Check here for information on moving classes to remote teaching; options for teaching remotely; guidance for teaching a lab, studio, workshop or similar class remotely; mentoring graduate students if campus is closed; holding office hours; and more.
At this time, remote teaching and learning will continue through the end of the semester on May 6, 2020. The Maymester term and most summer sessions will be taught remotely as well.
Provost Russ Moore provided more guidance to faculty via an email.
- Guidance and information about the transition to remote learning, including exams and grading in a remote class setting, possible disruptions to classes, details specific to international students and withdrawal/drop information can be found in the FAQs below:
Classes & Academics: Info for Those Who Teach Courses, Labs, or Sections, or Mentor Graduate Students FAQs
The transition to remote teaching has three stages, all of which may be moved up more quickly by campus administration should circumstances warrant.
Stage 1: March 11-15
Those in instructional roles who are already prepared to transition to teaching in remote modality should have done so by Monday, March 16.
The steps to begin remote instruction were as follows:
- Notify the department chair of plans to move to remote instruction.
Communicate to students about how and when the transition to remote teaching will take place, and what coursework (assignments, grading, etc.) will look like within this modality.
Begin remote teaching.
All courses must be taught remotely beginning no later than March 30, 2020. Those in instructional roles who need more time to transition into remote teaching should make plans and seek advice as needed as soon as possible.
Someone who is not the instructor of record for a course (for example, a TA leading a recitation section) should work with the instructor of record, who is responsible for taking the course into remote mode. All recitation sections must move into remote delivery at the same time as the course.
Stage 2: March 16-20
Face-to-face instruction and office hours ceased as of March 16, but teaching continues.
Instruction will continue in two distinct ways during the week of March 16-20:
Those in instructional roles who have already transitioned to remote teaching modalities will be teaching and holding office hours remotely as of Monday, March 16. This includes all exams and grading. See www.colorado.edu/coronavirus for options for giving exams remotely.
Those who are transitioning their instruction to remote teaching will cease face-to-face instruction but should still give students coursework to complete during the week of March 16-20, even if they are not yet set up for remote teaching. For example, instructors who intend to give online lectures, but are not yet set up to do so, may provide reading material and ask students to answer discussion sections. Those in this group who have an exam scheduled in their courses during the week of March 16-20 have three options: (1) Give the exam through Canvas at the time scheduled; (2) reschedule the exam to be given on Canvas during the week of March 30; or (3) plan an alternative assignment to be due during the week of March 30. See www.colorado.edu/coronavirus for options for giving exams remotely or planning an alternative assignment. Communicate all coursework and exam plans to students as soon as possible.
Office hours should be held remotely during the week of March 16-20.
Note: The week of March 16-20 serves as a period to test and guarantee our online teaching capacity, such that by March 30, our systems are in full support mode for remote teaching and learning.
Stage 3: March 21-30
Department chairs are responsible for ensuring that all those in instructional roles are prepared to transition fully to remote modality no later than March 30. If necessary, deans of colleges and schools should personally follow up with unprepared instructional faculty.
As of March 30, all courses will be taught remotely.
The preferred method of sharing students’ grades is via the secured Canvas gradebook. However, you may email a student’s grade individually to their colorado.edu address. Do not send grades in batch emails or to more than one student at a time.
CU Boulder has implemented an automatic one-year stoppage of the tenure clock for all pre-tenure faculty. This means that each pre-tenure faculty member will get one more year before comprehensive review or tenure review. In consultation with their department chair or dean, faculty can choose to opt out of this tenure clock stoppage and go up for reappointment or tenure on their previously "regular" schedule.
Instructors who require student group meetings should tell those groups to meet remotely, using technologies such as Zoom.
Usually, instructors think of teaching remotely as “teaching online.” If you move your course to an online mode, we strongly recommend that you use Canvas and Zoom, the platforms supported by the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Consult OIT’s Academic Technology and Teaching Continuity guide to get started with these platforms. If you are considering other platforms, please keep in mind that students tend to be familiar with Canvas and Zoom. They may find it difficult and anxiety-provoking to have to learn multiple forms of new technology in a time of emergency, and OIT cannot advise them on non-supported platforms. Non-supported platforms can cause accessibility issues for students with disabilities, are also likely to compromise student privacy in violation of FERPA regulations. For help with OIT-supported platforms, contact email@example.com.
