Academic Update for Instructors - 8/12

August 12, 2020

As we welcome students back to campus, here are three things instructors should be doing to finish preparations for the fall semester:

  • Email your students, if you haven't already, and let them know how you plan to deliver your courses this semester. Is everything in-person or all remote? For blended courses, let them know as soon as possible which days they are expected to be in the classroom.
  • Finalize your plans for the first week of remote asynchronous classes. Remember, no in-person and/or synchronous instruction can happen this week. The Center for Transformative Teaching has prepared resources for the first week of remote classes to help you prepare.
  • Complete the university's 2020 UNL Instructor Training, which was designed to supplement the university's COVID-19 Awareness – Campus Procedures & Self-Care training. Here are some tips to help you access this web-based training module.

Looking ahead, the COVID-19: Nebraska Responds website will continue to be updated and provide important information and support for faculty, staff, and students. An archive of these Academic Updates will remain posted on the Instructors/Researchers page in the blue box on the right.

Included in this email:

  • What to Expect in Classrooms – new
  • Classroom Technology Update – new
  • When Students Forget Masks – new
  • University Libraries Reopen August 17 – new
  • Encouraging Academic Integrity – new
  • Student Readiness Preparations – reminder

What to Expect in Classrooms

Classrooms are now set up for in-person instruction. The Classroom Prep team has removed furniture, placed decals indicating available seats, and posted signage with information on how furniture must be arranged to maintain physical distancing. Instructors are responsible for enforcing posted room capacities and should not allow chairs to be added or furniture to be rearranged, including turning desks to face each other.

Classroom Technology Update

General purpose classrooms are equipped with computers, document cameras and microphones so instructional content can be shared with remote students. There has been a shipping delay with the delivery of some classroom cameras, which allow remote students to see the classroom. ITS is doing everything possible to secure the equipment as quickly as possible. If necessary, instructors can use a built-in laptop camera or adjust the document camera to provide video until classroom cameras arrive. More information about these options will be posted on the Learning and Emerging Technologies website.

Instructors should contact their department chair for information on college- and department- controlled spaces and available technology.

When Students Forget Masks

During the first three weeks of in-person instruction, as students get used to face coverings this semester, disposable masks will be available for those who forget to bring one to class during the first three weeks of in-person instruction. From August 24 to September 11, instructors can direct students to the following locations for a disposable mask at no cost:

  • City Campus – a self-service wall dispenser in the hall by the west doors of the Nebraska Union
  • East Campus – at the member services desk by the east doors of Campus Recreation
  • Innovation Campus – at Food Innovation Center, 1901 N 21st Street, Room 232
  • Peter Kiewit Institute – at the reception desk in Room 107

University Libraries Reopen August 17

The Libraries will reopen with limited hours during the first week of remote classes and expanded hours at the start of in-person classes on August 24. Students, faculty and staff will need their NCard to access most facilities. The Library Depository Retrieval Facility and Archives & Special Collections access will be by appointment only.

The HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service will continue for the fall semester, which means no in-library use or stacks browsing will be allowed, although the stacks will be open for use as study space. Digital requests for library materials, research support, teaching partnerships and collaborations, and ASKus services are all available online. Visit the Libraries blog for more information.

Encouraging Academic Integrity

The Executive Vice Chancellor's Office has published an Encouraging Academic Integrity TipSheet to help instructors promote honesty in the classroom. Topics covered include creating a classroom culture around integrity, reducing student stress to encourage honesty, and holding students accountable for their behavior. Additional TipSheets that may be helpful include Academic Misconduct, Student Mental Health and Resources, and Faculty and Staff Resilience. It’s especially important in these unusual times to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed.

Student Readiness Preparations

The university has been working hard over the summer to prepare students for a successful in-person learning experience. Last week, Student Affairs announced student training that explains the risks associated with COVID-19 and how they can take proper safety precautions to help everyone on campus stay healthy. Everyone has been asked to make the Cornhusker Commitment — a promise to protect themselves, others and the Husker Community. Students will also receive two reusable masks — housing residents and students living in Greek houses will receive them as part of a health kit that includes a thermometer — and have been encouraged to regularly use the 1-Check COVID-19 Screening smartphone app.