Important Message from Provost Lepre to All Faculty
Dear Faculty Colleagues:
As we move into our third week of instruction, I am deeply appreciative of the continued efforts of our faculty to provide our Radford students with the best possible instruction, whether it be face-to-face, hybrid, or online. I understand the work each of you is putting into your course preparation and teaching, and our students are the better for it.
Many of you have been generous in your accommodations of students who have requested and required flexibility in attendance and participation. For some students, they have requested temporary accommodations while they self-quarantine, while others have requested a semester-long accommodation, for a range of reasons.
For some of you, the requests may have increased over the last few days. As an academic community, we greatly value face-to-face instruction and know that for the vast majority of our students, the Radford experience is defined by this on-campus, in-person experience. Our goal is to keep this experience intact, and for many students, learning in the face-to-face setting is the ideal way to set them up for success.
However, we have students who need our help as they navigate this complicated COVID-19 world. Some may be ill, some may have been a close contact, some may have received notification from the symptom tracker to stay home, and yet others may simply be fearful given this uncertain time. Please continue to afford our students the greatest possible care and flexibility as they reach out to you seeking alternate learning arrangements.
I know that the workload to prepare for this semester has been intense, and health guidelines and restrictions have resulted in the requirement that you must adapt to a different way to teaching than usual. Many of you have already adjusted your class to allow for alternate learning arrangements, and the feedback from our students has been positive. They note your kindness and your willingness to assist them in a wide range of ways.
If you need suggestions for ways to accommodate our students and how the University can help you manage any the additional work that alternate learning arrangements create, consider the following, both of which many faculty are having good success with:
- Tape your lectures using zoom or another video recording method. Save and upload them to your D2L site for your online students to review. Create a designated online office hour during the week to answer any questions from these online students. This asynchronous option allows students to access your coursework at any time, allowing for students who are ill or who might be having trouble understanding or keeping up.
Need help? Let your chair know. We can provide you with training on the equipment in your classroom. We can put you in contact with a staff member in CITL who had help you consider the best ways to present material or assist you with technical questions. You can connect directly with CITL at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 540-831-5974 or stop by Walker 275. Visit the Resilient and Flexible Teaching (RAFT) course loaded in your D2L account for additional resources. Join the RU Online Facebook group with hundreds of your Radford University colleagues to gain insights, creative solutions, and troubleshooting (this site is moderated by colleagues in Faculty Development, CITL, and IT).
- Synchronously zoom your class sessions. Students online will watch in real time and participate. Lectures could also be taped, and uploaded after class to the D2L site (some students may actually be ill and not able to do the synch zoom). Create a designated online office hour during the week to answer any questions from these online students.
Need help? Contact your chair. If requested, a work study student may be able to be assigned to assist with classroom management. This might be in the f2f class itself – running the camera (ie. In a lab class), or sitting in front of the computer managing questions/comments from the online population. This might be virtual – the student is the manager of the online group. Collating questions, serving as a point person to manage the group chat, making sure the students in the online environment understand what is going on.
Finally, thank you again for your continued efforts to provide the best possible educational experience for our students. We have the ability and the responsibility to lead by example, and show our students how to cope in times of crisis with patience, flexibility and grace. As written in yesterday’s message from President Hemphill, we knew there would be COVID-19 cases and that we would have to work as a community to serve our students and keep our Highlander family safe. The President and I are working together as our situation evolves, and your deans, chairs and I are here to help you – we are in this together.
Carolyn Ringer Lepre
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs