IMPORTANT SEMESTER INFORMATION AND CRITICAL DATES

 

Date:     July 23, 2020 

To:         Southeastern Faculty

From:    Tena L. Golding, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

RE:         Fall 2020 Semester Informational Memo

While there is still much uncertainty around COVID-19, Southeastern remains committed to our plans to resume on-campus and residential operations. Everyone has been working diligently to ensure campus is as safe as possible and remains so going forward. Please review the Safe Campus Guide for more information.

Fall 2020 will be quite the challenge! I encourage you to rely on the resources and support provided by our Center for Faculty Excellence (Center) to help you deliver quality and engaging courses for our students and address the challenges of this unusual semester. 

This memo will contain the standard information distributed each semester, but will first describe some items specific to Fall 2020.

 

Changes to the Calendar

The Academic Calendar for Fall 2020 has been adjusted to remove breaks and end classes before Thanksgiving to help eliminate the uncertainties inherent in travel to and from campus. Key changes are below.

  • Classes begin on Monday, August 17 and end on Tuesday, November 24.
  • The Labor Day holiday scheduled for Monday, September 7 is canceled.
  • The Fall Break, scheduled for October 8-9, is canceled.
  • Final exams will be delivered remotely, Monday, November 30 – Friday, December 4.

 

Changes to the Classroom

Fall classrooms will have a new look! I encourage you to visit your classrooms before the first day of class.  You may see new technology and social distancing stickers!  Please note the following.

  1. Classes should be delivered in the format specified in the Schedule of Classes/LEONet -- (e.g., face-to-face, 25-49% Internet, 50-99% Internet, 100% Internet, lab, etc.). However, faculty should be prepared to adjust the delivery format as needed in order to accommodate social-distancing requirements, enhanced delivery or heightened safety guidelines. For example, a class scheduled as face-to-face may need to ask some students to “attend” class via Google Meet to allow for social distancing.
  2. Every class that is not 100% online should strive for as much on-campus, face-to-face instruction as possible.
  3. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety has evaluated each classroom to determine appropriate capacity and social distancing. Do not move desks, chairs, furniture, or social distancing stickers.
  4. Take attendance and consider using a seating chart.
  5. Faculty and students must wear face mask/covering* in class. Faculty may want to wear a clear face shield to allow visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception.
  6. Students are not permitted to eat or drink in classrooms. Masks should not be removed!
  7. Every class must be prepared to transition to remote delivery at any time. You may want to consider front-loading certain skills or face-to-face meetings.
  8. Every class will need to accommodate the individual health circumstances of students and possibly, the instructor. Live-streaming, pre-recording lectures or recording live lectures and posting to Moodle are possible solutions. Make sure you follow FERPA guidelines if posting the recording of a live lecture that includes students.
  9. Class attendance regulations, including methods for determining excused absences, should be carefully reviewed. Students cannot be penalized for following the Student Protocol for COVID-19, which requires them to “stay away from campus” for a long list of reasons. Please read the protocol.
  10. Please continue to be flexible and sensitive to the needs of our students during these challenging times! You will need to be more flexible and accommodating than in previous semesters.

 

*The Face Mask/Coverings Policy is new. Students may forget to wear masks. Before taking punitive action, determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot.  Medical conditions or disabilities may prevent some from wearing a mask. These students will need an approved accommodation from Student Accessibility Services.

The Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability (OSAA) offers these tips for enforcing the Face Mask/Coverings Policy in your classroom.

  • Define classroom expectations early. For example, include a reference to the policy in a welcome email or add it to your syllabus.
  • Students who attempt to enter your classroom without a face covering should be informed about the policy and redirected to where they can find a face covering. When available, disposable face mask/coverings should be located in the lobby of most buildings.
  • Students who refuse to abide by the policy should be asked to leave your classroom. Inform the student that this policy violation will be referred to the Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability. Report incidents to OSAA at edu/reportit

University Police (ext. 2222) should only be contacted as a final measure if a student becomes irate, belligerent, and/or physically disrupts your classroom environment.

