Updated Oct. 20, 2020

Note: there are selections of highlighted FAQs at the top, but all FAQs on the page have been updated where possible to reflect the spring decision and any other adjustments to policies or procedures.

 

Spring Semester Decision (New)

How should faculty indicate an interest in teaching in person in the spring or that they are more comfortable with providing remote instruction?

A survey was emailed to all faculty members on Oct. 13 from the provostoffice@lafayette.edu account. If faculty have a concern about their teaching assignment, they should work with their department head or program chair or communicate with Dean Dubischar.

When will the spring semester schedule be finalized?

A preliminary schedule will be available for registration by early November, but it is subject to change in the weeks leading up to the spring semester. In fact, it is likely to change in response to enrollment patterns and our desire to provide a broad array of courses that support students on campus and those studying from home.

Can faculty who start to teach in person switch to remote instruction after the spring semester begins?

Yes. Faculty who feel uncomfortable about teaching in person have the option to switch.

Are faculty required to accommodate students who need to quarantine but would otherwise be attending class in person?

Yes. Every faculty member must make reasonable accommodations for students being quarantined, just as we would for students who become ill in the middle of the term. Recording  classes, sharing lecture notes, scheduling times to speak with students in quarantine, and other methods can be employed. Instructors should provide students a plan for how they will approach this.

Are face masks and physical distancing required in the classroom?

Yes. This will be communicated by the College and should be reinforced by faculty members.

 

Research & Scholarship

How can library resources be accessed?

The libraries are open and continue to provide digital access to as many resources as possible. Students and faculty working remotely also may request that books be mailed to them. See Library Services for more information.

How can faculty continue to work on a scholarly project that is externally funded?

If there will be a change in the scope of your project or a significant delay in your work, please contact the director of sponsored research to discuss what information will be needed in order to inform the funding agency. Visit FAQs from the National Science Foundation and FAQs from National Institutes of Health.

May faculty and staff apply to external agencies for fellowships and research grants?

Yes. Continue to do so with the support of the director of sponsored research. Deadlines may be delayed, but all agencies are still receiving applications.

 

Teaching

Academic instruction and support in spring 2021 typically will be delivered through in-person or fully online instruction. If individual faculty prefer “hyflex” coursework (a blend of in-person and online) as the permanent format for a course they teach to offer flexibility for faculty and students, they may do so, but faculty are not expected to teach hyflex courses. Below you’ll find information relevant to all instruction and information that pertains specifically to in-person instruction and specifically to remote instruction.

 

Relevant to all modes of instruction

Has the pass/fail policy been adjusted for fall 2020?

No. The normal policy (including deadlines) remains in effect.

May faculty record their class sessions?

Yes, all instructors can choose to record their class sessions. The recording should be used for class purposes only.

What is the consent process for recording classes?

Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state in regard to audio-visual recordings. Students should be informed in the syllabus. The instructor also should make an announcement during each class session that the class will be recorded and indicate that if students have any concerns they should contact the instructor. Written student consent is not required given that the recordings are for class purposes only. If the intent is to use the recording for anything else (e.g., research), instructors have to obtain written consent from students. Students are not permitted to record classes without the instructor’s permission regardless of whether class sessions are being recorded by the instructor.

What language can faculty include on their course syllabus about classroom recordings?

The following wording is recommended. The syllabus also should indicate whether all classes are being recorded by the instructor. 

PROPER USAGE OF COURSE MATERIALS & CLASSROOM RECORDINGS 

At Lafayette College, all course materials are proprietary and for class purposes only. This includes posted recordings of lectures, worksheets, discussion prompts, and other course items. Reposting such materials or distributing them through any means is prohibited. You must request my permission prior to creating your own recordings of class materials, and any recordings are not to be shared or posted online even when permission is granted to record. If you have any questions about proper usage of course materials please ask me.  Please also be in contact with me if you have any concerns with being recorded during the course.

Online discussions in Moodle occurring during class sessions also should remain private. Courses using Moodle will make student information visible to other students in this class. Student information in courses is protected by the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act. Questions can be referred to the Registrar’s Office.