Your first decision will be whether to teach your course synchronously, with the class meeting “live” at its regularly scheduled time for lectures and/or discussions, or asynchronously, with students able to access recorded lectures or online discussion boards at other times. These two approaches may also be combined. If you offer synchronous teaching, be sure to teach your class at its regularly scheduled times so that students are not asked to participate in two courses at the same time.
Another possibility for recording lectures is classroom capture technology, available in most large classrooms on campus. Classroom capture makes lectures available online for your students immediately, stores them for the rest of the semester, and offers the capacity for faculty to combine lectures with other media, like slides or a live lab demonstration. See OIT’s Academic Technology and Teaching Continuity guide for more information about classroom capture.
Please keep your students’ circumstances in mind if you teach online. Some students may not be able to participate in the same way as others due to issues with internet access, access to computers, being in a different time zone than the rest of the class, etc. Work with these students on alternative ways to complete coursework, and don’t penalize them for these accommodations.
Remote teaching does not have to be high-tech. Instead of recording your lectures via Zoom or Mediasite, you may assign your students additional readings. Instead of hosting online discussions, you may pose discussion questions to your students and ask them to send you their written responses. Students may submit their assignments to you by email, and you may use email to give students feedback and grades—just ensure you use students’ colorado.edu email addresses. You may also use some of the basic features of Canvas (for example, posting your syllabus, assignments and readings) while handling other aspects of receiving and grading student work by correspondence.
Whatever methods you choose, please keep accessibility considerations and FERPA regulations regarding the privacy of student educational records in mind, and refer as needed to OIT guidelines for storing and sharing data online.
Send an initial message to your students that you are undertaking this planning. You can use the Faculty Toolkit in the campus portal to bulk email your students. Tell them that instruction will continue and the course is not canceled. Let them know that your planning may be subject to change as the situation unfolds, but that you will be in frequent contact with them, and that your aim is to meet their needs and the objectives of the course.
Consider how to redesign your course while meeting your learning objectives if you cannot teach in person. Be realistic about your course schedule: identify your top priorities and determine how to meet them.
Identify parts of your grading components (for example, assignments, class participation or attendance requirements) that may need to be revised for students who are doing their coursework remotely.
The primary criterion for all our courses, according to our university’s accreditation status, is that all our courses provide regular and substantive instructor-student interaction appropriate to the credit given for the course. Make sure that you are providing regular instruction (synchronous or asynchronous) and interacting regularly with your students. Make sure that you provide full assessment and regular feedback on your students’ coursework. Be proactive and available in providing information or responding to students’ questions about the content of the course. It can also be helpful to facilitate a class discussion about the content of the course to make sure that all students understand how the class is working and what they are expected to do, and to engage students’ questions.
If you don’t have one, create a Canvas presence for your course with essential components to continue teaching, such as your syllabus, readings, assignments and announcements to your class.
Learn about other technological options for remote teaching that will allow you to hold class live or record lectures via Zoom or classroom capture technology. These options can be integrated into Canvas.
Take a few minutes to think about disability access and remote learning and check Disability Services’ Faculty Accommodation Resources for Remote Learning if you have questions about how to handle specific types of accommodations.
Keep individual student circumstances in mind if they need to do coursework remotely. A student might not have good internet access, might need to travel home, or might be in a different time zone while taking your class remotely. Find out what they need, what they can do and work with them.
Seek and listen to specialized guidance from your department, school or college.
Communicate your plans and schedule for moving to remote teaching to your department chair.
Communicate your detailed plan to your students as soon as you have one.
All face-to-face teaching has ceased, no matter where your course is held. Make plans to teach your course remotely. If you are teaching a special short-term course that requires that you and your students travel to a remote location, seek guidance from your department chair.
Departments and programs that offer labs, art or design studios, workshops and similar courses will need to work together to suggest best practices and share ideas about how best to teach these courses if they move to a remote mode. Consider how best to meet the course learning objectives through alternative assignments and class structures. In the place of experiments, instructors of lab courses may ask students to analyze data or report on published analyses of experimental results. Videoconferencing and/or student submission of recorded videos can substitute for in-person group studio and workshop activities. Students can submit written or video recorded critiques of their own or others’ work in place of in-person critiques.
All office hours should be held remotely, e.g., by email, telephone, or Zoom meeting.
