Template & Considerations for Student Notification – Temporary Course Modality Change

Below are some suggestions and sample text you may wish to use when communicating with your students about a temporary modality change of your course due to illness, etc.

Before you make the decision to change your course to online please consider your goals and objectives for the particular session(s) you are changing, and what modality/modifications make most sense. You may wish to consider the following:

  • If you are sick or otherwise unable to come to campus Is there someone (colleague, TA, etc.) who could take over teaching the in-person class?
  • Are there options to reduce the density of your on campus course by streaming your class session from your on-campus classroom, allowing students an opportunity to participate via Zoom or in-person for the day?
  • Is there a space on campus where you can hold your class outdoors without heavily modifying your course plans?
  • Could you modify your course activity for the day to allow students to socially distance within the classroom, building, or local area while they engage with one another in small groups?
  • Do you need assistance to pursue these options?

You may also wish to consult with colleagues in your program or across campus who may have had similar experiences and have come up with other alternatives. 

If you do decide to change your course modality make sure to communicate as soon as possible, and in multiple modalities (e.g. email, announcement on D2L, MS Teams post, etc.) to your students about the change.

  • Start with some introductory text about the context of what is happening and why.
  • Outline that the temporary change in modality will allow the class to continue uninterrupted and to continue to build toward learning goals

Dear MSU101 Students, I’m writing to let you know that we will be making a change to our class meeting schedule on specific date or date ranges and will be meeting online via Zoom (link below). Due to the number of reported COVID cases in our classroom I felt it would be best to reduce our in-person contact while we all monitor ourselves for symptoms. This is not a permanent move to online, we will be returning to our in-person classroom on specififc date. 

  • Be explicit about where the class will be held, which class periods, and how to get to the digital course space

Class will be held on {Zoom, Teams, or other meeting location} for the class period(s) on X day and Y day. To attend class on these days you will need to use the link at : {Zoom/teams link here} or by using our D2L course for those course periods. 

  • This is a temporary switch for X class sessions
  • Class will remain synchronous and will be available at: {LINK, PASS-CODE and TIME}
  • This change does not affect our course goals of X & Y. 
  • Indicate if there are substantive changes to the course 
    • schedule, 
    • due dates, or 
    • exam dates
  • Office hours will be held virtually at {LINK, PASS-CODE and TIME}, please continue to sign up for office hours in the manner they have already spelled out

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me or visit office hours during XXXXX period

Scott Schopieray

Dr. Scott Schopieray is the Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. He is a core team member of the Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative (EDLI) where he focuses on institutional strategy, motivation to teach with technology, and technological structures to support digital teaching and learning. Dr. Schopieray is also Associate Director of MESH Research, a center focusing on the future of digital scholarly publishing.