This document summarizes sources of support, clarifies terminology around course delivery modalities, and outlines expectations for the delivery of all OSU credit-bearing classes during Fall 2020.

The following principles inform the guidance outlined here:

  • The University’s commitment to the safety, success and support of students, faculty and staff at all times, and especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The importance of flexibility and compassion for student, faculty and staff needs.
  • The need for care and attention to those members of the OSU community—including individuals of color, individuals who are vulnerable or marginalized, and those with limited financial or family support—who may face substantially greater health risks and more limited access to technology.
  • OSU’s commitment to delivering high-quality, impactful and accessible learning experiences that support learners in attaining all course and program learning outcomes.

This document was prepared with extensive input from faculty listed below, and it has been endorsed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

  • Bill Bogley, Professor and Head of Mathematics
  • Lynn Greenough, Associate Director of Academic Technology
  • Regan Gurung, Interim Executive Director, Center for Teaching and Learning; Director, General Psychology Program
  • Selina Heppell, Professor and Head of Fisheries and Wildlife; Faculty Senate President-elect
  • Andrew Ketsdever, Dean of Academic Affairs, OSU-Cascades
  • Wade Marcum, Professor and Associate Dean in College of Engineering
  • Rebecca Mathern, Associate Vice Provost and University Registrar
  • Carol Millie, Director of Student Conduct
  • Dwaine Plaza, Professor of Sociology; Faculty Senate President
  • Devon Quick, Senior Instructor of Integrative Biology
  • Inara Scott, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean in College of Business

For purposes of this document, the term faculty is used broadly to include all employees engaged in supporting student learning (research faculty, instructional faculty, professional faculty that engage in classroom teaching, and graduate teaching assistants).


New technology and course modalities bring with them new and unique challenges. In response, OSU is providing additional training and 1:1 support for faculty as they develop their remote teaching capabilities. The following resources are available to support and assist faculty:

  • For assistance with course design and delivery, Fall 2020: Teaching Faculty offers guides and training opportunities, including 1:1 consultation. A number of training sessions have been also scheduled for Fall 2020. Register for a workshop or schedule a time for an individual consultation.
  • For assistance with teaching in Zoom, faculty may request a Tech Keep Teaching Assistant (TechKTA). More Zoom information and training can be found at Zoom information services.
  • For assistance using media, including recording lectures, contact the Faculty Media Center for training, assistance, and 1:1 consultation. More resources and information at Using Media for Teaching.

AS OSU prepares for the fall, it is important that students registering for classes have an accurate understanding of the kind of teaching and learning experience they may expect for a given course offering. Below are terms describing different modalities faculty are using to deliver their courses. Modalities have been noted in the online Schedule of Classes.

Note that synchronous course components are those for which the instructor and students meet on scheduled days and times as a class (meetings may be face-to-face in classrooms, using Zoom, or some combination of both). Asynchronous course components are those with no required specific class meeting times. Asynchronous components are typically structured around weekly tasks and deadlines and students interact with instructors and other students using Canvas tools and other technologies.

The following are OSU’s modalities and associated characteristics for the Fall 2020 term:

  1. On-site/in person: Instruction is delivered in person at the scheduled time (synchronously). Students are located primarily in the classroom. There may be some remote Zoom attendance.
  2. Remote: Students attend class sessions remotely using video conferencing (Zoom) at scheduled times (synchronously). If other remote work is performed outside of the scheduled meeting times, it must be done asynchronously so as not to conflict with another class or scheduled event. Participation occurs synchronously via Zoom (remote) for some or all components of the class.
  3. Ecampus: Fully online delivered instruction, (asynchronous). Participation occurs via Canvas. No synchronous meetings (optional office hours via Zoom are encouraged).
  4. Blended: A course format that has both on-site/in-person and remote elements. Some components include synchronous learning. Instruction is delivered in either the classroom or remote via Zoom. Participation occurs synchronously for some components of the class.
    Faculty may consider the following options:
    1. alternate course sessions between on-site/in-person and remote in order to reduce time students and faculty are engaging on-site and in the classroom; or
    2. adopting a rotational approach where a portion of class meets in person while other portion(s) attend(s) remotely for the same session, then the groups switch modalities for the next period; or
    3. another approach that meets this spirit (some in-person meetings) and ensures sufficient contact hours for all students.

The University has adopted the following teaching guidelines for the Fall 2020 term.

  1. Courses delivered in the 2020-21 academic year must use Canvas. For more information and training on Canvas, please view the Teaching Faculty website or find more information Using Canvas.
  2. Courses must use Zoom for synchronous class meetings or any synchronous activity that will be recorded and/or could be used to identify student participants. Zoom training and additional information is available Information services: Zoom.
  3. Synchronous class activities or meetings must not be scheduled outside the scheduled time for the course listed in the schedule of classes.
  4. Courses scheduled for remote delivery must include a synchronous component, though that synchronous component does not need to encompass the entire time allotted to the course as listed in the schedule of classes.
  5. Courses scheduled for blended or on-site/in-person delivery must include an in-person, on-campus and face-to-face component, though that component does not need to encompass the entire time allotted to the course as listed in the schedule of classes.
  6. Faculty may not offer on-site/in-person activities for courses that are designated as remote.
  7. Regardless of modality, all students must be given the opportunity to achieve the course learning outcomes as listed in the course syllabus.
  8. Requirements for participation and attendance in all activities, as well as a process for petitions, exemptions, or requests for accommodations must be communicated to students in the course syllabus.
  9. All courses must support OSU’s credit hour policy.
  10. As always, faculty must work with Disability Access Services (DAS) to accommodate students with disabilities.
  • Faculty should communicate clearly and in advance their expectations for attendance, participation, making up missed classes and/or assignments, conduct in Zoom meetings, academic misconduct, and other key course policies. Faculty should consider using a syllabus template to make sure they are clearly communicating their expectations for successful attainment of learning outcomes.
  • Faculty should consider pre-assigning and delivering in an asynchronous format non-interactive materials and course content (i.e., lectures, videos, readings). Synchronous time should be reserved for student interaction and engagement (i.e., group discussion, small group break-out sessions, guided problem solving). More recommendations for effective teaching in remote and blended modalities can be found Remote and Blended Teaching Principles page. The University has created an entire self-paced Canvas course to assist faculty entitled Designing and Teaching and Effective Remote/Blended Course. More suggestions and 1:1 consultation are available through the FALL 2020 Teaching Faculty page.
  • For synchronous on-site/in-person delivery of course material and activities, faculty are strongly encouraged to accommodate students who may be unable to participate in-person or synchronously. For example, faculty might:
    • record lectures;
    • record lectures and prepare brief questions or quizzes for students to submit (e.g. via Canvas, Top Hat or in Kaltura videos);
    • create alternative assignments for reflection/discussion;
    • allow several missed classes with no penalty.
  • Faculty teaching courses with on-site/in-person are advised to share and review OSU face covering and physical distancing policies with students during the first class sessions, including information on where to obtain a face covering. This can be done verbally, within the syllabus, and through slides or other documentation.
  • Faculty should consider using technology such as Top Hat and Zoom breakout rooms to address barriers to interaction that may arise from physical distance, difficulty hearing, and challenges facing students who are participating remotely.
  • If a student in an in-person/on-site course is not wearing a face covering, not maintaining physical distances, or in any way not adhering to public health or campus requirements, faculty should use a “friendly reminder” approach initially, and assume students support following the policy once fully informed.
  1. If a student indicates they cannot wear a face cover for a medical reason, they should be directed to Disability Access Services. Students should not be asked to provide more information. If a student is not able or willing to comply with a given policy, it may be possible to offer remote learning as an alternative.
  2. If a student refuses to comply with the policy after friendly reminders to do so, instructors should follow the same procedures used for other types of classroom misconduct, including asking the student to leave class. If the individual refuses to leave after being asked, the faculty member should contact the Department of Public Safety.
  3. The university is preparing additional guidance around managing potential classroom disruptions and other potential interactions with students who may not be adhering to public health guidance. This guidance will be available on the Teaching Faculty page when it is finalized.
  • If a student asks to participate remotely in a class designated for on-site/in-person or blended delivery, the faculty member is advised to accommodate the request to the extent feasible. At the same time, the University acknowledges that some course activities may not be able to be delivered remotely. Faculty who are unable to accommodate requests for a remote option should refer students to their academic advisor to discuss alternatives.