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FAQ: For Instructors Fall 2020

Fall 2020 Term Overall

What does "primarily online" mean and how are these decisions being made?

The University is fully committed to a primarily online semester. Face-to face classes will be rare. Deans and AAUs have been working since April to strategize the transition of courses to online formats, and have been collectively identifying an extremely limited subset of courses to be considered for approval as face-to-face offerings.  Proposed face-to-face offerings, determined by Deans, are now entering a final review process to seek written approval from the Provost. The Deans collectively developed the following criteria to determine courses which were eligible for consideration for face-to face delivery: 

  1. The participant group is confined to a specific program and the courses in that program are not required by or impact any other program on campus;
  2. Learning outcomes have been shown, through rigorous review and in consultation with the relevant Dean, to be infeasible to be met through alternative means or through a reorganization of course content across other courses in the program;
  3. It is necessary to offer the course this semester;
  4. The class size is under 25 (this is an estimated group maximum. AAU Heads and Deans should be aware that maximum group sizes will be set by the province, and may ultimately entail multiple sections or a virtual or partially virtual solution); and
  5. All provincial and institutional health and safety requirements can be accommodated. AAU Heads and Deans should be aware that health and safety requirements are subject to change depending on health conditions in the province.

Decision-making also takes into account:

  1. The degree of risk to all participants and the extent to which planning has mitigated those risks;
  2. Assessment of the feasibility of an alternative approach;
  3. The significance of the course to the program, and the extent to which learning outcomes cannot be met;
  4. The viability of the plan for accommodating students unable to attend in person or a sudden return to emergency measures; and
  5. The extent of multi-class face-to-face interaction involved.  The larger the number of students and instructors on campus, the more complex this planning becomes and the more risk there is. The decision to offer one on-campus course can mean a decision to open an entire building, apply sanitation procedures, and manage on- and off-campus transitions for students on an institutional scale. The interaction of classes and schedules as students interact with each other compounds the complexity.

Courses for which face-to-face programming is requested must describe the intended course of action should the province return to emergency measures during the Fall semester, as well as how students unable to attend class due to quarantine or medical risk will be accommodated. These must also be included in course outlines if face-to-face delivery is approved.

It is expected that, in all cases, course planning for individual courses will involve the minimum possible face-to-face engagement. Clinical practice where students are working within employment settings will be governed by employers’ workplace regulations and, where applicable, by standards set by accrediting bodies.

As public health restrictions are relaxed it may be possible to explore possibilities for on-campus co-curricular learning activities: in all cases, options for virtual involvement for those living at a distance are strongly encouraged.

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