Now that Spring Break is upon us, it’s worth taking a moment to consider just how much we have accomplished in the three weeks since campus closed. Not only have we managed to move almost all student services and other non-classroom job functions off campus, but we have moved more than 90% of our face-to-face courses, many taught by faculty with no prior online teaching experience or training, to some form of remote instruction. In three short weeks! That is a remarkable feat that speaks to our members’ commitment and dedication, both to our students and to the educational mission of this institution.
To be sure, the situation we find ourselves in raises serious questions, in both the short and long term, about the role played by online instructional technology in the work we do and how that will impact our terms and conditions of employment. We have pushed back and gained concessions from the administration where necessary—as in the stance we took concerning the non-classroom time logs—and we are beginning to plan for the larger discussions that will have to wait till the dust settles. In the meantime, though, let’s not forget to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. It is a very big deal.
The Incident Command Group and The Leadership Council met this week. These are some of the highlights:
Incident Command Group Meeting, March 30
- IT reports that 200 laptops will be delivered this week. ITS will attempt to re-image the CPU’s in the warehouse to be shipped to students/faculty and staff as needed. They are in the process of confirming addresses so that the laptops can be shipped. Once ITS completes this project, they will be off campus.
- Masks are on back order still. Gloves are well stocked in the warehouse. Sanitizer and cleaning wipes are out of stock.
- Distance Education is expanding online and Zoom training to get faculty on board and prepared for summer.
- The warehouse is open and receiving packages. Packages will not be delivered to homes. Discussion is ongoing about how those packages will get to the addressees.
Leadership Council Meeting, March 31
- Dual Enrollment: The college is proceeding with Dual Enrollment at the departmental level. There is no mandate to participate. So far Math, HPER and Legal studies asked for forms and they are on their way via email. This will be discussed at the CWCC on Thursday.
- Summer 2020: As of this meeting, enrollment was down 52% and it continues to drop.
- Fall 2020: Nothing has been decided yet about how we will proceed in the Fall. Discussions, internally and with SUNY, are ongoing.
- Preparations for the future: There is discussion about generating a Blackboard shell for every course we offer, populating it with the enrolled students at the beginning of the semester so that, if anything like this happens in the future, we will be better prepared for the move to remote/online modalities. Under normal circumstances, faculty will not be required to use Blackboard.
- Definition of Remote Teaching & Learning: Dr. Collins made clear that while SUNY has held Zoom-plus-email up as the “best practice” for remote instruction, it is, for now, not mandated by the college. Email communication with students, however, is mandatory.
- Grading Options: The college will not be adopting a pass/fail grading system for a number of reasons, including the fact that it can interfere with transferability.