 

Changes to Course Codes

Fall 2020 classes must be prepared to transition to remote delivery at any time.  Since course codes communicate the delivery format and scheduling expectations to students, codes should be as accurate as possible to allow students to plan accordingly.  Grading Accommodations were necessary in the spring because the format of the courses changed during the semester.  To help provide as much flexibility as possible in this uncertain environment, all face-to-face and hybrid courses (I or Q) will include a “Flex” code (F). The “Flex” code allows the inclusion of or modification to in-person, virtual and/or online components as needed to accommodate social distancing, enhanced delivery or increased safety requirements.  Courses coded as 100% Online (NT) will not change. Course codes are defined as follows – the bold text describes the adjustment allowed by the Flex code.

 

Face to Face

  • synchronous instruction
  • all on-campus
  • meeting time listed in the schedule
  • final exam time as indicated in the university’s final exam schedule

Flex will allow use of Google Meet, Zoom and/or online components

 

100% Online (NT)

  • no synchronous instruction
  • no on-campus requirement
  • courses with this code will not have a meeting time listed in the schedule
  • final exam time should not conflict with university’s final exam schedule

 

Hybrid (I or Q)

  • combination of online and synchronous components
    • I - Between 50-99% of the course is online – no more than 49% synchronous
    • Q – Between 25-49% of the course is online – no more than 74% synchronous
  • synchronous instruction on-campus
  • courses with this code will have a meeting time listed in the schedule and synchronous instruction will take place at the designated time
  • if course requires a synchronous final exam, the exam is given at the time designated in the university’s final exam schedule

Flex will allow the percentages of online and synchronous to change if needed AND will allow the on-campus component to be delivered virtually (e.g. Google Meet).

Please note: The Flex code is designed to allow changes to the delivery format ONLY IF necessary to accommodate social distancing, enhanced delivery or increased safety requirements. 

 

*****************

As you make final preparations for your fall classes, the information below is provided to help ensure you include required information on your course syllabi, are aware of major Fall 2020 deadlines, and to remind you of some of the University policies relevant to the management of your courses.

Important Dates

Please ensure that your course syllabi correspond to the pertinent dates listed in the Fall 2020 Academic Calendar (first and last day of classes; drop/add period; withdrawal and resignation deadlines; holidays; rental textbook return deadline). 

The important dates listed below are also provided in the Course Information tab of your Moodle course. You should include deadlines specific to the type of class you are teaching (Term I, Regular Session or Term II) on course syllabi.  

 For Term I Classes

  1. Monday, August 17: First day of class
  2. Wednesday, September 2: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  3. Wednesday, September 16: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II
  4. Friday, September 25: Last day to withdraw from Term I classes. Deadline at 12:30 p.m.
  5. Friday, October 2:Term I classes end
  6. Monday, December 7: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  7. Friday, December 11: Student accounts charged for rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

For Regular Session Classes

  1. Monday, August 17: First day of class
  2. Wednesday, September 16: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  3. Wednesday, October 14: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II
  4. Friday, November 20: Last day to withdraw from classes or resign from University. Deadline at 12:30 p.m.
  5. Tuesday, November 24:Last day of classes
  6. Monday, December 7: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  7. Friday, December 11: Student accounts charged for rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

 For Term II Classes

  1. Monday, October 12:First day of Term II classes.
  2. Wednesday, October 28: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  3. Wednesday, November 11: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II
  4. Friday, November 20: Last day to withdraw from Term II classes. Deadline at 12:30 p.m.
  5. Tuesday, November 24:Term II classes end
  6. Monday, December 7: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  7. Friday, December 11: Student accounts charged for rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

 

Grades and Academic Checkpoints

Grades provide important feedback to students regarding their academic progress.  Faculty are expected to post all grades in Moodle in a timely manner. Academic Checkpoints serve as an early alert and intervention strategy and are an essential component in our efforts to improve student success and retention rates. These Checkpoints occur around the 1/3 and 3/5 points of the semester and provide students with meaningful assessment of their academic progress.

