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COVID-19: Message to Faculty - Moving Online

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University of Denver

Planning for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

News  •

Dear faculty,

During these unprecedentedly difficult times, a hallmark of community is to show each other grace and kindness. Thank you for all you are doing to support students, staff, and each other as we move through these challenging days.

For classes on the semester system, and faculty anticipating online teaching for the first two weeks of spring quarter, I am writing to provide additional resources.

But first I want to provide updates on online exam policies and resources.

A Clarification on Online Exams

Moving final exams on short notice is unacceptable. While we are all managing upheaval, we expect faculty to be reasonable. The last minute rescheduling of a final exam creates additional anxiety and hinders the student learning experience. Students need to be given adequate time to prepare for exams, especially in a time of crisis. Per my email yesterday, there are many alternatives to traditional final exams.

Student Testing Accommodations

Group proctoring of exams is cancelled. However, the Disabilities Services Program will continue to work with faculty to assist with students who require accommodations.  Contact them at or contact the DSP front desk at 303-871-3241. They will continue to work to provide Alternate Format Text (AFT) for eligible students during this time as well. If you are using Canvas for a final exam, you can give extended time within Canvas.

Survey for Faculty Instructional Readiness and Needs

If you haven’t already filled out the following link from your deans, please let us know about your instructional readiness and needs for spring quarter by March 18th:

This will help us identify faculty in need of support and allow the Office of Teaching and Learning and their partners from around campus, such as University College, IT, and colleagues experienced with online teaching, to reach out in a targeted way.

Template for Canvas Courses

Our colleagues in University College, in collaboration with the OTL and IT, are working diligently behind the scenes to prepare a template in Canvas to ease the workload for first-time Canvas users or faculty who would like a more extensive and consistent Canvas shell. We can help you populate any unused Canvas courses with a starter-kit template. “Unused” means that faculty have added no content as yet. For faculty who have already added content and would like to use the template, we are working on making it available for upload into your courses. The template will include pre-made module pages and activities with instructions on how to adapt them. Also embedded will be resources including a how-to video and a guide for instructors. Additionally, Zoom and Kaltura will be pre-activated, eliminating the need to do this manually. This template will be pushed into any unused shells by Wednesday March 25th.  

Sturm College of Law Semester

I understand the semester schedule poses a unique and profound challenge for Sturm College of Law (SCOL) faculty, students, and staff, given that we are asking you to transition to the online platform mid-semester. I hope that the momentum and connections you’ve gained through your face-to-face meetings to-date will be a catalyst for furthering productive, learning-rich work and discussion as you transition online. 

Given the challenges of moving academic content online, I want to assure you that the SCOL Educational Technology department and the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) are here to help SCOL transition online. In addition to SCOL resources, the OTL is offering webinars, drop-ins, and other support. See their events calendar and watch for forthcoming communications for more details.

As a reminder, the OTL has launched a self-paced Canvas course aimed at designing and teaching for impact online. This course is great for all levels of Canvas users and includes helpful modules such as: Online Assessment (Module 3), Active and Interactive Learning (Module 4), Accessibility and Using Assistive Technology (Module 8), Creating an Online Presence (Module 10), and more.

Immunocompromised Faculty & the Population Identified by CDC as High Risk

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), certain people are at higher risk of developing complications from a COVID-19 infection. These persons include:

●      Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80

●      People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, or diabetes

●      Older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk

Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk for novel coronavirus should consult with their healthcare providers. The CDPHE recommends that these persons take extra precautions to reduce their risk of getting sick with the disease, such as staying home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. If you consider yourself to be one of these high risk persons or if you are the primary caregiver of a high risk person, we want to be supportive of your need to work remotely for the duration of time that CDPHE deems this prudent. Please communicate with your supervisor/unit lead if you are self-classifying in this way so that we can prioritize providing additional support to you for course redesign.

Based on current information, our expectation at this point is that in-person on-campus courses will resume on April 10th. Please plan for this expectation.

I want each of you to know that I recognize how much of a cost this situation and adaptation places on you. I know you have personal, professional, logistic, financial and health concerns, and it’s difficult to adapt to a rapidly changing crisis on a global scale. Continue to share your needs, suggestions, and concerns with me at


Best regards,


Corinne Lengsfeld

Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor