CAS Information for COVID-19

This page includes CAS specific COVID-19 information.  For all university-wide COVID-19 information, visit buffalo.edu/coronavirus/dashboard.

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Faculty Distance Learning Support

Training steps to prepare for delivering your class remotely

The university supports UB Learns (Blackboard), PanoptoWebex and Zoom to conduct your class remotely.

UBIT Help Center – The primary help center for the university

Training Opportunities

  1. Register for a Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) Emergency Course Building Sessions
    • Online Sessions: Monday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 31
      CEI is now offering several online group-format sessions beginning Monday, March 23. These sessions will give you an overview of University supported tools and technology which will assist you in moving existing courses online. 
    • CEI - One-On-One Consultations
      Faculty may now request an online one-on-one consultation with CEI for assistance with moving existing courses online.
    • Jay Stockslader, director of online learning and continuing education in CAS has participated in these Emergency Course Building Sessions. If you have specific questions, you may also contact Jay directly at jstocks@buffalo.edu
  2. Recorded sessions of this week’s Panopto/Webex/Zoom faculty trainings 
    • These recordings covered Panopto (lecture recording/captioning); UBbox (unlimited, secure file storage and sharing); WebEx conferencing; UBlearns (Blackboard) learning management system and Zoom
  3. Zoom virtual office hours Friday, 3/27 at 2 p.m. ET.
    To join this virtual session, vist https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/237348580 at the scheduled time.
    Visit the UBIT website for more information about setting up Zoom on your device: buffalo.edu/ubit/zoom.

Online Resources

  1. UB Learns for Faculty
    A fantastic website for all of your UB Learns questions, helpful links and UB Learns Support Team
  2. Panopto
    Record, edit and publish academic video and audio content from your computer or mobile device. This website has everything you need to conduct a class remotely with support links.
  3. Webex
    Cisco Webex is a Web conferencing tool available to UB faculty, staff and students that enables fully interactive video and audio connections with people locally and around the world.
  4. Zoom
    UB’s Enterprise Zoom is now available for all UB faculty, staff and students who currently have access to Webex. Zoom is a video communication platform that includes video conferencing, phone, chat and screen sharing

    Please note that this is an additional conferencing solution and DOES NOT replace Cisco Webex. If you are already using Webex successfully, there is no need for you to change. This is simply an additional resource available.

CAS Assistance

If after attending one of the options listed above, you still require assistance, then please contact the CAS Dean’s Office by one of the following options:

For the latest information about UB’s preparedness, please visit www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus

Academic Continuity Q&A

(as of March 16, 2020)

Please contact your campus program review liaison or Associate Provost David Cantaffa with questions at: david.cantaffa@suny.edu.

Remote Learning

1. What resources are available to support faculty and students in remote learning?

SUNY has established an online tools resource page, which contains a range of supports.

2. Do I need approval to offer programs via the distance education format?

Middle States issued guidance on March 9, 2020 temporarily adjusting the substantive change process. Rather than seek approval, an institution must submit formal written notice only if the institution is not fully approved to offer programs by this delivery method. If sending notice to Middle States, please cc SUNY at program.review@suny.edu.

NYSED issued guidance on March 5, 2020 granting institutions that wish to offer current courses/programs online that are not currently registered with NYSED in the distance education format temporary approval for the Spring 2020 academic term for to offer programs in this delivery method.

For programs with programmatic accreditation, please consult with the accreditor regarding approval requirements. This varies across accreditors and continues to evolve.

3. What does “Substantive Interaction” mean? Is there any guidance on maintaining virtual contact with students?

Faculty must communicate with students through one of several types of technology – including email—either individually or collectively—on a regular basis. An instructor could use email to provide instructional materials to students enrolled in their class, use chat features to communicate with students, set up conference calls to facilitate group conversations, engage in email exchanges or require students to submit work electronically that the instructor will evaluate (adapted from USDE guidance of March 5, 2020). In those instances where a student lives in an area with limited internet connectivity, campuses may consider teleconferencing via land-line phone and surface mail.

4. If campuses are still open and faculty are willing to teach face-to-face with a waiver and students as well would that be allowed?

The only consideration for not transforming a course into remote learning and instead maintaining a course in an in-person format is if it would not be practicable to transform the course into remote learning. These decisions may only be informed by academic requirements of the discipline and campus policy, not according to faculty and/or student preference. 

Course Credits

5. What is sufficient course coverage to consider a course completed such that full credit can be awarded?

Unless explicitly approved by SUNY, the New York State Education Department, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and United States Department of Education to reduce the academic calendar, 100% course coverage is expected in order to award full credit.

6. Is there any flexibility in meeting credit hour requirements? Will there be any relief on minimum hours required?

50.1(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations defines a credit (a.k.a. semester hour) as follows: a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments.

For courses offered in a remote format, the total learning time remains the same (45 hours per credit hour), but the breakdown between instruction and supplementary assignments can vary. When calculating time, faculty should consider the time it would take for students to engage in the following:  interacting with course presentations/lectures; reading other materials; participation in online discussions; doing research; writing papers or other assignments; and completing all other assignments (e.g. projects).

52.2(c)4iii provides that a semester hour of credit may be granted by an institution for fewer hours of instruction and study than those specified in 50.1(o) due to temporary closure of an institution by the State or local government as a result of a disaster. At this point in time, SUNY institutions have not closed or ceased academic operations; therefore, this provision is not applicable

Course Grading

7. Are there guidelines regarding a maximum number of courses in a program that can be graded S/U?

There is no SUNY-wide policy regarding this; instead, this is a campus-based decision. As related to spring 2020, campuses are encouraged to be flexible where appropriate; but, in doing so, campuses should consider broader impact, such as on overall GPA.

For programs with programmatic accreditation, please consult with the accreditor regarding approval requirements. This varies across accreditors and continues to evolve.

8. Are there guidelines regarding course extensions and/or assigning a grade of incomplete?

There is no SUNY-wide policy regarding this; instead, this is a campus-based decision. As related to spring 2020, campuses are encouraged to be flexible where appropriate. NYSED has issued guidance that indicates the following: Institutions may consider exceptions to their published policies on granting course extensions/incompletes and extend the deadline for incompletes to be resolved, but should be mindful of possible impact on student financial aid eligibility.

Academic Calendar

9. What is the process for making adjustments to the academic calendar?

Middle States issued guidance on March 9, 2020 temporarily adjusting the substantive change process related to changes to the academic calendar. Rather than seek approval, an institution must submit formal written notice of the plan. If sending notice to Middle States, please cc SUNY at program.review@suny.edu. There is no requirement to submit notice to NYSED regarding a temporary agreement such as this.

Partnering with Other Institutions

10. Is there guidance on partnering with another institution or entity to provide instruction?

Middle States issued guidance on March 9, 2020 temporarily adjusting the substantive change process related to temporary agreements with other institutions. Rather than seek approval, an institution must submit formal written notice of the plan. If sending notice to Middle States, please cc SUNY at program.review@suny.edu. There is no requirement to submit notice to NYSED regarding a temporary agreement such as this.

Clinical Practice, Laboratory, Studio, Field-Based, and Applied Learning

11. Is there guidance regarding educator preparation programs as related to clinical practice requirements?

For teacher preparation programs registered through the Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE), NYSED is in the process of developing guidance to the field. For other educator preparation programs registered through OCUE (e.g., school counseling, school psychology), we are working with NYSED and the other higher education sectors in pursuit of guidance. For programs with programmatic accreditation, please consult with the accreditor regarding approval requirements. This varies across accreditors and continues to evolve.

12. Is there guidance regarding licensure-qualifying programs as related to clinical practice requirements?

For licensure-qualifying programs registered through the Office of the Professions (OP), NYSED is in the process of developing guidance to the field. Currently, for those professional preparation programs that require clinical practice experiences, NYSED has developed a form for campuses to propose alternate ways to meet requirements (including through the use of simulation).  We encourage campuses to make use of this form. Note that NYSED is working to approve or respond with questions within 48 hours (This form is not yet posted online but is attached to this guidance). Because of the variability across disciplines and programs, NYSED has not developed a singular set of criteria for remote learning options. Instead, NYSED is expecting faculty are developing and sharing ideas with each other and through supports from related professional associations. For programs with programmatic accreditation, please consult with the accreditor regarding approval requirements. These vary across accreditors and continue to evolve.

13. Is there guidance about how to handle course and/or program requirements that include laboratory, studio, field-based, and/or applied learning experiences?

For facility-dependent laboratory and studio courses as well as courses with field-based and applied learning experiences external to the classroom that are part of a registered program or are graduation requirements, but not explicitly required by NYSED regulation, an institution may make contextually-appropriate modifications to the student learning outcomes and the means for meeting course expectations. Note that training provided about remote studio and science instruction has been announced; register here. As applicable, consideration should be given to the framework of professional association guidelines that establish expectations for curricular components at a particular award level.

14. Can we adjust the timing of when clinical practice, laboratory, studio, field-based, and applied learning may occur?

Campuses may adjust the timing of when clinical practice requirements, as well as laboratory, studio, field-based, and/or applied learning experiences may take place during the semester. For example, didactic instruction can be the focus of the next four weeks, with these other experiences rescheduled as intensive/clustered experiences later in the semester and/or after, depending on the conditions at that time.

15. For required and unchangeable curricular components that are not replicable and/or practicable to be completed via remote learning, what priorities should be given to students to complete these after the spring 2020 semester?

