The following is the work of the Shockers United Curriculum Subcommittee. Send questions to Carolyn Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 6: Reminders to all instructors for the spring semester
As you finalize your spring semester planning, you are encouraged to plan now for a potential shift to remote-only learning should that become necessary. Your students’ success can be positively impacted by utilizing effective communication and instructional planning, including informing students about your expectations for class attendance for the first day of class.
Remember, the Office of Instructional Design and Access (IDA) is available to assist you with any course delivery and design questions including alternative ways to assess student participation and/or engagement other than in-person attendance which may have the unintended consequence of disincentivizing people to attend class when sick.
Spring Instructional Plans
In January, we resume operations with online-only 1-, 2- and 4-week classes being offered through Jan 31. On Feb. 1, as long as public health mandates allow, limited in-person instruction will resume for a 15 week semester. We will follow guidance from the county health officials.
Please note the following schedule modifications:
- We have canceled Spring Break. We do not want to risk increased campus exposure as possibly thousands of faculty, staff and students returning to campus after increase COVID exposure from travel.
- All in-person instruction will continue through the last day of class (May 6), and in-person final exams are planned.
- We are including two ‘wellness weeks' in the semester – March 15-19 and April 19-23. SGA will be partnering with others on campus to provide education sessions and other activities to raise mental health awareness. Faculty may consider some flexibility in course content and/or course meeting times during these weeks to allow yourself and your students to focus on mental health.
Classroom guidelines for the fall will remain in place. Everyone is expected to observe physical distancing in the classroom, with reduced classroom capacities. All classes are listed as either HYB (hybrid), HYO (hybrid online), IIS (fully online synchronous) or IIE (fully online asynchronous). HYB courses must offer at least one in-person instructional day.
We firmly believe that instructors want what's best for their students, and we value you as a content expert. We encourage you to intentionally experiment with new techniques, recognizing that you will continue to develop new strategies for teaching in this environment. It is OK to not know the perfect solution. You can make adjustments as needed. We want to help you be successful with new training opportunities and resources.
For additional information, please see the FAQ below or contact Carolyn Shaw at email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about the Classroom and Campus
Instructors should ask students to space themselves out as they leave the classroom to maintain a respectful distance from others as they move through the hallways. Informal coordination with other instructors in nearby rooms may be the most effective way to address traffic flow in congested locations.
All classrooms have sanitizing spray and paper towels for anyone who wants to distinfect their area in the classroom.
Instructors have the right to ask someone to leave if they are not observing campus public health protocols.
Yes. Here is a statement to include in your course syllabus:
- The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging, and fluid situation,which continues to evolve rapidly. Therefore, students consistently should review the link for the WSU COVID-19 Response for information throughout the semester. WSU will follow federal, state, and county public health recommendations and mandates in all decisions related to university operations. Our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus community. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, students are expected to follow university guidelines for wearing their own face coverings (such as a bandana, scarf or other cloth mask) when on campus, unless walking alone outdoors or working alone in a personal office space. Students additionally are expected to follow physical or social distancing guidelines by keeping at least 6 feet from others, covering their coughs and practicing good hand hygiene.
Provide a clear statement of expectations on the first day of class promoting campus health and safety.
Have extra disposable masks available in case someone does not have one available.
Strategic Communications, in coordination with Student Health and Wellness, continues to put out reminders to the campus community about best practices to stay healthy and safe.
The classroom capacities are the same as they were during the fall semester. The document below lists the capacities for each classroom alphabetically by building.
The COVID capacities are based on the necessary 6-foot physical distancing.
- Departments should stagger in-person lab work as necessary.
- There are a limited number of large-capacity rooms on campus, so classes with large quotas cannot all be accommodated to allow for the entire class to meet at the same time.
- If class quota is higher than the allowed capacity of your assigned room, you will need to modify your course so that no more than the allowed number of students attends class on a given day.
Instructional Design and Access (IDA) has many creative ideas for adapting classes to a hybrid format to accommodate limited classroom capacity.
Yes. Instructors are responsible for coordinating schedules with their departmental chairperson and must clearly communicate their availability with students.
Instructors are responsible for ensuring quality delivery of their course content and should confirm their schedule and semester plans for teaching, scholarship and service with their department chairperson.
Make sure students and colleagues know how to get in touch with you remotely.
Instructors are encouraged consider ways other than in-person attendance to assess participation and/or engagement. These alternative approaches can help ensure we do not disincentivize people to stay home or quarantine when sick. Remember, the Office of Instructional Design and Access is available to assist you with these and other course delivery and design questions you may have.
Instructors should ask students to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and instruct students who feel ill to not attend in-person meetings.
Faculty can choose to wear a face shield to improve communication in the classroom, particularly for those who may have hearing impairments and need to see a speaker’s mouth. Face shields should only be used when teaching, and when you have the ability to maintain physical distance from your students. Face shields should extend below the chin, cover the face around to the ears, and have no gap between the forehead and the shield. Shields should be disinfected regularly. Students are expected to wear a cloth face covering. Shields should not be used as a substitute for face coverings for general use. The university is providing masks for all faculty and staff, but you will need to provide your own face shield if that is what you choose to use.
There is very limited technology to support this option. It may be possible to conduct required in-person activities in two rooms and move between classrooms. If the primary content for the day is lecture-based, it is recommended instructors provide content virtually (asynchronously through pre-recorded lecture or live using synchronous Zoom lecture).
Instructors should remind students to continue wearing their face covering, maintain physical distancing and engage in frequent handwashing.
Yes. Please make sure there is at least six feet of space between you and the front row of students.
Yes. The easiest solution is to use Zoom to remote into a course.
Questions about Health
All instructors should share their classroom continuity plans with their department chair in the event that they get sick. A colleague might help provide coverage of class content, a guest speaker may be willing to present a lecture, instructors might assign a topical video or give a quiz, etc. In addition, adding a backup person into your Bb shell can facilitate communication to your class in an emergency.
If you are quarantined but not sick, remote delivery is always an option.
Always contact your department chairperson in the event sickness keeps you from fulfilling your teaching responsibilities. Employees should follow regular Human Resources guidelines for taking sick leave.
Instructors should be responsive to students who are sick, just as they were before the emergence of COVID-19, by helping students make up work and stay on track in class.
If a faculty or staff member learns directly from a student that the student has tested positive, is being tested, has COVID symptoms, or is in quarantine or isolation, the faculty or staff member should encourage the student to self-report via the Maxient portal. Student Health will receive this information and will reach out to the student to determine what the student's current status is, and what, if any, services from the university the student may require.
Per Kansas HB 2016, faculty and staff SHOULD NOT:
- ask the student any questions about where the student has been or who the student has been around, or
- report the positive case to the class members.
Given the restrictions of HB 2016, which was enacted to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information collected through contact tracing, all "contact tracing” is conducted through the state and local county health departments. Accordingly, the University is unable to conduct contact tracing and cannot and will not (by law) mandate contact tracing for any person.
The Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD), in conjunction with KDHE, "will investigate COVID-19-positive people (cases) tested through the Health Department, cases from reported clusters and potential clusters, cases reported from schools, cases in school-aged children not reported from schools, and other cases as resources allow.” SCHD has provided web information on the COVID-19 modified quarantine process.
Instructors provided information in the Fall regarding their in-person expectations for spring classes in order for students to make informed decisions about enrolling. Students can be encouraged to visit with their advisor to see if an online option is available for them.
Instructors may consider replicating in-person learning experiences in a remote or online format when their program provides only one section of a course.
The emotional, financial and social disruptions caused by COVID-19 uncertainty are creating serious challenges for many of our students. Students with pre-existing and new conditions will require extra support. It is important that instructors refer students who might need assistance to the WSU Counseling and Prevention Services (CAPS) website to learn options for addressing mental health and wellness during COVID-19.
If a student claims a disability related to COVID-19, you should refer the student to the Office of Disability Service (ODS) by calling (316) 978-3309 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org to advise ODS of the name of the student so they can reach out to the student. There are certain disabilities that could make a person at higher risk for Covid-19 complication. ODS will determine if the student can receive legal accommodation protections.
Any campus outbreaks will be communicated through official campus media channels (e.g., Shocker Blast, WSU Today, Shocker Alert) with directions for next steps guided by public health safety mandates provided by federal, state, local and university leadership.
The risk of transmission through HVAC systems is believed to be very low.
Questions about Technology
If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, contact Information Technology Services (ITS) to:
If you need another piece of equipment, please route the request to your department chairperson while keeping in mind that it may be difficult to purchase due to global supply chain disruptions.
If you need an application or software to teach your class and it is not accessible, please use the Accessibility Exception Request form to petition for the software you need. Instructors will need to provide a rationale for the exception and plans for accommodating users who can’t use the software.
Instructors should reach out to their department chairperson. Colleges will manage remote access for students in classes using software installed on lab computers via the WSU Virtual Private Network (VPN). It may be necessary to schedule access based on demand, so it is important to coordinate with your college and the managers of the computer labs.
The Ethernet is sufficient in the vast majority of classrooms. Wi-Fi sufficiency will depend greatly on 1) classroom location, and 2) volume active Zoom videoconferencing in the immediate vicinity.
Wifi upgrades have been made in a number of locations to support increased usage. Wifi Capacities by building can be viewed here.
Campus Media Services is working to supply Master Classrooms with microphones and webcams for recording live lectures.
Equipment is available on a limited basis (document cameras and webcams continue to be in high demand and are widely unavailable).
Instructors should talk to their department chairperson about options for borrowing necessary campus equipment before presuming to remove any items from campus.
Instructors are encouraged to reach out to their department chairperson to coordinate time(s) when these technologies and/or spaces can be shared or accessed.
The university will follow federal, state, and county public health recommendations and mandates in all decisions related to stay-at-home orders and access to campus facilities.
You may complete a Video Production Request Form for the WSU Video Production team program designed to help instructors prepare recorded lectures for the fall semester. Recording takes place in the WSU Media Resource Center’s (MRC) studio but may be expanded to master classroom spaces depending on demand for the service.
The support provided by the MRC, ITS, OneStop and Blackboard during the spring 2020 transition to remote operations will be available in the fall if we need to make this transition.
ITS Desktop Support can provide limited support for personal devices.
ITS Desktop Support can provide support software, including Zoom, MS Office, MS Teams, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
ITS Helpdesk, MRC and IDA can support software and tools that are provided by the university including Blackboard, Panopto, Zoom, MS Office, MS Teams, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
The university will continue to make Chromebooks and Mi-Fi hotspots available to students for free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Students should contact the WSU Help Desk at 316-978-HELP, Option 1 or use the form to request a Chromebook.
A limited number of cellular hotspot devices (MiFis) from Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are available from Information Technology Services. Submit a MiFi request.
Questions about Teaching Online
This option gives students and instructors the most flexibility. These classes are fully asynchronous with presentation of course content through a variety of online-only methods and modules.
Students may want to choose classes that are fully online for health reasons, or because they are not located in the Wichita area (this may be critically important for reaching our international students who can’t travel back to campus).
Choosing an IIE delivery means classrooms will be freed up on campus for instructors who require in-person engagement and increased space to accommodate physical distancing guidelines.
- Respondus Lockdown Browser + Respondus Monitor
- Provided by WSU as a free tool
- Customized browser that “locks down” the testing environment within Blackboard
- Options include recorded video of the student taking the exam reviewable by instructor for evidence of cheating
- Limits what students can do on their computer while testing
- Limited to exams delivered through Blackboard
- ProctorU Review+ (Coming soon)
- Tests are recorded then reviewed by trained professional proctors
- Suspicious behavior is forwarded to instructor
- Fees are paid by the department ($10 per exam), billed by Online Learning
- ProctorU Live
- Tests are proctored live by trained proctors with screen sharing, webcam, audio, and environment monitoring
- Requires advances scheduling by instructor and student
- Exam fees are passed on to students (between $18.50-$25 for the first hour) and must be disclosed in the course syllabus
There are a variety of tools -- beyond the proctoring methods listed above -- to handle exam security. For example, in the case of multiple-choice exams, we recommend using randomized pools of questions and randomizing the order of potential responses, so students get exam questions in a unique format.
Authentic assessments are exams or activities that asks students to demonstrate mastery of material in more authentic ways using projects, essays, simulations, and other activities. For ideas about how to incorporate authentic assessments into your class, email your request to WSU IDA.
Promote adherence to an “Honor Code” -- a statement students are required to read and ‘sign’ before access to their exam is available. Honor codes can be added to any Blackboard assessment. IDA can provide a file for instructors to upload to their course or IDA can add and deploy it in your course as a zero-point quiz.
Yes. Pursuant to WSU Policy 9.10 (Intellectual Property Policy and Institutional Procedures), ownership of mediated courseware is as follows: (1) for self-initiated courseware (employee develops the courseware without specific direction from the university), the ownership of the courseware remains with the employee; (2) for university-directed mediated courseware (university specifically directs the creation of the courseware and/or provides a stipend), the ownership of the courseware remains with the university, unless otherwise agreed. In the case of university-directed mediated courseware, the university retains the right to direct who can use the courseware. In either case (self-initiated or university-directed), the employee retains the right to use the developed courseware for instructional purposes.
- Open your zoom classroom early / kept zoom class open after class ends for casual conversation (sometimes if you walk away from the camera during this time, students may engage each other more readily).
- Put students in zoom breakout rooms for small group discussion, or at the start of class to exchange greetings.
- Create a chat space on social media platform (GroupMe, Facebook private group, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).*
- Post open-ended questions about class assignments/ readings in Bb discussion board. Subjective questions can inspire more dialogue/debate.
- Post "just for fun” questions in Bb discussion board.
- Invite students to attend study sessions with SI or GTA.
- Ask students to introduce themselves on a class wiki or other shared page.
- Design time for icebreakers at the start of and throughout the semester.
*Many platforms for engagement (GroupMe texts, Facebook, Facebook private groups, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) depend on your level of comfort with students and social media. Please note: external tools may not receive technical support by the university, require Electronic Information and Technology (EIT) audit, and must be accessible to all users.
Create a Wiki (a webpage that allows collaborative contributions), or use the Discussion Board function in Blackboard where students can introduce themselves - follow up by asking them questions about what they shared and find a connecting point with them
Share information about your own background so students feel comfortable sharing something about themselves
Include an introductory video in your Blackboard course
>Include your photo in your Outlook and Blackboard profiles
>Send personal communications, not just instructions directed to the entire class
>Start every individual communication with the student’s name so it feels personal
Design time for icebreakers at the start of and throughout the semester
Provide timely, personal feedback on assignments
Participate in (don’t just observe) discussion board posts - this creates deeper engagement and signals your presence in the course
Encourage students to ‘visit’ during virtual office or student hours by offering extra credit
Require a one-on-one Zoom meeting assignment for course credit
Engagement has many forms. Students can engage with content, the instructor or their peers, but engagement requires effort through intentional course design. Keep in mind, interaction between the faculty and student is essential. Creating a strong presence in your class through online office or student hours or with guided discussion and activities are ways to create instructor to student engagement. Creating online polls or surveys during synchronous lectures is a way to create student to content engagement. Requiring students to share in creating the learning environment though group discussion or collective design of potential assessment questions is a way to create student to student engagement. For more ideas, attend a WSU IDA Zoom lab for personalized guidance from a WSU instructional designer.
Instructors are here to serve students and should respond to student queries in a timely manner. A best practice would be within 24 hours. Whatever parameters you establish for class communications should be clearly stated in the course syllabus and to students at the beginning of the semester.
Faculty should not require students to turn on their cameras while participating remotely. This puts a student’s privacy at risk.
There are many reasons why they might not want to essentially invite their professor and peers into their personal living space by turning on their camera. Their only private space might be a bedroom or bathroom, and they don’t want to share such intimacy with strangers; they might live in poverty and not wish to share that information (some might be homeless); they might live with someone who controls the access they have to the outside world and limits their ability to turn on a camera; they might have a child in foster care in the house whose privacy must be protected.
Adding a background is not always a viable solution. These backgrounds do not work with all computers, use valuable computer resources, and do not prevent others from appearing on the screen whose privacy may need to be protected.
