Teaching Strategies

Academic Year 20-21

Academic year 20-21 presents unique circumstances that require many instructors to rethink traditional policies and to draft new policies. Below, you will find sample syllabus language on:

Classroom Attendance 

The following statement is most applicable to those who are teaching Adaptable Blended (in-person) courses. 

Sample #1

In order to adhere to university policies meant to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am required to take attendance every class period and maintain a fixed seating chart throughout the semester. I will share those records at the request of designated campus officials to aid the university’s contact tracing initiative. 

As per campus policy, students are expected to self-monitor for possible coronavirus symptoms and should stay home from class if they show any symptoms or otherwise feel unwell. If you will not be in class, contact me as early as possible to let me know you will be absent. If you are well enough to engage remotely, you are expected to participate by [protocols for remote student engagement].

While attendance will not be graded this semester, and students should stay home if they are showing any symptoms, you are expected to come to class if you are well. This class was designed to be conducted in person and so your attendance is necessary to make the most of your own and your peers’ learning. Learning best happens in community, and you are expected to be an active contributor to this learning community.

Public Health Practices 

The following statements are most applicable to those who are teaching Adaptable Blended (in-person) courses. 

Sample #1

We all share responsibility for the health and well-being of our campus community. As is reflected in the Eagles Care Pledge, all of us are responsible for wearing a mask during a class, maintaining the seating chart and abiding by the room’s social distancing protocols, and staying home if you exhibit any symptoms that might be a sign of a COVID-19 infection unless and until you receive a negative test and are cleared to resume public activity. 

If a student arrives to class without a mask and/or is not maintaining physical distance, that student will be reminded of public health expectations. If the student refuses to put on a mask or reestablish appropriate distancing, they will be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the University’s conduct system. 

Sample #2

Boston College is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff. In a face-to-face environment, our commitment to safety requires students, staff, and instructors to observe the social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines set by the University at all times. While in class, students will sit in assigned seats and wear the required PPE. Students who fail to comply will be dismissed from the classroom for the class period and will be referred to the University’s conduct system. (adapted from West Virginia University.

Mental Health and Well-Being

The following statements are applicable to those who are teaching Adaptable Blended (in-person) courses and/or Adaptable Remote courses. 

Sample #1 

If you are feeling stressed, having challenges managing your time, sleep, or making choices around alcohol and food, the Office of Health Promotion offers Wellness Coaching appointments to support your health and wellbeing. Please reach out by going to OHP website to schedule a virtual meeting with a staff member, Wellness Coach, and for health and wellness information. Be Well. (provided by the Office of Health Promotion)

See our page on Mental Health and Wellness for more sample statements.

Class Recordings

The following statements are applicable to those who are teaching Adaptable Blended (in-person) courses and/or Adaptable Remote courses. For more information about university policy on class recordings, see the Classroom Recording Guidance in the Faculty Handbook.

Sample #1

This class or portions of this class will be recorded by the instructor for educational purposes. These recordings will be shared only with students enrolled in the course and will be deleted at the end of the end of the course. (adapted from Northwestern University)

Sample #2

Meetings of this course may be recorded. Any recordings will be available to students registered for this class. This is intended to supplement the classroom experience. Students are expected to follow appropriate university policies and maintain the security of passwords used to access recorded lectures. Recordings may not be reproduced, shared with those not in the class, or uploaded to other online environments. If the instructor plans any other uses for the recordings, beyond this class, students identifiable in the recordings must be notified to request their consent prior to such use. (adapted from UVA)

Sample #3

[Boston College] seeks to protect the integrity of what transpires in the classroom among students and professor, any course materials prepared by the professor, and the privacy of students and faculty. With this in mind, you are prohibited from recording (audio or video) any lectures, seminars, or other classroom activities without the express permission of the instructor. Authorized recordings (including any made in order to accommodate ADA considerations) and all other course materials (including any materials posted on Canvas) may only be used for the purposes of an individual’s (or group’s) study in the course, and may not be shared with any wider audience on or off campus unless the instructor has explicitly given such permission. (adapted from Williams College)

Sample #4

Some of the sessions in this course will be recorded or live-streamed. Such recordings/streaming will only be available to students registered for this class. These recordings are the intellectual property of the faculty and they may not be shared or reproduced without the explicit, written consent of the faculty member. Further, students may not share these sessions with those not in the class, or upload them to any other online environment. (adapted from Colgate University)

Sample #5

Boston College students should exemplify honesty, be trustworthy, fair, and ethical, and respect the truth in all of their dealings. Recording video and audio, streaming video and audio, or taking photographs (camera and video phones included) of students, faculty or staff without their express consent violates this value. 

In order for students to record/stream video or audio, or take photos in class, they must have permission from the instructor or a documented accommodation from the Disability Services Office or Connors Family Learning Center. If a student records, streams, or takes photographs in a class without the instructor’s permission, it will be considered dishonest and will be referred to the University’s conduct system. 

No matter what the course policy, recorded classes may not be used in any way that denigrates and/or decontextualizes the instructor or any student whose class remarks are recorded. Any information contained in the recorded class may not be posted, published or quoted without the express consent of the instructor or speaker, and if permission is granted, must be properly cited. All recordings of class lectures or discussions are to be erased at the end of the semester. (adapted from Elon University)

Zoom Expectations 

Sample #1

I believe that learning happens best in community, whether that learning is happening in a traditional classroom or virtually. However, joining a class from home also creates particular challenges as we navigate a new learning environment and additional familial responsibilities. Whenever possible, I do hope that you will join our Zoom meetings with your video on and prepared to be actively engaged in the class for the length of the meeting. Aware that it can be strange to see into each others’ domestic spaces during class time, I’ll often be using a virtual background during class meetings and welcome you all to do the same. 

If you are facing any barriers to joining our Zoom meetings or participating as actively as you would like to, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so that we can strategize together about how to best support your learning this semester. 

Sample #2

All of us are relatively new to teaching and learning via Zoom and we’re still figuring out how to best make use of this platform to connect with one another and the course material. The guidelines below should help us to continue learning as a community in our virtual context. If at any point these guidelines hinder your ability to fully participate in this class, let me know, and we can make adjustments as we go.

  • Turn on your video when possible. Being able to see each other can help to create a sense of shared, collaborative learning.
  • Actively participate. Just like in a live classroom, be prepared to participate in polls and breakout rooms, and to share your ideas either through live conversation or in the chat. 
  • Mute your microphone when you are not talking. This helps eliminate background noise.
  • Use a headset when possible. If you own headphones with a microphone, please use them. This improves audio quality.
  • Be in a quiet place when possible. Find a quiet, distraction-free spot to log in. Turn off any music, videos, etc. in the background.
  • Use the Raise Hand feature. We are used to “reading the room” in the physical classroom, and this might be harder on Zoom. You can use the Raise Hand feature in Zoom if you want to share a question or comment. (adapted from Kansas State University and Florida International University)