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Fall 2020 Information for Faculty

(Updated 3/22/2021)


REQUIRED current disability accommodations-related statement:

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Dickinson values diverse types of learners and is committed to ensuring that each student is afforded equitable access to participate in all learning experiences. If you have (or think you may have) a learning difference or a disability – including a mental health, medical, or physical impairment – that would hinder your access to learning or demonstrating knowledge in this class, please contact Access and Disability Services (ADS).  They will confidentially explain the accommodation request process and the type of documentation that Dean and Director Marni Jones will need to determine your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about available supports, go to or email

If you’ve already been granted accommodations at Dickinson, please follow the guidance at for disclosing the accommodations for which you are eligible and scheduling a meeting with me as soon as possible so that we can discuss your accommodations and finalize your Access Plan.

For synchronous class recordings:

This class will be video recorded…

(choose one)

  1. …and a link to the recording and transcript will be posted to Moodle for you to access after class.
  2. …and a link to the audio recording and transcript will be posted to Moodle for you to access after class.
  3. …but the recording will not be posted to Moodle. If you encounter barriers to being able to attend a synchronous class (either due to illness, care for a sick family member, an inability to access the internet, etc.), please email me and (depending on a number of factors) I will provide you with either the video recording, the audio recording, or a transcript of the class.

(Optional) I will not, however, be recording those classes where we will be discussing sensitive topics.  For such classes I will have the guiding discussion questions and will provide them upon request to students who present a valid reason for not having attended class.

This class may also be audio recorded by those students who have an accommodation to do so as granted by Access and Disability Services (ADS). Recording of any session in this course other than for the above purposes is strictly prohibited, and would be a breach of Dickinson’s Community Standards. It may also be a violation of Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance laws.

For asynchronous class recordings:

Students may not share, send, post, publish, make public, or duplicate any recordings without the written authorization of those recorded. Failure to abide by these rules is a breach of privacy and a violation of copyright laws. It is furthermore considered a serious violation of Dickinson College Community Standards and subject to disciplinary action. Unless informed otherwise, students are to destroy any recordings shared by their professors at the end of the semester. Thank you for your compliance.

Use of student’s computer cameras (encouraging but not requiring):

Active participation is an important and valued expectation for this class. To promote a positive class community as well as meaningful and engaging exchanges of ideas, I’d like us all to have our Zoom cameras on during synchronous classes, whenever possible, but I understand that this may not always be possible. If you believe having your camera one will be problematic for you, please schedule a time to connect with me about it in the first week of classes.

For extenuating circumstances:

If you're unable to attend class due to illness or extenuating circumstances, please notify me in advance. I will alert the CARE team and your advisor of multiple or extended absences at my discretion.


If a student has an accommodation to record a class as granted through ADS, consent from the class is not required.

If students without this accommodation wish to record the class, all students in the class must consent.

To enable students to give their consent that a participatory class be audio recorded:

  • Navigate to your course in Moodle and turn on editing
  • Click “Add an activity or resource” to one of the topics in the course
  • Select “DC Authorization” form
  • Choose the “Student Class Recording Authorization”


If faculty believe there is a strong preference or need for printed copies of course materials to be delivered to students, they should contact the College Bookstore about preparing a coursepack, which is prepared using procedures that ensure compliance with copyrights.  However, if the request is needed as part of an accommodation, please contact ADS at  


Academic Calendar 2020-21:

  • Early start to the Fall 2020 semester

The Fall 2020 semester will begin two weeks earlier, on Monday, August 17, 2020 in order to complete classes before Thanksgiving. 

Rationale: Because of concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 late fall, occurring at the beginning of the flu season, the desire is for completion of the semester by Thanksgiving.  This schedule still meets the required number of weeks in the semester, with a week of remote exams after Thanksgiving.

Approved June 8, 2020

  • 14-week Fall 2020 semester

The semester will be 14 weeks in length, still adhering to the PA Department of Education guidelines for colleges and universities.

