Teaching

Page last modified: December 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm

Remote Instruction

What can I do if I missed the meeting about how to teach remotely?

The meeting was recorded and can be viewed here. Additional tips on adapting courses for remote instruction can be found on The Hub.

What kind of security do I need to consider for online instruction?

At least one JHU professor has been “zoombombed.” This is when someone joins a room, grabs control as host and posts inappropriate images or rude text. You can prevent this with Zoom-specific information from the Center for Educational Resources. Including:

  • Email Zoom session URLs to students or post on a password-protected site like Blackboard. Don’t post them publicly.
  • Enable passwords on all Zoom rooms.
  • Disable participants’ ability to share their screen when they enter.  The host can enable participants to share their screen individually once the meeting begins.

How can a lab course be conducted online?

Instructors will be required to devise creative ways of teaching lab courses from a remote setting. The Center for Educational Resources offers several excellent options for teaching online.

What about courses that require students to use certain equipment?

Instructors will need to restructure these classes as best as they can. We recommend you refer to the original course objectives/learning goals to help guide you in creating new modes of learning for students.

What if students need help with online support or access?

Instructors should first poll students in their class to see which, if any, have any limitations regarding equipment or internet access. If they do, contact your local IT staff person for assistance.  

We have Graduate Board Orals coming up. Can the advisor and student be in the room and the rest of the people join remotely? How should we view written responses to oral questions, normally done on a blackboard or whiteboard?

No, we need them to move to remote only. We recommend those gatherings be set up remotely using Zoom so everyone can see one another. Perhaps the response could be written on paper and held up to the videocam. Find more information on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs website.

What should instructors do if they encounter challenges with assessment and grading?

As of now, basic grading options are not being changed or switched. The Center for Educational Resources offers helpful guidance on grading remotely.  

I have graduate students who are getting hourly pay as teaching assistants. Can we still pay them?

If they are continuing to instruct and perform those duties, then yes. Indeed, all persons associated with instruction are obligated to fulfill their instruction-associated duties.

How can faculty members who have young children at home with limited childcare work from home?

Faculty members who have young children at home and who also must now teach online will need to do some creative juggling. One suggestion is to not teach live. They could record their lecture at a time when their children are sleeping, for example, and upload to the course site. 

To the extent possible, they could use the regular class time to engage in real time through a discussion chat board. Ultimately, though, there is the expectation that we will continue synchronous teaching in some form. 

Grading and Exams

Am I permitted to grade papers, exams and other assessments as usual, or must I only report S* or U* grades on all assessments?

You are certainly able to grade all assessments as usual. While KSAS and WSE undergraduates may only have a final course grade of S* or U* recorded on their transcript, there are no restrictions on grading of individual assignments or the manner in which you provide feedback as to how the student performed in your class. In fact, retaining such information about student performance is likely to be important in crafting future recommendation letters for your students.

Does this decision mean that I will only award grades of S* and U* in my undergraduate class?

Possibly. If your class has an enrollment that is restricted to KSAS and WSE undergraduates, undergraduate international exchange students, Peabody double-degree students, and undergraduates participating in the Baltimore Schools Exchange Program (BSEP), your grading roster will only have S*/U* grading options.

There may, however, be some students in your undergraduate classes who can request to receive a letter grade. These include WSE and KSAS graduate and postbaccalaureate students, and graduate and undergraduate students from other divisions (for example, Peabody students who are not part of the double-degree program). The grading scheme used for these students will follow the policy of their division, graduate program, or postbaccalaureate program. Most of these divisions have permitted their students to elect S/U or P/F grading. For example, WSE graduate students in undergraduate courses will receive letter grades unless they opt for P/F grading.

We are currently analyzing all KSAS and WSE undergraduate class rosters, and we will seek to inform you if you have such students in your undergraduate course and who they are by April 6. If you have enrolled students in your class who are not KSAS or WSE undergraduates and grading these students (and only these students) on a letter scale is not possible due to the conditions of remote instruction, you may petition to change your course to provide S/U grading only. To effect this change, you must consult with your school’s vice dean for undergraduate education before April 10.

What is an S* or U* grade?

An S*, or satisfactory grade, will be awarded in the Spring 2020 semester for performance in a class that is considered worthy of credit and will satisfy all requirements, regardless of the minimum grade or “letter grade only” rule that applies during a typically-graded semester. Neither S* nor U* grades affect a student’s GPA. All S* and U* grades earned in Spring 2020 will be denoted S* or U* rather than with the standard S and U with an annotation on the transcript that explains that no letter grades were provided to undergraduates during this semester due to the COVID-19 crisis and an explanation will be added to the transcript key that accompanies all official transcripts.

Am I required to implement the assessments and grading that I included in my syllabus?

No. You may make reasonable adaptations to your assessments to accommodate the limitations of remote instruction and in light of the new grading policy. The Center for Educational Resources has created a resource to guide faculty as they redesign their assessments. That resource can be found here on the Center for Educational Resources website.

When should I hold my final exam?

All faculty giving timed exams must hold their exam at the time designated in the published final exam schedule. Faculty may provide an exam administration at one or more additional times, but may not cancel the assigned administration date and time. Instructors should be aware, however, that extending the time of an exam beyond the scheduled period may create conflicts with other scheduled final exams and create new and different problems for students. Any additional final exam times scheduled to accommodate student conflicts should be scheduled by the instructor in consultation with the students affected to avoid conflicting with their other final exams.

How can I proctor my final exam?

Timed exams may be administered through Blackboard or with on-line proctoring such as Respondus Monitor. See the CER website for recommendations for how to administer final exams

Can I give a take-home final exam? 

Faculty may give take home final exams, but the deadline for the exam may not be before the time of the scheduled final exam.

How can I accommodate students who are unable to take the regularly scheduled administration?

Faculty should expect that they may need to administer more than one final to accommodate students for a number of reasons, including:

  • Due to COVID-19 we expect that more students will be requesting incomplete grades for exam extensions due to illness or illness in their families.
  • Faculty will be expected to reasonably accommodate students in distant time zones.
  • Final exams this year fall entirely within the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (April 23- May 23). As such, some of our Muslim students will be fasting during the day, typically from sunrise to sunset for more than 13 hours. Students may request religious accommodations to take exams earlier in the day.

How can I reward performance in my course that is well beyond “satisfactory”?

While the highest grade WSE and KSAS undergraduates can earn in spring is an S*, students will need letters of recommendation regardless of where they intend to go. Writing an end-of-year email to students who have performed above expectations relating the aspects of their work that your found commendable is one possible way to acknowledge exemplary achievement. Offers of recommendation letters, words of encouragement, and suggestions to pursue honors or mentored projects all can have powerful influence on a student’s future.

What if I notice that a student is failing to attend class or turn in work?

Instructors can reach out directly to students to check in, may raise a flag in Starfish, or may contact the Office of Academic Advising to follow up. 

Option 1, via Starfish, instructors should:

  1. Log into blackboard.jhu.edu and click the Starfish tab at the top (do NOT click on the “Courses” tab);
  2. In the upper right-hand search box, type the name of the student to be reported;
  3. Once that student’s information has appeared, click on the “flag” button on the upper left-hand portion of the screen.
  4. Scroll through the options and choose “Remote Class Attendance/Participation Concerns”, enter in any relevant notes, then click “save” at the bottom of the screen.
  5. The flag is thus raised and the assigned academic advisor notified. The advisor then contacts the student to troubleshoot.
  6. Please note — the student also receives notification that a flag has been raised.

Option 2, via email

  1. The instructor sends an email regarding the student to advising@jhu.edu.
  2. The email is routed to the student’s academic advisor, who then contacts the student to troubleshoot.