Tuesday, July 21 2020 – message about instruction

Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Paul Alivisatos sent the following message about instruction:

As a follow up to today’s announcement regarding updated plans for Fall 2020 instruction, we are providing more information to assist you in planning for your course delivery and communicating with your community.

It is important to stress that while we are beginning the fall semester fully remote, we will have hybrid and flexible courses with in-person instructional activities as soon as public health conditions allow.

We understand that the uncertainties around the timing and details of this planned switch is difficult for students, instructors, and staff, but we believe that it is in the best interest of all to leave open the possibility for the increased student engagement enabled by in-person instruction if public health conditions allow at some point during the semester. Throughout the fall, we will have a regular schedule of announcements regarding the prospects for return to some in person instructional activities.

Instruction mode: In-person, Hybrid and Flexible

We understand that some faculty are proposing converting all classes to remote designation. There is no need for such action as the Office of the Registrar will automatically update all Tier 1 and Tier 2 classes that were approved for the in-person mode of instruction to the flexible mode of instruction. The flexible mode signals to students that in-person attendance is not required if in-person classroom instruction resumes.

Other requests to change the instruction mode of Tier 1, 2, and 3 courses (e.g., changing from hybrid to remote, flexible to hybrid, in-person to remote, etc.) should be submitted to your department scheduler who will work with the Office of the Registrar.

Canceling classes

If a course cannot be offered remotely and you need to cancel the course, please work with your department scheduler to update the schedule of classes and notify enrolled students at your earliest opportunity.

General assignment classrooms

The Office of the Registrar will assign general assignment classrooms for courses provisionally approved in priority order for Tier 1 and then for Tier 2 in the event that we can return to some hybrid or flexible instruction later in the semester. It is less likely that we will be able to offer Tier 3 in-person instructional activities, those in which the instructor strongly prefers to offer instruction in person—even later in the semester—so we are holding off on Tier 3 room assignments for the time being.

Departmental space

We encourage you to please continue working with Seamus Wilmot, co-chair of the Recovery Management Operations Team, to do a review of your departmental space to ensure that it is suitable for your planned in-person instructional activities.

Please note that all 99, 194H, 199, 295, 298, and 299 (or equivalent) courses have been provisionally approved to be offered in hybrid or flexible delivery formats using departmental space only. Department schedulers can update the mode for these courses without seeking approval from the Instruction Planning Review Committee.

Communicating class details

Instructors are encouraged to use the class notes field of the schedule to share any details about the class that students should be aware of. Schedulers can add this information to the system. Schedulers can also tag classes with the ‘asynchronous attribute’ if applicable and provide details about the degree of asynchronous instruction via the class notes field. Another message to department schedulers from the Office of the Registrar with further details about coding courses, adding notations, etc. will go out shortly.

Spaces for instructors to prepare and/or deliver remote instruction

The campus is currently in the process of preparing a survey for instructors to assess demand for on-campus general assignment classrooms to prepare and/or deliver remote instruction. The campus will also be surveying faculty interest in using their own office space or other space available in their units to prepare and deliver instruction. The intent is to have spaces on campus available to instructors by mid-August that they can use to prepare and deliver remote instruction.

There is a lot to deal with here. We will be hosting a mega meeting next week to provide additional updates and to answer your questions.

The public health crisis continues to challenge our entire community and it is requiring us to adapt quickly and continuously. I want to acknowledge that this is hard for our instruction community (faculty/instructors, students, and staff), who also may be dealing with issues related to K-12 school closure, dependent care, and many other difficulties at the same time. I truly appreciate all of your efforts on instruction for our students, and thank you for your dedication to Berkeley.

If you have questions that cannot be addressed by your dean, your local scheduling team, or the Office of the Registrar, please feel free to contact the Instruction Planning Team by sending an email to EVCP@berkeley.edu.