A few final reminders for the start of the term

Dear Colleagues,

Here we are!

As you know, the Fall 2020 term starts today. Based on feedback from Friday’s CoE Faculty Town Hall and other questions we have received, we have just a few final reminders as you get ready.

This email covers a number of topics, including: 

  • Creating a thorough syllabus that helps the students know what to expect from a mixed teaching environment.
  • Preparing a backup plan for streaming due to unexpected technology outages.
  • Clarifications for coding of classes with In Person and Online sections.
  • CAEN Lab availability.
  • Other useful links.

Please be aware that College leadership will be walking around campus the first week of classes to make sure everything is going smoothly. Please let us know if there is anything that needs to be addressed. 

Additionally, please feel free to use the Covid Feedback Form to provide any feedback or concerns. We will promptly reply to all submissions.

Wishing you the best for the start of the term.

Be well,

Joanna Millunchick, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Mary-Ann Mycek, Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education


Developing Your Syllabus

As with in-classroom instruction, a high quality syllabus for online and hybrid teaching includes a course plan with clearly articulated learning objectives, assessments and learning activities that are aligned. In addition, it is well organized and student-centered. Online and hybrid delivery, however, present unique challenges that should be addressed in the syllabus. To help faculty adapt a syllabus for an online or hybrid course, please review these useful tips from Nexus and/or download the syllabus checklist from the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) for a helpful comparison of the basic syllabus elements and additional components for online and hybrid teaching and learning.

Prepare a Backup Plan for Streaming

As we all know, technology will occasionally fail. As we have more online students and are streaming more with Zoom and Bluejeans, the chances increase that there will be a failure when we are streaming a live class. Please have a plan for how you will deal with this occurrence and communicate this with your students. A few solutions you could consider are:

  • If streaming from a CoE classroom, make sure you are also recording with the CAEN lecture recording system. The recording is stored locally within the classroom before being posted online so a network or streaming outage will not impact the recording. You can then share the recorded lecture asynchronously to those who couldn’t be there in-person. Tip: If you don’t have a recording scheduled, you can manually start one with the “lecture capture” button on the touch screen.
  • Record the lecture later and make it available for asynchronous viewing. You can do this with Zoom, Camtasia or Kaltura to do a recording on your local PC and post it on Canvas.
  • Make up the material in an upcoming class section.

Again, communicating with the students in advance how to plan to handle these types of issues will reduce anxiety for both yourself and the students if this should happen.

Classes with In-Person and Online sections

For those of you who are teaching in-person this fall, you likely also have a separate section of your course for students who are participating remotely. The University puts these two sections together in what is called a meet-together (two courses or sections that meet at the same time) to streamline running the course and this is creating some confusion. Due to the way the software that is used to manage the scheduling works, the remote sections are also showing the same physical location as the in-person class. The remote section is still listed as a “Distance” section and has its own section number but having a physical location is alarming to students who are expecting to take the course remotely. If you have students who are sending you questions about this please let them know that if their section is listed as “REMOTE” they can ignore the room assignment.

For courses that are not yet coded as a meet-together, students may be having issues accessing your Canvas site. Only students registered for the course are automatically given access. Until the online and in-person/hybrid class is coded as a meet-together, there will be separate Canvas courses. Instructors can combine two or more sections into a single Canvas site using the U-M Course Manager, located in the left-hand course navigation menu. Click “Help” in the tool for step-by-step instructions, or contact the ITS Service Center for assistance.

CAEN Labs are Open and Available to Classes and Students

We received a number of questions at the CoE Faculty Town Hall about the CAEN labs. To comply with re-opening guidelines and maximize the number of computers available for study and instruction, we had to split the labs up into multiple formats:

  • Instructional CAEN Labs – Four CAEN labs are set up similar to classrooms and are reserved for instruction, office hours, and other group uses. These rooms can only be used for reservations that include the whole lab. No lecture capture or integrated Zoom streaming is available in these rooms.
  • Reservable Seat Labs – These labs require students to reserve seats for up to two hours at a time in advance using a new campus StudySpaces tool. This allows us to get the density of these CAEN labs down to 70sqft/person.
  • Open Seat Labs – These are open, non-reservable CAEN Labs with a density of 144sqft/person. CAEN has two of these labs.
  • Remote Instructional CAEN Labs – For the Fall 2020 term, CAEN has created two 30-seat remote only reservable CAEN Labs. These virtual CAEN Labs should help when you are teaching remote students or can’t schedule time in a CAEN Lab.

In all the physical labs, similar to classrooms, there is hand sanitizer and wipes. Labs get inspected 3-4 times a day to make sure PPE is well stocked. Each night the labs get a full cleaning. The labs are open from 8:00 a.m.-midnight each day. More information about labs and their capacities is available at the CAEN Labs webpage.

Other Useful Links