Given the many adjustments needed to offer students a positive, meaningful, educational experience in the mostly online format planned for fall 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you likely have many questions. This website provides important information for faculty regarding fall 2020 teaching and learning at City Tech, and will hopefully not only address many of your questions, but also help you prepare for a successful and rewarding fall 2020. Please review carefully.
The CUNY Board of Trustees recently resolved to endorse the University's preparation for "the offering of its academic courses and programs for as many of its academic courses and support services as is reasonably practicable, in an online modality and remote format for the Fall Semester 2020 — with exceptions being made for courses that cannot be effectively delivered at a distance."
City Tech's Registrar is in the process of converting nearly all of its courses to a fully online format, with the exclusion of clinical courses and a small number of other courses where in person experiential learning is critical. This conversion should be completed within a few days. When reviewing your schedule of classes, a section prefix of OL indicates that it is a fully online course, without any in person meetings. If times and dates are indicated, this is a synchronous section. If no time and date is given, this is an asynchronous section.
New University Definitions for Online Instruction
The University Registrar has published new definitions of In-Person, Hybrid, and Online instruction. Note that these definitions differ from those used by City Tech in the past.
In an Online class (synchronous or asynchronous), all required contact hours are online. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and/or student-instructor). All the class work, examinations, quizzes, writing assignments, lab work, etc. are fully online. All Synchronous class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes for students.
Synchronous: Synchronous classes meetings resemble traditional on-campus In-Person classes in that students must be (virtually) present at the same time. Though they are conducted virtually, synchronous classes meet in real- time. Students must commit to scheduled class times and sign onto their virtual learning platform on schedule. During these classes, students will engage with the instruction during online lessons and presentations and even have virtual class discussions. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus. All Synchronous class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes for students. Per best practices, instructors should make effective use of learning management systems for the posting of class materials and submission of class assignments.
Asynchronous: Asynchronous class meetings do not require you to log in to your virtual classroom at a specified time. Students do not have to follow a strict schedule to engage in live classes or discussions, and the only requirement regarding when they turn in their work is the assignment deadline, not an arbitrary timeline. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times [deadlines] are maintained and included on the class syllabus. Per best practices, instructors should create non-mandatory opportunities for live interactions with and among students.
Students in asynchronous should not be required to attend any synchronous class meeting times. Students can only be required to attend classes that are listed on the class schedule in CUNYfirst. While there are many benefits to synchronous class meetings, if they are outside scheduled class time, they must be optional and students should not be penalized for not attending.
In general, these are departmental decisions, based on the curriculum and perceived needs of the students. Your School Dean has been discussing preferred online formats with your department chair, who will keep you informed. Departments should keep in mind the enormous challenges that the transition to college represents for many first-year students. Many instructors have found that students new to college benefit from the structure of synchronous classes. The ultimate decision of whether a section is asynchronous or synchronous is made by the department chair, in consultation with the department and dean, as appropriate, prior to the schedule of classes being submitted to the Registrar's Office.
Note: Student Affairs will be notifying students regarding the conversion to online instruction the first week of August.
Many departments are developing Model Courses and course sites that will be available to faculty members and will include a great deal of information that can be incorporated into their syllabi. At a minimum, please include the following information in your syllabus:
- Course number, title, and section number, course description, number of credits, pre/co-requisites.
- Instructor’s name, email address or other way to reach you, and office hours so that students know how and when to reach you.
- Explicit information about meeting dates and times, or if asynchronous, deadlines for participation.
- Information on the platform(s), including the Help Desks, whether the course will use Blackboard, the Open Lab, a combination, as well as other platforms students will be expected to use, such as Zoom.
- Software needed for the course and how to access it (Departments using virtual desktop or VPN should develop common directions for all students using these tools)
- Technology requirements and links for where to go for technical support.
- Required text(s) and any other required course materials.
- Instructional objectives that incorporate assessment measures and techniques.
- A schedule of topics to be covered.
- Required and recommended readings and other major assignments. Include explicit information about due dates and times.
- Details on how to access course materials, discussion boards, etc. and submit assignments. As needed, links to resources such as the library, writing center, tutoring.
- Clear statements about grading policies and assessment of student work.
- Attendance/class participation policy. With online instruction the focus is on class participation, which depends on the structure of your course. For example, if you are offering synchronous classroom experiences (Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, etc.) it would be participation in these meetings. For asynchronous courses, it is participation by the deadlines stated in your syllabus. As technology can be fickle, and life is far from normal, please exercise both compassion and common sense.
- The college’s academic integrity statement/plagiarism policy. While City Tech prides itself on the ethics and integrity of its students, online instruction does create more challenges. Please help your students understand what academic integrity is and how to avoid plagiarism, cheating, etc. To learn more about City Tech’s Academic Integrity policy, visit: http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/catalog/docs/catalog.pdf#page=56
You may also want to refer students to other resources such as the iTEC’s Introduction to Blackboard course, referenced below under “Resources for Students.” All incoming students will be strongly encouraged to take the course, but others might also benefit. Students are automatically enrolled in the Blackboard course.
As in the spring, both full-time faculty and adjuncts who are responsible for holding office hours will hold office hours through distance technology and will notify their students and their department chair regarding how they plan to hold the hours.
Per CUNY and PSC’s Memorandum of Agreement, regardless of the mode of instruction, at least once during each academic semester, non-tenured and non-certificated members of the teaching staff shall be observed for a full classroom period. One observation shall take place during any scheduled class, except as specified in Article 18.2 (b) 3 for classes conducted wholly or in part through online technology, during the first ten weeks of the semester.
City Tech’s online peer observation process was approved by governance. The form to use and guidelines are on the City Tech Online Website:
Since May, many faculty members have participated in introductory professional development opportunities offered by CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and by Karen Lundstrem and iTEC. We plan to build on those experiences with more City Tech discipline-focused professional development in late August and throughout the fall semester.
With the support of iTEC and the Open Lab, faculty in almost every department have been working through the summer to develop model courses, course sites, and Open Educational Resources (OER) and to develop plans for workshops to be held in late August, with mentoring and additional professional development opportunities continuing through the fall. This is a great opportunity to develop course resources and structures for collaboration that will continue to be useful when in-person instruction becomes possible again.
Please try to put yourself in the shoes of the student and ask yourself what you would like to know before class starts. If you use Zoom for lectures, students will need to receive the link ahead of time. It may take extra time to obtain course materials so letting students know ahead of time how to prepare is a plus. Faculty Commons will be holding virtual panel discussions the week before the semester starts on strategies for preparing students for the first day and setting the stage for student success from day 1 of class. This will be an opportunity for faculty to share ideas and questions. More information to follow.
Things To Do
Check the list of things to do to get ready for the Fall 2020.
Make a Plan for Teaching Remotely
See the tips and strategies to help you make a plan for teaching remotely.
Tools and Resources
Check the available tools and resources we have implemented to help you in teaching remotely.
Accessing a Virtual Computer Lab
Need access to licensed software that only installed in campus computing labs. Check the Virtual Computer Labs.
Check the Academic Affairs website to learn more about research, scholarship.
Adjunct Workload Management Office (AWMO)
The AWMO supports and assists in the administration of adjunct workloads and courses taught by adjunct faculty.
Office of Faculty & Staff Relations
Check the OFSR website to learn more about the College policies and resources available for working remotely.
CUNY: FAQs for Faculty on CUNY Technology
Need help with online teaching? Check the CUNY FAQs page.
Frequently Asked Questions