Instruction and Course Modes

How were final decisions about modes made?

College deans and school chairs were asked to select the most appropriate mode of instruction for each course in order to maximize student learning while minimizing health risks. In consultation with the colleges and schools, the Registrar’s Office and Capital Planning and Space Management (CPSM), the Institute will confirm classroom assignments and delivery modes based on space available, prioritizing certain classes for in-person delivery.  

While there were some modifications because of unavoidable space limitations, where possible, school chair preferences were honored.

How are classroom spaces assigned for residential and hybrid courses?

Georgia Tech modeled 6 ft. distances in order to calculate room capacities which shaped possible furniture configurations; actual limits were determined by Building Managers. In most cases, occupancy with social distancing reduced room capacity to 18-35% of normal. Because of the limited supply of rooms with adequate capacity to accommodate social distancing recommendations, priority will be given to lab classes, group project classes, senior design classes, project-based classes, classes requiring physical equipment, and discussion classes.

Classroom assignments are in Banner. Please recognize there may be necessary changes before the first day of classes. The Registrar’s office will work with Schools to ensure there is no overlap in classroom assignments.

Where will instructor expectations for how often a hybrid class will meet in person be posted?

Students and advisors can access this information in OSCAR. Instructions on accessing are available here: https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/course-delivery-methods-spring-2021

Will the instructional modes appear on student transcripts? If yes, how would this affect grad/medical school admissions?

There is no current plan to record all instructional modes of courses on transcripts. Many medical schools have already indicated they are aware of the move to online/remote learning and are showing flexibility under the current circumstances. Specific questions about medical and graduate school applications or related issues may be directed to the Office of Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising.

How should faculty prepare their syllabi?

Syllabi should clearly outline expectations for the course, particularly those related to the course delivery mode. Course expectations for a hybrid course, including the course attendance policy and the expectation for in-person meetings, should be clearly defined in the course syllabus. The Center for Teaching and Learning has created a template for adapting syllabi for residential, hybrid, and remote modes.

What tools should I use to deliver my classes online? Which tools and services are authorized for use in remote instruction?

Faculty must use Georgia Tech-provided tools and platforms in order to safeguard student information. Those existing tools include Canvas, Kaltura, Piazza, and BlueJeans and WebEx video conferencing. Find the full list of authorized tools, resources, and tutorials for all of those services and more at services.gatech.edu

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

Accommodations

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

Students may request an accommodation through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) due to 1) presence of a condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or 2) identification as an individual of higher risk for Covid-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
 
Registering with ODS is a 3-step process that includes completing an 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 coordinator. 

Students who work as undergraduate or graduate teaching assistants and graduate research assistants seeking an employment accommodation should also complete the Georgia Tech Covid-19 Higher Risk Alternative Work Arrangement Request Form

Will accommodations be made for students who are at higher risk for severe illness with Covid-19 or who live with others who are at high risk? Is there a difference between the processes for undergrad and graduate students?

See the Students at Higher Risk for Severe Illness with Covid-19 section in the Student Guidebook. Undergraduate and graduate students may request academic accommodations through the same process. 

How do students with ODS accommodations to take their courses remotely proceed? How should faculty handle their requests to take hybrid and residential courses remotely?

If a student has been approved by ODS for an accommodation, they should first see if the course they wish to take is offered in a remote format. If not, they should contact the instructors of any hybrid or residential course they wish to take remotely to discuss the request.

Instructors should work closely with the student to understand their needs and make a good faith effort to investigate whether or not the requested accommodations are possible for the course.

If the accommodation request results in a fundamental alteration of the stated learning outcome of the hybrid or residential course, it may not be possible to take the course remotely. In these cases, ODS, academic advisors, and the school offering the course will work with the student to find a suitable alternative that as far as possible preserves their progress toward graduation.

Can students without an ODS accommodation take hybrid courses fully remote? How should instructors handle such requests?

Students who do not have an ODS accommodation but who wish take a hybrid or residential course remotely may contact the instructor to discuss their situation and request. All such requests are handled by individual course instructors on a case-by-case basis. 

There may be exceptional cases where a student may have an otherwise unforeseen situation or argument for remote access. If the accommodation request results in a fundamental alteration of the stated learning outcome of the hybrid or residential course, it may not be possible to take the course remotely. In these cases, academic advisors and the school offering the course will work with the student to find a suitable alternative that as far as possible preserves their progress toward graduation. 
   

Visit Covid-19 Information for Students for more information on student accommodations.  

How are we approaching closed captioning for faculty teaching courses for those with hearing difficulties, since the BlueJeans subscription Tech currently has does not support that?

We encourage the use of Microsoft Teams instead of BlueJeans at this time for captioning as it has an automated function to do so. The Office of Disability Services can also do live (real time) captioning as needed, but needs some notice to arrange.

What advice does disability services have for conducting advising appointments? Most of the virtual platforms that we access to, like BlueJeans meetings, do not have a closed captioning option.

The Office of Disability Services encourages the use of Microsoft Teams instead of BlueJeans at this time for captioning as it has an automated function to do so.

Can a faculty member still request a teaching accommodation?

Course mode designations will be finalized based on all accommodation requests received to date. If a faculty member has a change in their health situation, requests for teaching accommodation can be made at any time.

Can instructors with an approved Covid-19 high risk health accommodation lead a hybrid course where they are off-campus and on-campus instruction is led by a TA?

Yes, faculty members can choose to administer courses in this manner as long as the assigned TA does not also have an approved accommodation. Faculty members should work in consultation with their school chair about TA assignments.

