The classroom experience in the Fall 2020 Term

Hello again dear Colleagues, 

In this email, we would like to provide you with information about what the in-person classroom experience will be like this fall. An important change from our communications earlier this summer is that face coverings are required of both instructors and students during the entirety of the class period. This is both in accordance with University policy, and Executive Order of Governor Whitmer. 

This email contains several sections describing other aspects of the classroom experience this semester:

  • Details about classrooms, including videos with examples.  
  • Policies around expected student behavior.
  • Supporting waitlisted students.

If you would like early access to your classroom to test your technology, please work with your departmental schedulers.

Also, please be sure to read the following sections of the College’s COVID site carefully to ensure you have the most up-to-date information going into the Fall semester: Teaching Resources, Working, Student Resources

Be safe and healthy,

Joanna Millunchick, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Mary-Ann Mycek, Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Education 

Joanna Mirecki Millunchick, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
College of Engineering, University of Michigan
(734) 761-7150

Mary-Ann Mycek, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Education
College of Engineering, University of Michigan
(734) 647-6851


The COVID Era Classroom

As you will soon see, our classrooms look the same but so much has changed due to COVID-19. Here is a video outlining their major new features.

  • For classrooms with two doors, one is marked for entry and the other is marked as an exit.
  • The iPad outside of the classroom shows the COVID-19 seating capacity.
  • Every classroom has hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes near the entrance.  Everyone entering the classroom should sanitize their hands and workspaces.
    • Instructors should wipe down the lectern surfaces, and any items they will touch.
    • Students should wipe down their areas.
    • The cleaning supplies will be restocked every day, but if something is missing or low, contact CAEN.
  • Everyone, including instructors, is required to wear a facemask during class when students are present, as per University policy.  Disposable face coverings are available for those without one. 
  • All rooms are optimally configured for the COVID capacities.
    • Extraneous chairs have been either removed or covered.
    • Students should sit in designated seats only.
    • Furniture should not be moved.
  • Need to stream your class?  Log into the Zoom PC, launch Zoom, and start your session. For details, see this video  
  • All instructors should wear a microphone during class whether you are streaming or not to ensure good audibility.  If you brought your own lapel microphone, connect it to the battery pack.
  • Teach the class as you normally would:
    • Connect to a laptop, tablet, or document camera.
    • While it is possible to use the whiteboard, we recommend that instructors use a pen-enabled device (like an iPad) or the document camera for handwritten notes.
    • Have a problem with the room AV?  Press the problem report button and select if you want someone to come right away or after class.
  • At class end: 
    • Direct the students to exit via the approved exit door.
    • Replace the microphone in it’s charging station. Don’t forget to take your own lapel microphone.
    • Wipe down all surfaces with the cleaning supplies provided.
    • Deposit trash in the receptacle.
    • Leave via the exit door.


Student Behavior Expectations

Everyone has responsibility for the development of a safe classroom environment, and we recognize that instructors must intentionally set the tone for the classroom environment they expect to establish. 


Establishing classroom practices and considerations

  • Incorporate a statement of expectations into your syllabus.
  • Discuss policies and expectations in the syllabus and on the first day of class (and

intermittently throughout the term as appropriate).

    • Wolverine Culture of Care 
    • Syllabus statement (if choose to incorporate)
    • Classroom cleaning and sanitation protocols (See above)
    • Remind students that face coverings must be worn at all times per University policy.
    • Given that face coverings should be worn for the entirety of class, students cannot eat or drink during class time. 
    • Model the behaviors that you want your students to exhibit – think carefully about classroom activities, exercises, and practices in the context of safety due to COVID and accessibility (e.g. active learning strategies, lab safety protocols).
  • Intentionally solicit information (via surveys or office hours) from students about how the course is going and how the classroom COVID-19 measures are affecting their learning.


What to do if students do not comply with the classroom expectations

  1. Inquire about the student’s reasons for not complying with classroom expectations. If the student forgot their mask, each classroom has disposable masks for their use.
  2. Inform/educate the student about the ways we as a community are trying to stay safe and healthy (i.e., wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance).
    1. Remind/reference university and classroom expectations outlined in the Classroom Culture of Care syllabus statement discussed on the first day of class.
  3. If the student is not able or willing to comply with the required safety guidelines, and does not have an approved exception or accommodation, they should be asked to leave the classroom for the day (and reminded of the options if they are not willing to adhere to the guidelines). The student can also be referred to one or more of the offices below:
    1. Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act: Office for Institutional Equity,
    2. Course change options: Engineering Advising Office or departmental advisor
    3. Behavioral concerns: Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
  4. If the student is unwilling to wear a face covering and will not leave the classroom, dismiss the class for the day and contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and your department chair/director of undergraduate studies to talk through next steps in speaking with the student. Note: We anticipate this situation will be a rare occurrence, and in dismissing class the instructor should handle missed class time as they would any class session that was dismissed unexpectedly or cancelled (e.g. fire alarms, tornado drills).
  5. If the student returns to the class the next session and is still not willing to comply, let the student know that they will have to leave and that they may be 1) required to participate remotely (if available), or 2) disenrolled from the course – contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and your department leadership.


Waitlisted Students

Normally, waitlisted students are expected to reach out to faculty and possibly attend the first few lectures until they can be enrolled. This year, waitlisted students should be added by the instructor as Observers to the course Canvas site. Once the enrollment for the course stabilizes, instructors may remove any remaining Observers.