IDA can put a course template into your Blackboard class. This service includes setting up Discussion Boards, Assignments and the Grade Center. While instructors are responsible for the creation and uploading of actual course content, these services will help alleviate some of their technical burden to course design. Learn more about templates.
Online fees are charged for courses that are designated IIE (fully online, asynchronous), IIS (fully online, synchronous) and HYO (hybrid online, fully online except for in-person testing). Courses that are HYB (hybrid) do not have an online fee.
Content developed for one-time delivery in remote formats that is NOT planned for reuse is not required to meet the same accessibility standards that IIE (fully online) courses must meet, but they must meet the accommodation needs (as determined by the Office of Disability Services) of all students who are enrolled in the class at the time of delivery.
Content developed for fully online courses are required to meet WSU accessibility standards -- to learn more about these standards, follow this link to information about accessibility for online instruction at WSU. Basic accessibility standards include:
- All course texts available in an accessible format (screen reader accessible PDFs, ePub, etc.)
- All video is captioned, or a transcript is provided
- All audio has a transcript or other text equivalent provided
- Any required software is accessible to students with visual or fine motor disabilities
Instructors are encouraged to consider long-term intent when designing remotely delivered content and create accessible materials if they potentially will be reused (including documents, recorded video, live video, additional software, etc.). For information about Accessibility in the new teaching environment, go to the Accessibility and Covid-19 page
Questions about Hybrid Teaching
A hybrid course gives instructors opportunity for flexibility and creativity. Content may be delivered in-person and online; it can be synchronous or asynchronous depending on instructor preference. Some examples might include:
- “Flipped model” – provide out-of-class content for student preparation (videos, readings, lectures, etc), followed by in-class activity and/or engagement. In-person content may be alternated and delivered to only a portion of the class at a time to support reduced classroom capacity requirements and comply with physical distancing expectations.
- Alternate half the class for in-person content and allow half of the class to learn remotely; live stream or record classroom sessions for students who are remotely accessing class content.
- Use nearby unused class space to have two classrooms side by side to spread out students; move between both classrooms to supervise student engagement and activities (keeping in mind there will be limited classroom space available for the fall semester).
- Divide content into modules (that could be interchangeable), where part of the class works on in-person content and part works on remote content; then swap.
- Create additional out-of-class learning opportunities (e.g., service learning, online class activity) paired with in-person content that physically spreads out students.
- Use mostly remote delivery with in-person testing or other assessments.
- Meet in the classroom only for content requiring face-to-face delivery and hold other class sessions using synchronous Zoom lectures, by posting an asynchronous online-only video lecture or activity followed by online-only discussion (face-to-face classroom experiences will be dependent on classroom capacities, class size and physical distancing requirements which may change throughout the semester).
There is no easy option for class development -- it is skilled work that takes an upfront investment of time. But there is help available, and the easiest way to move to hybrid formats is to take advantage of the resources available through Wichita State University (WSU) Instructional Design and Access (IDA). IDA has several Bb templates available for your immediate use. On-demand videos from the Academic Resources Conferences (ARC) in June and August 2020 are posted online. And new workshops/panels, including a Course Building workshop, will be held at the January ARC from January 11-15. Please watch WSU Today for announcements about additional training opportunities.
Yes. In order to be compliant with federal guidelines, hybrid classes are required to have at least one in-person class. Hybrid instruction involves both in-person and virtual engagement. The key is to identify which methods are best for the different components of the course. If some of your initial plans do not work out as planned, you should adapt and revise your design for improvements. Reach out to WSU IDA if you need advice about how to adapt your course design and most importantly, be sure to communicate any course changes to students. Faculty should be aware that some students have not returned to Wichita because their faculty indicated they were teaching completely online. Any change that would require students to meet in-person would need to provide an alternative for these students.
Faculty determine the design of their courses, but must follow the public health mandates established by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). In-person instruction should prioritize applied and experiential activities that cannot be delivered effectively online.
We try to keep costs of instruction as low as possible for students but recognize that some additional costs may be necessary for class. These costs should be clearly communicated to students in the course syllabus. No additional costs should be passed on to students mid-semester. Note: instructors are encouraged to consider Open Alternative Textbooks (OAT) to reduce costs for students.
Hybrid courses are the same as the traditional classroom in that instructors are the first guardians of quality. The expectation is that faculty will develop the course in the same way to assure quality and student learning outcomes.
Questions about Communication
The WSU COVID-19 News website is regularly updated by WSU Strategic Communications.
Students should stay connected to the university by regularly checking emails and announcements in Shocker Blast.
Instructors have submitted information to the wichita.edu/spring2021 webpage for students to make informed decisions about their fall courses prior to registration. All course requirements, including attendance expectations, should be communicated to students in the syllabus, which should be posted in the course Bb shell. Once classes are underway, it is the responsibility of the instructor to communicate any changes to course delivery to their students. Faculty should be aware that some students have not returned to Wichita because their faculty indicated they were teaching completely online. Any change that would require students to meet in-person would need to provide an alternative for these students.
Questions about Applied Learning
Applied learning is an essential component of our mission. This traditionally involves working side by side with established professionals in a students’ desired degree field before graduation. As we consider placement of students in off-campus applied learning activities during the pandemic, first and foremost, WSU will follow public health recommendations and county mandates, because the safety of our Shocker learning community is our top priority. In alignment with our decision to conduct all courses in either hybrid or online-only formats for the Spring 2021 semester, we expect many off-campus educational activities also to be conducted remotely.
Instructors are encouraged to consider alternative options for students (e.g., readings, data analyses, written reports, project planning) and contingency plans for students with health issues that would put them at high risk when completing a required applied experience. Faculty advisors and program directors are encouraged to be flexible and identify an individualized plan for completing applied experiences, research, capstone projects, etc. We understand the challenges this may pose for programs, but at this time we must prioritize the health and safety of our Shocker family.
In cases where alternative options are not feasible, university-recognized applied learning experiences, including internships, practica, cooperative education, research experiences, field placement, and service-learning and community engagement activities (credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing) for which there is a compelling reason physically to be at an off-campus site should be closely coordinated with directors, chairs, deans and campus leaders as well as with the organizations, agencies or programs where students are placed. If a student cannot complete a fully online or remote alternative learning experience with a host site, programs, departments and other academic units are advised to create a plan of action for preventing potential exposure of students, and outlining expectations for providing testing, monitoring, personal protective equipment and safety training in alignment with university standards and accrediting body requirements.
It is the responsibility of clinical education programs with affiliation agreements to assess increased risks to students. Students may continue to participate clinical learning experiences when a clinical site is willing to accept students. Programs are encouraged to reach out to their accrediting bodies for guidance and at their discretion, adapt traditional educational expectations in appropriate, risk reduced manners when possible.
Questions about Accessibility
For information about Accessibility in the new teaching environment, go to the Accessibility and Covid-19 page.
Instructors always have kinks to work out with new course designs. Experiment with different options and figure out what works best for you. Be upfront with students that you are trying new methods. Ask them to provide feedback and suggestions as you make modifications. Students are experiencing new learning environments and can offer good ideas.
Instructors are in the best position to identify when students are struggling. Instructors are encouraged to connect students with campus resources available at the WSU Office of Student Success website and the college Success Coaches website. Don't forget to submit a SEAS report (myWSU portal > Faculty/Staff tab) that will communicate to students where they are falling short in your class
Please review a Department of Education webinar for guidance responding to specific FERPA situations.
If a stay-at-home order is issued, classes will need to be delivered in remote or fully online formats.
One way to engage community partners is to ask them to create a remote delivery presentation to share with students that could be added to your Blackboard course. Other ways to maintain relationships is to invite partners to Zoom course sessions.
Document management tools like Google.docs and Microsoft OneDrive allow multiple users to edit the same files.
Online project management tools like Microsoft Teams, Trello and Basecamp allow multiple users to interact on projects using message boards, shared documents and files and notification of updates through a single platform. For more information about using document or project management tools, email an instructional designer at WSU IDA.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging and fluid situation which continues to evolve and makes projections challenging. WSU will follow federal, state, and county public health recommendations and mandates in all decisions related to university operations as our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our entire Shocker community.