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Update on Student and Instructor Resources

Dear colleagues,

In less than 10 days, we went from offering 24,000 online credit hours this semester to more than 360,000 online credit hours. This tremendous feat could be accomplished only with your hard work. Thank you for your continued dedication to our educational mission and to the success of your students. We appreciate the sacrifices you have made.

Late last week the Student Success Center asked all undergraduates to complete a one-question survey on how they were doing. A similar survey will be sent to graduate students this week. Out of 4,214 undergraduate responses, 25 percent responded with “I’ve got this” and another 70 percent said they were “nervous but optimistic.” A total of 808 students said they needed help.

Student Success and One Stop staff have called 781 of those 808 students who said they needed help, and the rest will receive calls in the coming days. The most common student concerns are technical issues or anxiety around online courses.

We want all students to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to succeed in online courses. While this may take a little more time for some, it’s important that students are aware of the resources available to them. In addition to providing an online academic guide, the university has transitioned academic tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic coaching, and academic advising to a virtual environment to support student success.

In the meantime, below are some strategies, guidance, and resources from Vice Provost for Academic Affairs RJ Hinde that you may find helpful as you continue to transition to online instruction.

David Manderscheid
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

Connecting Your Students with Resources

If you have a student who may benefit from resources like academic tutoring, the Herbert Writing Center, or supplemental instruction, contact

Zoom Issues: Unwanted Disruptions, Time Zone Considerations

Today Chancellor Plowman addressed unfortunate incidents of Zoom bombing at UT and elsewhere. Zoom bombing is a term for unwelcome participants entering Zoom classrooms and causing disruptions. OIT’s Working and Teaching Remotely site has several tips for preventing Zoom bombing. The provost’s office has also created a set of Zoom ground rules for students, including a reminder that disrupting a Zoom class is a violation of the university’s Student Code of Conduct.

If you rely on Zoom to hold synchronous classes, keep in mind the challenges some students may face. Students are scattered all around the world, and for some your class might be taking place very early in the morning or late at night. On occasion, students might also experience temporary technical difficulties that cause them to miss a Zoom class. Please be flexible with your attendance requirements and consider developing a backup plan for students who miss a synchronous class session.

New Resources for Instructors

Teaching and Learning Innovation has developed several new resources for instructors teaching fully online classes. The resources are available through TLI’s Online Teaching site.

  • “Managing Your Online Classroom” is an interactive workshop designed to help instructors develop strategies for virtual classrooms, including tips for organizing discussions and preventing unwanted visitors in Zoom sessions. Visit the Upcoming Workshops and Webinars tab.
  • “Strategies to Deal with Difficult Moments in your Online Classroom” provides guidance on establishing an inclusive and positive online learning environment. Download it from the Teaching tab.
  • “Five Strategies for Using Asynchronous Online Discussions” presents suggestions for implementing online discussions that promote engagement and student learning. Download it from the Teaching tab, and bookmark the site for additional installments in TLI’s Five Strategies series.

Guide to Modified Undergraduate Academic Policies

If your students have questions about the temporary changes to undergraduate academic policies and procedures, refer them to this web page, which will be updated as we receive additional questions from students, faculty, advisors, and Student Success Center staff.

Student Email Overload

Students report that they are receiving more email now than ever before. To help ensure that your students are seeing and responding to the most important information in their inboxes, adopt a few simple strategies.

  • Consider putting your course subject and number (for example, ENGL 102) in the email subject field.
  • Consider adding “not time sensitive” or “time sensitive: read by [day or date]” to your email subject.
  • Consider using the first sentence of your message to indicate whether the message is time sensitive and whether it requires a deadline-driven action by students.