What accommodations are available for faculty or staff members with children whose school is closed or may close at some point in the semester?

Employees who cannot return to work due to a Covid-19 related qualifying condition or a disability may be eligible for leave options depending upon their situation. In all cases, the employee should consult with their supervisor to discuss alternative work arrangements or schedules. For more information, please visit: https://hr.gatech.edu/families-first-coronavirus-response-act.

If someone meets the criteria for an accommodation, do they still have the option to teach/work on campus if they so choose?

Yes, requesting an accommodation is a personal choice, and not required.

Are individuals with mental health concerns (i.e. anxiety, depression) qualified to request accommodations?

Mental health concerns may be eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Visit: https://hr.gatech.edu/resources/employee-relations/disability and complete the Georgia Tech Reasonable Accommodation Form.  

Student Services and Support

How will student services like advising, counseling, and tutoring be offered in the spring?

Please visit the Student Guidebook, under “Student Life and Student Services.” 

Will there be any changes to spaces and services available through the Library?

Students, faculty, and staff will be able to access most library resources. For current information, please visit: https://www.library.gatech.edu/covid-19-library-response 

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

The Library has a limited quantity of laptops available for long-term loan for students in need. Students can contact customersupport@library.gatech.edu to request a laptop. For students in need of a computer, a variety of laptops/tablets are available for no-cost, long-term loan and can be shipped to addresses off-campus or picked up on campus by appointment. 

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

Testing on Campus

Testing is an important part of our health and safety strategy. More information is available here: http://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/testing-launched  

Contact Tracing and Notification

Contact tracing and notification programs are being built by our teams, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Through the program, Georgia Tech will make initial rapid notifications of close contacts in the Georgia Tech community based on information gathered from the individual who tests positive. A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of the person who tested positive for 15 or more minutes, anyone who had physical contact with the person, or anyone who was coughed or sneezed on by the person. The Georgia Department of Public Health will conduct contact tracing with support from Georgia Tech. The process is confidential, and the individual who tested positive will not be identified. 

Tech has also begun using NOVID, an exposure notification app that will help students, staff, and faculty be anonymously notified if they have potentially been exposed to Covid-19. Use of the app is voluntary, and it is available at no cost. NOVID can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play Store. Georgia Tech community members should enter the community code "JACKETS" on the NOVID settings.   

Find out more about Contact Tracing and Notification

What health and safety measures are in place on campus?

Beyond the required face coverings, physical distancing, and personal hygiene that we will each practice, you will also see necessary changes around campus. Those changes will include enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures; new configurations and seating in classrooms, labs, and office spaces; new expectations for transportation, housing, and dining services; ongoing risk assessments and analyses; and testing, contact tracing, and quarantine protocols. Facilities Management has been hard at work to ensure that indoor environments are clean and safe. Efforts include the evaluation and maintenance of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that support these buildings so they may provide a high degree of indoor air quality. Each building’s system is unique, but in general, efforts have been focused on ensuring these systems are operating at their peak condition and in conformance with campus and Board of Regents standards, as well as industry best practices.  

See more about campus health and safety in the Campus Guidelines and the Faculty Guidebook

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

All health data is kept in a password-protected file. Individual data from students, faculty, or staff is used to provide guidance to that individual regarding steps they should take to care for themselves and protect their contacts. Since Covid-19 is a reportable disease, individual data will also be shared with the Department of Public Health, as required by law, and used to assist with contact tracing efforts. Aggregate data will be used for quality monitoring, disease trends, and focusing mitigation and control measures.

Handling Student or Faculty/Staff Illness

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

Please refer to the “If You Get Sick” section of the Campus Guidelines for more information on reporting a positive test and to learn what steps to take, including good hygiene, social distancing, and quarantine or isolation, if necessary.  

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. 

Some faculty members may be required to quarantine due to exposure or isolate due to a Covid-19 diagnosis. Some disruption to classes or services is inevitable, but Georgia Tech is making every effort to ensure continuity of operations. 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 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. 

How will the course material covered during in-person meetings be made available to students who have to miss class due to illness or isolation/quarantine needs?

All centrally-scheduled classrooms have been equipped with microphones and web cameras to capture the podium activity (desktop, document camera, instructor video). These can be broadcast live as well as recorded and posted on Canvas and Kaltura. 

Some students who are required to quarantine or self-isolate may feel completely well during this period, ill but able to work as usual, while others may be too ill to work until they recover. 

Remote courses and remote class sessions during hybrid courses. Unless a student is too ill to work, instructors should allow them to complete work remotely. 

In-person courses and in-person class sessions during hybrid courses. Students who are in isolation or quarantine will be unable to attend in-person course sessions. 

We ask that instructors be lenient and understanding when setting work deadlines or expecting students to finish work, and allow them the opportunity to catch up with any work that they have missed while in quarantine or isolation. Students may also ask instructors in advance how they will handle this situation. 

  • If a student is able and the possibility exists, allow them to participate in the course remotely. 

  • Offer complementary work that parallels what they are missing in class. 

  • Allow them to make up some class work when they return. 

  • Consider making available any video recordings of classes or slides that have been used while the student was absent. 

  • Prepare some complementary asynchronous assignments that compensate for the student’s inability to participate in class sessions. 

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 faculty members are sick. If the impacted course is using a residential spread or hybrid mode, alternatives may include utilizing other instructors or temporarily shifting to remote delivery.

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. They can then contact Nisha Botchwey (cc: Michael Toney) to discuss temporary mode change requests.