April 6, 2020

AAUP Update: Working Remotely

Colleagues:

For the next several weeks, the College will be operating under emergency remote protocol procedures. Faculty will be teaching remotely, counselors will be offering counseling and advising services remotely, and tutoring and coaching will happen remotely. Access to all buildings on all campuses will be very restricted.  All of the employees of the College and our students will have to adjust to this very trying situation. 

As a faculty, many of us are being asked to do something that we have never done before and are not prepared to do, that is teach remotely. Many of us have never had any Blackboard training and have avoided it because our thrill as a teacher comes from being in the classroom with our students. Many of our students know that on-line learning is not for them and therefore, they only register for face-to-face classes.  It is time for all of us to make some major adjustments in how we teach and work with students.

For the next several weeks it is very important that we continue to provide our students with the very best instruction we can offer under these unusual and difficult circumstances. Please keep in mind that we must all be flexible when working with our students, many of whom have never logged onto Blackboard before.  Be flexible when requiring that assignments be due on specific dates, be flexible when working with students with disabilities who are used to a very specific set of accommodations when they are on-campus.  Look to the memo that Sue Haddad sent out today for recommendations on how to work with these students for the next several weeks. 

Please remember that you do not need to create an entire semester’s worth of materials on your Blackboard site over the next few days.  All you have to do is be ready to go on March 23 and have your materials ready for that week. During that week, prepare for the next week and so on.  Please work with each other and support each other during this difficult time.  It would be best if you create all of your documents in Blackboard so that they are accessible to our students who use assistive technology to access information in Blackboard. If you are an experienced Blackboard user, offer assistance to those with little or no knowledge of Blackboard. Look to Elite for assistance as you develop your on-line resources for your students, for additional training, and also refer to the following webpage on emergency remote teaching guidelines:

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/elite/emergency-remote-teaching-guidelines.html

On March 23 you may want to start your class by providing your students with some general information about what to expect for the next several weeks and encourage them to check their MC e-mail and Blackboard course mail daily for updates about the College. Providing them with an overview of what to expect will help to reduce their stress during this difficult time. Please notify your Dean and Chair if any of your students tell you that they do not own a computer or have internet access at home.  The College has some limited resources available and may be able to loan these students laptop computers on a short-term basis. 

Members of the Administration are very aware that spring break is generally a time when the instructional faculty are not required to do anything related to their classes and that many of you will be working throughout the break to get ready for March 23. Dr. Rai’s memo this afternoon spoke to this and to the work that many at the institution have done over the past few days to get ready for the next few weeks.

Please take care of yourselves and stay healthy.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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