The main accreditation criterion for our courses is the same whether they are taught in person or remotely: our courses must involve regular and substantive instructor interaction with students. Make sure that you are providing regular instruction (synchronous or asynchronous) and interacting regularly with your students. Make sure that you provide full assessment and regular feedback on your students’ coursework. Be proactive and available in providing information or responding to students’ questions about the content of the course. It can also be helpful to facilitate a class discussion about the content of the course to make sure that all students understand how the class is working and what they are expected to do and to engage students’ questions.
For video conferencing tools, good practices of face-to-face classroom instruction generally translate. Think carefully about how to interact with students and design activities that can promote interaction in a video-conference setting.
The Center for Teaching & Learning events page will post updates on workshops to be held on teaching techniques for remote teaching.
If your course is on Canvas, you can use this platform’s capacity to give exams remotely and to give students a specific time length to complete them. Students who require exam accommodations can be given extended time to complete exams. Like courses themselves, you can give your online exam at a specific time (synchronously) or make it available for students to take anytime within a certain time frame, such as on a given day (asynchronously). If you are giving exams in a synchronous fashion, be sure to give them at the regularly scheduled time for your class (for midterm exams) or at the time scheduled by the Registrar (for final exams). For further guidance and assistance with using Canvas for online exams, consult OIT’s Academic Technology Resources for Teaching Continuity guide.
You may also give your exam in lower-tech fashion as a take-home essay or project that can be submitted on Canvas or emailed to you for grading and feedback.
Academic integrity is often a concern for instructors giving online exams. The ASSETT Program’s guidance for hybrid courses offers valuable advice for encouraging academic honesty (see “How Do I Assess Learning?”).
You may use Canvas’s grading system, or you may contact students individually with their assignment grades.
OIT is investigating options for proctoring online exams and will update this advice when more information is available.
Final examinations must be given in accordance with the campus Final Examination Policy. In the event that the campus suspends operations completely, including classes, before the end of the semester, faculty will be asked to assign grades based on completed work to date. Any accommodations or opportunities for students to submit graded work must be extended to all students in a course. If a closure occurs just prior to or during final exams, the emergency clause of the campus Final Examination Policy will take effect.
The campus will use its usual system and regularly scheduled deadlines for posting students’ course grades. Please note that Spring 2020 Web Grading will now open at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 1 to accommodate the extension of the Last Day to Drop a Class (with a W) deadline for students.
As a principle of academic freedom, course content, curriculum, grading and assignments are within the purview of the faculty. The instructor of record for a course may stipulate course policies around class absences, remote attendance and late or missing assignments. However, in the case of an infectious disease situation, the campus has protocols to follow that put student, staff and faculty safety first.
Yes. However, please keep your discussion within the context of material relevant to your course. For example, you should discuss practices you are implementing in your course in response to campus advice.
Spring semester 2020
No, the university is not closed. As of Monday, March 16, all classes and exams are being conducted remotely using technology such as Canvas and Zoom, to enable students to complete their educational requirements for the semester.
Administrative offices and other services continue to operate.
The chancellor has required that all teaching and office hours take place remotely as of March 16 until the end of the spring 2020 semester, May 6. This includes final exams, which take place May 2–6. Decisions will be made at a later date about teaching during the Maymester and summer session terms.
The campus will continue operations through the end of finals on May 6. Finals occur May 2-6.
To account for the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the university has made several changes to the FCQs for spring 2020. See Provost Russ Moore’s letter to faculty, April 3.
Thesis defenses and comprehensive examinations are considered teaching sessions and should take place remotely rather than face to face.
Like the classes we teach, our mentoring of graduate students should continue with as little disruption as possible. Work with your graduate students to discuss their research and creative work on a regular basis, remotely if needed. If your students’ research program is affected by the closure of campus, work with them to focus on different aspects of their projects that can be completed remotely: e.g., data analysis, conducting tests in virtual environments and so on.
Keep in mind that your graduate students are often teaching courses, sections and labs themselves. Advise them on maintaining teaching continuity, and be aware that they are spending extra time on shifting their courses to a remote mode.
Lifting pass/fail restrictions for spring 2020 semester
The COVID-19 virus has caused tremendous upheaval in students’ academic and personal lives. Lifting pass/fail restrictions will help alleviate stress for students worried about how the move to remote teaching and learning, as well as other changes and pressures in their lives occasioned by COVID-19, might affect their academic performance.
Allowing students to choose the pass/fail option provides them the choice to take a class for a letter grade. We feel that many students will want to claim the letter grades they have earned.
The provost consulted on this plan with the deans of all the colleges and schools and with the Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA). The BFA representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of these changes for the spring 2020 semester: 55 in favor, 3 against, with an 85% voter turnout.
At this time, there are no plans to extend these lifted restrictions on pass/fail options past the spring 2020 semester. Any extension will require a discussion that includes the deans, faculty and faculty governance.
No. Changes from “letter grade only” to “P/F option” are for spring 2020 semester only. After spring 2020, they will revert to their original status.
Yes, the class will count for major or degree requirements as long the student earns a grade of “P” (pass). For spring 2020 only, all degrees and majors have lifted their restrictions on which courses may be taken P/F, with very limited exceptions as described elsewhere in these FAQs.
Yes. For spring 2020 semester only, a class in which a student earns a “P” grade will count toward degree or major requirements, even if the grade that converted to “P” was below the minimum grade requirement for that particular course.
Yes, the class will count for degree requirements for master’s and doctoral students as long as the student earns a grade of “P” (pass). For spring 2020 only, the Graduate School has lifted its restriction on P/F courses, with very limited exceptions as described elsewhere in these FAQs. Colorado Law students are covered by separate provisions, as described elsewhere in these FAQs.
Yes. Tuition remission associated with eligible graduate student appointments covers courses taken P/F.
No. As in current practice, instructors will not be informed that students have chosen the P/F option for a class. At the end of the semester, the instructor submits letter grades for all students. The letter grade is converted to “P” or ”F” by the Office of the Registrar for students who have chosen the P/F option. Grades of “D–” or higher convert to “P.”
Instructors submit grades as usual, according to the schedule set by the Office of the Registrar.
Since prerequisite grades are designed to ensure that students who take a course in a sequence are prepared to succeed in the next course in the sequence, published prerequisite grades for classes taken in spring 2020 will still be enforced. After the end of the semester, colleges, schools, and departments/programs will have access to the letter grades that were converted to grades of “P.”
If a student’s letter grade satisfies the prerequisite, departments will mark the prerequisite requirement as fulfilled.
If the student’s letter grade is below the grading standard to satisfy a prerequisite, the grade of “P” will remain on the transcript, but the prerequisite will not be fulfilled.
Yes. P/F courses for IUT will be evaluated in the same way that P/F courses for prerequisites are evaluated. After the end of the semester, colleges, schools, and departments/programs will have access to the letter grades that were converted to grades of “P.” The letter grades may be used by colleges and schools to determine eligibility for IUT purposes. The intent is to ensure that students are prepared to succeed in the college or school into which they want to IUT.
Yes. However, prerequisite grades will still be enforced for sequenced foreign language courses. (See the FAQ on prerequisite grades.) For spring 2020 only, any college/school requirement that the last course in the sequence must be taken for a letter grade is waived.
All Colorado Law courses will be graded on a credit/no-credit (CR/NC) basis in spring 2020. The CR grade is equivalent to a grade of “pass” in Colorado Law’s current system. An NC grade will be assigned to those students not performing sufficiently, in the judgment of the instructor, to receive credit for the course.
The CU Book Store partnered with their digital course materials platform, VitalSource, and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering limited free access to e-books for students who may have lost access to course materials.
Students can visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com to access free e-books through May 25 with their colorado.edu email address. VitalSource Helps provides access to an expansive catalog of e-books, but some content may not be available and access is limited to seven titles.
- Fall Term: Due by March 30
- Summer and Maymester Terms: Due by March 7
Please visit the bookstore faculty resources page for additional information.
The CU Book Store will do everything possible to make sure the materials you request are available for Maymester, summer terms and Fall 2020 to support student learning. If you choose to use a physical book, the Book Store will do their best to have it available for students. However, due to supply chain issues associated with the Coronavirus, physical books may not be available to students.
Digital course materials guarantee access for your students. If you would like to consider course materials that are available digitally or through the Day 1 Digital Access program, please reach out to Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Digital textbooks are easily available to students through cubookstore.com and Day 1 Digital Access materials are made available through Canvas.
Additional information on digital materials and Day 1 Digital access may be found on the Bookstore Faculty page.
Resources for teaching remote:
- Academic Technology and Teaching Continuity guide
- Schedule for Academic Technology Remote Teaching Sessions
- Remote Learning Guidance for Students
- Technology Resources for Working Remotely
- FERPA regulations regarding the privacy of student educational records
- OIT guidelines for storing and sharing data online.
- ASSETT Program’s guidance for hybrid courses
- Final Examination Policy
- Schedule for CTL Remote Teaching Techniques Webinars