Provost Announcement - Fall 2020 course planning during the summer (May 21, 2020)

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you all for your efforts during the past semester as we moved almost all courses at Yale into remote and online formats. As you know, I chair the Academic Continuity Committee and we continue to prepare for the upcoming academic year. The Provost will release more detailed plans in the coming weeks. For now, I can say that given the public health situation we should prepare to offer a substantial portion of the Yale curriculum remotely, whether or not our students are in New Haven. There are two main considerations here: some students will remain remote for health or travel-related reasons; and some faculty and teaching fellows will feel more comfortable teaching remotely. For these reasons, we are asking all faculty to prepare remote options, with a focus on overall course design.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Professional Schools have established committees and task forces to guide policy and practice. To prepare for various scenarios, the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning and the University Library have resources to support your course considerations.

We are working with the Information Technology department and the Registrar to facilitate live delivery of in-person activities to remote students from a number of classrooms. In addition, the Poorvu Center will help faculty consider different methods for connecting with all students and will work with our partner units noted earlier to help faculty address their individual technical requirements, wherever they are teaching from: home, office, studio, or classroom.

My colleagues in the Poorvu Center will offer structured support throughout the summer to help faculty design flexible and resilient courses. The goal of these efforts is to ensure a high-quality learning experience for your students by focusing on elements that will be effective for both online and in-person teaching. The Center has developed two support options for faculty:

1. Guided Support: You can sign up for a program of hands-on training, workshops, and consultations. These services will repeat in two-week intervals beginning on June 1. Poorvu Center staff members will help you develop teaching strategies to address your concerns and priorities for the coming year. The Center invites instructors to sign up for their first and second choice dates so they can distribute their capacity and meet everyone’s needs. Please sign up by Wednesday, June 10 for this support. All registered instructors will receive a designated contact in the Poorvu Center to help answer questions during their guided support two-week period.

2. Self-directed Support: The Poorvu Center offers updated how-to guides, workshop recordings, and other resources you may use to inform your course preparations. As always, instructors may contact the Center to request a consultation.

The Virtual Faculty Bulldog Days collection of teaching examples shared by your peers may spark ideas for your own instruction. The Canvas site includes examples of labs, language classes, seminars, and lectures adapted for remote teaching. You can request access to the site by completing a short form.

I encourage you to work with the university library now to identify materials you will need for course readings or teaching with collections, as well as other forms of library support for your teaching. Use this purchase request form for e-books and e-versions of course materials. Librarians are available to develop course-specific research guides (see examples here) or to provide in-class library instruction via Zoom, tailored to specific course topics or assignments.

The library is finalizing plans to restart Scan & Deliver service in June and will notify you by email when it’s up and running. At that point, you may request scans needed to prepare for fall and future courses. Once the fall courses are uploaded to Canvas, you will be able to make Fall 2020 e-reserve requests through Canvas.

For library support and services of any kind, start by emailing the relevant subject specialist. If you are not sure whom to contact, email for assistance.

I recognize that adapting your course requires immense effort. Once again, we’ll work together as a unified community to prepare for the fall semester. I welcome your questions, suggestions, and concerns.

Thank you again for all your efforts,

Pericles Lewis
Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives
Yale University