| by Suzanne Gurland, Jeff Cason, and Sujata Moorti

Students

Dear Students,

As promised, we are writing with specific information regarding the scheduling of classes once they resume on March 30, and to explain the reasoning for the changes we are making.

We recognize that the vast majority of you are now at home, around the world, where you might have the comfort of familiarity, but where your worlds, like ours, are being turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Few of you will have the luxury of a quiet, private space with reliable internet access, and few of you will escape responsibilities such as caring for family members who become ill. None of you can be expected to spend the kind of uninterrupted time on your coursework that you can when you’re on campus. Those of you who were going to rely on coffee shops or public libraries will find that many of those are already closing down.

For these reasons, our faculty’s single biggest challenge in the coming weeks is supporting you and your learning at a time when we are robbed of most of our traditional tools for teaching and supporting you. Professors will not be able to take what they were doing in the classroom on campus and simply move it into the digital realm. They will likely need to revise or completely upend their syllabi and learning goals.

The schedule we are setting forth provides the same amount of dedicated time for each course that was available before. We know that faculty will be designing new ways to engage with course material, and expect that they’ll experiment with teaching in ways that allow you to learn even if they—or you—are out sick for two weeks, or rarely have an internet connection.

The schedule, specifically, will be as follows:

  • If your course originally met during the morning or afternoon hours, your available time will now be two hours later. 
  • If your course originally met during the evening hours, your new available time will remain the same. 

For example, if your course used to meet in person TR 9:30am-10:45am, EDT, your available time becomes TR 11:30am-12:45pm EDT. But if your course used to meet in person M 7:30pm-10:25pm EDT, your available time remains M 7:30pm-10:25pm EDT. The time shift for morning and afternoon hours will better accommodate differences in time zones, given that you and your classmates are dispersed across the United States and abroad. Please see the attached grid for your new available time.

We refer to it as “available time” rather than “meeting time” because we imagine that many professors will use only a fraction of it to try to “meet” with you virtually for class. Based on expert advice, the available evidence, and the reality of the current circumstances, we are encouraging professors to find ways of teaching that minimize the need for “in-person” online meetings. In response, your professors are working hard to discover new ways of teaching that will serve you well even in these uncertain and unusual times. We recognize that these modes of learning and technologies may be new to you, too. DLINQ has created a student resource page and opportunities for ongoing support as you restart your classes.

Thank you all for your tremendous flexibility, and please know that your professors are keeping your needs at the heart of their decision-making as they redesign their classes.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Gurland
Dean of Curriculum

Jeff Cason
Provost

Sujata Moorti
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty