Academic Update for Instructors

March 22, 2020

As we begin spring break and our second week of preparing for remote teaching, thank you for the hard work, flexibility, creativity and ingenuity you have put into this transition. The EVC Office will continue to share new resources and updates as they become available and post this information on the Instructors/Researchers section of the university's COVID-19 website.

As you connect with your students through Canvas in the coming week, please remind them to check their @huskers.unl.edu email accounts for official updates from the university and direct them to the Students section of the COVID-19 website.

Included in this email:

  • Pass/No Pass - new
  • Asynchronous vs synchronous - reminder
  • Assessment resources - new
  • Remote Keep Teaching mini-course - reminder
  • Graduate Studies updates - new
  • University Libraries updates - new
  • Remote work FAQ - new

Pass/No Pass

Because of the many implications that Pass/No Pass grading has for students, instructors may not request to move an entire class to a pass/no pass grading scheme. Instead, we have extended the deadline to allow individual students the opportunity to change their grade in one or more specific courses to pass/no pass after consultation with an advisor who can help them understand the consequences of doing so. The new deadline for students to exercise this option will be April 24, which is the same as the extended deadline for withdrawals.

Provide content asynchronously; offer opportunities to connect synchronously

As students have been encouraged to leave campus and return to their permanent residences, it's important to consider the challenges of synchronous remote learning for students who are in different time zones, have difficulties accessing the internet, have to share a family computer, and need to address emerging family situations. At the same time, the familiar cadence and structure of regularly-scheduled meetings can provide a framework that is comforting and encourages progress through the material.

Instructors are strongly encouraged to make all of their course content available asynchronously. Post materials, including perhaps brief pre-recorded lectures, for students to access as they are able to do so.

One opportunity for connecting synchronously with students would be to hold office hours at set times, perhaps during the original class time, to maintain regular contact with students. Zoom and Canvas discussion boards work well for office hours. Yellowdig Discussions is another option that has recently been made available to instructors. Offer asynchronous ways for students to contact you if regular office hours are not possible for them.

Assessment Resources

As the university moves to remote teaching, instructors are being encouraged to rethink assessments. In addition to its assessment guide, the Center for Transformative Teaching has put together a new resource for rethinking the assessment of hands-on learning, like labs, capstone experiences, and studio and performance courses.

Also, with the Digital Learning Commons unavailable for exams, Information Technology Services has obtained a license to use Respondus LockDown and Monitor for the remainder of the semester.

Remote Keep Teaching mini-course

The Center for Transformative Teaching is offering a remote one-week Keep Teaching mini-course over spring break to address the unique challenges many instructors are facing during the shift to remote teaching. Topics include communication, organization, delivering content, fostering engagement, and assessing learning.

Graduate Studies updates

Specific guidelines and information for how graduate work is being affected by COVID-19 are being regularly added to the Office of Graduate Studies website.

University Libraries updates

The University Libraries, with the exception of the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons, have closed. The learning commons, located on the first floor of Love Library North, will be accessible to anyone with a valid NCard from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Details have been published in Nebraska Today and are available on the libraries COVID-19 website.

Remote work FAQ

To support employees when working remotely, Information Technology Services has put together information and answers to frequently asked technology questions to help create a successful remote work environment.