RationaleAlthough discussions included a split seven and seven fall semester, faculty were concerned that it would be difficult to compact many courses into seven weeks.  It would also require reworking the entire schedule of classes, changing classrooms, and reregistering all students in a short turnaround time. 

Approved June 8, 2020

  • Modified Exam Schedule for Fall 2020  
    Reading days will be scheduled for November 28, 29 and December 6.Exams will take place remotely on November 30, December 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10. Dependent upon the need for additional exam time slots, the schedule may be shortened, ending on December 5. 

    Rationale:  It was necessary to modify the original schedule following the decision to begin the semester two weeks early. 

           Approved June 22, 2020

  • If students make the decision not to return to campus in Fall 2020 (regardless of the reason - not necessarily based on health or travel reasons), they will not need special permission.  The college will do as much as possible for them to maintain their academic program.

Rationale:  The committee felt strongly that if students do not feel comfortable coming back to campus in the fall semester as a result of COVID-19, the college will allow them to do so regardless of the reason.

Approved June 22, 2020

  • Reinstatement of Fall Pause for Fall 2020  
    Fall Pause will take place October 5 & 6, 2020.Monday and Tuesday classes will be held November 23 & 24, 2020, with Thanksgiving break starting Wednesday,  November 25.

           Rationale:  Now that all courses will be taught remotely, it will be beneficial fo faculty and students to have a break in the semester.

           Approved July 20, 2020

  • Reinstatement of regular Final Exam Policies for Fall 2020

           Normal final exam policies should apply, including

           Rationale:  Now that all courses will be taught remotely, there's no need to permit final exams during the last week of classes so that they can be done in person.

           Approved July 27, 2020

  • One-time only “study abroad at home” through CET  
    Permit international students who may not be able to return to campus or start their first semester at Dickinson to take in-person courses in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), China (Beijing & Shanghai) and South Korea (Yonsei University) through a partnership with CET. 

    RationaleAllowing these international students to take courses at these universities provides an opportunity for them to transfer credits like any of the Dickinson study abroad programs.  First year students who defer and choose to take courses at these universities in their home country will be permitted to do so and be treated as first-years who are transferring credits back to the college.

          Approved June 15, 2020

  • One-time only “study abroad at home” non-CET 
    Permit international students who meet the following criteria to study in-person at a college/university in their home country, if they meet the following criteria:  1) they can't come back to campus; 2) they won't have reliable internet access/private space/etc.; 3) the courses they need to take cannot be done remotely

          RationaleThese programs would be treated as any other non-Dickinson approved study abroad program.

          Approved June 22, 2020

  • Exception to permit transfer of courses that begin in person then transition to online  
    Students who begin courses in person at another institution, which then transition to remote during the semester, should be able to transfer in those course as originally intended. 

    RationaleThe decision to transition courses from in person to remote is beyond the students’ control and they shouldn’t be penalized for it.

           Approved July 20, 2020

  • Synchronous component to remote courses 
    APSC supports flexibility for faculty in the designing of their fall courses but the committee strongly recommends the inclusion of face-to-face contact on a regular basis in some format. 

    RationaleFaculty will be teaching students who are all over the world with a broad range of learning environments.  In order to be successful, that could mean a variety of delivery methods for course content.  Feedback received from students about the spring and summer online experiences indicate that regular contact with faculty is vital. 

           Approved July 20, 2020

  • Allow CCPI online transfer credit 

           Approved Oct. 12, 2020

Fall Grading
Two proposals were considered for grading the remote Fall 2020 semester courses:  

  1. Pass/Fail for all classes.  Letter grades would not be assigned, but pass would be still considered the equivalent of C or better.  Unlike courses taken pass/fail in other semesters, fall courses would count toward graduation/major/minor/certificate requirements.
  2. Letter grades for all classes, with the option for faculty to assign pass/fail grades for an entire section as they see fit, and students to have the option to choose pass/fail for any of their courses by a set deadline, such as the last day of classes. 

