Faculty Checklist for the fall 2020 semester

Most courses at SUNY New Paltz are online this fall, and even those that are meeting in person must be pivot-ready.

No doubt, you prepared over the summer, but as we wrap up this second week of classes, it may be helpful to quickly review this Faculty Checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

The Single Most Important Thing: Communicate!

Communicate your expectations

  1. Make sure your students know what you expect in the course through a clear syllabus and course schedule
  2. Make sure your students know what to expect by providing written directions and submission guidelines for activities and assignments
  3. Make sure your students know when, where and how to access any synchronous sessions or online activities

Communicate your presence

  1. Make yourself a regular presence for the students in the class (by posting announcements and/or sending emails at least once a week)
  2. State clearly for students where and how they can reach you
  3. Maintain remote office hours (by real-time email, telephone, WebEx or Bb Collaborate)

Be timely in your communication

  1. Especially when teaching and learning are taking place remotely, it’s important that students hear back from you quickly when they reach out. Ideally, faculty should respond to emails or other messages within 24 hours, Monday-Friday, and quicker if possible. Be upfront with your students about the timeframe within which they can expect to hear from you.
  2. Grade and provide feedback on assignments quickly so that students can evaluate their performance and adapt as they see where they can and should improve. If feasible, incorporating shorter, more frequent quizzes and/or tests will allow more opportunities to give feedback than having only one or two infrequent, high-stakes exams.

The Checklist

  • You have posted your syllabus in Bb (remember, there are new and important elements for the syllabus for fall 2020)
  • You have posted times and/or directions for remote office hours
  • You are familiar with how to request support and services at newpaltz.edu
  • If you are doing any synchronous online sessions:
    • Your students know what system you are using (preferably Bb Collaborate or WebEx)
    • You and your students have tested the system
    • You and your students know the back-up plan if you, or they, have trouble connecting
    • You have plans to record the synchronous session
      • NOTE: Why should you record?
        • It will help students with some disabilities or second language challenges.
        • It will help students who are sick or otherwise have to miss class.
        • It will document what you said and did, protecting you in the event that a student claims you said or did something that you didn’t say or do, or in the event that a student records your content themselves with their own software and then edits it in a way that is not an accurate representation of the class session.
      • You have checked the Accommodate system (through your faculty tab in newpaltz.edu, under “Disability Resource Center”) to see what accommodations students in your course may need, and you have touched base with those students to see how the move to remote learning may require changes to those accommodations.
      • You have posted an announcement or sent an email to your students asking them to alert you (now, and also as things change) about issues that may impact their ability to do their coursework, such as:
        • Limited access to technology or internet service
        • Health-related problems
      • You have posted Our Campus Help Desk directions for your students.
      • You and your students know how to access the Sojourner Truth Library’s online materials and services through Ask A Librarian.