In preparation for the upcoming fall semester, in which most of our classes will be partially or entirely online, the department has formulated a list of departmental expectations for instructors. These are contained in Section 6 of the report of the Covid Taskforce on Instruction. What follows is an abridged summary of these departmental expectations. Please see the Taskforce report for the full set of expectations, for the motivations of these policies, and for other recommended practices and resources.
Please note: This list is in addition to, not replacement of, the department's established teaching policies.
Communication of course structure and content
- Each course should use a Learning Management System (LMS).
- All course information and course material should be contained in, or accessible from, the class LMS.
- A separate, publicly available syllabus should be prepared two weeks before the start of classes.
- These will be posted on a department website and should include the items described in Section 6.8 of the Taskforce report.
Course content and delivery
- Regardless of format, courses should cover roughly the same amount of material as they did previously.
- All online classes should include some regular form of audio/video content.
- Advice on producing this content is available on the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning (CITL)'s Keep Teaching website. CITL is also providing a variety of workshops and support for instructors throughout the summer.
- It is not sufficient to only post written lecture notes.
- All audio/video content should be accessible through the course LMS and should be hosted via a service which is accessible worldwide.
- The recommended host is Kaltura (Illinois Media Space).
- Per department teaching policies, "Students with disabilities should be provided accommodations as prescribed by Disability Resources & Education Services (DRES). Before denying any such request for accommodations, an instructor should first consult with both DRES and the associate chair.”
- Graded work should be returned within one week and include detailed feedback whenever possible.
- Online undergraduate courses should include at least one assessment per week that requires students to submit work for grading.
- Homework for classes with in-person meetings should be managed electronically.
- Classes which meet in person should not require or reward attendance.
Communication with students
- Instructors should provide students with a communication plan which describes:
- How the instructor should be contacted.
- The routine for course announcements.
- The expectations for email reply time.
- At least one (preferably two) synchronous office hours should be held for each class on a regular weekly schedule via Zoom (or something equivalent).
- For every online undergraduate class there should be a discussion forum that is regularly moderated by the instructor or class staff.
- One recommended tool for this is CampusWire (Illinois login link coming soon).
Communication with TAs and graders
- Questions from TAs to instructors should be answered within two work days.
- TAs running discussion sections should have the necessary materials (e.g. worksheets) at least 24 course before their earliest section.