Happy new year! I hope you have enjoyed the inter-session. Below please find information and reminders intended to help you prepare for the upcoming term.
The syllabus template identifies the information required in syllabi by SUNY and the NY State Education Department. At the request of several faculty who have completed the online teaching certification program, the template also provides guidance on best practices in syllabus development.
As you know, in the fall we shifted to our new numbering system. All previous course numbers are now inactive so please update your syllabi and all course materials.
Reminders and Notes:
- When selecting texts, readings, and reserves materials, please consider library materials in all possible formats–physical and digital texts, and media. In support of your choice, the library manages both print and electronic course reserves.
Open access is another consideration. Open Educational Resources (OER) are free to students and easy to share online. Digital texts (eBooks, journal articles and other library resources) are accessible to students in all course modalities and easy to use. Learn more about OER and get help from the library in discovering digital texts on Milne Library's OER LibGuide. (Use of library course reserves, OER and other library resources also increase the likelihood of students starting classes prepared with the materials, especially students who have added classes during drop/add.)
- For online courses or courses with online components, student data (names, id #’s, etc.) must be stored in, and grades posted to, the University’s learning management system, Blackboard. (Instructors participating in the pilot migration this spring will use Brightspace.) Content—e.g., YouTube videos, webpages, journal articles, publisher content, etc.—can, however, reside elsewhere. Faculty delivering on-campus courses are strongly encouraged to include class materials in Blackboard in case an online pivot becomes necessary for any reason. At a minimum, syllabi for all classes—independent of modality—must be available to students in Blackboard and submitted to your department for archiving within the first few days of classes.
- Please see the ADA-compliant syllabus template identifying course information required in syllabi by the NY State Ed Dept. and ensure your syllabi include this information in an accessible format. Links to sections of the OPEN SUNY Course Quality Rubric (OSCQR) have been included in the template to give additional insight into the importance of this information. (Feel free to delete these links before sharing your syllabus with students.)
- Instructors should establish in writing how they plan to engage and support continuity of learning for students who may need to make recourse to the University’s Excused Absence Policy. TLTC staff are available to assist faculty with this effort and continue to maintain a web page with suggestions about using Flexibility in Teaching Modalities.
- The University’s Excused Absence Policy also addresses absences due to religious observance. New York State Education Law (section 224-a) requires that institutions excuse—from examinations, study, or work requirements—students who, due to religious beliefs, are unable to attend class(es), and obligates faculty and administrative officials to ensure students are availed of opportunities equivalent to the work missed during religious observance.
- Office hours are essential opportunities for student engagement that must be specified in syllabi. Faculty are expected to establish and hold one office hour per class weekly (e.g., a 3-course load requires 3 hours of office hours weekly), in the modality of the class. Faculty delivering in-person classes may choose to schedule online engagements with students seeking meetings outside of established office hours. However, faculty delivering online courses cannot require students to be on campus for meetings or any other purpose.
- Face Mask/Covering requirements: At this time, in most places on campus, including instructional spaces, masks are optional. For further details please consult the University’s COVID-19 website.
- The university-wide prohibition against drinking and/or eating in classrooms instituted last year has been lifted. Instructors should specify in their syllabi if they have specific restrictions on or forbid food and drink consumption in their classes. Exceptions must be made to such restrictions for students with medically-required food and drink accommodations.
- Faculty delivering online courses should state in their syllabi their expectations for student camera use during class. If requiring students to have their cameras on during class, faculty should take a few preparatory measures, including scrutinizing the security and privacy settings of their videoconferencing tool to avoid compromising students’ privacy. Faculty are also encouraged to warn students that posting or distributing screenshots or pictures of class meetings that capture images of instructors or classmates—or posting/distributing recordings of class meetings—infringe on the privacy of other students and their instructor.
- The University’s pilot use of Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor ended in summer ‘21. Please contact the TLTC staff if you need assistance with other assessment methods or want to learn more about exam settings inside Blackboard.
- The number of credit hours allocated for each course is directly correlated to the number of instructional contact hours. The degrees we award, our ability to distribute financial aid for our students, and indeed our institution’s accreditation hinge on us meeting our instructional hour requirements for credits awarded. Please keep this obligation in the forefront of your class planning.
- Generally, a three-credit course requires 150 minutes of classroom activity and six hours of out-of-class student work per week or the equivalent.
- For laboratory, field work, practicum, workshop, studio work, one credit is awarded for the equivalent of 15 periods of such activity, where each activity period is 150 minutes or more in duration with little or no outside student preparation expected.
- Interim grade reports should be entered into web services by Thursday, March 23. (View info about interim grades and other Academic Policies and Standards) The goal of interim grade reports is to provide early feedback to students so that they can adjust their approaches to learning. Interim grades, along with other forms of feedback—even low or no stakes—provided regularly to students helps them know where they stand. Other key dates and deadlines for Spring are available on the Registrar’s webpage.
- The University’s new (student) Course Surveys tool (formerly Student Perception of Instruction Survey) was used for the first time in the fall. In the coming term, faculty have the choice to open the surveys during the last full week of classes (Monday, May 1- Friday, May 5), or let the system automatically open them on Saturday, May 6. Faculty who want students to complete course surveys during class time should specify so in their syllabus. Students will receive links to the course surveys when the surveys are automatically opened and subsequent reminders of the last day to complete them—Study Day, Wednesday, May 10.
- The last day of final exams for the spring term is Wednesday, May 17. Final course grades are due by Monday morning, May 22. Please note that the review of student progress and status—and academic dismissal decisions—for spring term by the Student Progress Committee will take place on Tuesday, May 23. Submitting final grades past the deadline will impede the Committee’s ability to evaluate student progress across all completed courses.
- Syllabi should link to the Course Policy and Procedures webpage to ensure distribution of current policy information to students. As the syllabus template states, instructors who distribute hard copies of syllabi should reproduce this information—including shelter-in-place and evacuation procedures, and the designated evacuation site for each class—in their syllabi using the website language to ensure accuracy.
Thank you for updating your syllabi and ensuring that your course design and practices align with University policy—and for supporting the success of Oneonta students.
Acting Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs