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Adjusted Academic Calendar & Online Instruction FAQs

Will there be opportunity to make-up instructional time to account for the cancellation of classes during the week of March 16 – 22?

The adjusted academic calendar for the Spring 2020 term shortens Tulane’s instructional time by one week. However, faculty are expected to maintain minimum instructional contact hours in their courses through online instruction. In order to meet the minimum instructional contact hours for courses, the University has identified two weekends (March 28-29 and April 18-19) and the first day of study period (April 29) as designated instructional make-up days to hold online synchronous class sessions, in addition to the regularly scheduled class time. Instructional content may also be delivered in an asynchronous format in a variety of ways. The information below provides guidance on accomplishing this.

What is meant by synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods?

Synchronous sessions are online class sessions that will occur at the regularly scheduled class time and during the designated instructional make-up days, using technology such as Zoom. Courses that lend themselves to synchronous online instruction include, but are not limited to, lectures, seminars and independent studies. Experiential courses such as labs and studios may require alternative online formats that may or may not be synchronous.

Asynchronous offerings use online methods and resources to facilitate learning outside of time constraints. Asynchronous approaches do not include real-time interaction between faculty and students, instead they allow students to access course content on their own time. Examples include a recorded lecture, video demonstrations, class discussion boards, online simulations, and virtual labs.

How do I continue to teach my course?

Courses are to continue to meet through synchronous online instruction during the regularly scheduled class time and during the designated instructional make-up days (March 28-29, April 18-19, and April 29), using technology such as Zoom. Course content may also be delivered through asynchronous formats. See the Teach Anywhere Took-Kit for more information and resources on online instruction.

Video and Audio in Distance Learning Best Practices

Where do I go to teach my course?

Faculty can teach their course from any quiet place with a reliable internet connection.

How does the shortened academic calendar impact my course?

Faculty whose planned delivery method is synchronous, with no additional asynchronous content, must hold an additional class session during the designated instructional make-up days (see below for more information). Faculty who plan to offer both synchronous and asynchronous instruction may choose to not use the designated instructional make-up time. In both instances, faculty are responsible for ensuring identified course learning objectives will be met.

The University has identified two weekends (March 28-29 and April 18-19) and the Monday of the study period (April 29) as the designated instructional make-up days for additional synchronous class sessions in order to ensure courses will meet the minimum required instructional hours. Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 are the designated instructional make-up days for classes with Monday, Wednesday, Friday (MWF) meeting patterns. Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 are the designated instructional make-up days for classes with a Tuesday, Thursday (TR) meeting pattern. Wednesday, April 29 is the designated instructional make-up day for synchronous classes with a Monday-only meeting pattern. (Note that science labs, studios, and other experiential learning classes with a Monday-only meeting pattern do not have to be made up on Wednesday, April 29, as they may be delivered in an asynchronous format.)

For synchronous online instruction, the necessary additional class session is to be held at the scheduled course time (CDT) on either the Saturday or Sunday of the designated weekend or on Wednesday, April 29. For example, if your class meets on MWF at 12:00 pm CDT, then you can have your makeup class on Saturday, March 28th or Sunday March 29th at 12:00 pm CDT.

What if my syllabus needs to change?

Faculty may need to make changes to the class syllabus as a result of the transition to online instruction and/or the changes to the academic calendar. These changes should be made during the week of March 16 – 22, while classes are canceled, and then communicated to students as soon as possible. The updated syllabus should be posted to Canvas and in any other places where faculty may have made their course syllabus available to students.

Can I offer the remainder of my course (lecture, seminar, or independent study) in an asynchronous format?

In order to continue to provide the best learning experience for students, the expectation is that synchronous delivery will take place at the regularly scheduled class time to allow for real-time discussion, questions, etc. Given the abbreviated time frame for transitioning to online instruction, it is likely that in most cases, delivering synchronous online instruction will make for the smoothest and quickest transition.

Providing asynchronous supplemental instruction and materials is encouraged, when appropriate and the content lends itself to this method, as this may help in ensuring more content is covered. In addition, additional asynchronous instruction is one way that the necessary instructional hours can be covered.

Can I require students to attend synchronous online class sessions outside of the regularly scheduled meeting time for the course?

No. Synchronous class sessions must be held during the course’s regularly scheduled meeting time and during the designated instructional make-up time. Any course material provided asynchronously can be accessed by the students at any time.

Do I have to hold a synchronous class session on the assigned Saturday or Sunday designated instructional make-up days?

No, if you are making up the necessary instructional time using asynchronous methods, you do not have to use the designated Saturday or Sunday make-up day. However, faculty who plan to offer an additional synchronous class session must do so on the Saturday or Sunday of the designated weekend. These make-up days have been identified to facilitate scheduling of additional synchronous class sessions.

Again, faculty who do not plan to hold a synchronous class session on the assigned make-up day are responsible for delivering the appropriate asynchronous content to allow for a continued high-quality educational experience and to ensure that the course learning objectives will be met.

School deans will be asking faculty to report on how they are meeting the course learning objectives and contact hours.

Will the final exam period remain the same?

Yes. The final exam period will remain the same, but exams will be administered online. See the Teach Anywhere Best Practices for more information on online assessments and the Teach Anywhere How To’s & Tools for more information about Respondus software that is designed for unproctored and proctored online exams.

Can I require a student to participate in a synchronous format if they are abroad, or living in a different time zone?

Yes. It is reasonable to require students in a different time zone to participate in class online. While this may be difficult for students and may require an adjustment to daily patterns, it is necessary for our students to participate online with their classmates and instructor.

Can I provide copyrighted materials to my students?

Please see the public statement made by library copyright specialists, which provides clarity for U.S. colleges and universities about how copyright law applies to the many facets of remote teaching and research in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. In summary, these copyright experts believe the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic meet qualifications that would extend fair use beyond its usual parameters. Use of copyrighted material should be limited to the needs of your class during this extraordinary situation; access should be limited to students, instructors, and assistants enrolled in the class; and excerpts should be used when appropriate. If the current situation extends beyond this semester, faculty members seeking continued use of copyrighted, permitted under current exigent circumstances, may need to seek approval by copyright holders for use of those materials.

Should I continue to hold office hours?

Yes. Faculty should hold their regularly scheduled office hours, using technology such as Zoom.