March 15 Message to Faculty/Staff: Remote Education Guidance and Resources

To Case Western Reserve faculty, instructors and staff who assist in the delivery of education:

I first need to extend my deep gratitude to our incredible community of faculty, instructors and staff for all that you have done to prepare to remotely teach our students beginning Wednesday, March 18. I know many of you are still working fast and furiously to creatively approach this problem, which is very difficult on so many levels. But you have done this with the utmost care for our students and for each other, and with a level of academic integrity and professionalism that makes me so very proud to be part of this community of scholars.

Below please find guidance and resources to help manage through the week:

We need to limit individual interaction. We are at the point in this health crisis where hard decisions must be made to keep people at home and, as much as possible, away from one another. There are a few exceptions to this issue, including graduate students in the laboratory (if social distancing and CDC guidelines are followed) as well as individual faculty members going into their on-campus classrooms to tape lectures (these should be individual-oriented activities and done only if activities can’t be completed at home). For additional guidance, please see the university’s COVID-19 updates page.

We need to muster as much creativity as possible in meeting the learning objectives of our students. This is not the ideal state by anyone’s standards. Our delivery will not always be perfect, but we have already seen incredible solutions and ideas coming forward. For additional ideas, please see UTech's Technology for Remote Teaching and Working section. It links to the Prepare to Teach Anywhere page, which contains resources provided by UTech and UCITE. Please check back as these sites are developing in real-time and will include additional resources throughout the week and beyond.

We need to be flexible with our policies and procedures. This includes everything from changing the way we grade to altering attendance policies to adjusting project deadlines as well as how we should consider requirements for student honors and awards. It is also important to recognize that the approaches for undergraduate, graduate and professional students will differ based on unique needs, versus a blanket approach. Download additional details about undergraduate and graduate students. Policies and procedures for professional students will be addressed at the dean level.  

We need to embrace the concept that remote learning is both low and high tech. We know you wish to strive for the highest levels of technology access and use, but we all know that we may encounter many unknown circumstances, including failure of the technology as the entire country moves to this medium. While we are very fortunate to have excellent technology and support, we know this is uneven elsewhere within the homes of both our students and faculty. Please have a low-tech solution at hand.

We need to keep helping each other. We know this cannot possibly answer all of your questions or issues, so please keep working with your deans and department chairs to determine the best approach to your remote learning issues. We are setting up a virtual faculty and instructor lounge that will be monitored by both UTech’s Teaching and Learning Technologies’ and UCITE staff. This self-enroll Canvas site will allow you to continue helping one another and share best practices, solutions and ideas.

Thank you again for all you are doing to keep us moving in the right direction. We encourage you to continue reaching out to your students, letting them know that we are all in this together and that we all have learning curves in this transition. We are one Case Western Reserve University community. We will continue to support each other. And we will make it through together.

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President