March 15, 2020
To all Tulane Students,
This has been a busy weekend, with so many of our students organizing their things in preparation for leaving campus. I know that especially for those who are heading home, these past few days have been filled with classes, tests, packing, saying goodbye to close friends, and, tragically, mourning the loss of a classmate. Please know that we are still here for you and you can and should reach out to the appropriate faculty and staff if there is anything we can do to support your success, and we will continue to reach out to you throughout the semester and do our best to sustain our deep sense of community even at a distance. And while we will try to limit the surprises from here on out, this is new territory for Tulane and for higher ed, so we remain committed to responding to questions, addressing concerns and evolving our work in response to the latest information.
I am writing at this point to share with you the new academic calendar for the remainder of this semester. In most regards it is identical to the past calendar, but I want to call your attention to the two main differences.
First, and this should come as no surprise, the calendar indicates that there will be no classes during the week of March 16-22.
The remainder of this message will be dedicated to explaining the second set of changes. With the cancellation of classes the week of March 16, our 3 credit hour classes fall short of the number of contact hours required in order to award 3 credit hours. As a result, for each such class, each instructor has been asked to add at least another 50 minutes of contact time in addition to the standard meeting times for the remainder of the semester. (More on that in a moment.) Instructors may choose to add up to three hours to compensate for the lost week. The exception to this rule is for classes that meet only on Mondays. The quirks of this year’s calendar now show them falling a full week short of the required contact time, so they must make up the equivalent of one week. That is, if there is a three credit course which meets for three hours every Monday afternoon, then the instructor must add 3 contact hours in addition to the standard meeting times over the remainder of the semester.
For each class, we have designated some make-up times. Your instructor may not need to use these times, but they are set aside to ensure that there is a viable option.
The weekend of March 28 and 29 has been designated as the make-up weekend for all Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. Your designated time is the same as your standard class meeting time. That is, if your class is MWF from 10-11 a.m., then your designated make-up hours are Saturday, March 28 from 10-11 a.m. or Sunday March 29 from 10-11 a.m., and you should make sure that you are available to attend class during these times. (Because you cannot be registered for two classes each of which meets MWF at 10 a.m., this system guarantees that no one will be registered for two classes with overlapping make-up times.)
The weekend of April 18-19 is the designated make-up period for classes that meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that if your class meets TTh from 8:30-10 a.m., then the designated make-up hours for that class are Saturday, April 18 from 8:30-10 a.m. or Sunday April 19 from 8:30-10 a.m.
Wednesday April 29 is the designated make-up day for classes which meet only on Monday, so that if a class meets Monday afternoons from 2-5 p.m., the designated make-up time is Wednesday April 29 from 2-5 p.m.
If your instructor chooses to meet (virtually) during one of these periods, you will be required to attend. In addition to the make-up time, your instructor may revise the syllabus in other ways in response to the transition to remote teaching, or perhaps in response to the global health crisis underway. A new syllabus should be given to you shortly after the class resumes in a week that will clarify the extra meeting times and any other changes to the syllabus.
Please note that while I have been referring to "contact hours," they need not be only in the form of synchronous meetings (i.e. when everyone logs in at the same time for an online lecture or discussion). Your instructor may combine these synchronous meetings with additional videos, discussion forums, projects and papers to create a set of experiences which together best achieve the educational goals for the class. These next several weeks will be a fascinating, and challenging, educational journey for both faculty and student, and I thank you for your flexibility and support as we all find our way in this temporary new normal.
For any questions about specific courses or other academic events please contact the instructor for more information. For other questions, please feel free to contact the university registrar, Colette Raphel, who will coordinate with others as needed to provide appropriate information and guidance.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost