Dear Faculty, First of all, we would like to thank you for your continued support of our students and their success in your courses in this challenging and unique time. This email aims to help you provide instructional continuity for your students.
As you know from the multiple memos from the President’s Office, Fullerton College is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Orange County. In addition to the College’s primary focus on the health and safety of our students and employees, Fullerton College is also developing plans and taking actions to support instructional continuity in order to prepare for the limiting of in-person instruction and to practice social distancing.
We encourage all faculty to prioritize putting a plan in place now to support and instruct students through various remote learning options. If you believe you cannot teach your course(s) remotely, contact your division dean immediately.
Every course at Fullerton College has a Canvas shell populated with currently enrolled students. In addition, 81% of our students were active users in Canvas during the month of February. This indicates that the majority of our students are already familiar with and using Canvas. The high level of student usage combined with the ease of use of this learning management system make it the best medium to conduct remote instruction and facilitate teacher-student interaction. Although Canvas is not the only way to teach courses remotely, instructional continuity is efficiently and seamlessly facilitated for both instructors and students via Canvas. Therefore, we encourage you to take advantage of this powerful tool.
We understand that training to teach remotely will require additional time for many faculty. Clearly, too, the expectation is not that faculty will become “online teachers” (which requires specific training). Therefore, the College is providing support to faculty in preparation to teach remotely. Fullerton College will provide on-campus support and division-specific collaboration on Friday, March 13th; Monday, March 16th; and Tuesday, March 17th. Further details (times, locations) will be forthcoming. Regularly scheduled in-person classes will be cancelled on these three days as well as on Saturday, March 14th. Because these weekdays would typically be regular instructional days, we are hoping this gives faculty the time and support needed to use Canvas without creating an extra demand of time. We are confident that this will provide faculty a valuable opportunity for collaboration and creation in support of remote teaching. Ultimately, this opportunity will provide a strong foundation for our ongoing support of our students.
Some faculty may be better positioned to teach remotely because they already have Canvas shells populated with instructional content. There are also faculty experts in Canvas who are teaching online classes. There are, however, instructors who are not currently using Canvas in their face-to-face classes; we as a campus community can help those instructors by providing the technical and pedagogical tools to aid in the transition to remote teaching. The Fullerton College distance education team will provide on-campus support on March 13th, 16th, and 17th. We encourage those faculty who are currently using Canvas in their face-to-face classes or for online classes to attend and actively support and guide your colleagues in creating remote teaching materials that are division- and department-specific. Your expertise in how you use Canvas in your discipline is invaluable in helping your colleagues and in fostering student learning.
In addition to the on-campus support, there are two self-paced virtual guides available in Canvas. The first is a Quick Start Course in building materials in Canvas. The second delves deeper into Rapid Remote Teaching. In addition, there are printable quick-start guides and short video demos available in the Quick Start section of the Distance Education website. Also, the California Virtual College Online Educational Initiative is offering three short webinars on Friday, March 13th: GettingStarted in Canvas from 1:00 PM–1:30 PM, Creating Accessible Content in Canvas from 2:00–2:30 PM, and Keep Teaching with ConferZoom from 3:00–4:00 PM. These support materials aim to assist faculty in implementing rapid remote teaching. The Fullerton College distance education team is also available to work one-on-one with faculty to help with Canvas basics and to get courses published. Drop-in hours for Canvas support are available immediately. The hours are Monday–Thursday 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM and Fridays from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM The ASC is room 801. In addition, Fullerton College has a dedicated 24/7 Canvas support line at 844-600-4948.
We encourage you to work with your division and department colleagues in navigating this unique situation. We also encourage you to view your students using an empathetic and compassionate lens since this situation will be challenging, disconcerting, and unusual for them. Please also reach out to your students to help guide them through this transition. Although this shift in many of our instructional practices will also pose some challenges for us, we are confident that the faculty of Fullerton College is up to the task. We are encouraged by the high level of commitment and dedication that faculty demonstrate to each other, the College, and– especially–our students. Working and supporting each other during this unique period will ultimately benefit all of us and ensure that we continue serving our students as they work toward their academic goals.
Darnell Kemp, Director of Distance Education and Kim Orlijan, Faculty Senate President