Faculty are required to report grades in Moodle by Academic Checkpoints I and II as described below.

  • Undergraduate courses: Some type of evaluation and notification of standing in the course on or before Academic Checkpoint I and again on or before Academic Checkpoint II. This ensures students have at least two graded assignments before the last day to withdraw from a class.

 

  • Graduate courses: Some type of evaluation and notification of standing in the course provided on or before Academic Checkpoint II. This ensures students have at least one graded assignment before the last day to withdraw from a class.

Note: These checkpoints are the minimum. Students should have sufficient feedback (i.e., graded homework, assignments, tests, etc.) throughout the entire semester to know how they are progressing in the course.

 

Mid-Term Grades

While Academic Checkpoints are required in all courses (including dual enrollment), mid-term grades must be entered into LEONet for students in the following courses (including dual enrollment):

  1. All 100-level courses
  2. COMM 211
  3. ENGL 230, ENGL 231, ENGL 232
  4. HIST 201, HIST 202
  5. MATH 200, MATH 201, MATH 241
  6. POLI 201, POLI 202

The mid-term grade deadline and other related information will be explained in a later memo from the Records Office.

 

Final Exams

Fall 2020 classes will end before Thanksgiving, and final exams will be given remotely. Faculty are encouraged to re-examine course objectives, student learning outcomes, assessment strategies, distribution of points, etc. as they plan for final assessments in a remote environment. An exam designed for a traditional face-to-face environment may need to be adjusted in format and in time allowed for completion to accommodate students in the online environment due to slower Wi-Fi and technology challenges. Faculty may require the use of a webcam and/or Respondus Monitor/Lockdown Browser, Zoom or Google Meet.  Respondus Monitor is an automated proctoring service that uses a webcam to record students during an exam. 

To help avoid conflicting times in the remote environment, final exams should be scheduled as per the Final Examination Schedule based on the format of the class specified in the Schedule of Classes/LEONet -- (e.g., face-to-face, 25-49% Internet, 50-99% Internet, 100% Internet).

.

  • Face-to-face courses – final exam is given at the time designated in the university’s final exam schedule.
  • 100% Online (NT) - final exam time should not conflict with university’s final exam schedule
  • Hybrid (I or Q) - if course requires a synchronous final exam, the exam is given at the time designated in the university’s final exam schedule. If not, final exam time should not conflict with university’s final exam schedule.

 

Please contact the Center for Faculty Excellence for additional information on online testing, including alternative forms of assessment.

 

Submission of Course Grades: Grades will be due as indicated in the Academic Calendar and will be submitted according to the procedures described in a later memorandum.

 

Course Information

The Course Information tab of the Academic Course Template used in Moodle contains a Course Syllabus AND a Policy Statement section for each course. Students are required to complete the Course Syllabus and Policy Statements Validation in Moodle.

 Course Syllabus

Instructors should post the course syllabus in Moodle by the first day of class. The following elements are required.

  1. Instructor's name, office, and office hours – Please be flexible with your office hours. Students are adjusting to the online environment and may need to reach out to you for more than just academic purposes.
  2. Course schedule, including course objectives, a week-by-week outline of course topics, activities, exams, etc.
  3. For hybrid courses (25-49% online; 50-99% online), the specific dates of face-to-face class meetings
  4. Method of grading and/or grading scale
  5. Approximate number and type of major examinations, papers, and projects. Please consider alternative forms of assessment in the online environment. All students do not have access to the same technology or the same internet speed. Timed tests may be problematic for some students. The Center can help with ideas.
  6. Other factors influencing the student's grade
  7. Class Attendance policy**- Specific policies regarding (but not restricted to) the makeup of missed exams and/or assignments, submission of excuses for absences and the manner in which attendance and participation in class activities impact course performance. Please maintain regular communication with your students –if you miss someone for a couple of days – please reach out.
  8. Additional information required for courses with an Online Learning component, as per Southeastern’s Distance Education Policy.
    • Technology requirements for the course including any special software requirements
    • Procedure for resolving technical complaints, including contact information for technical support
    • Preferred method for contacting instructor, e.g., email, phone, text message
    • Netiquette expectations
    • Instructor's response time for student communications [Faculty engaged in 100% online courses are required to maintain a 24 hour maximum response time (excluding weekends, holidays, or extenuating circumstances) for returning student emails]
    • Procedure for determining attendance
    • Student participation/interaction requirements
    • Information on Distance Learning Library Services

Additionally, a current knowledge base for each course (i.e., a reference list of books, journals, manuscripts, and other scholarly materials used as the foundation in teaching a course) needs to be on file in the office of the department head.

