With the news that MCCCD will be extending spring break so that we can take the next week to plan for how to continue to teach our students in these challenging circumstances, we know that we all have many questions. Not all of those questions have answers right now, especially because conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are changing rapidly.
However, we are committed to continuing to communicate with you throughout this situation, to share what we know, and to support each other. This is the first of what will be regular updates (at least weekly, and more often if appropriate).
You Know What’s Best for Your Classes and Students.
Part of the reason that there aren’t concrete answers right now for how we will continue to teach on Monday the 23rd is because each faculty member is best situated to know what would work in their particular class, with their students, given where they are in the material and what they had planned for the remainder of the semester.
This is where our expertise as faculty comes in – we can use all the skills we bring to the classroom every day and think creatively about how to keep our students moving forward with their education. Having something productive and forward-looking to focus on is especially important in times of crisis. What we can do to instill some normalcy and autonomy for our students will help them to weather this turbulent time.
There are Lots of Teaching Options and Support is Available to Help You Learn About Them.
Although moving to an entirely Canvas-based course, with recorded lectures and online assignments, is the first thing many people think about when they think about alternative formats, it isn’t the only option out there. Faculty all over the country are facing these same challenges and coming up with many different ways to keep students moving forward.
For example, consider whether there are homework-type assignments students could focus on for the next two weeks, such as research papers or portfolio projects. During that time, you can continue to prepare materials for more interactive online delivery and assess how best to deliver the experience and training you had planned to cover in a face-to-face format.
You’re going to see a lot of information being shared about how to quickly start an online class and software alternatives to help. The Faculty Association will be posting useful resources on a new page which includes a Google Form where faculty can share ideas, resources, and questions. All of our Centers for Teaching and Learning are also available to help.
We Are in this Together.
We will continue to share information as we receive it. The Chancellor’s Executive Council (CEC) will be meeting on Monday, March 16 to talk about how we can collaborate as a system and answer questions about available resources and plans. The Google Form also includes an option for your questions. We have been and continue to be in close contact with District administration so please continue to use the form with your ideas and questions and we will do our best to send regular updates. Tuesday’s department meetings should include information from the Monday meeting, as well as providing an opportunity to talk together about what might work best in our own disciplines.
In the meantime, please know that we are here for you, and that we are in this together. We believe in your abilities as teachers and professionals and we know your commitment to and caring for your students and your colleagues.
Stay connected and stay informed. Do your best to determine how you can or cannot adapt your classes to an alternative format. Ask for help and give it. Be kind to each other and to our hardworking staff, who are anxious too.
Take care of yourselves and your families.