Page last updated: 4/08/20 9:04 a.m. CDT. The latest information will be at the top of the page.
What is the status of interim and summer courses?
The University of Alabama is committed to providing consistency and continuity to our students, faculty and staff during this uncertain time. To aid in scheduling and planning, all summer courses with a class start date before June 22 will be taught in an online or remote format, which includes Interim, summer I and full summer term sessions.
We remain hopeful of the possibility to return to on-site instruction later in the summer. However, until circumstances change, faculty should continue preparing for online/remote course options for the remainder of the summer, including courses with a class start date on or after June 22.
Any further changes in the status of summer instruction will be announced by April 30 in accordance with UA System Office policy.
What are students’ grading options for the Spring 2020 courses?
Following a recommendation by the Faculty Senate and approved by President Bell, both undergraduate and graduate students now have the option to choose between a letter grade or pass/fail designation for Spring 2020 courses. The policy can be found here. Procedures are currently being put in place to allow students to take this action in myBama, and instructions for doing so will be disseminated in the coming days.
- This change applies only to Spring 2020 courses that have not yet ended.
- Students can choose between the letter grade or pass/fail option on a course-by-course basis.
- Grading choice can be made at any time until 5 p.m. April 24, the last day of classes.
- If a student does not specify a preference, the original grade assignment procedure will be used.
- The pass/fail option will be generally available to both undergraduate and graduate students except as professional or certification requirements dictate otherwise.
The deadline to drop a course has also been extended through April 24.
Can faculty hold in-person classes if students want to attend?
No. In-person classes, regardless of size, are suspended for the semester.
What resources are available to help me conduct classes online?
UA has many tools and options available. Find a list on the Center for Instructional Technology site.
Faculty have access to Zoom. Local recording is available to free and paid subscribers. Local recording allows users to record meeting video and audio locally to a computer. The recorded files can be uploaded to a file storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive or a streaming service like YouTube or Vimeo.
UA now has access to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra from within Blackboard. This tool has similar features to Zoom.
Blackboard Ally for Learn: In order to help instructors and students transition to online learning, Blackboard Ally for LMS has been enabled in all Blackboard courses. Ally helps make digital course content more accessible by automatically providing alternative formats (such as semantic HTML, audio, ePub, and electronic Braille) and providing instructor feedback and guidance on fixing accessibility issues in a course.
Use Panopto to record lectures or other content for students to access on-demand. Panopto also allows students to make recordings.
Can I go to my classroom if I want to record my class?
Yes. However, you should first contact your dean and/or department chair for further instructions before doing so to ensure social distancing requirements are being followed.
How do I implement remote accommodations for students?
The Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Accessibility page has information on remote accommodation implementation as well as information on how to ensure your online content is accessible, including applying extra time for exams. Contact CIT for any questions or concerns through their website.
How can I help my students communicate and/or collaborate with their classmates?
- Plan for collaboration: Students will naturally seek the assistance of their peers to help them understand and complete tasks. Direct and define the collaboration by creating specific opportunities for your students to work and learn together. For example, Blackboard offers tools to help you build discussion groups where you might ask students to pool their knowledge, course resources and experiences to discuss an issue or solve a problem. While these exchanges may not completely mirror the in-class experience, you’ll have assessment feedback on their learning.
- Plan for asynchronous activities: While planning for some Zoom class meetings can help keep your students on track, asynchronous activities such as discussion boards and student video projects can keep them engaged and help build self-regulated learners.
What are potential solutions for moving labs online?
Moving labs online is one of the most challenging parts of completing the semester online. There are free interactive science simulations for topics such as physics, chemistry, biology and more.
- Simulated/virtual labs: If you are using web-based sites from your textbook publisher, are there resources and virtual tools available? They might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, lab video demonstrations, simulations).
If you do not already require students to access the publisher site, it is not a good idea to start now as these tools incur cost to students. Alternative free sites such as BioDigital, Merlot or PhET include simulations and accompanying course materials It is important to note that these tools are not integrated into Blackboard and are not supported Blackboard.
- Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing videos of how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during a campus closure.
- Statistics software: If using SPSS software, IBM has extended its free trial of SPSS until June 15. This free trial seems to include all necessary add-ons that students and faculty use
My students still need tutoring support. Will tutoring still be available?
Yes. Capstone Center for Student Success is ready to offer opportunities via videoconference. Courses supported include many introductory and intermediate level courses in accounting, biological sciences, chemistry (general and organic), economics, mathematics and psychology. Tutoring services are available online via Zoom and do not require an appointment.
The Writing Center will move online for the rest of spring semester. Writing support will still be available for students. See the Writing Center Q&A for details.