Academic Affairs/Faculty Information

Continuity of Operations

The Innovation in Learning Center (ILC) provides substantial training and offers assistance in helping faculty develop high-quality online course materials. The ILC also develops and maintains webpages with resources for instructors identifying best practice design strategies and examples for the web-blended environment that allow for social distancing while facilitating the achievement of student learning outcomes.

For the latest information regarding the University and Coronavirus, please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/coronavirus/

 

▼   ILC Objectives/Key Service Functions

The following are teaching, research, and service objectives for the ILC during any public emergency:

  • Establish a base of operations for ILC and USAonline personnel to provide assistance/support to faculty, staff and students using the Learning Management System (USAonline). This involves initial assessment of access and functionality of the current location of ILC/USAonline. If unavailable, an alternate campus site would be needed. If campus is closed, an alternate off-site facility would be needed. In the event of a pandemic, personnel would operate from disparate locations (personal homes, etc).
  • Ensure all primary systems such as LMS (Canvas) essential third-party tools (Zoom, Panopto) SAML SSO, Banner, University web services, etc. are operational.
  • In the event of an extended campus closure, all courses (web-enhanced, web-blended, and web-online) would convert to fully online. All available ILC and USAonline staff, as well as the Canvas 24/7 helpdesk, would be utilized to accommodate the additional demand for support. Resources will be made available to faculty to quickly onboard them, and best practices will be offered to guide them in transitioning the course from face-to-face delivery to fully online. Resources include a self-paced Canvas primer course, videos, and PDF how-to guides.

For questions and assistance regarding these objectives, please contact S. Raj Chaudhury or Jason Smith.

▼   Plan Contingencies
The University will continually monitor the health of the campus population and the public health of our region. The campus will be poised to move back to remote work, if conditions warrant, to protect the health of students and employees. In this event, faculty should be prepared to quickly move all courses to the online environment.
▼   Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction may be revised when remote instruction is needed. The schedule of classes lists classes as offered in one of three modalities: Web-Enhanced, which is largely delivered in traditional face-to-face instruction; Web-Blended, a mixture of synchronous instruction (which is typically face-to-face) and on-line delivery; and Web-Online, where at least 85% of instruction is delivered in an asynchronous, online format. In synchronous instruction, students and faculty meet together at scheduled times. Asynchronous instruction is not scheduled and faculty and students may participate online at any time.

In almost all cases during the semester, classes will be delivered either in a web-blended format (sometimes also called a hybrid format) or web-online. Most classes listed in the fall schedule as web enhanced will actually be delivered in the web-blended format. Because registration for classes has already begun, the schedule of classes will continue to list these classes as web enhanced, but the overwhelming majority of these classes will nonetheless be delivered in the web-blended format.

For all courses taught as web-blended, some portion of instruction will generally be offered face-to-face while adhering to social distancing guidelines. In addition, due to the impact of social distancing on study sessions, group tutoring, and other learning activities, faculty for all web blended courses should ensure that they create a substantial online presence that allows students to effectively engage with course materials (e.g., recorded lectures, assignments, and discussions.) In most web-blended courses, testing will need to be completed virtually. With the potential for all courses to have to move online again this fall, it is a good idea for all faculty to create a substantial online presence for all courses.

With approval of their respective chair and dean, faculty at elevated risk for COVID 19, or who co-reside with such individuals, may opt to deliver all or part of the synchronous portion of a web-blended course online rather than face-to-face. Courses that have more than a 15% synchronous component, whether face-to-face or online, should be delivered as web-blended rather than as fully online (web-online).

For classes that maintain face-to-face components, class attendance in each face-to-face meeting must be limited to the appropriate size based on the assigned room and social distancing guidelines according to the classroom occupancy plan developed for the respective academic unit (e.g., MWF class might be divided into three cohorts attending face-to-face once per week).

All fully online courses listed as such in the class schedule as Web-Online (WO) must be delivered at least 85% asynchronously and any synchronous component must be listed in the course schedule during registration as per policy.

Small classes (with low enrollment relative to classroom size) that allow for social distancing and comply with the academic unit classroom occupancy plan may be held fully face-to-face. All other classes will be reconfigured to reduce density and allow for social distancing. Note that, in most cases, restructuring existing larger classes into multiple smaller sections will not be a viable option. Changes to the fall semester schedule that reduce course caps and changes that divide larger sections will require the approval of the dean.

▼   Support for Faculty to Develop & Use Online Learning Resources

The Innovation in Learning Center (ILC) provides substantial training and offers assistance in helping faculty develop high-quality online course materials. The ILC also develops and maintains webpages with resources for instructors identifying best practice design strategies and examples for the web-blended environment that allow for social distancing while facilitating the achievement of student learning outcomes.