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Frequently Asked Questions for the Faculty

  • The fall semester will begin on Monday, August 24th, as scheduled, with classes beginning on Wednesday, August 26. Thanksgiving Break will begin on Wednesday, November 25th. Classes will be held remotely after the break and will end on Monday, December 7. Final exams will be conducted remotely during the usual time frame of December 9th-15th.

  • Eastern will provide different modalities of teaching this fall including all on ground, hybrid rotating students, hybrid rotating classes, and all online. See “The Instructional Environment for Fall 2020” for more details. https://www.easternct.edu/reopening/_documents/the-instructional-environment-for-fall-2020.pdf

  • All classrooms and a few additional large spaces, such as the FAIC Concert Hall, have been rearranged to ensure safe social distancing. In traditional classrooms, desks have been removed and tape placed on the floor to mark where each desk should be and to block off a six foot “Teaching Zone” across the front of the room. Plexiglass has been installed on all podiums. See photos at: https://www.easternct.edu/reopening/student-support/academics/classroom-configuration.html

    In large auditoriums, most seats will be blocked, indicating those seats available for students.

    All classrooms will be unlocked and available from August 17 – 21, and again on August 24 – 25, and ITS staff will be available to answer questions. Faculty are strongly encouraged to visit their classroom prior to the beginning of the semester to ensure there are no problems with the technology in the room.

    Technology:

    All classrooms and other instructional spaces have a podium with a computer,

    monitor, and keyboard, as well as a projector and screen. To capture in class activities for students who are participating remotely, each room will have a boundary microphone that will pick up all conversation in the room and a webcam that can be pointed at any place in the room. Microphones will not need to be worn or touched by the instructor. Each space will have the standard suite of software plus WebEx, MS Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate allowing for remote participation. Panopto is also available to record lectures.

    The large instructional spaces, such as the FAIC Concert Hall (FAIC 103), Proscenium Theatre (FAIC 104), and Shafer Auditorium, are set up for courses in the Rotating Class model, where all students should be in the room with the instructor during the class session. As such, they are not equipped to record students in the room but will have a webcam and boundary microphone to record the instructor. A second microphone will broadcast the instructor’s voice over the speakers in the room.

    1. Each room will have a supply of alcohol wipes. Upon entering the room, the instructor and students should take a wipe and sanitize their area (i.e. the podium or their desk).
    2. To ensure a full twenty minutes for one class to leave the room and the next class to enter and sanitize the area, class times will be shortened by the following amounts: 50 minute classes will end 10 minutes early, one hour and fifteen minute classes and two hour and forty-five minute classes will end 5 minutes early.
    3. Students will be asked to avoid congregating outside of classrooms before c Instead, they will be instructed to enter the building at time that allows them to proceed to the classroom with enough time to enter and wipe down their desk before class begins.
    4. All students and instructors must wear a mask when in a classroom building and in a classroom. Face shields may also be worn, but only with a mask as well. Where a student has an accommodation that prevents wearing a mask, the Administration will work with the instructor and student to find a solution.
    5. If a student is not wearing a mask in class and does not have prior permission to do so, the instructor should remind the student that masks are required under the Student Code of Conduct and tell the student to put on a mask or leave the room. All department offices will have a supply of disposable masks for students who may not have one that day. If the student refuses to put on a mask after being told to do so, the instructor can cancel class for the day and refer the student to the Office of Student Conduct.
    6. Air quality in classroom buildings will be improved with the installation of HEPA filters and the introduction of more external air into the system, with greater purging of internal air.
  • Communicating with Students:

    Like us, students are in very foreign territory these days and are confused about what to expect this fall. Instructors should communicate with their students multiple times before classes begin to explain the modality of the course and what is expected of them. This should be done through both email and Blackboard, as students are being told to expect communication from faculty through both formats.

    Syllabi:

    Syllabi do not need to be printed and distributed on the first day of class. Instead, electronic copies should be posted on Blackboard for students to access. Instructors should clearly state in their syllabus and on Blackboard the platform they are using for remote instruction and office hours (i.e. WebEx, etc.), and whether remote class meetings are synchronous or asynchronous.

    Office Hours:

    Regardless of modality, full-time faculty must be available to students outside of class time for a minimum of five office hours each week. Part-time faculty should be available for students outside of class for some time each week. All meetings with students should be held remotely, with few exceptions. Office hours and the platform used should be included in the syllabus and

    posted on Blackboard. Each instructor must also send this information to their department chair so it can be posted on the department’s website.

    Add/Drop Period this Fall:

    Given the COVID caps in each classroom, students will not be able to add a class online after August 24. Instead, students will need the instructor’s permission to add a course. To add a course, the student will need to use their Eastern email account to send an email to the instructor to request permission to add the course. If the instructor approves and there is space in the room, they should forward the student’s email to Registrar@easternct.edu with their approval for the student to add the class. Students will be able to drop classes online during then normal add/drop period without the instructor’s permission.

    Overloads:

    Overloads are not permitted for any class that meets on ground at any point this fall. Class caps have been adjusted based on the COVID caps for each room. Adding additional students would put more students in the room than is safe.

    Special Conditions for courses in the Rotating Students Model:

    Under the Rotating Students model, the instructor is in the room for each class session while students rotate on ground throughout each week. The instructor will determine and inform the students which day they are in class versus when they are online. For example, if a class of

    30 meets MWF in a room that will hold 10 students, the instructor might have the first 10

    students on the class roster attend on Monday, the next 10 on Wednesday, and the last 10 on

    Friday. It might be useful to hold the first class meeting all online to establish the rotation.

    Instructors must consult their course roster in eWebb regularly during the first two weeks of classes, as students may drop the class. Students wanting to add the class will need the instructor’s permission to do so (see Add/Drop above). It is likely that the roster will change during the first two weeks, so the student rotation may need to be adjusted.

    Students Requesting Online Accommodations:

    Students have been given the option of taking all of their classes online this fall. However, if the class has an on ground component, it is up to the instructor to decide whether a student can participate remotely. The students are aware of this policy.

  • As the fall semester commences and throughout the term, we will be monitoring health conditions on campus on a daily basis, working closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and other local and state officials. Any decision to pivot to online instruction will be made by President Ojakian at the system level. However, as he has noted, public health conditions are unique to each campus and its local community. Therefore, closing one campus and pivoting to online instruction on that campus may not cause all campuses to close at the same time.

Updated: August 1, 2020