Instruction and Courses

What course modes will be delivered in Fall 2021?

We plan for a return to a fully residential experience for Fall 2021. Keeping with pre-Covid-19 course delivery modes, the primary form of course delivery will be in person with the exception of individuals who require accommodations in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as approved fully online and distance graduate programs and a few remote courses, similar to Fall 2019 and previous semester online offerings.

How should faculty prepare their syllabi?

Syllabi should clearly outline expectations for the course, particularly those related to the course delivery mode. The Center for Teaching and Learning has guidelines for developing a syllabus, including a template syllabus.

Additionally, faculty are encouraged to include these Fall 2021 inserts in their syllabi.

What academic technology tools are available for delivery of course instruction and student engagement?

Faculty must use Georgia Tech-authorized tools and platforms in order to safeguard student information. Those existing tools include Canvas, Kaltura, Piazza, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx video conferencing. Find resources and tutorials for these services and more at services.gatech.edu.

If the course is one of the few hybrid or remote exceptions, the Georgia Tech Remote and Hybrid Teaching Academy provides sessions and resources on technology best practices.

Note: while Georgia Tech will be conducting a limited Zoom pilot later this Fall semester, Zoom is not available for instructional usage outside of the pilot. In particular, Zoom personal licenses (e.g. purchased via a Pcard or personal funds) are not authorized as the license is not governed by GT contractual terms and conditions to protect student information. 

Where can instructors find help in using AV technologies in the classroom?

For information on classroom and conference room AV and to request help, visit the OIT Audio Visual Services site: http://avservices.oit.gatech.edu/.

Resources, including recordings from past training sessions, are available within the Georgia Tech Remote and Hybrid Teaching Academy course:

Can we change the modality for classes at Tech?

Per guidance from the University System of Georgia, no institution may change the overall modality of their instruction.

Do I need to hold in-person office hours?

The format of office hours is set at the discretion of the instructor. Faculty may choose to hold their office hours in their office, virtually, outside, or some combination of approaches. Meeting students’ academic needs should be the driving consideration. As such, if a student asks for an in-person meeting, faculty are encouraged to do what they can to meet that request.

Helpful Digital Classroom Technologies for Instruction in Fall 2021

Georgia Tech has a number of technology-based solutions that allow for in-person instruction to continue while addressing some of the requests from students for flexibility, especially if they are not able to come to class due to illness or quarantine. Live broadcast/simulcast or recording the instruction is not considered a change of delivery mode, as long as the faculty member teaches from the classroom and the students can attend in person. Making simulcast or recordings available should not be done in a manner that discourages those students who are able to attend class to continue to do so.

Below are frequently asked questions.

Can I flip/invert the classroom to reduce the density in the classroom?

Flipped/inverted is a pedagogical approach that replaces the passive learning elements/lower-order cognitive skills of in-class activity with active learning/higher-order cognitive skills. One can flip/invert the class without using any technology. This approach should not be confused with a change to a hybrid or partially online delivery intended to de-densify that can result from converting 1-2 class sessions per week to online. Changing a course to a flipped/inverted delivery,even for only some of the class meetings, would trigger a modality change and needs to be processed and approved accordingly.

Can I use recordings from past semesters for students who cannot attend?

Class recordings can be shared with the students currently enrolled in the course, using an authorized Georgia Tech platform such as Canvas or Kaltura.Recordings from past semesters can only be used if the recordings have no student data (e.g., name, audio, video) or if the students provided written consent for the use of these materials in the future. Review this training recording and this handout to learn important FERPA and other considerations for reuse of content, as well as proactive tips for content creation that allows for reuse of recordings in the future.

What is available in the classrooms?

All centrally scheduled classrooms are equipped with cameras and microphones to do basic recording or live broadcast of the podium activity. Faculty can also use a laptop with a camera and microphone placed on the podium to broadcast or record from the classroom. If you are in a non-centrally scheduled/unit-controlled classroom, contact your unit AV/IT or  OIT AV.

What tool can be used to live stream or record?

If you choose to use BlueJeans, you can schedule a BlueJeans connection from within Canvas and start your broadcast/recording using these instructions. If selected in the setup, using BlueJeans from within Canvas will automatically post your recordings into Canvas for later viewing. Please remember that the modest equipment in the classroom will work best if you are teaching from the podium. It is challenging to capture student discussions or the whiteboard with this technology. We strongly recommend using the desktop/Smart board or document cameras rather than the whiteboard for better content capture. Additional authorized videoconferencing tools are also available for live sessions and recordings.

What are other alternatives to assist students who are absent?

Faculty can use other solutions to assist student learning:

  • Faculty can use the Smart Boards on the podium, in conjunction with OneNote software for their handwritten notes. OneNote can be used in conjunction with Canvas to enable student access to the lecture notes.
  • If there are slides or other electronic resources, these can also be shared with students in Canvas. 
  • You can ask students to volunteer to take notes for you to share with the absent students.
  • A weekly virtual office hour can be dedicated to covering the salient points of the lecture, which can also be recorded.

