Dear College of Marin Faculty:
Thank you for your continued dedication to our students and creative efforts to continue educating them remotely during this pandemic. Thank you as well for your patience as we have consulted with chairs, coordinators, UPM, and others while determining how best to deliver summer session as the pandemic continues to unfold. Below are details about summer session.
Summer session will be conducted online, with no face-to-face instruction. Given what are likely to be restrictive social distancing requirements at the end of the stay-at-home order (the details of which are yet to be determined), online instruction is both advised by the Chancellor’s Office and the safest approach to minimizing disruptions to instruction. Some summer courses will be offered in our traditional DE-approved online format by DE-certified faculty and the rest will be offered in an online format that complies with new guidance from the Chancellor’s Office an ACCJC, our accreditor. Just so we are all using the same terminology, here are a couple of definitions relating to online learning—
- Distance Education (DE) – online, approved, OEI-aligned courses taught by a DE-certified instructor;
- Temporary Emergency Remote Instruction – online, instructor not fully trained in DE practices, and emergency blanket approval for course given by the Chancellor’s Office.
NOTE: Synchronous and asynchronous approaches can be used in both types of online instruction, although the training referenced below provides guidance on how to best use each strategy to meet all student learning needs.
To conduct remote instruction this spring we were required to submit a request for exemption (emergency blanket approval) to the Chancellor’s Office and a similar request to ACCJC. We will need to submit another exemption for summer—and will be required to meet higher standards relating to use of Canvas, assurances of accessibility, and focus on equitable practices than we have been this spring semester. I have included a link to a recent webinar on navigating these changing expectations at the end of this message should you be interested in learning more. If an exemption is requested for fall, expectations will be heightened even further.
Based on the context outlined above, our summer session strategy is based on the following:
- Inclusion of courses most critical to student progression (vetted by counselors)
- Maximizing courses that have been taught DE and/or by DE-trained faculty (some of which will be taught as DE-approved, others not, but all meeting the increasing expectations referenced)
- Progression toward the expectations of the CCCCO and ACCJC relating to online course quality, consistency, accessibility, and equity in all offerings
- Faculty teaching summer courses who have not previously completed DE training will participate in training to meet the expectations referenced in #3 above (this is not a training designed to get these faculty ‘DE-certified’ at this time. It will, however, allow those interested to more easily pursue that approval at a later date should they choose)
- A sensitivity to future local property tax revenue fluctuations due to fallout from the pandemic (being frugal now to mitigate any potential cuts later)
The summer schedule will be live on the College’s web page Friday, April 17. Priority registration for summer and fall begins on April 27 and continues into May.
Another word about our online teaching training strategy for faculty. It is based on the following:
- An overall approach designed to get significant numbers of faculty trained to the level of expectations the CCCCO and ACCJC will have for fall semester should we need to teach part/all of the term remotely
- An initial training for those slated to teach this summer who have not been through the DE training program (~20 faculty)
- A second training (for up to 50) focused on those slated to teach courses most likely to be taught online in the fall should the need exist
Again, this training is not designed to get faculty ‘DE-certified’ and will not qualify completers to teach DE courses post-pandemic. However, the training will position those who have an interest in becoming DE-certified to more easily complete that training at a later date should they choose. The COM Online Teaching and Design Pathway document, as it provides details about the training. Those meeting the criteria in #’s 2 and 3 directly above will be contacted by our Distance Education team shortly.
I know there will be additional questions, both about summer session and looking ahead to fall semester. Anticipating this, I will be conducting another all-faculty Zoom check-in at noon on Friday, April 24. An invitation will be forthcoming. I will provide updates as they are available and speak to recommendations from the Chancellor’s Office relating to spring grades (information on this item will also be sent in a future email). In the meantime, please do contact your dean if you have any questions or needs, and do let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.
Again, thank you for all you are doing for our students during this challenging time.