COVID-19 Updates and Guidance > Updates > March 20, 2020—Faculty Spring Quarter planning

Provost update for faculty: planning for Spring Quarter—March 20, 2020

Dear faculty, 

We’ve almost made it through finals week! The Center for Teaching and Learning reports active participation in their webinars and email in-box.  Thank you for stepping up to the challenge we all face and adapting so quickly to our new reality.

I know that your immediate task is grading, but there are a few spring quarter matters I need to bring to your attention.

  • Barnes & Noble: As you saw in this morning’s Newsline, Barnes & Noble stores are now closed until further notice. Barnes & Noble will continue fulfilling online orders, including new books, used books (when available), rentals and e-books. They have also extended the return period for Winter Quarter book rentals to April 4. More information on rental returns, including access to a free shipping label, is available on the Barnes & Noble bookstore site. Note that our Barnes & Noble representatives are still collecting course material options from faculty and academic units for Spring Quarter through its usual methods.
  • Thinking about course readings during this emergency: Keep in mind that mail delivery could be interrupted; Amazon, for example, is already prioritizing COVID-19-related shipping. Hence the more course materials you can make available digitally, the better. Please consider adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) in your classes as much as possible. A helpful guide is available on the DePaul Library Open Educational Resources page. Additionally, some books may be available on Barnes and Noble E-Books or on Kindle. If you have any questions about copyright, accessing particular materials, or any other aspect of working with the library as you plan your course, please contact your Library Liaison.
  • Working with online-learning novices: As you think about assignments for Spring Quarter, please keep in mind that some students may be engaging in online learning for the first time, just as some of you are.  So, as you design your schedule of assignments, it’s more important than ever to build in an opportunity for giving your students feedback on a low stakes assignment in the first or second week of class.
  • Sending a message to reassure students: Some students have asked when they are going to hear from their instructors for Spring Quarter. They, too, are nervous. I fully understand that you may not yet have final syllabi or other materials to share. Nonetheless, in the next few days, please consider sending the students in each of your classes a brief message, saying that you’re here and you’re looking forward to working with them. A welcoming message from you at this juncture could go a long way towards giving your students a bit of stability amidst all this uncertainty. You may also take this opportunity to inform you students about how your course will proceed (synchronous? asynchronous? combination?). 
As always, many thanks for everything you are doing. As you go about your day, please cultivate and relish any moments of humor, connection or accomplishment that you can muster. Those are the moments that will get us through.

Salma Ghanem
Interim Provost