Returning to Instruction – February 2023

This post provides some resources for faculty resuming courses in February 2023. Per guidance from the Provost’s office, faculty are encouraged to be flexible and accommodating with themselves and their students. Some courses may resume as planned, and others may need to make pedagogical changes in order to accommodate faculty and student needs. These changes may be very different depending on your specific course and will require some flexibility in thinking through options. As you assess the needs of your students and courses we encourage you to adopt a flexible and student-centered approach.

During the first week of returning to classes, you may wish to hold conversations or conduct activities that allow you and your students to understand where you are at and what your needs are for the remainder of the semester. You may wish to provide a survey to your students to allow those who may not be attending classes in person to contribute and to allow for anonymous contributions as you plan for any changes you wish to make.

Ideas for what you might do during this first week back include:

  • Reflect on where you are.  Reflect on where your students are.
  • It is ok to not require any academic work this next week. Students may not want to, or be able to, work on academic material in the first days/weeks.
  • Don’t make any large adjustments. Don’t rewrite the syllabus now but do take notes on what you are hearing or thinking in terms of longer-term changes.
  • Provide opportunities that allow students to come together, but without the necessity to speak. You could show a film or do some other activity that allows students to engage as they wish.
  • If you are feeling a particular way, talk about it, and be open about it.

As you consider what changes you may need to make in your courses remember that you may need to reset expectations, but do keep in mind the following:

  • Keep your course goals and learning objectives at the forefront of any redesigned assignments or activities.
  • Communicate your plan to your students. (link includes template and email language that may be useful to copy/paste)
  • Discuss needs with your students and try to be flexible with accommodations.
  • Adopt practices and approaches that enable students to engage with you and other classmates as much as they are comfortable and able, and in ways that work for you and for them.

Some examples of changes you may wish to make either temporarily or in the long-term best interest of your course and students:

  • Modify attendance policies to allow students to attend remotely or to take the time they need to process the events. 
  • Consider changing assignment due dates or the number/length of assignments. If you need to drop an exam or assignment, just do so.
  • Recording or streaming class sessions to allow students who may need opportunities to revisit course content to do so or to allow students who were not able to be present on campus to access course sessions. 
  • Accommodating students who are not able to be on campus can be as simple as opening a Zoom session and/or recording your class. Most MSU classrooms are equipped with cameras and software capable of facilitating this style of teaching. 

Some Additional Resources that may be helpful are listed below. 

Making changes to your class

Capturing and Streaming Your Class

Communicating With Your Students

Further information and resources can be found on the #iteachMSU website. These resources will continue to be updated in the coming days so please check back if you do not find what you are looking for at first.

This post was co-authored by Makena Neal, Scott Schopieray, Jessica Sender and Jeremy Van Hof.

Source: Auto Draft

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.