 ** Class Attendance: Please note the following.

  1. In accordance with University policy and federal financial aid legal requirements, each faculty member shall keep a permanent attendance record through the 14th class day. Please understand this is a federal requirement; it is not an individual choice. Failure to maintain a class attendance record through the 14th class day can result in legal difficulties for the university.
  2. Throughout the semester, each instructor should keep a record of attendance to encourage students’ attendance, participation, and retention.

 

Policy Statements

As indicated above, the Course Information tab of the Academic Course Template used in Moodle now contains a Policy Statement section for each course. This Policy Statement section of the Course Information tab contains the following:

 

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. Behavior that violates these standards is not acceptable. Examples are the use of unauthorized material, communication with fellow students during an examination, attempting to benefit from the work of another student and similar behavior that defeats the intent of an examination or other classwork. Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, improper acknowledgment of sources in essays and the use of a single essay or paper in more than one course without permission are considered very serious offenses and shall be grounds for disciplinary action as outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy.

 

Accommodations for Disability

If you are a qualified student with a disability seeking accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to self-identify with the Student Accessibility Services, Tinsley Hall 102. No accommodations will be granted without documentation from Student Accessibility Services.

The deadline for registering or making accommodation changes is two weeks prior to the start of the Final Exam period. Any requests received after the deadline will generally be considered for the following semester.

 

Children in Classroom

The classroom is not a place for children or other family members and students are not to bring their family members for day care or babysitting. For more information, please see the Casual

Visitors Policy.

 

Detection of Plagiarism

Students agree by taking this course that all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity to SimCheck for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the SimCheck reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the SimCheck service is subject to the Terms of Use posted on the SimCheck website. (This statement may not apply if SimCheck will not be used.)

 

E-mail Communication

As per the University e-mail policy, only Southeastern’s email addresses can be used for course communications.

 

Face Mask/Coverings Policy

The University requires the right to require that face coverings or masks be worn on campus

when required or recommended by public health officials or government leaders of relevant

jurisdiction, or when the University Administration deems it necessary and appropriate in

response to a communicable disease or other emergency. Face Mask/Coverings Policy.

 

Lecture Capture and FERPA

Certain content obtained through the video and audio recording of classes may be classified by the Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) as an educational record.  Such records are protected by the guidelines established by FERPA and require your written consent for 3rd party disclosure. An overview of these guidelines can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of Education with additional information available through Southeastern’s Center for Faculty Excellence.

 

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

If you would like to report a sexually oriented crime, please be aware that the University Policy regarding Victims of Sexual Misconduct is located online at: http://www.southeastern.edu/resources/policies/assets/sexual_misconduct.pdf as well as the University Student Handbook  at: http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/stu_affairs/handbook/index.html.  The policy includes definitions of the various sexually oriented offenses prohibited by Southeastern as well as the reporting options for victims and the process of investigation and disciplinary proceedings of the University. For more information, log onto: http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/police/victims_soc/index.html.

 

Southeastern faculty and staff are committed to supporting our students and upholding gender equity laws as outlined by Title IX. Please be aware that if you choose to confide in a faculty or staff member regarding an issue of sexual misconduct, dating violence, or stalking, we are obligated to inform the University’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, who can assist you in connecting with all possible resources both on- and off-campus. If you would like to speak with someone confidentially, the Student Counseling Center (985-549-3894) and the Student Health Center (985-549-2242) are both confidential resources.

