment: If a student in class tests positive for COVID-19:

  • Instructors should follow the guidance in the Instructor Notification email
  • Follow guidance in classroom notification email if sent to an entire class
  • If notified by a student that they have tested positive for Covid or believe they have Covid, both instructors and the student should complete the UO COVID-19 case and contact reporting form
  • Answer the call if contact by the Corona Corps (541-356-2292)
  • Isolate if you test positive or are symptomatic
  • Quarantine if you are an unvaccinated close contact or a vaccinated close contact with symptoms
  • Test weekly if you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated
  • Stay home if symptomatic and complete the UO COVID-19 case and contact reporting form

Support: The following resources are available to you as a student.

Good Classroom Citizenship

  • Wear your mask and make sure it fits you well
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Get to know your neighbors in class, and let them know if you test positive
  • Get tested regularly
  • Watch for signs and symptoms with the daily symptom self-check
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer
  • Complete the UO COVID-19 case and contact reporting form if you test positive or are a close contact of someone who tests positive.

Enforcing the Mask Requirement in Class

For additional guidance on how to handle a situation where a student without a documented accommodation through AEC refuses to properly wear a mask in class, see https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/prevention#classrooms.

Attendance and Makeups

Instructors may count attendance and participation as part of the grade provided they have reasonable ways for students to complete make-up assignments for a reasonable number of missed class sessions or participation points without loss of credit or points. Instructors must communicate these policies in their syllabi. Instructors who are unsure whether they are making reasonable accommodations should confer with their unit heads for guidance. In addition, students who are directed or advised to quarantine by the university or other public health authority or provider should be held harmless in attendance policies. Instructors may ask students for verification of their quarantine status.

  • It is critical that all instructors make clear to students that they should not attend class if they are ill, have symptoms, are quarantining, or are not compliant with the university’s vaccination or testing requirement. We do not want students attending class when they shouldn’t be because they fear their grade will be affected.
  • Instructors are not required to accommodate students who signed up for an in-person class but are requesting remote access for the entire term. Students have been advised to create a class schedule that best fits their situation; if they cannot attend in-person, they should enroll only in online courses. In addition, instructors may put some reasonable limits on absences and make-ups as long as those are communicated in the syllabus.
  • Instructors should ensure that absent students have equitable access to course content. The following are ways that instructors can provide access to course materials and content.
    •  Recording of classes is required unless there is a valid pedagogical reason to not do so. Individual faculty are in the best position to make this pedagogical decision for their classes and for each teaching session. Recording may not be the best way to achieve equity for absent students for labs and discussion sections, studios, or for interactive learning activities etc. Faculty electing to not record will need to be able to achieve and demonstrate equitable access through other means. See below for examples and support for other approaches.
      • The university has upgraded general-pool classrooms to make recording simpler. See here for instructions on how to record while teaching in-person. Instructors will of course retain discretion in how they make their class recordings available so long as, at a minimum, absent students are able to access any available class recordings.
    • In some cases, instructors may want to allow remote access to live class sessions (what we call a “hyflex” format). See these instructions for setting up a hyflex classroom.
    • There may be good pedagogical reasons for approaches other than class recordings or hyflex. For example, for courses (or class sessions) that are discussion-based or experiential in nature instructors could:
      • Ask students to engage in the day’s reading and complete a written assignment in response.
      • Use discussion boards to engage students in the material for the day.
      • Use pre-loaded Canvas quizzes.
    • These are just a few examples and you can find others here.  You can also reach out to TEP for consultations if you need additional support.
  • Instructors shall have clear communication and make-up protocols in place for students to follow if students are going to be or have been absent.
  • If a student’s frequent absences and lack of availability for make-ups are jeopardizing their success in the course, instructors should communicate with those students as early as possible and recommend students work with advisor to consider their options.
  • Instructors shall provide make-ups or alternatives to exams. If instructors need support to manage an increased volume of make-ups, they should work with their department head. In cases where students are missing only minor yet essential coursework, a grade of “Incomplete” may be used for make-ups that will take place after grades are due (see Incomplete Policy https://provost.uoregon.edu/grades-incompletes-policy).

Course Format and Engagement

In the Winter 2022 course schedule, courses are listed with one of three delivery modes in the "Location" column. They will either have a room location, “ASYNC WEB”, or “SYNC WEB”. The current schedule is based on pre-pandemic offerings with a limited number of ASYNC WEB courses and only a few SYNC WEB courses. Nevertheless, the following guidance remains in place for those courses and will be especially important to observe should conditions change.              

In-person Courses

  • Courses with a room assignment will be delivered in-person. Those courses should meet as scheduled, following university COVID-19 regulations for in-person gatherings.

Asynchronous Online (ASYNC WEB)

  • Courses listed as “ASYNC WEB” are asynchronous and do not have a class meeting time listed. In order to not interfere with students’ scheduled activities, instructors of these courses should not schedule required class meeting times (optional-to-students enhancement activities are allowed and encouraged as long as they don’t provide advantages to those students in terms of grades). These courses should follow the UOCC guidelines for online classes and the additional guidelines for graduate online courses where applicable. In addition, WEB courses, like all other courses, should include the following:
    • Contact from the instructor by the first day of classes. This should be an email or Canvas message that welcomes students to the class, orients them to the general structure of the course and the Canvas site, and lets them know where to find the syllabus. UO Online and TEP have created customizable “Welcome Modules” that can be imported to your Canvas site and customized to supplement your welcome message.
    • Clear Communication. Inform students how they should communicate with you and GEs or TAs, and provide reasonable expected response times.
    • Scheduled Office Hours – At least 2 hours per week with a mix of scheduled and by-appointment options, and live, synchronous options.

Synchronous Online (SYNC WEB)

  • Courses with “SYNC WEB” have class meeting times and shall provide live engagement during the scheduled meeting times as defined by the Student Engagement Inventory for the course. Instructors may make the following adjustments for courses that have to be offered remotely or partially remotely (some face-to-face and some remote):
    • Live engagement can take many different forms. For example, it might include a mix of content delivery, facilitated discussions on Zoom, facilitated discussion-board discussions, breakout sessions for students on Zoom, group project time with the instructor available for guidance. The following are not suitable replacements for contact under current policy:
      • Posting of supplemental content materials
      • Announcements
      • Assignments
      • Office hours, online or otherwise
    • Whatever the mix, at least 50% of the live engagement should include planned and structured content delivery or discussion.
      • Note: It’s important that students feel the instructor’s presence and engagement in the class. The most visible part of instructor engagement is in the scheduled class time, so instructors are encouraged to think carefully before they use scheduled class time for anything other than live interaction. Moreover, spring students noted a sharp increase in workload for remote classes. That increase seemed to be created by multiple, asynchronous activities meant to replace classroom engagements combined with the time demands of navigating new technology and multiple platforms, finding course materials, typing rather than speaking responses, etc. Thus, instructors also should know that part of the intent of the live meetings requirement is to be a “container” for student work, which should never go above 30 hours total per credit per term (or 120 hours total for a four-credit course). 
    • Where appropriate and possible, instructors should create opportunities for student-student interaction.
    • Whatever the mix, instructors should be available to students during each scheduled class period. If instructors are not going to be available during a scheduled class period, they should treat that as a “cancelled” class meeting and handle that as they would during a regular, non-remote term with appropriate notifications to students and anyone else as required by the department, and appropriate replacement of that instructional time. Instructors should schedule and be available to meet during office hours outside the scheduled class time in accordance with Academic Council, department and/or school/college policies on office hours.

Academic Council Expectations – Addendum for Winter 2022

Attendance and Makeups

Some faculty have identified a rise in student absenteeism, both directly due to COVID-19 (students are isolating, quarantining, or symptomatic) and indirectly (fatigue, low motivation)--or even because of a shift in student expectations toward flexibility to engage on their own terms, even when that flexibility may undermine learning. Faculty are empowered to set reasonable limits on absences and expectations for participation, and encouraged to link these to care for student success and learning.    

“Instructors may count attendance and participation as part of the grade provided they have reasonable ways for students to complete make-up assignments for a reasonable number of missed class sessions or participation points without loss of credit or points. Instructors must communicate these policies in their syllabi.”

  • Be clear with students on syllabus and during first days of class that they will be most successful if they attend class when they are able.
  • Be clear about how much of the class can be missed and made up before they are at risk of not passing.

Instructors shall have clear communication and make-up protocols in place for students to follow if students are going to be or have been absent.”

  • Automate make-up assignments as much as possible. This means having a standing makeup assignment that students can avail themselves of based on your course policies without additional deliberation from you (e.g. a Canvas quiz that is auto-graded). 

“Instructors will need to provide equitable access to course materials for these students, which may include recorded lectures/class sessions, live access to course via Zoom, lecture slides and notes, or other means deemed appropriate by the instructor.”

  • How-to and policy information on recording and streaming and a class notes template for sharing are available here.

Incompletes and other Grading Options

Some faculty report being uncertain what discretion they have to use “Incomplete” grades and what the implications of—and paths forward for students are—related to different grading outcomes: failing courses, withdrawing from courses, etc.

Incompletes:

 “In cases where students are missing only minor yet essential coursework, a grade of “Incomplete” may be used for make-ups that will take place after grades are due (see Incomplete Policy https://provost.uoregon.edu/grades-incompletes-policy).”

  • Instructors have discretion to determine what constitutes “minor yet essential coursework” in the context of a term impacted by COVID protocols.
  • Incompletes are intended for the situation where a student is generally showing up and performing passing work but something unexpected happens toward the end of the term that prevents them from completing some of the coursework. Incompletes are not intended for the student who is not showing up or not performing passing work over the course of the term and wants an opportunity at the end to improve their grade.
  • When assigning incompletes, instructors should develop clear contracts with students that define the work to be completed and the deadline for that work. The deadline can be less than one year – that is up to the instructor. The contract should be filed with the department.
  • Instructors may refer students to the Tutoring and Academic Engagement Center, which offers support for them as they work to clear Incompletes. (Learn more.)
  • Instructors should remember that they can also enter a grade that represents work done to date, and then change that grade later if they are allowing late work to be submitted. See How to Change a Grade.

Withdrawing from a course, changing grading options, and petitioning Students have until Sunday before week 8 (2/20/2022) to drop courses via DuckWeb (deadlines throughout the term determine how much tuition is owed) and to change their grading options to P/NP. If they miss this deadline they may petition the Scholastic Records Committee (here are the required forms; instructors can provide a supporting statement.) Students can learn more and schedule an appointment with an advisor here.