COVID-19 Updates and Guidance > Updates > Provost message to faculty: Tips to prepare for fall teaching - 8/26/20

Provost message to faculty: Tips to prepare for fall teaching

​​​August 26, 2020 ​​

Dear faculty,

The new academic year is almost upon us. Despite these challenging times, the summer has sped by. I hope you have been able to relax at least a bit and enjoy the good weather while we have it. I'm writing with some things to keep in mind as you finalize your syllabi for Fall Quarter and prepare to engage with your students.

Communicating with your students:   
At the Town Hall meeting several parents and new students asked how they will learn how to access their courses. Others asked how they will interact with their instructors online.  With almost all of our classes online, it's critical that students feel some connection with their instructors. In particular, as they prepare for classes to begin, they need to know how to access your course content and especially any synchronous course meetings. You can help alleviate these concerns by taking full advantage of D2L as a fulcrum for your courses, by emailing your students before the class begins and continuing to email them at regular intervals during the quarter.   

We will be sending out a general message but if you haven't already done so, please email your students in the coming days to welcome them to your classes and provide information about how best to access information for your class. For instructors teaching classes with an online synchronous component, emailing students ahead of the first scheduled meeting with information about how to access the class meeting is critical. Please make sure to also post this information as a News item in D2L.

The following resources will help you with this effort:
  • Creating a Zoom Meeting: This page provides best practices when setting up Zoom meetings, including steps for creating Zoom meetings via D2L to ensure meeting links appear in your D2L course calendar.
  • Email templates for Early Outreach: This document provides examples of what you might include in your initial email to students. Feel free to copy this text and edit as needed and add your own personal touch.  These templates are just here to help you get started and highlight essential information.
Syllabus statement about expectations for being on campus during COVID:
Though most classes will be held online, the campus remains open to students who want to use computer labs, exercise at the Ray, etc. Thus it is very important that any student who comes to campus follows the rules that have been established. Here is a sample statement that you are encouraged to include in your syllabus, certainly if you are teaching a class on-campus, but even if your class is fully online. 

COVID-19 Health and Safety Precautions: Keeping our DePaul community safe is of utmost importance in the pandemic. Students, faculty and staff are expected to (1) wear a cloth face covering at all times while on campus, both inside buildings and outside on the grounds; (2) maintain physical distance (at least six feet) in all DePaul spaces (including classrooms, meeting rooms, hallways, rest rooms, offices, and outdoor spaces); (3) conduct a daily self-screening process for the symptoms of COVID-19 using the #CampusClear app before coming to campus; (4) complete the online Health and Safety Guidelines for Returning to Campus training; and (5) abide by the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order. By doing these things, we are Taking Care of DePaul, Together. The recommendations may change as local, state, and federal guidelines evolve. Students who have a medical reason for not complying should register with DePaul's Center for Student with Disabilities (CSD).

For additional support in designing your courses and teaching effectively this fall, consider taking advantage of the following resources:
  • This page contains a variety of guides and tutorials to help you make the most of instructional technology and teach effectively online.
  • Upcoming Trainings and Events: This page contains a list of all upcoming teaching workshops and events
  • Syllabus Page on the Teaching Commons: This page provides sample statements you can include in your syllabus (including Zoom-related guidelines), example syllabi for online and face-to-face courses, and templates you can reuse. 
As always, thank you for all your efforts to create meaningful learning experiences for our students in these uncertain times. More than 200 of you participated in DOTS training this summer, bringing the total number of faculty who have had the training to over 1000.  You have all learned more about what works and what doesn't for your specific courses and the modalities you're using.  All of this makes me optimistic about the coming academic year.  

Please continue to be kind to your students, your colleagues, your loved ones and yourselves. As the pandemic drags on, the care we show for our students and each other will be more important than ever.

Salma Ghanem
Interim Provost