 

Student Behavior/Classroom Decorum

Free discussion, inquiry, and expression is encouraged in this class. Classroom behavior that interferes with either (a) the instructor’s ability to conduct the class or (b) the ability of students to benefit from the instruction is not acceptable. Examples may include routinely entering class late or departing early; use of communication devices, or other electronic devices; repeatedly talking in class without being recognized; talking while others are speaking; or arguing in a way that is perceived as “crossing the civility line.” Classroom behavior which is deemed inappropriate and cannot be resolved by the student and the faculty member may be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs for administrative or disciplinary review as per the Student Code of Conduct which may be found at http://www.selu.edu/admin/stu_affairs/handbook/.

 

Student Code of Conduct

The Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability (OSAA) is responsible for administering a campus-wide student disciplinary system that is student-centered and based on educational and developmental principles. OSAA strives to uphold community standards while respecting the rights of the individual. 

 

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the Student Code of Conduct and

University Policies and to conduct themselves in a manner that supports the educational mission of the University, as well as comply with University rules. 

 

Student Protocol for COVID-19

In order to help ensure a safe campus, it is imperative that all students participate in this process including assisting with informing their instructors and the University Health Center of any potential health concerns associated with COVID-19. Students who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact the University Health Center or their personal Health Care Provider and follow the guidance provided. Please see the complete Student Protocol for

COVID-19 for further details.

 

Disaster Recovery/Operational Plans for the Continuity of Basic Educational Activities in Academic Courses

To ensure the continuity of courses in the event of a natural disaster or similar emergency, the following course information is required to be posted in the Moodle for each course by the first day of class:

  • Course syllabus with a week-by-week outline of course topics, activities, exams, etc.
  • Emergency plans to cover two days of instructional assignments (a “holding place” for this is available in the Moodle course template)

 

University Policy and Important Reminders

Fee Payment Deadlines and Drop/Add Period: Please become familiar with the University’s fee payment deadline, which is available at: http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/controller/tuition/faq/index.html and the impact of non-payment on students’ enrollments in classes.

Class Rosters: Class rosters will be accessible online to department heads and faculty on the first day of classes.  Online rosters are updated as changes are made. Please report all discrepancies early in the enrollment period. Also, because federal regulations now require us to report for students receiving federal aid the date of last attendance, as established by university policy, it is very important that faculty comply with University policy to maintain accurate attendance records throughout the 14th class day.

Do not permit students to continue attending a class if they are not listed on the class roster. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that he/she is properly registered to receive credit for the course. The Official Class Roster with instructions will be provided after the 14th class day. 

Course Instructional Period: Instruction must occur through the entire semester or term for which the course is scheduled. Instruction may not end prior to the last day of classes scheduled for the course in accordance with the University’s Academic Calendar

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): All University employees with access to students’ educational records are responsible for being knowledgeable of FERPA and adhering to it. Individual employees can be held personally liable for violations of this federal law. In addition, violations can result in the loss of federal funds to the University and our students, including student financial aid and funds from federal granting agencies. 

Lecture Capture and FERPA

Video and audio recordings of classes have many advantages.  Students can watch missed or previously attended classes, and faculty can post them for use in future semesters.  However, given the nature of the recording and its intended use, certain Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines must be followed. Please review the Online Learning Policies.

 

Other FERPA Guidance

Please read the following pages of the U.S. Department of Education website and learn and abide by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

 

It is important for faculty to know all aspects of the law that apply to postsecondary education. It is particularly important for faculty to know that:

  1. FERPA prohibits the public posting of grades in association with student names, social security numbers, or other student identification numbers. This means that individual students’ grades may not be posted in a manner in which anyone other than the individual student can see them – not electronically to the entire class or to a subset of the class electronically or on bulletin boards, doors, or walls or via any means by which others can associate a grade or grades with an individual student’s name or identification number. 
  2. FERPA also prohibits the publication or provision of class lists to third parties, including other students in a class. This includes photo rosters as well as lists of the names and/or W numbers of students in a class, group, or organization.

 

Thank you for your commitment and dedication as we prepare to meet the challenges of the Fall 2020 semester!