Course Guidelines

In order to offer high-quality courses across all modalities, DU has adopted the following guidelines for 2020-2021 courses:

1. All courses shall be designed in a manner that allows them to be shifted, if needed, entirely to online.

2. All courses must have a Canvas shell. All courses, no matter the modality, must use Canvas (or, where appropriate, a 2U container). Courses must include the following: a syllabus uploaded to the syllabus page, assignments where students can upload work, assessments and themed or weekly modules that contain all course content. If the course utilizes Zoom, the Zoom meetings must be set up through Canvas. It is also highly recommended to upload readings, handouts and other instructional materials to Canvas. Consider following this Course Checklist from the OTL’s Course Review Form to ensure that your course is easily navigable and accessible for students. For information about using a course template, consult this OTL Canvas Template page.

3. All student work will be submitted digitally—with limited exceptions. Regardless of class modality, student work shall be turned in digitally, with exceptions for such fields as the studio arts where physical artifacts are essential. Instructors requesting exceptions should clearly explain the need for students to submit physical work and provide the means to do so safely and conveniently. Instructors teaching in-person or hybrid courses should not distribute or receive paper materials.

4. In-person classrooms will have robust technology. To launch the fall quarter, Information Technology (IT) purchased equipment that would complement the teaching modalities being offered for the academic year. With this additional equipment, 165 locations being utilized as classrooms were equipped with camera and microphone technologies. 10 additional locations with existing technology were enhanced to expand the capabilities of these rooms. At the end of the fall quarter, IT is upgrading to 24 high-use classrooms with anticipated completion before the winter quarter.

IT Teaching support: IT has also provided support and technology training to each academic unit. These in-person trainings were facilitated individually upon request, or in groups to simulate the teaching experience. Additional virtual trainings and workshops were offered along with the regular services IT provides the campus community.

Enhanced video production: With the added demand for course-related video, IT purchased camera kits that faculty have been checking out during the quarter to produce content for their classes. The Digital Media Services Team along with others in the IT Campus Partnerships Department, have also been working with faculty on the creation of pre-production instructional materials as well as post-production video editing to construct quality videos that can be utilized for asynchronous learning. These services, which were in place prior to COVID, have been increased to support the demand for course related-videos and will be prioritized throughout the academic year.

5. All courses will have a continuity plan. The instructor for every course shall record a continuity plan meeting certain minimum criteria which is filed with the chair and dean in the event it becomes necessary for someone else to assume their teaching responsibilities.

6. Office hours will take place online. All office hours will be conducted virtually unless it can be certified that social distancing and other safety measures can be met (i.e., in a classroom, if time allows, or in a distance-permitting space). Even when instructors can provide in-person office hours with the specified safety measures, those instructors will additionally provide virtual office hours.

7. Courses will follow campus protocols to increase safetyThe relevant sections of this plan offer detailed explanations about how to increase safety while teaching, including campus and classroom protocols. Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence will develop specific, strong educational protocols for how to address violations that will be managed through the Honor Code.

8. Every syllabus should include a statement to students. Instuctors will include a statement about the learning expectations, including contingencies, they expect in light of circumstances related to COVID-19 safety concerns. A template for instructors to modify has been provided.

9. Instructors will adapt teaching practices for in-person teaching. Instructors will need to modify traditional in-person pedagogies to work in socially distanced classes. Examples include small group work, breakout sessions, group projects, and so on. DU provides protocols for how to address any potential violations of distancing/safety guidelines.

10. DU will provide support and resources for instructors to implement best practices. The relevant sections of this plan offer detailed explanations about the OTL and other instructional support, including the opportunities and challenges of various course modalities, along with the characteristics of good practices in each.

11. Instructors will retain control of their course materials. Every syllabus should include DU’s statement restricting audio or visual recording, reproduction, and distribution of content in courses, including lectures, discussions, posted materials, visual materials such as slides, etc.