March 27, 2020
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
As we prepare for classes to shift to a remote teaching scenario next week, I wanted to reach out to you with my appreciation for your dedication and hard work. These are unprecedented times, and the changes we are making in our personal and professional lives are difficult at best. We remain committed to our students and to each other, and your hard work and the time spent on shifting your teaching online has not gone unnoticed and is much appreciated. Perhaps you know of colleagues at other institutions who have already begun teaching remotely and you have gleaned from their experiences. Some of you have children who have begun their classwork and studies at home, and you have watched their teachers work hard to switch to this new scenario. There are a few lessons we can take to heart as a teaching community caring for our students and striving to finish well under these circumstances:
- Most importantly, prioritize kindness and care for your students. This might well be the difference in their persistence and resolve to finish the semester.
- Determine the most vital content remaining in your course and focus on that content.
- Make sure the critical information about changes in your course is easy to find. Consider asking a colleague or a staff member from eLearning or the TLPDC to review your instructions and offer feedback.
- During the first week of moving into the new modality, set a reasonable pace so that students don't fall behind as they navigate their coursework and other responsibilities.
- If possible, make adjustments to assignments by spreading them throughout the rest of the semester. Although we have lost a week of classes, the assignments and material should not be crammed into the first week back.
- Remember that our students are as concerned about the modality change, if not more so than many of the faculty, and this is likely new to them as well. Many of them are juggling a move, finding new internet and/or computer resources, caretaking responsibilities, remote work, and other changes that we all can relate to.
By now, I hope that you are aware of the resources offered through the Offices of eLearning and Academic Partnerships, the Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center, and the Information Technology Division. The Teaching Academy has also offered teaching advice from their members, and this resource grows daily. People in every corner of our University are working together to offer support and help us prioritize the well-being and growth of our students. Thank you for your dedication to our students and to their learning.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Texas Tech University