Fall 2020 Instructional Support and Resources for Faculty

Fall 2020 Instructional Support and Resources for Faculty

Dear Colleagues,

I appreciate your engagement, input, and patience as we have been developing plans for the fall semester.  While final plans are forthcoming, I wanted to share with you the strategy for supporting instructional transitions as we prepare for what is sure to be a unique semester.

The University is committed to providing an excellent education for every student in an environment that maintains the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. Accordingly, we have recommended a multi-modal instructional approach for the fall 2020 semester that delivers course instruction in three broad categories: In-person (all students participate face-to-face); hybrid (a combination of face-to-face and online), and fully online.

As you know, we have engaged in a robust evaluation of the fall schedule and have twice sought feedback from faculty and departments about preferred teaching modality.  The Academic Continuity Work Group is examining course designations in relation to enrollment caps, faculty preference, and classroom capacity.  That work is being finalized now as the committee continues to meet with departments and individuals to ensure that we have the correct instructional delivery method for every course on the fall schedule.  I anticipate that the full slate of classes with reclassified delivery mode will be available within the next two weeks.

What is the strategy for supporting faculty? 

University Instructional Support System

Whether your course will be taught in the classroom, online, or in a hybrid mode, the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership (ITLAL), Information Technology Services (ITS), and Online Teaching and Learning (OTL), in consultation with the Academic Continuity Workgroup’s OTL subcommittee, have developed workshops, webinars, and related supports to assist you as you prepare your instruction.  

While the specifics about the fall semester are still taking shape, there are resources available to begin building your courses if you would like to do so. Specifically, the following instructional support options are available to you now with workshops beginning as soon as June 10.

1. Workshops and webinars

  • Course Design and Development workshops to support your overall course approach, goals and strategies regardless of delivery mode (offered by ITLAL)

  • Design for Online Learning workshops to support a holistic transformation of a course to online delivery (offered by ITLAL/OTL)

  • Technology Tools to Support Pedagogy webinars to provide you with the skill to apply technology solutions that meet your pedagogical objectives (offered by ITS). 

  • See a preliminary schedule of workshops and webinars for June.

2. New Adaptable Blackboard Template.

  • A new, optional template is being developed by ITS to provide a framework for all courses, if desired, and to support a smoother transition, if necessary, among the modes of delivery. This template will be available when Blackboard courses are created in mid-late June.

3. Fall 2020 Keep Teaching Course Development and Planning Resources.

  • All fall instructors have been added to the Fall 2020 Keep Teaching Course Development and Planning Resources blackboard resource, which contains structured guidance through the process of designing and developing a fully online course. It is designed for individual, self-paced work, with access to in-person support from ITLAL and ITS staff. You will be notified when this resource goes live in mid-June.

4. Individual consultation.

5. Remote Teaching Brown Bag sessions.

  • ITLAL will offer virtual brown bag sessions every Friday at noon using Zoom. These are informal opportunities for instructors to share challenges and learn from the collective wisdom of their colleagues

School/College Support

Each School/College is exploring options for peer-to-peer instructional support opportunities to assist colleagues in course design and development. 

Additional information about the instructional strategy will be shared regularly throughout the summer and a Fall 2020 Keep Teaching website will launch soon.  In the meantime if you have questions or concerns about the instructional strategy, please reach out to JoAnne Malatesta (jmalatesta@albany.edu) or Kevin Williams (kwilliams@albany.edu). 

Again, thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time.  I look forward to continued collaboration with all of you as we work to build the best experience possible for our students.


Carol Kim