Need to amplify your voice?

Classrooms larger than 75 people in general are equipped with speech enforcement systems. You can request a microphone to use for the duration of the semester in these classrooms.

Links to additional AV/classroom technology resources:

Need help/have a question?

Accommodations

What process should a student follow to request an academic accommodation?

Students who have a condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may request any needed accommodations by registering with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).

Registering with ODS is a 3-step process that includes completing an online application, uploading documentation related to the accommodation request, and scheduling an appointment for an “intake meeting” (either in person or via phone or video conference) with a Disability Services Coordinator. More information can be found at: https://disabilityservices.gatech.edu/getting-started.

What advice does the Office of Disability Services have for conducting virtual advising appointments? How do you enable captioning on the various virtual platforms?

Both BlueJeans and Microsoft Teams now have closed captioning capability. For BlueJeans, both the meeting host and the student need to enable captions via their settings (click on “Settings,” scroll down, then click on “Closed Captions”). For Microsoft Teams, the meeting host needs to navigate to meeting controls and click on “More Options,” then click on “Turn on Live Captions.”

Can a faculty member request a Covid-19 related teaching accommodation for Fall 2021?

Approval of all Covid-19 related accommodations and flexible work arrangements (including telework) expired June 30, 2021.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Existing flexible work agreements — including those newly developed that are not related to Covid-19 — remain valid and should be reviewed annually. For questions regarding flexible work arrangements, visit the Working@Tech website or speak with your direct supervisor, HR Business Partner, or college representative.

ADA Requests

Accommodation may be available if you have a qualifying disability. Please review the information found here to determine if you may be eligible for a reasonable accommodation in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and submit the form found here if you would like to make a request. Please note that reasonable accommodation requests will require an interactive process and medical certification by an appropriately qualified healthcare provider.

For questions regarding ADA accommodations, email employee-relations@ohr.gatech.edu or call 404.894.4847.

Student Services and Support

How will student services be offered?

CARE: The Center for Assessment, Referral, and Education is using a hybrid model of service delivery for Fall 2021, with both in-person and telebehavioral health appointments available. We follow all recommended CDC guidelines. 

Counseling Center: The Counseling Center is using a hybrid model of service delivery for Fall 2021, with both in-person and telebehavioral health appointments available. Clients are served with our full range of services. We maintain in-office staffing and follow all recommended CDC guidelines. 

Stamps Health Services: In-person and virtual appointments will be available to students. We will provide a separate treatment and waiting space for patients having symptoms associated with Covid-19 and use telemedicine when appropriate. In alignment with guidance for healthcare facilities, masks will continue to be required for both staff and visitors.

Tutoring and Academic Support will provide the majority of individual and group tutoring in person while retaining some online appointments.

Academic Advising units will provide a mixture of in-person and virtual services for appointments, as well as drop-in advising.

For more information, visit Campus Operations and Student Services Resources.

Are laptops available for students to borrow? What about hotspots? Can they be shipped?

The long-term laptop loan program has been discontinued; however, you can still request short-term loans via Gadgets at: http://library.gatech.edu/gadgets.

OIT-Digital Services can also provide loaner laptops and hotspots to students. Requests can be made here (requires a Georgia Tech login).

Health and Safety

Face Coverings and Face Covering Policies

Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask or face covering while inside campus facilities.

Masks/face coverings required on campus in two instances:

  • In alignment with CDC guidance for public transportation, both drivers and riders will be required to wear a mask while using campus buses and shuttles.
  • In alignment with guidance for healthcare facilities, masks will continue to be required for both staff and visitors. This includes Stamps Health Services and satellite clinics.

Testing on Campus

Students, faculty, and staff who have not been fully vaccinated are encouraged to continue to participate weekly in Georgia Tech’s surveillance testing program. Visit the Covid-19 Testing site for up-to-date times and locations.

Campus Vaccine Distribution

Georgia Tech continues to strongly encourage all faculty, staff, and students to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. It is not mandatory. Georgia Tech’s vaccine clinics are still available on campus. It has been expanded to include family members of Georgia Tech faculty, staff, and students. This applies to spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children ages 12 and older. Visit the Covid-19 Vaccines at Georgia Tech site for details on making a vaccine appointment for yourself or your family members.

Contact Tracing and Notification

Contact tracing can help prevent further transmission of the virus by quickly identifying and informing people who may be infected and contagious, so they can take steps to not infect others. Georgia Tech works in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Public Health to conduct contact tracing.

The NOVID exposure notification app anonymously notifies students, staff, and faculty if they have potentially been exposed to Covid-19. Use of the app is voluntary, and it is available at no cost to members of the Georgia Tech community. Information about the app is available on the Covid Central portal.

Individuals who receive a notification through NOVID of a potential exposure and who are not fully vaccinated will be encouraged to isolate themselves, monitor for symptoms, and be tested for the virus. Learn more about isolation and quarantine. The app will provide directions for contacting relevant campus services when alerting a user that they have potentially been exposed.

Find out more about Contact Tracing and Notification.

How is the health data of students, faculty, and staff being used, housed, and protected?

All health data is kept in password-protected systems and databases. Medical providers may use a patient’s Covid-19 vaccination status as they would normally under the typical standard of care. Consistent with the normal standard of care, medical providers may ask for proof of Covid-19 vaccination in treating patients.

Can you ask someone to wear a mask?

Yes, you can encourage someone to wear a mask. However, it is not mandatory; a faculty member cannot require a student to wear a mask.

What are we doing to promote Covid-19 vaccinations and asymptomatic testing?

Georgia Tech Institute Communications has a robust communications campaign that includes promoting vaccines and asymptomatic testing. The Jackets Moving Forward campaign began in June and will run through at least fall semester to encourage individuals to make the decisions that will keep themselves, and others, as safe as possible.

The purpose is to provide accurate information and resources available on Georgia Tech’s campus that will help our community transition into a post-vaccine environment. Photos, videos, and graphics design content are being distributed via social media, Daily Digest articles, email blasts, web, and campus signage.

Georgia Tech is administering the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to faculty, staff, and students as well as their spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children ages 12 years and older. As of early August, Stamps Health Services had administered more than 32,800 doses of vaccine to 17,300 individuals. Thousands more have been vaccinated elsewhere, contributing to the overall safety of our community.

Beginning Aug. 16, Stamps Health Services will administer Covid-19 vaccines at McCamish Pavilion.  https://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/vaccine 

To make an appointment, go to mytest.gatech.edu

Since March 2020, more than 333,000 tests have been performed through our free, on-campus asymptomatic testing, and the program continues for the entire Georgia Tech community.

Does our guidance for fall semester take into account changing circumstances or variants?

Expected guidance has been shared by the University System of Georgia for fall; however, the guidance is subject to change based on recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health or Executive Orders from the Governor’s Office. All USG institutions have been asked to remain flexible in their planning and be prepared to change course as necessary as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our campus communities.

Can we separate students based on face covering compliance?

Students should not be separated within a classroom or from other instructor-student interactions (e.g., office hours, group work, field trips, labs, etc.) based on their use of face coverings.

Would a faculty member be considered exposed if a positive student had recently attended class?

The contact tracing team will determine whether you would be considered a close contact of a positive case in the classroom. Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within two days before illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a face covering.

Without social distancing in classroom settings, wouldn’t any case trigger quarantine for any unvaccinated students?

In classroom settings, the contact tracing team will determine exposure risks on a case-by-case basis, and continue to focus on those identified as a close contact.

What are we doing at Tech to reduce transmission?

We’ve learned that it is layers of mitigation that matter. At Tech we have robust initiatives in asymptomatic testing and vaccines, improved ventilation and filtration in our facilities, and we are encouraging our community to follow CDC guidance on wearing face coverings.

Handling Student or Faculty/Staff Illness

What happens if a student, instructor, or staff member tests positive?

The Institute has also developed procedures, key decision points, and communication processes for faculty should a student in one of their classes fall ill or test positive with Covid-19.

 As is the case in any semester, faculty may cancel a class if they have an illness or emergency situation and cover any missed material at their own discretion. If an instructor needs to cancel a class, they should notify students as early as possible.

 Faculty who are staying home due to symptoms of Covid-19 or any illness should monitor their health closely and consult with their school chair to determine if remote instruction or substitute instruction is most appropriate for the course. If they need to cancel a class repeatedly, a backup will be supplied in the form of a temporary substitute instructor or asynchronous work. No course will be canceled after the first class has occurred. Any move to remote instruction must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

If a student or instructor in a class tests positive, will the entire class, including instructor, need to be quarantined? Will the class be remote during that time?

In classroom settings, the Institute will determine exposure risks on a case-by-case basis. School leadership will determine the best way to ensure instruction can continue if a faculty member is sick.

For courses that request a temporary move to remote delivery, School Chairs or Associate Deans will serve as the unit point of contact. School Chairs should consult with their faculty member to understand the concern and alignment with the guidance noted above. Any move to remote instruction must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

What happens if an instructor must isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 illness or exposure?

Following guidance from the University System of Georgia, employees who must isolate or quarantine due to Covid-19 illness or exposure may telework during this time with the approval of their supervisor. The nature of their position influences whether an employee is able to telework, since some positions are not able to be performed remotely.

  • Any change in modality for a class requires the approval of the Provost’s office.
  • Change in modality is subject to an end date and is correlated to isolation or quarantine timelines.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine.

When telework is not possible, employees who must isolate or quarantine due to Covid-19 must use their accumulated leave to be away from work.

Do I need to record lectures for students who are absent?

Instructors should accommodate students who need to quarantine due to Covid-19 as they normally would have accommodated ill students before the pandemic. Faculty are not required to record lectures or class meetings, but may choose to do so. The method or approach to providing content and makeup work for the students is at the instructor's discretion. As needed, faculty are encouraged to work with their school chairs to determine the appropriate path.