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Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the FAS is still considering all possible options for the fall and no decision has yet been made. But one thing has already become clear: it seems likely that, under any scenario, most of our instruction will be online. This is because of the impediments our international students will face returning to campus, because of the risks our immunocompromised students and faculty will face returning to the classroom, and because of the difficulty of holding in-person classes while still conforming to guidance from public health authorities.

As we work to prepare for remote instruction in the fall, we are guided by the recognition that the success of remote teaching depends on our ability to create and sustain connections among students and between students and faculty. With that in mind, we are doing the following things:
  • Increasing instructional support: Sections will be capped at twelve students, and graduate students will be trained to provide additional support for online teaching.
  • Conducting faculty trainings: All faculty are expected to attend trainings this summer. (There will be separate trainings, later in the summer, for TAs and TFs). Consisting of four one-hour live sessions, along with materials to review in advance, these trainings will offer concrete guidance on adapting courses to remote teaching. Faculty will finish them with a redesigned syllabus and Canvas site. You can sign up here.
  • Providing support for course redesign: Some faculty may want more support in redesigning their assignments and other activities. They can consult with staff at the Bok Center, and they can also hire graduate students to work on this over the summer. Here is a link to the application process. 
Finally, I want to address two questions that many of you have asked. The first concerns shopping period. It's clear that students won't be able to shop for courses as they ordinarily would, and Bernhard Nickel's registration committee is exploring alternatives. (You can write to him at bnickel@fas.harvard.edu to share your views.) You should be prepared to have your syllabi completed and your Canvas site live two to three weeks before the semester begins. 

The other question concerns technology. We will continue to use Canvas, Zoom, and Panopto, but we recognize that certain courses (language courses, lab courses, course that rely heavily on the blackboard) might have additional needs. We'll be working with chairs to determine what other technologies we should invest in.

As the summer goes on, we will continue to work to ensure that you have what you need to do your best teaching--and that our students have what they need to learn. Please don't hesitate to let me know if there are any questions you need answers to or any concerns you'd like to raise.

With all best wishes,

Amanda


Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Harvard College Professor
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
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