Module - Faculty FAQs

Faculty FAQs

Fall 2020

VU’s instructional delivery methods for the 2020-2021 Academic year must be flexible in order to meet the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 virus.  These FAQ's are intended to address some of the faculty questions that may arise.

COVID-19 Related Questions
What should I do if I have to go into quarantine or isolation?
Are there restrictions on university travel for professional development?
What should I do if someone in my class receives a positive COVID diagnosis or if they have been notified that they are a primary contact?
What should I do if I have been notified by the VU Contact Tracing Team/UPCC that I have a student who has a positive diagnosis or has been notified that they are a primary contact?
What should I do if I have received a positive diagnosis myself or if I have been notified by a local health agency or provider that I am a primary contact?
Can I remove a student from class if they are exhibiting COVID symptoms?
Am I allowed to take a student’s temperature?
Can I recommend that a student be tested for COVID-19?
If a student states they do not feel well and they leave/do not attend class, are they allowed to come back to class when they “feel better” or do they have to supply a negative test result?
Should I report COVID-19 absences on TAPS?

What will our instructional delivery look like this Fall?

VU is committed to maintaining a high-quality educational experience for our students.  The conditions we are facing this coming school year will require us to do all we can to balance quality instruction with the health and safety concerns of everyone in the VU community. Face-to-face instruction will be an important part of course delivery in the fall, and many of VU's fall course offerings will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual instruction with some being entirely virtual. Unlike Spring 2020, we have had time to prepare for a much higher level of pedagogical quality in our hybrid and virtual delivery of courses and students and their families are expecting that higher level of quality.  We must expect it of ourselves as well.  


What was the guiding philosophy behind returning most students to campus and choosing these modes of instruction?

We considered several possible scenarios and solicited feedback from faculty, students and staff.  We also monitored the reports from local and national health agencies.  In the end, we identified the structure that we felt best emphasized safety while also being most accessible and equitable for all community members.

What has been done to prepare faculty and students for virtual and  hybrid course formats? 

We have used the time since last spring to design resources for both students and faculty so that both can thrive in the hybrid environment. We have developed a Blackboard video and tutorials that can be found in the student's MyVU and we have also increased access to online tutoring. As you may know, a number of adjunct and full-time faculty members completed Blackboard training of between 10 and 40 hours this summer. Zoom licenses will be available for all faculty.  Additionally, virtual tutoring for specific courses has been increased through the expansion of Brainfuse.  We are confident that as a whole, both VU students and faculty will be well-prepared to succeed in the virtual aspects of their courses and in the hybrid environment overall. 

Can all these plans change if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases?

Yes.  We will all need to remain flexible in the event of a spike, a rapid change in Indiana public health regulations or events we cannot foresee.  All courses will have at least some online component at the end of the semester, and you should be prepared to “go virtual” before then if the conditions warrant it.  

Will Fall 2020 classes be offered on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis? 

VU will observe traditional grading options and requirements as we start the fall semester.  Should we need to move to a purely remote learning environment as we did last spring, we would consider instituting the Emergency Grade options.

How will the health and safety of our classrooms be maintained?

Room Layout:  All classrooms have been rearranged or redesigned to ensure appropriate spacing between students.  Each room layout includes a “teaching zone” at the front of the class to provide sufficient room for you to move about while maintaining a safe distance from the front row of students.  Seat locations in many classrooms have been marked and should not be moved.  

Seating and Attendance

Seating should be assigned during the first meeting and maintained consistently throughout the semester.  You are asked to take attendance regularly and to maintain an accurate attendance log.  These steps will be critical to support contact tracing should a student test positive for COVID during the semester.  

Classroom Cleaning

Plentiful cleaning materials (disinfecting wipes or equivalent) will be placed in each classroom for students and you to use in sanitizing their work areas, which may include audio-visual cables and controls.  At the conclusion of class after students exit, you are expected to spray down desks, tables, and other.  When you enter a classroom, you are expected to wipe the areas dry.  This will allow for the spray to sit on the surface for the required 3 minutes.  The spray dries itself in 6 minutes.  


If you are teaching face-to-face or hybrid courses, departments will provide you with a supply of whiteboard markers and erasers to reduce the amount of communal equipment in use in the classroom.  You will need to remember to bring those materials with you each day you teach.  Please refrain from asking students to write on the board, or, if your pedagogy includes asking students to write on the board, you should ask students to supply their own.


Course Basics

 What does “mode of instruction” mean? 

“Mode of instruction” is the manner in which a class component (lecture, discussion, lab) is delivered in a given semester. Fall 2020 modes of instruction will include both hybrid and virtual (online).

How can I determine if I have a virtual course for my Fall? 

Log in to MyVU account > under “Quick Links”, click on Faculty & Advisor Self Service  > Faculty Detail Schedule.  By default, all courses are hybrid (since we will all be moving to remote teaching after Thanksgiving).  If one of your courses is virtual, you will see the word “virtual instruction” written under building location. 

Where will my classes meet?

All hybrid course sections have been assigned a physical location. Hybrid courses will meet in-person at the physical location.  You should outline in-class and out-of-class days in the syllabus. All virtual (and online) courses will be loaded into the Blackboard course list, and students will access them the first week of class. 

Are virtual and hybrid courses self-paced for students? 

No.  Neither virtual courses nor hybrid courses are self-paced courses.  All assignments will have deadlines.  While students can work from their computers for convenience and safety, students will be expected to keep up with the class due dates you have placed in your syllabus.

Do I need to be on campus to conduct my virtual instruction, or the virtual component of hybrid instruction?  

Quality of instruction is the key.  If you can deliver quality instruction with minimal distraction and stable internet connection from home, do so.  If the office environment is more conducive to distraction-free teaching and stable resources, you may work from your office 

Can I hold my office hours in my office? 

Where possible, your office hours should match the mode of course delivery and be clearly defined on your syllabus. If you are teaching a hybrid course, your office hours should be a combination of face-to-face and online.  If your office is too small to allow for proper social distancing,  consider other locations within your building or the LRC.  Please do your best to accommodate students as much as possible in regard to office hours.  Supplementary virtual office hours can easily be scheduled with a recurring Zoom link. 


Hybrid Instruction

 What does “hybrid” mean?  

"Hybrid" means that classes will combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. In a hybrid class, a portion of the course learning will be online. The hybrid approach to course delivery will allow VU to follow the safety protocols of de-densifying classrooms and buildings while also providing face-to-face instruction to students.  A hybrid course by definition is a mixture of face-to-face and virtual instruction.    We have defined “hybrid” as having at LEAST 26% of the course instruction delivered in a face-to-face environment and this definition has been shared with HLC.  It is imperative that we adhere to this.  Because course delivery methods were only recently changed to hybrid or online,  instructors should hold classes on the listed days and times for synchronous course activities like lecture, demonstration, discussion or tests.  Please consult your dean if you have any questions. 

I've been reading about HyFlex classes.  Is a HyFlex class the same as a hybrid course?

HyFlex and hybrid course models are not interchangeable and VU will not be using the HyFlex model.  

HyFlex is a course design model that presents the components of hybrid learning (which combines face-to-face with online learning) in a flexible course structure that gives students the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online, or doing both. In HyFlex, students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to need or preference. 

Hybrid learning combines face-to-face and online teaching into one cohesive experience. A hybrid model assumes all students do the same work in a virtual or face-to-face environment. 

What are the delivery components of a hybrid course?

Hybrid learning uses elements from both face-to-face and online learning formats. Hybrid courses reduce face-to-face time, using virtual instruction and activities or elements of the course that deliver well in an online space and reserving seat time for lesson objectives that benefit from hands-on experience, real time discussion, feedback or group activity. This approach will allow us to provide quality instruction while also reducing crowding in our classroom spaces and buildings. 

How much of my hybrid course can be taught online?  

We have adjusted our hybrid definition to allow for up to 74% of the course to be delivered online.  Keep in mind that not all courses, content or activities are suited for online delivery.  The balance between face-to-face and hybrid should be informed by the content area, content pedagogy and student ability. The portions of the course that are delivered in the online environment should be a good instructional fit for the students.

How often will my hybrid course meet face-to-face?

Instructors, in consultation with department chairs and deans, will set this.  Virtual interaction needs to fall within the percent listed for hybrid (up to 74% delivered online as above).  You should review the course meeting schedule with students on the first day of the course and the tentative course schedule should be outlined in the syllabus. On the days that face-to-face meetings are not being held, there can be additional activities, usually web-based, in place of the class meeting.  You will be the primary contact and resource for questions regarding course structure and delivery.  

How many classes need to be face-to-face in my hybrid class?

Understanding that you know what amount of face-to-face interaction is necessary for successful comprehension of content, please transition as much face-to-face work to virtual as possible for hybrid courses.  


Virtual Instruction

 What does virtual mean?

We have decided to use the term "virtual" for courses that were originally designed as traditional face-to-face courses and have now been adapted to an online format. We selected "virtual" so as to not confuse students with the online courses that are delivered through Distance Education.

Do virtual courses have to follow the time and day in the schedule? 

All synchronous parts of the course must be completed during the scheduled course time and day.  Asynchronous activities can take place outside of the confines of the course time.  

Do virtual courses run through the Office of Distance Education or through the particular college?

All virtual courses run through the campus Colleges. Any issues arising in these courses need to be directed to the campus program director or dean.


Blackboard Basics

 What is Blackboard?  

Blackboard is the online learning management system (LMS) that Vincennes University uses.  Blackboard allows you to add resources (syllabus, readings, links) for students to access online.  It also provides a platform for PowerPoint, video, audio and other applications to be shared to enhance both teaching and learning efforts.  Students can submit course assignments, check grades and meet with their instructor during office hours through Blackboard.  

Where can I get help with Blackboard?

For up-to-date information on the teaching and learning resources for Fall 2020, please visit the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Where can my students get help with Blackboard? 

We’ve created a Blackboard video overview and resources for students that can be found in their MyVU under Academic > Blackboard Video & Tutorials. 

Am I expected to use Blackboard Collaborate?

You can choose to use either Collaborate or Zoom.  All full-time and adjunct faculty members will receive a Zoom license for the 2020-2021 academic year.  The use of Zoom for synchronous activities such as live lecture, discussion or demonstration is preferred as it provides significant bandwidth which decreases the likelihood of “glitchy” connections and it also relieves VU bandwidth resources.  Zoom instructions and resources can be found on the VU Center for Teaching and Learning page. 

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous delivery?  

Synchronous delivery is a general term used to describe instruction and learning that occur at the same time, but not in the same place, whereas, in asynchronous delivery, instruction and learning do not occur in the same place or at the same time.



 How is attendance going to be handled this semester? 

An attendance policy guidance document has been created.   Also, an emergency attendance policy modification has been made by the Office of Student Affairs pertaining to short-term and long-term absences of students and can be found here <insert Whitney’s link>.

How do I take attendance in my virtual class? 

We will follow the Distance Education policy for attendance tracking in virtual classes.  That policy can be found here.

How do I take attendance in my hybrid class?

For the virtual portion, attendance is based on the premise that students will complete all assigned course work by the established due dates.  For the face-to-face portion of the class, attendance should be taken as usual.  


Ensuring Academic Quality and Student Success

 What can I do to help students succeed in the hybrid and virtual environment? We’re glad you asked!  

  • Syllabus
    Your syllabus is key to student success as is the layout of your course.  Prepare your syllabus using Simple Syllabus.  This will ensure that you have all of the necessary syllabus components (instructor information, course objectives, university policies etc).  
  • Course Schedule
    Stick to the schedule you have laid out for your course.  Students should know what will be discussed in each face-to-face meeting and what is expected of them in the virtual portion as well.
  • Virtual and Hybrid Expectations
    Provide a clear explanation of the specific requirements for student interaction in the virtual parts of your course.  This will allow students to manage their participation and will also promote active involvement in the course.  The more specific the description of expected interaction, the easier it is for students to meet those expectations and for you to evaluate student engagement and attendance. 
  • Units
    Consider organizing your course in Blackboard into units.  These units can be in whatever form is most appropriate for your course.  Units help students understand the logic and flow of the course design and enable them to better understand and organize their work. 
  • Feedback
    In face-to-face instruction, formative feedback to students often occurs during class meetings.  In a virtual format, you will need to be more intentional about providing that same type of formative feedback to students.  Frequent, substantive and timely feedback is critically important in the virtual learning environment.  
  • Tutoring
    Tutoring labs, including the Knowledge Market, will be available as well as virtual tutoring.  Information on labs and tutoring can be found here.  Brainfuse will be expanding to include the following courses:
All MATH and ENGL 101 ENGL 102
HIST 139 CHEM 105
BIOL 111 NURS 100
SOCL 151 COMP 177
GEOS 100 MGMT 100


What are some of the keys to a good hybrid or virtual class?

  1. Frequent feedback from the instructor increases a learner's sense of engagement in a course

  2. Timely feedback on assignments promotes learning

  3. Students are better able to manage their engagement in the online portions of courses when they know upfront when to expect instructor responses to emails, discussion postings and assignments.

  4. Students perform better when grading is up to date.

  5. Clear parameters and expectations for response time can reduce the number of emails from students asking about feedback and can enable the instructor to establish some boundaries for availability to respond to questions.


Testing and Final Exams

How will tests/exams be conducted in virtual and hybrid courses?

The university has secured a license with Proctorio for test proctoring.  Resources on Proctorio can be found here.  You are also encouraged to consider alternative ways to assess student knowledge and understanding of course materials that would not require test proctoring.  



How will final exams be given? 

Some instructors may replace final examinations with other modes of assessment like papers or projects.

In the event of a scheduled final exam, however, each class has been assigned a final exam time that can be found listed in MyVU.  All final exams delivered during final exam week will be delivered remotely.  



Can I conclude my class prior to Thanksgiving break?

No.  All sixteen week courses must adhere to the term length dates and should not be completed before Thanksgiving break.  This is important for reducing stress for students, preserving the sanctity of the schedule, and managing our university processes.


COVID-19 Related Questions

 What should I do if I have to go into quarantine or isolation?


  1. First, if you (or any employee) are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine by a healthcare professional due to primary exposure to COVID-19, then immediately call the VU COVID-19 hotline at 812.888.4911 to talk with a professional about next steps.  
  2. Second, if you are required to isolate because you are sick and contagious, please contact your chair/dean immediately to devise a contingency plan.  If you are not sick, but are restricted by quarantine because you may have come in contact with someone who is sick, you should continue virtual instruction from home.  

Are there restrictions on University travel for professional development?

All university related nonessential domestic travel is suspended.  In addition, we strongly urge extreme caution and judgment for your personal domestic travel.  Please consider alternative methods to communicate and hold meetings, such as teleconferencing. 


What should I do if someone in my class receives a positive COVID diagnosis or if they have been notified that they are a primary contact? (added 8.10.20)

  1. Do not let the student return to class/lab.
  2. Refer the student to the VU online reporting form (found under the COVID Info tab in MyVU). If they cannot access that form, ask them to call the VU COVID-19 hotline at 812.888.4911

What should I do if I have been notified by the VU Contact Tracing Team/UPCC that I have a student who has a positive diagnosis or has been notified that they are a primary contact? (added 8.10.20)

  1. Do not let that student return to class/lab until the date permitted by the notification or until you receive an updated notice for the Contact Tracing Team/UPCC. All communication from the UPCC will come from the email address Contact tracing information will come from a Banner report.
  2. Assist the student in managing the transition to remote work, to the degree that is possible.

What should I do if I have received a positive diagnosis myself or if I have been notified by a local health agency or provider that I am a primary contact? (added 8.10.20)

  1. Complete the VU online reporting form for employees (found under the COVID Info tab in MyVU). If you cannot access that form, call the VU COVID-19 hotline at 812.888.4911.
  2. Follow directions from the Contact Tracing Team regarding isolation (for a positive diagnosis) or quarantine (for a primary contact) or testing options.
  3. Work with HR and your supervisor to determine leave (for a positive diagnosis) or telecommuting arrangements (for primary contact).

Can I remove a student from class if they are exhibiting COVID symptoms? (added 8.10.20)

All students should be masked and maintain appropriate physical distancing in classes. If a student is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or if they indicate that they do not feel well, you should encourage them to not to attend class and to seek testing to rule out a COVID-19 infection.


Am I allowed to take a student’s temperature? (added 8.10.20)

Faculty members should not take student temperatures. Faculty can encourage students to have their temperature scanned at one of the many kiosks located around campus if they believe that a temperature reading is necessary. If the student’s temperature is elevated, the student should be encouraged to not attend class and to seek testing to rule out a COVID-19 infection.


Can I recommend that a student be tested for COVID-19? (added 8.10.20)

You can certainly recommend that a student consider testing if they are exhibiting the symptoms, but you cannot require that a student take a COVID-19 test.


If a student states they do not feel well and they leave/do not attend class, are they allowed to come back to class when they “feel better” or do they have to supply a negative test result? (added 8.10.20)

Students do not have to supply a negative test unless they are confirmed positive or primary contact and directed to do so by a health official.


Should I report COVID-19 absences on TAPS? (added 8.10.20)

You should not report these absences on TAPS since it is considered a University sanctioned absence according to the Fall 2020 Attendance Policy.