Can faculty ask their students to use digital tools in addition to those licensed and recommended by the College?

Click-through licenses for third-party apps or social media tools may require students to agree to the collection of their personal data. When you require the use of such tools, consider the requirement as it relates to the College’s data stewardship policy. Some students may be uncomfortable with this data collection and feel pressured to agree, or be unaware that they are agreeing to it. If you decide to use such tools as a requirement or as an optional tool in your course, passwords always should be set to something other than one’s Lafayette password; this is a recommended practice when using one’s Lafayette email address to register an account with such tools. If you have questions about the appropriate use of these tools, contact the Help Desk at help@lafayette.edu.

In addition, the adoption and deployment of new technology only should be done if the vendor provides evidence of the accessibility of the tool in relation to the highest standards available at the time of procurement. The Academic Resource Hub is the main point of contact regarding accessible materials, and its staff can help guide faculty in procuring or creating such materials.

When will the spring semester schedule be finalized including which courses will be in-person?

A preliminary schedule will be available for registration by early November, but it is subject to change in the weeks leading up to the spring semester. In fact, it is likely to change in response to enrollment patterns and our desire to provide a broad array of courses that support students on campus and those studying from home.

Can faculty who start to teach in person switch to remote instruction after the spring semester begins?

Yes. Faculty have the option to switch if they feel uncomfortable about teaching in person.

Relevant to in-person instruction

Can faculty visit their spring semester classrooms to get accustomed to the spaces?

Yes, this is allowable at Level 3 given that it is a limited-time event. Be sure to follow the on-campus health and safety guidelines

Will faculty members be notified of any updates to the campus operational level prior to Feb. 8 so they can communicate initial course plans with students?

Yes, the administration plans to communicate this as quickly as possible to maximize preparation time. Meanwhile, faculty teaching in-person classes should communicate detailed backup plans to students as soon as they are in place. Sample language on the CITLS Remote Teaching website can be adapted and expanded upon in course syllabi.

When the College is operating at Levels 3 or 4, can faculty members still teach remotely from classrooms or from their campus offices?

At Level 3, the College is trying to minimize presence on campus and in-person interactions. Faculty members should therefore teach away from campus if possible. If there is a real need for using the classroom or office as the location to teach, faculty should speak with their department head or program chair and notify the Provost’s Office. At Level 4 status, no in-person instruction is permitted. 

Are faculty required to accommodate students studying from home in a course designated for on-campus, in-person instruction?

No. Students studying from home will be informed that they can enroll only in the courses that are available to them. In addition to courses taught fully remotely some instructors may choose to run their course in a “hyflex” mode, with students in the classroom and others attending via videoconferencing.

Are faculty required to accommodate students who need to quarantine but would otherwise be attending class in person?

Yes. Every faculty member must make reasonable accommodations for students being quarantined, just as they would for students who become ill in the middle of the term. Recording  classes, sharing lecture notes, scheduling times to speak with students in quarantine, and other methods can be employed. Instructors should share their plan for reasonable accommodations for students in quarantine in their syllabi.

Are face masks and physical distancing required in the classroom?

Yes. This will be communicated by the College and should be reinforced by faculty.

Relevant to remote instruction

May students be asked to keep their video cameras on during class?

For pedagogical purposes including student engagement, instructors may express their preference for cameras to be turned on during synchronous class sessions, but instructors should not mandate that students turn them on. There may be various reasons why a student turns off their camera related to internet connectivity issues, equity, or privacy concerns. Instructors are encouraged to give students a space to speak privately about such concerns. 

If a student is uncomfortable with being recorded during the class session, instructors should discuss these concerns with the student and together come up with a plan for how the student can still engage in the class. This may involve, for example, the student turning off their camera during the class session. Given that the recording is for class purposes only, class activities should continue as normal.

What if faculty are concerned about students posting class session recordings and other course materials online and otherwise sharing them outside Lafayette?

Appendix E (Section E.2.1) of the Faculty Handbook states that “Faculty members who create products of teaching and scholarship own their Intellectual Property except for patentable inventions, in which case the ownership rights rest with the College. Pedagogical, literary, artistic, and creative works are owned by the faculty member, consistent with American Association of University Professors guidelines about copyrights and the prevailing view in academia. Lecture notes and other course notes such as problem sets and syllabi are the faculty member’s Intellectual Property.”

Therefore course materials are proprietary and for class purposes only. This includes posted recordings of lectures, worksheets, discussion prompts, etc. Reposting of such materials is prohibited. It is advisable to have a clear statement about the need to maintain each individual’s privacy in regard to online discussions. Instructors also should tell students that they must request permission prior to creating their own recordings of class materials, and that any recordings are not to be shared or posted online even when permission is granted to record.  Please carefully consider which class content is recorded and posted, particularly for course topics that are sensitive or controversial. To the extent possible, post such materials only within the Moodle course site. 

If Accessibility Services approves recording technology in class as a student accommodation, must class sessions be recorded?

Lafayette is committed to ensuring equal access by fostering an accessible learning environment and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If the recording of a session is already occurring within the course, the instructor should make the recordings available to students who have recording-specific accommodations. The instructor also is strongly encouraged to add captioning to their videos. If the recording of class sessions is not currently occurring, the student can record the class sessions or the instructor can record the sessions and make the recordings available. If the instructor has a question regarding recording technology in class as an academic accommodation, consult Marty Sullivan with the Office of Accessibility Services.

If a student has a time zone difference challenge, are faculty required to record their classes and make the recordings available?

The College’s priority is to ensure an equitable educational experience for our students under the circumstances of online instruction. If a student enrolled to attend classes remotely cannot reasonably attend classes synchronously because of a significant time difference and has no other course/scheduling options after discussions with the course instructor and/or academic adviser, the instructor should work with the student to determine the most appropriate way to receive the course content. Recording class sessions can be one option to achieve this, but there also may be others, including arranging meeting times with the student outside class, adapting assignments, or a combination thereof.

How should class attendance and participation be adjusted?

Expectations for class attendance (described in Section 7.4.2 of the Faculty Handbook and in your syllabi) are still in place. Of course, flexibility about the struggles students may have with technology and remote instruction and learning is appropriate for in-person classes, and flexibility about health issues students experience is appropriate for in-person and remote instruction classes.

Do classes designated “remote” have to meet at their regularly scheduled times?

There are many ways for faculty members to engage with their classes, not all of which require synchronous interactions with the entire class. When you do hold a live, online class meeting it should be scheduled for the same time your course normally meets. This will greatly increase the chances that students will not have conflicts with the meeting time and that it won’t conflict with other classes. Remember that you can record a Google Meet or Zoom session.

How available should faculty members be for student questions and concerns?

Faculty should remain in regular communication with students in their classes and with their advisees whether teaching is remote or in-person. Maintaining an increased number of office hours via email, Google Meet, Zoom, or some other mode is strongly encouraged in these circumstances.

How should faculty advise students conducting independent research and honors theses remotely?

These projects will call for creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. Faculty should discuss options with their research students. 

What if faculty or their students need additional technology or technology support?

They should contact the Help Desk at help@lafayette.edu or (610) 330-5501. ITS also offers remote collaboration tutorials and help documentation. For those who don’t have Internet access, some Internet providers (e.g., Service Electric, Comcast, Spectrum, and Cox) are making their services free to students for a limited time.

Are tutors still available through the Academic Resource Hub?

Yes. Visit the Academic Resource Hub website for more information on specific course support. We currently have more than 70 students hired as peer educators and expect at least that many in the spring semester. As a result, remote tutoring is available through Zoom for the majority of courses at the 100-200 level, as well as some higher-level courses, in accordance with faculty consultation. Availability will increase as tutors provide their schedules. In addition, supplemental instruction is available for introductory and foundational courses in biology, chemistry, economics, and physics. Full details, including instructions on how to schedule tutoring appointments, may be found on the Academic Resource Hub website.