This page will continuously be updated as information is made available.
Last updated: September 21, 2022
Preparing to teach this September?
This consolidated resource includes information on instructional modes, LTSI supports and learning technologies, accessibility, COVID contingency planning, strategies for supporting student and instructor absences and more.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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Instructional modes and absences
UVic will be offering in-person education primarily this Fall. All instructors are expected to remain consistent with the course delivery mode as identified in the UVic timetable; however, there may be situations where high levels of student absences impact the planned in-person delivery of a course. In these situations, the instructor should consult and seek approval of the chair or director.
For example, with the chair or director’s approval, an instructor may:
- Temporarily move their course online in response to high levels of student absence, where maintaining face-to-face delivery would disrupt learning continuity and course delivery. The duration of online learning should be kept to a minimum but could exceed two weeks if beneficial to students.
Instructors may not:
- Preventatively move their course online in anticipation of absences or to meet their own preferences.
- Move their course online temporarily to manage short-term absences without the approval of the chair or director.
- Poll students on course delivery preferences and then implement changes based on results.
Chairs and directors have been provided with guidance on reviewing faculty and instructor requests for course delivery changes related to absences that uphold our commitment to providing as much face-to-face instruction as possible while also ensuring student accessibility.
The University Senate has approved a continuation of the waiver of medical documentation for academic concession for the Spring term; Instructors are advised to include this information on your syllabus (see below).
Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are expected to stay home and not attend class. Medical documentation is not required. As usual, instructors are responsible for providing course content to support these short term absences. Instructors may provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during virtual office hours to review missed session(s). While recording lectures is not required, recording lectures provides another option to support student absences and students find such recordings beneficial.
Although attendance is important, instructors are encouraged where possible to provide flexibility. If illness, accident, or family affliction causes a student to miss the final exam or to fail to complete any assignment by the end of the term, the student must submit a Request for Academic Concession. Policies regarding undergraduate student academic concessions and deferrals are also detailed on the Undergraduate Records site. For graduate students, complete the Graduate Academic Concession Form and submit it to your graduate secretary.
Instructors may be absent or unable to deliver in-person classes because they are experiencing illness symptoms, or temporarily in cases where isolation is recommended by the BCCDC, or the instructor needs to care for an ill family member or to address extraordinary childcare and family circumstances at the discretion of the supervisor.
If an instructor is unable to teach in-person, they are required to notify their chair or director. In instances where an instructor is absent due to COVID-19 but not sick (and otherwise performing work duties), and with chair or director approval, an instructor may offer a course online to facilitate continued course delivery.
Online strategies for flexibility and accessibility
Knowing that absences are likely, use these strategies to maximize continuity in your course offerings and to support student flexibility and accessibility throughout the term.
In-person class recordings
University Systems has outfitted 135 centrally booked classrooms for basic recording of class instruction. These classrooms have a webcam and the ability to record instruction on the resident computer as well as digital content such as PowerPoint or document camera. Instructors can use the resident classroom computer installed in the room or their own UVic laptop for presenting.
Instructors are not required to record their classes. In the case of absences, you can encourage students to get notes from other students, provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during office hours to review missed session(s). While recording lectures are not required, students find recordings beneficial to their learning.
Echo360 provides the software necessary for class recording. Lapel microphones are widely available in classrooms also equipped with a resident computer. These microphones include a lapel mic/clip attached to a body-pack.
In accordance with BC Privacy legislation, students should be informed if a class is being recorded and for what purpose.
Live-streaming and the participation of online students
The current classroom technologies do not allow for students to fully participate remotely, with the exception of the multi-access classrooms (HHB 110 and CLE A127).
If you are exploring options for connecting students virtually to the in-person classroom (e.g., students experiencing short-term absences), there are two possibilities for live-stream with limited capabilities for student interaction. Those options are Echo360 livestream, or Zoom.
Students joining remotely via Echo360 livestream or Zoom may not be able to adequately hear class discussions, questions, or student to student interaction. Without careful planning, it may also be difficult for instructors to monitor the in-person and online environment. Current solutions are limited and the use of the resident computer is strongly advised. If you would like to discuss this further, consider contacting the faculty support teams at email@example.com.
Classroom masking guidance
Effective March 11, 2022, the Provincial Health Officer repealed the Face Coverings (COVID-19) Order.
Masks are no longer required in indoor public spaces. Wearing a mask is now a matter of personal choice. On campus, UVic strongly encourages the use of masks, particularly in indoor spaces where people are in close proximity or if you feel more comfortable to do so.
Some areas on campus are required to continue following sector-specific guidelines mandating the use of masks indoors, including healthcare locations. These areas will still require masks to be worn and signage will remain in place reflecting this requirement.
Two multi-access classrooms (HHB 110 and CLE A127), have been outfitted with technology that instructors can use to teach both in-person and online attending students, synchronously. These rooms are equipped with technology that allows active participation in the class regardless of physical location as well as the ability to record the lecture if desired. Instructors are not expected to teach in two modalities (in person and online) simultaneously. Instructors teaching classes scheduled in these rooms can use as much or as little of the new technologies as necessary for the delivery of their course. The rooms have been developed by UVic to support instructors who teach in flexible modes, should they choose to do so.
Term Start Guide
Start your term strong with our Term Start Guide – an excellent starting place if you are planning a course. Instructors may also supplement their in-person delivery of courses with online or virtual elements (such as holding virtual office hours, conducting online quizzes, or posting recorded content). A well-designed Brightspace course site can serve as an effective backup throughout the term.
Assessments (exams, tests, quizzes, etc.)
There are a series of resources available to help you select your assessment strategies used in your courses including online assessments and alternatives to exams.
Making your assessments accessible
Learning Experience Designers – Accessibility provide guidance and support to faculty/instructors in designing accessible learning activities, creating/ setting up accessible content and learning environments, and addressing the needs of learners with exam accommodations.
Changing course assessment modes from in-person to online
Online Assessment Room (OAR)
The OAR is a supportive invigilation environment for online, synchronous and timed assessments and exams. The OAR was used extensively in the completion of fall exams and specifically for students with academic accommodations. This space is available to be booked for students requiring an alternative assessment arrangement (e.g. to accommodate extended time, distraction free environment, time zone, illness, etc.)
Instructors can consult the syllabus guidelines for information on key elements of a course syllabus, including University statements related to Territorial Acknowledgement, academic integrity, student accommodations, class recordings, copyright and more.
Use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in developing your course
In designing your course and to save time, we encourage you to adopt principles of UDL to create more flexibility in your course to support the needs of our increasingly diverse complement of students. UDL is a research-based framework developed by the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST) that guides instructors to incorporate strategies for delivering instruction, reduce student learning barriers and provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Supporting students with academic accommodations
A set of resources to improve accessibility is available to support all students, including those with academic accommodations. Notably, Echo360 includes automated captioning with an easy edit function as well as a notetaking feature that allows students to create time-stamped notes.
In the past year, we have heard repeatedly from students about the value of video recordings that allow them to review concepts and prepare for exams or other forms of assessment. While class recordings are not required, we encourage use of video where possible to support student learning.
Instructor support will continue to be available to assist with accommodations and exams in the fall. Three Learning Experience Designers—Accessibility are available to support the design and delivery of accessible digital content and assessments. The Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) is the primary resource for questions about academic accommodations, including exam accommodations.
Student online conduct in the Discord message board platform
In the last 18 months EQHR has received a significant number of complaints involving student communication on the social media platform Discord, which is a server that provides topic-based communication channels for people to collaborate, share, and connect. These channels are invite-only, but also anonymous in that users can use handles instead of their real names. It is common for students to form class-based channels to discuss their course readings, assignments, group projects, and experiences in the class. etc. Students have alleged that other students in these class-based channels are engaging in discrimination, harassment, and sexualized violence in the form of racism, ableism, transphobia, and sexism as well as other forms of interpersonal attacks, including doxing (maliciously posting private and identifying information about another person).
As part of promoting a safe, respectful and supportive learning environment, it is recommended that faculty and instructors:
- Remind students the University will not tolerate racism, sexualized violence, or any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment, including in online spaces. For more information or to report concerns about online student conduct, students can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Consider ways you could provide students in your course with spaces for community building, collaboration and building digital literacy skills. At UVic, one option is to use a class Team. LTSI is available to support you in choosing and using learning technologies for your courses. Please email us at email@example.com.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- The Fall 2022 term course schedule has been extended by one day from Friday December 2, 2022 to now end on Monday December 5, 2022.
- To account for the adjustment to the September calendar, Monday, Dec. 5th will incorporate the Friday course schedule and all classroom bookings will reflect this revision. Monday classes will not be scheduled on December 5, 2022.
- The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women will be observed between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm on December 5, 2022. Classes and exams are not scheduled during this time.
- The December final exam period will begin on December 7, 2021 and run until December 21, 2022.
Supporting international students
Instructors can help support the transition process of International students arriving to campus this Fall by being flexible and understanding. Many of the strategies instructors may use for short term absences may also be effective to support the transition of international students. For example, instructors can provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during virtual office hours to review missed session(s). While recording lectures is not required or expected, impacted students would likely find such recordings beneficial as they transition into the in-person environment. To successfully complete the course, the student must meet course requirements. It is important to be clear about what those core requirements are in the syllabus, so students can choose whether to stay registered in the course.
How to access Learning and Teaching supports
Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) will continue to provide pedagogical and learning technology support to faculty, instructors and teaching assistants.
For faculty and instructors, you can request support from our dedicated LTSI Faculty Support Teams. Each team consists of a Learning Experience Designer, Educational Technologist and LTSI Consultant. Support is available for teaching across all modalities (in person to online) and all tools in UVic’s learning technology ecosystem, including Brightspace, Zoom, MS Teams, OAC, iClicker, and Echo360.