Policy Title Remote Instruction: Expectations and Best Practices
Type or category of Policy: Administrative
Approval Authority: Dr. Margaret Madden, Provost and Senior Vice President
Responsible Executive: Dr. Margaret Madden, Provost and Senior Vice President
Responsible Office: Academic Affairs
Owner Contact: Office of Academic Affairs, academicaffairs@siena.edu, 518-783-2307
Reviewed By: Dr. Margaret Madden
Reviewed Date: July 28, 2020
Last Revised and Effective Date of Revision:  

Reason for Policy

Providing guidance on the expectations for remote instruction.

Scope of the Policy: Entities or Individuals affected by this policy

All faculty.

The Official Policy:

Remote Instruction: Expectations and Best Practices

  • Explicitly Clear Course Structure
    • Use Canvas as the platform for course materials and student engagement; email alone is not sufficient
    • Post (and make sure students can easily find) syllabus and all major assignment due dates
    • Provide guidelines and expectations for all online activities and assignments
    • Provide a schedule for all synchronous activities (if any); NB: synchronous sessions should ONLY be held at scheduled class times
    • Be clear regarding expectations for how much time students should be spending on the course each week
  • Online Presence
    • Post announcements and updates regularly -- reminders, clarifications, FAQs, deviations from syllabus, etc. (choose one main vehicle you will use to communicate with students: e.g. Canvas announcements or email)
    • Have online office hours at regularly scheduled times as well as by appointment, and encourage students to use them 
    • Check in with students regularly regarding their grasp of course content
    • Follow up with students who are not engaged with the course; use the SKIPS report to refer students to campus support services: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1b8Ak1ZixLTSMDlXrEH_uD2ROSKIi9rBkMBwRx2od1LQ/viewform?ts=5b31491e&edit_requested=true
  • Content Aligned with Learning Objectives
    • All required course content, activities and assignments should directly support one or more course learning outcomes
  • Prompt Feedback
    • Respond to email and Canvas inquiries from students promptly, at maximum within three days
    •  Provide feedback on assignments, preferably via Canvas, before the next assignment of a similar kind is due
    • Use Canvas Gradebook whenever possible; if students are not submitting assignments on Canvas, tell students how they will receive feedback
  • Course Accessibility
    • Use captioning where available on livestreams or recorded video
    • Provide options for synchronous participation in case of technology failure or access issues
    • Keep differences in time zone in mind for students who are attending remotely
    • Provide backup versions of synchronous course materials -- transcripts, chat logs, file downloads, links to video, etc. -- that students can access offline
    • Use content resources that are available in a digital format whenever possible
  • ● Provide Technical Support Information
    • Make sure students know whom to contact if they are having technical difficulties

In addition to our own resources provided by ITS and COTFD, these may be helpful for additional guidance:

Adopted: July 28, 2020

Reviewed: Date the policy was last reviewed.

Revised: Date(s) of revisions made to the policy.