    Option 2 was approved with the deadline for students to request pass/fail of October 9, and for faculty by August 11.  The following pass/fail policy exceptions will be in place:  1) Courses taken on a pass/fail basis can count toward graduation, major, minor or certificate requirements.  2) Pass/Fail grades from the Fall 2020 semester do not count against the normal limit of four pass/fail courses during a student’s career at Dickinson.  

    RationaleAfter much discussion in the committee, it was decided the faculty and students should be polled.  Both faculty and student responses significantly favored letter grades with the additional pass/fail options.

           Approved August 3, 2020

  • Remote exam guidelines

            APSC offers these remote exam guidelines provided by Marni Jones. 


To faculty from the Provost: “The College recognizes the importance of academic freedom protections in remote instruction that will be recorded. Faculty should be confident that the College will support them as they engage professionally in challenging material in their classes.”

General Guidance to Faculty on the Use of Zoom 

Faculty are expected to record all class meetings for those students who are unable to attend because of time zone differences, accessibility issues, or personal emergencies. It is recommended that you record those class sessions to the cloud since you may run out of storage if you record to your local computer. Faculty are not required automatically to post links to those meetings on Moodle, particularly if the subject matter is sensitive. In such cases, you can share links with individual students as needed.

APSC discussed the use of microphones and cameras during Zoom meetings. They determined that students are required to use a microphone during Zoom meetings. Students are encouraged to use a camera but not required to since there are reasons why using a camera can undermine a student’s learning experience. (See the module on “Supporting Diversity” in the RFF Moodle course for details.)

Faculty should not record private office hours with students unless the student agrees to be recorded. For example, if you are discussing an essay draft with a student or explaining a quantitative problem, you and the student may mutually agree to record the meeting so that the student has access to your feedback/explanation. Without the mutual agreement of both the faculty member and the student, recording private office hours may be a violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance law (18 Pa. C.S. Section 5701 et seq). Be aware aware that when Zoom is set to automatically record all meetings, private office hours are also recorded. You should either not set Zoom to record all meetings or change the setting when holding office hours. (The same applies to holding office hours in Teams.)

Syllabus Statement on Zoom Recordings

For those of you wanting to protect your privacy and that of your students, here is a syllabus statement that you can use:

This classroom is a safe space for all learners to grow, develop, and work together. This may require us to share personal experiences and details, talk candidly about our concerns or questions, say things that are the result of curiosity and learning, and record ourselves talking and presenting. In order to maintain this classroom as a safe space, I require that you do not share anything from the course that could identify myself or your peers, including but not limited to recordings, screenshots, and personal identifiers. I also ask that you do not share any teaching and learning materials, including but not limited to lectures, assignments, and resources.

Technological Choices when Teaching with Zoom

As you think about how you will integrate Zoom into your courses, here are a few technological and pedagogical issues to consider.

  • Consider how you will use the chat function in the course.
    • First, do you want students to have the ability to chat with you and/or the group? Or do you want to turn off the chat? If you want students to have the ability to chat, you may consider limiting their options so that they are not allowed to chat privately with each other. As the host of the meeting, you can do this by allowing all attendees to chat with “Everyone publicly” or “Host only.” To learn more about how to set up the chat and select your preferences, visit this page.
    • Second, do you want to save the chat? To learn more about saving and auto-saving the chat, visit this page
  • Consider how you will use the breakout room function in the course. You to build community and active engagement, do you want to offer students opportunities for small group discussion? If yes, you have the option of creating the groups as the host or randomly assigning groups. You also have the option of visiting the groups or staying in the main meeting (where you can broadcast messages to them) while students talk to each other.
  • Consider how class participants will contribute to the conversation. You may want to encourage all attendees to use the “raise hand” function in the “Participants” section. This way, students who are unable to use video are not at a disadvantage because you cannot see them physically raising their hands. 
  • Consider what you will do with recordings of class sessions. Do you plan to post the recordings automatically or have them available by request if a student is absent or wants to review concepts discussed during the conversation? This is your choice, but you may not want to post the recordings of synchronous class sessions on Moodle if you discuss sensitive materials. Use your best judgment based on the content of your class conversations.

Pedagogical Issues when Teaching with Zoom

  • How do you plan to use synchronous sessions on Zoom? When planning your Zoom session, ask yourself: would it benefit students if we did this activity together in a synchronous session? If the answer is yes, consider the following questions. Do you plan to share your screen during class? Do you plan to post content (videos, slides, notes, etc.) for students to view prior to class? Do you plan to use synchronous sessions primarily for explaining content, holding class discussions, engaging students in activities in which they produce deliverables, or a combination of all? How do you plan to actively engage students during synchronous sessions so it is clear why they are in a synchronous Zoom meeting instead of watching screencasts on their own time? Do you plan to use breakout rooms? 
  • If you plan to use the chat function, do you want students to submit questions and comments about class content using the chat? Is this an option alongside the “raise hand” function in your class? Or do you think students should limit their use of the chat to deal with technical difficulties (e.g. a student might post to the chat that they turned off video because of a poor connection)? If students are encouraged to use the chat to submit questions and comments beyond technical difficulties, how will you keep up with the chat and raised hands?

Building Community on Zoom

  • Consider taking time on the first day of class to create a document with your students featuring participation norms and guidelines, including discussion about how you will use Zoom. This builds trust and invites students to actively engage in crafting the norms for participation in the course based on their past educational experiences. (See the module “Building Community” on the RFF Moodle course for an example of an activity you can use to build a learning community.)
    • During the first week, consider giving students time in breakout rooms to make lists of practices that the class should encourage and practices the class should avoid. For example, students might say, “wait five seconds before jumping into a conversation because there may be a lag and this helps to prevent one participant from interrupting another participant,” “mute your microphone when you are not speaking,” “arrive to the meeting on time because the professor must let you in from the waiting room and arriving late will disrupt the flow of the class,” “use the thumbs up or applause reactions to demonstrate support for your classmates,” etc.
    • When the students leave for the breakout rooms, ask each group to designate a scribe or reporter. Then when the students come back from the breakout rooms, ask the scribe to post their list of practices to the chat. Have a conversation with students and add anything that you think should be on the list but is not. Finally, compile the list and post on Moodle as “Participation Norms and Guidelines.” Revisit this document, especially if you see students slipping into patterns the class explicitly decided to avoid (e.g. looking at cell phones during meetings or arriving late). 

Displaying Pronouns on Zoom Guide for Fall Semester

Here is an introduction and some timely information from Todd Nordgren:

I am writing to you as the new Director the Office of LGBTQ Services at Dickinson and a contributing faculty member in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Some of you have I have had the chance to “meet” virtually, others of you I look forward to connecting with soon! Like all of us at the College, my Office has been working hard to reconceive what this fall will look like during a semester of remote instruction and virtual connections. We look forward to still offering a range of services and programming for all members of the community, and I am happy to consult about any questions that may arise related to LGBTQ identities and experiences.

The transition to remote instruction offers some opportunities, too. Virtual settings allow us to share information in new ways, such as including gender pronouns as part of our display name. Workarounds on Zoom allow everyone to share their pronouns in an easy and inclusive way, building it into the visual structure of the educational environment and fostering the respectful use of pronouns for everyone. If you are able to and comfortable sharing your pronouns on Zoom, please use the following guide on our website to make them visible:    Sharing pronouns in our display names has many benefits. Displaying our pronouns makes it clear that our courses are spaces where students can feel comfortable communicating their own pronouns to us. Since display names share pronouns passively, we can all incorporate them smoothly and correctly into our speech with minimal effort. Please feel free to share your own pronouns on Zoom, direct students to this guide, and, of course, respectfully use the pronouns that your students themselves display. Look forward to other updates from our Office this fall, and reach out to me if you have any questions!