Announcements: QUFA Message About Remote Teaching

Dear QUFA Members,

As we approach the beginning of Fall 2020, it is clear that everyone is working hard to make a remote term successful. Given the number of novelties and uncertainties in moving to remote delivery of courses, we have become aware of many, sometimes conflicting or confusing, communications about how best to schedule course activities, manage lecture content and anticipate student accommodation and access needs.

In the spirit of helping you to sort through this information so that you can make good decisions about the fall, here are some guiding principles:

  1. There is a timetable for all undergraduate courses. The scheduled slots for your courses are there for you to use (or not) as you see fit. Given that no one can predict how the fall will unfold locally or internationally, we recommend that you retain those timetabled slots, even if, as of now, you do not plan to use them for synchronous course elements. You do not have to release the slots in advance of knowing who is in your course and how you may want to use the time in the future.
  2. You do not have to convert all elements of your course to asynchronous formats. You can retain synchronous elements at your discretion. There may be students requiring adjustments based on access restrictions to synchronous elements and there are many ways to address those needs depending on the nature of the content. You do not have to record lectures, nor do you have to repeat lectures throughout the day but if you have synchronous elements, you will need to think about how you will ensure students have access to all materials required for the course. It is up to you to decide how to do this.
  3. You do not have to close caption all synchronous or asynchronous elements unless students require accommodations. The University is looking into acquiring software that will do this when required.
  4. You do have to design a delivery plan for your course that makes sense for the course content and your pedagogical goals, and, as always, be prepared to address student requests for accommodation in sensible and meaningful ways – once you know what kinds of accommodations are going to be required.
  5. You may need additional teaching or technological supports in order to accomplish remote delivery and should be in touch with your Head as soon as you are aware of what additional supports you anticipate needing.
  6. Whatever you do in the fall, you retain your academic freedom to determine course content and your intellectual property rights over the materials you create or share.

The actual agreement between Queen’s and QUFA bears repeating here:

NOW THEREFORE, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. Members may be directed to teach courses by remote means, or some combination of remote and in-class courses, and/or Online Courses. Members shall retain the right to adjust course content in accordance with their right to Academic Freedom per the Queen’s-QUFA Collective Agreement
  2. Delivery of instruction by remote means is not intended to alter any Member’s existing Intellectual Property rights in the Collective Agreement.

This excerpt is taken from Schedule B of the COVID-19 LOU which can be found in full here:

https://www.qufa.ca/qufa-covid-19-watch/.

QUFA Members are currently faced with myriad decisions about appropriate content, delivery format and technological mediation in a novel context that cannot be fully anticipated. Lots of people are working to help you make the best choices under the circumstances. Please interpret their advice through the lens of the principles above and if you are being directed to adopt a technology or amend your content or restrict your scheduling freedom, contrary to what we have indicated here, please be in touch with QUFA staff directly.

Regards

Leslie Jermyn
Executive Director
jermynl@queensu.ca