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3/12/2020 - Update for Faculty: Information on Teaching in Winter and Spring Terms

To: Caltech Faculty
From: David A. Tirrell, Provost=

Following up on the most recent community update about completing the winter term remotely, and the possibility of the spring term being conducted online, I would like to provide information about the submission of student work and grades for winter term, and about the resources available to assist in the transition to online instruction, should it be necessary.

Completing Winter Term

To take account of the time students will need to commit to traveling home over the next week or so, we will implement a one-week extension for submission of final exams, projects, and papers for winter term courses. We will also extend the deadline for submission of final grades for one week, until 9 a.m. on Monday, March 30.

Resources for Online Instruction

A dedicated website has been created to provide resources and guidance on teaching continuity. The website, teach.caltech.edu, will continue to be updated as new tools and information become available.

Currently, you may access:

  • Information on access to Zoom for videoconferencing; IMSS has extended the Institute's license to provide coverage for the entire academic community
  • Guidance on communicating with students electronically
  • Guidance on providing support for students with accessibility concerns
  • FERPA-compliant tools for collecting assignments and exams
  • Information on the Caltech learning management system, Moodle, and
  • Direction on staff contacts to support this transition

In order to continue the high quality, in-depth education that is a hallmark of Caltech, and to support students' progress toward their degrees, faculty and instructors scheduled to teach during the spring term are still expected to do so. If, after reviewing the information on the Online Teaching Continuity website, you believe that your course would be impossible to adapt to an online environment, please contact the Executive Officer(s) of the option(s) in which the course is listed immediately to discuss alternative plans. We will contact each of the instructors scheduled to teach laboratory and field courses to determine the feasibility of delivering those courses online, and to establish potential substitutes for courses that cannot be taught remotely.

As always, instructors have flexibility and discretion in the approach that they take to teaching, which remains true even if course(s) are moved online. Should spring courses be conducted remotely, please be sure that, at minimum, units for in-class and lab instructional hours are replaced with a similar amount of class interaction and students have at least as many opportunities to practice, receive feedback, and demonstrate learning through class assignments and/or exams.

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility as we navigate this evolving situation.