Maximizing Remote Work Opportunities - March 18

March 18, 2020, 11:55 a.m.

RE: Maximizing Remote Work Opportunities

Dear STCC Faculty,

I apologize as this communication is not brief, but there have been many questions about next week, and the remaining semester.

First and foremost, your efforts and creativity to provide alternatives for students, by maximizing remote learning opportunities, is greatly appreciated. This semester we have more than 600 sections of lectures, and nearly 300 sections of in-person lab, illustrating the size of our collective challenge.  

Your deans have been reaching out to you regarding your plans to manage continuity of instruction, and to do so remotely:

Please Note: you are the best source of information for your students regarding the status of your class, and the plan going forward.

The approximately 200 sections that already are fully online or hybrid should continue as planned and resume instruction next week (March 23-28).

Further, if you have remote options in place, those courses should also proceed, notwithstanding the extension of Spring Break (we will send a clarifying email on this to students).

An impressive number of faculty have been working diligently this week constructing ways to deliver instruction remotely (using supports that include Blackboard, Google Docs/Hangouts, Screencast-o-Matic, Youtube/open source videos, document cameras, iPads, mobile phone recordings, email, ZOOM, etc.).

I appreciate that many faculty are ready to resume instruction next week and concerned about any consequences a term delay may have for their students.

Further Details and Information includes:

  1. The extension of ‘Spring Break’ has raised questions, but please know that the week-long curtailment will allow for staff to formalize remote work plans; provides additional time for faculty to develop alternatives for instruction; and further minimizes the numbers of people on campus.
  2. Again, online and hybrid courses resume instruction next week as planned.
  3. Instructors who have prepared their courses using remote tools are to resume their courses next week.
  4. The 80 or more faculty who will have completed the “Maximizing Remote Learning Opportunities” workshop offered by the Center for Digital and Online Learning (CODL) this week, will be able to resume instruction next week.
  5. The greater the number of classes that can resume next week, the better for our students.
  6. Please notify your respective Dean about your ability to resume instruction next week.  If you are unable to do so, please speak with your Dean about your alternative/remote instructional plans, and where you are with development.
  7. Academic Affairs will monitor which classes are resuming, but your communication is vitally important. This will help to determine next steps on course completion once the COVID-19 threat is mitigated.
  8. We will be using this week and the next to further support faculty and continuity of instruction plans.  Unlike this week, as of this writing, for next week, faculty will not be compensated for training or prep related to maximizing remote learning opportunities.    
  9. Regarding offerings such as clinicals that cannot continue due to the withdrawal of clinical sites and the social distancing implications for on-campus simulation or instruction, Academic Affairs will continue engaging you, and Dean Chris Scott about accreditation implications.
  10. Any offerings for which alternatives simply cannot be found (i.e. Automotive, and a lab with vehicles and lifts), we will have to work together on how best to manage for the impacted students.  Please keep Department Chairs and Deans informed about the status of your courses. This will also help address inevitable student questions as to next steps. Again, you are the best source of information for your students regarding the status of your class, and the plan going forward.
  11. A number of faculty have offered to provide support to their colleagues. We will identify those and work together to arrange how best to tap this most excellent resource.
  12. The summer and fall schedules will go live as planned this Friday.
  13. Please note: Webadvisor is the principal instrument for information on your advisees and where you can clear students for registration. Additional information on remote advising tools will be sent out by Friday.

CODL

Mary Wiseman and Kyle Kraus will continue to support faculty on using the tools mentioned above and have multiple resources on the CODL website. They will support faculty remotely or on campus (in observance of state and/or federal declarations).

IT Support

Please note that User Support Services headed by Liz Lizotte remains available to assist, and can help faculty specifically with Zoom questions and use. Please contact the Help Desk at 755-6000.

All courses have contingency Blackboard shells.  Please note that if you are already using a shell for your course(s), do not open or activate the contingency shell. Please let Scott Lambert know if the contingency shell can be deleted.

Taking a breath, on a personal note, I have been most impressed by the rallying of the faculty and your concern for the welfare of our students. This is a wonderful community, and we will be stronger for this experience (albeit tired).

I can also in no way sufficiently express my deepest gratitude to Mary Wiseman, Kyle Kraus and Scott Lambert, whose dedication to our students by providing faculty with the tools to pivot and maximize remote learning opportunities, has made a significant difference to STCC.   Major kudos to IT folks who have been identifying and preparing computers for faculty and staff as well as providing eternal support.

Finally, and most importantly, please again, reach out to your students about your plans to deliver instruction.

With sincere thanks,

Gerry

 

Geraldine de Berly, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Springfield Technical Community College
One Armory Square
Springfield, MA 01102-9000