Academic Update for Instructors - 4/5

April 5, 2020

The first week of remote instruction is in the books and we hope these academic updates have been helpful with the transition. In addition to the new topics below, don't forget to review important information about using Zoom and keeping your sessions secure. Also, if you're hitting your storage limit with Canvas, check out how to upload videos to VidGrid.

Remember, the deadlines for Pass/No Pass and withdrawals have been extended to April 24. Please try to have as much student work graded as possible before these dates so that your students can make informed decisions about their options.

Included in this email:

  • Course evaluations - new
  • Student concerns and feedback - new
  • Recording of class-related activity - new
  • FERPA "Before we begin" conversations - new

Course evaluations

Student course evaluations will proceed as usual for spring 2020. Instructors have the option of not having their results for this semester considered in merit decisions, including annual evaluations, reappointment, promotion, and tenure. If instructors choose to opt-out of having their student course evaluation results being included in their evaluation portfolios, they need to notify their dean or department chair of that decision. Note that giving instructors this option has the potential of causing inconsistencies in what data is considered when departments and colleges perform faculty evaluations, and we anticipate that conversations with deans and department chairs will commence in the fall about how to manage this additional complexity.

Student concerns and feedback

Remote learning can make it difficult for students to know how they can ask questions, raise concerns and share positive feedback about their learning experiences. Since they can no longer connect in-person, it's important for them to have a clear path of communication. Instructors are encouraged to use this text to post contact information as an announcement in each of their Canvas courses.

Your experience with remote learning in this course is important to me. If you have questions, concerns, or positive feedback, please contact me at [Canvas inbox, email address, or phone number]. If I am unable to respond, or you feel I've not adequately addressed your concerns, you can contact [department contact name, email and/or phone number]. If your concern is still not resolved, please contact [college contact name, email and/or phone number].

Recording of class-related activity

Instructors have shared concerns about students recording class-related activity, particularly in how that relates to their intellectual property. The following text has been approved by university general counsel for addition to the syllabus section of Canvas courses. The decision of whether to include this text can be made at the instructor level, but note that the protections described in the text will only apply to your course if you include the text in your course information.

I invite all of you to join me in actively creating and contributing to a positive, productive, and respectful classroom culture. Each student contributes to an environment that shapes the learning process. Any work and/or communication that you are privy to as a member of this course should be treated as the intellectual property of the speaker/creator, and is not to be shared outside the context of this course.

Students may not make or distribute screen captures, audio/video recordings of, or livestream, any class-related activity, including lectures and presentations, without express prior written consent from me or an approved accommodation from Services for Students with Disabilities. If you have (or think you may have) a disability such that you need to record or tape class-related activities, you should contact Services for Students with Disabilities. If you have an accommodation to record class-related activities, those recordings may not be shared with any other student, whether in this course or not, or with any other person or on any other platform. Failure to follow this policy on recording or distributing class-related activities may subject you to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct.

FERPA considerations

Now that many students have returned home, we need to be mindful of FERPA compliance.  Insist that your students use their @husker.unl.edu email addresses; that way you know you are communicating directly with students themselves. When having online meetings, have a "Before we begin" conversation to make sure students remain protected by FERPA.

Before we begin, I know there may be others nearby during our discussion and I might reference academic information that is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Are you okay continuing with our conversation? Are there things you’d prefer I not share or share only using the chat function?

If you are unsure about the written consent status of a student, the assigned academic advisor in your department can check for you.