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Spring 2021: COVID-19 Teaching Resources


I hope the winter holidays provided the necessary rest and rejuvenation after a very demanding fall semester. With the new year, comes new hope that better days are ahead for our campus and our global community.

To help you prepare for the new semester, we want to tell you about a number of new COVID-19 teaching resources that have been created in response to feedback we’ve received from you and your students:

On-Campus Course Support

  • Back to the Classroom: Faculty who are teaching on-campus this spring are encouraged to sign-up for this active learning opportunity on January 19, where instructors with prior physically-distanced or hybrid teaching experience will showcase mock classroom activities and discuss general strategies for facilitating physically-distanced class sessions.
  • Teaching in the Physically-Distanced Classroom: This resource provides helpful information regarding accessibility standards, organizing active learning and group activities, setting classroom expectations, and promoting student engagement.

Online & Hybrid Course Support

  • Building a Community in Online Classes: This resource provides strategies to build a learning community in online classrooms, including tips on synchronous interaction, establishing communication expectations, fostering connection, and collecting mid-semester feedback.
  • Consultation with a Faculty Fellow for Technology Enhanced Teaching: Several faculty fellows are available to provide disciplinary assistance to colleagues who are developing online, hybrid or technology-enhanced courses. You can request a consultation to receive assistance in a variety of areas, such as synchronous or asynchronous student engagement tips, orchestrating effective online labs, Canvas strategies, video creation and much more.

General Support

  • Just in Time Teaching Tips: This video series features faculty providing bite-sized tips on using Canvas, grading procedures, lab skills and more.
  • Vol Success Tips & Videos: It may be helpful to share this series of videos with your students at the beginning of the semester, so they are equipped with actionable items to succeed in the classroom.
  • Recommended Syllabus Language Related to COVID-19 and Absences: When writing your syllabi, it’s encouraged to outline your expectations and proper university protocol in case students need to self-isolate and/or if they fall ill. This recommended language can assist in providing such additions to your syllabi, including suggested language regarding excused absences and make-up work.
  • Academic Integrity: We recommend you review your standards regarding academic integrity, and make sure expectations are clearly communicated to students at the beginning of the semester. Online educational environments have created additional situations you might need to discuss with your students. Asking students to acknowledge the honor code at the start of the course and even before each major assignment is a simple way to reinforce academic integrity.

Finally, I want to remind you that the Student Health Center (SHC) provides free EverlyWell COVID-19 Home Collection Kits to UTK employees, who are not displaying symptoms. Faculty may go to the SHC during regular business hours to obtain a kit. Appointments are not required.

Your resilience and dedication continue to be a bright spot during these challenging times. On behalf of the entire administration, thank you for your tremendous efforts. Welcome back, and I wish you a successful spring 2021 semester.

Thank you,

John Zomchick
Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor