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Natural Sciences & Mathematics

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Resources for Faculty

Faculty Expectations During Extended University Closures

In the event that the University is closed for extended periods of time, it is important that faculty make every effort to continue to deliver their courses, conduct graduate exams, and carry out other academic responsibilities to the best of their ability via an online format. Currently enrolled students are expecting an opportunity to complete their courses, graduate students anticipate opportunities to complete exams and thesis/dissertation defenses, and we are obligated to meet these expectations.

In the event that the University is to be closed for an extended period of time, department chairs will notify faculty of the closure and instruct faculty to deliver their courses online. Faculty should continue to make their courses available online for as long as the University remains closed.

Several options for teaching courses and conducting examinations via distance delivery are available, and faculty are encouraged to be creative in finding ways to satisfy the academic requirements of students. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Convert the course to electronic format and deliver via Blackboard.
  • Re-configure assignments and exams into a format that allows for completion online.
  • Re-design laboratory assignments such that experimental data normally collected by the students are provided to the students to facilitate data analysis and interpretation.
  • Move the course to email and attachments that students may complete and return via email for assessment.
  • In the case of oral exams and defenses, consider using Blackboardâ??s Wimba Classroom which provides online voice and chat capabilities for real-time interaction among participants (located in the Communication Tools menu.)
  • In cases where assignments cannot be completed online, consider adjusting the course syllabus to include scores of assignments completed to date.
  • Consider using Blackboard's assessment functions to offer final exams online.

Note: faculty are expected to find a mechanism to continue their courses; simply cancelling the remainder of the course is not acceptable.

Training in the use of Blackboard and other course delivery technologies is available from the Center for Teaching and Learning. Faculty are encouraged to take advantage of CTL services.

Department chairs are expected to develop a plan to address the issue and are responsible for ensuring that students have an opportunity to complete their academic requirements off-site in the event of an extended closure of the University.