For students with expected graduation this spring, arrange for completion of non-replicable components as soon as practicable (priority for summer experiences should be given to those expected to graduate at the end of the spring 2020 term) and award the degree as soon as possible post-completion. And, to the extent possible and permissible, arrange for alternative experiences such as experiential learning (including service learning) that enables the student to demonstrate mastery of required learning outcomes.

For students not graduating this spring, be flexible with completion of non-replicable components of their courses and allow them to finish requirements over the summer or during the fall semester.

Degree Conferral

16. Can a campus be flexible with its spring degree award date to accommodate for extended time to complete program requirements (such as clinical practice experiences) so that students are not required to wait until the next planned award date?

Yes, flexibility exists within SUNY and NYSED policy to implement a range of possibilities based on campus processes and individual student needs.

Concurrent Enrollment

17. Do you have recommendations for concurrent enrollment programs?

This question remains under consideration with NYSED and will be informed by decisions made within P-12 schools.

Guidelines for Non-Classroom-Based Learning: Courses Numbered 495-499

Guidelines for Non-Classroom-Based Learning: Courses Numbered 495-499

Distance-Learning Transition March 19, 2020

1. Please remember that, as of Monday, March 23, 2020, all credit-bearing courses in the College of Arts and Sciences must be offered remotely. Instructors are required to move all credit-bearing courses to remotely accessible distance-learning prior to instruction resuming on Monday, March 23, 2020.

  • a. Please note that this stipulation covers all non-classroom-based credit-bearing courses, including those numbered (or their equivalents):
        i. 495 (Undergraduate Supervised Teaching)
        ii. 496 (Internship, Service-Learning)
        iii. 497 (Honors Thesis)
        iv. 498 (Undergraduate Research)
        v. 499 (Independent Study)
        vi. 200-level courses under the rubrics above
  • b. Per Provost Weber’s directives, all instructors must contact students by March 19, 2020 with information about how to access course content remotely.
  • c. Please remember that CAS instructors cannot require students to be present on campus for any credit-bearing activity for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

2. The College recognizes that activities upon which non-classroom-based courses depend may have already been or soon will be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undergraduate students will be impacted by the move of undergraduate courses to distance-learning, limitations on laboratory research, and the termination of internship programs.

3. In the interest of following Provost Weber’s directive to practice social distancing, please avoid and discourage any in-person meetings with students you supervise in these courses. Communication with students should be conducted by email, Webex, UB Learns, phone, or other forms of telecommunication.

4. For all disrupted non-classroom-based courses, it may be useful to follow recommendations in regard to alternate completion options from the UB Experiential Learning Network on Completing Your Experiential Learning Course

  • a. Please consider directing students to complete a Reflection Digital Badge (see instructions on the page linked above).
  • b. Please note that this is only a suggested option. Digital badges are not required by CAS to complete the non-classroom-based courses indicated in these guidelines. Alternate course requirements and evaluation are at the discretion of each course supervisor.

5. Undergraduate Supervised Teaching:

  • a. Students enrolled in 495 may be able to contribute to online discussions or tutorials through UB Learns sufficient to meet requirements for the course.
  • b. If the online participation of 495 students is not possible, supervisors are encouraged to have students complete alternate assignments to fulfill course requirements (e.g., write substantive essays reflecting on their experiences, develop lesson plans based on their experiences, etc.).

6. Internship and Service-Learning:

  • a. Students may not be required to conduct internships or service-learning activities at workplaces where interpersonal distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible. Given this restriction, instructors should expect that most internships and service-learning will not be permitted for the rest of the spring semester.
  • b. All students, regardless of the precautions provided by their internship or service-learning sites, must be offered the option of completing their credit- bearing non-classroom-based activities remotely if they wish to do so.
  • c. Students may supplement any lost time in such activities by completing an alternate assignment to fulfill course requirements (e.g., writing reflection essays on their experiences, developing materials/activities related to their experiences, etc.).
  • d. The Experiential Learning Network is a very good resource for students completing 496 courses.

7. Undergraduate Research:

  • a. Students cannot be mandated to conduct research on campus for any credit-bearing activity. All students must be offered the opportunity to complete their work remotely.
  • b. For laboratory-based 498 courses, please consider requiring students to complete alternate assignments to fulfill course requirements (e.g., provide students with data-sets that can be analyzed remotely, require students to prepare/edit written materials, or require students to submit narrative summaries or reflective essays about the research work they have already conducted, etc.)

8. Thesis and Independent Study:

  • a. As stated above, please refrain from in-person meetings with advisees.
  • b. All course and research materials should be available to students in electronic formats.
  • c. Please ensure that students can complete and deliver projects remotely in forms appropriate to each discipline.

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