Fall Semester 2020 Schedule (Changes, Etc.)
This Office of the Registrar webpage addresses specific topics and areas of change in preparation for Fall Semester 2020. These include the revised and updated Fall 2020 course schedule, the revised and updated Fall 2020 academic calendar, registration, classroom assignments, and classroom utilization, etc.
Table of Contents
- Overview of Changes
- Academic Calendar
- Course Schedule
- Classroom Assignments
- Technology in Classrooms
Academic Restart Committee (ARC) and Provost Messages
The Academic Restart Committee (ARC) and Provost DesRoches have provided guidelines for the restarting of academic activities at Rice. The emails that have thus far been sent to the community addressing these guidelines are linked below.
- "Dual Delivery for Fall 2020 - ARC" (6/10/2020) - Explains what "dual delivery" is for courses in Fall 2020 and references offices where training and resources for dual delivery are available.
- "Information About Dual Delivery for Fall 2020 - Provost" (6/10/2020) - Outlines steps needed to be able to teach in dual delivery mode in Fall 2020 to meet requirements of Rice Policy 846.
- "Additional ARC Guidelines for Fall 2020" (6/17/2020) - Outlines, in specific detail with reasoning, many of the decisions regarding Fall 2020 noted on this page.
- "Required Training for Fully Online Courses for the Fall" (6/18/2020) - Explains the requirements for teaching a fully online course and what trainings must be completed. Also includes information about training opportunities.
- "Suggested Strategies for Large Classes" (6/18/2020) - Provides options and ideas for instructors teaching classes with enrollments of 26 - 99 on how to include significant in person experience. (Note: this document references the enrollment figure of 50 - 99, but this was changed to "greater than 25" in subsequent guidelines.)
- "ARC Message on Maximum Class Size Change and Guidelines for Exemptions to In-Person Course Delivery for Fall 2020" (6/29/2020) - Updated guidance on maximum class sizes with all courses with enrollments 26 or greater being moved online.
- "Online / Face-to-Face / Dual Delivery Definition Clarification" (7/13/2020) - Clarification on the definitions of "online," "face-to-face," and "dual delivery" sent by ARC.
- (New) Fall 2020 Course Schedule (Update/Extension) (7/15/2020) - Description of change to definition of "online" in Policy 846; extension for instructors/departments/schools to further adjust courses to be "online."
- "Syllabus Resources" (7/27/2020) - Provides additional information for faculty to make changes to their course syllabus in light of courses being offered in multiple modalities.
- Guidelines for Course Shopping, Special Registration, and Field Based Activities (8/6/2020) - Provides guidance for instructors regarding how to successfully allow course shopping, special registration, and academic field based activities for students.
- Fall 2020 ARC Update (10/16/2020) - Update on the Fall 2020 semester, including independent study days and what assignments may be due, final exams, and class recordings.
Office of the Registrar Messages to Students Regarding Fall 2020
The Office of the Registrar (OTR) has sent the following emails to Rice students about the Fall 2020 schedule:
- "Important: E-mail to [Undergraduate] Students on Updated Fall 2020 Course Enrollments" (6/24/2020) - Provides overview of changes being made to the Fall 2020 schedule for undergraduate students
- "Important: E-mail to [Graduate] Students on Updated Fall 2020 Course Enrollments" (6/25/2020) - Provides overview of changes being made to the Fall 2020 schedule for graduate students
- "Important: ESTHER Add/Drops (2-Week "Pause")" (7/4/2020) - Notification that registration actions will be "paused" until Monday, July 20, 2020.
- Update: Extension of "Pause" by 1 Week (ESTHER Adds/Drops) (7/15/2020) (Undergraduate Students / Graduate Students) - Update on registration actions being "paused." The registration "pause" has been extended until Monday, July 27, 2020.
The following decisions have been made regarding the Fall 2020 academic calendar:
- Instruction will begin as originally planned on Monday, August 24, 2020.
- Labor Day will remain as a holiday with no classes scheduled on Monday, September 7, 2020.
- The two-day midterm recess (previously scheduled for Monday-Tuesday, October 12 – 13, 2020) is cancelled. Classes are scheduled on those days.
- Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020) will be a regular class day; however, no assignments can be due that day and all instructional material covered on that day must be available asynchronously.
- Instruction will end on Friday, November 20, 2020.
- The week of Monday, November 30 – Friday, December 4, 2020 will be an “independent study” week – work such as papers, homework assignments, and similar materials that are currently allowed by the General Announcements (GA) to be due the last week of classes may be made due on Thursday or Friday of that week (Dec. 3 – 4) but there will be no class meetings during the week.
- Friday, December 4, 2020 will remain the official “last day of classes” for the Fall 2020 semester.
- Study days (Saturday-Tuesday, December 5 – 8) and final exam days (Wednesday-Wednesday, December 9 – 16) will remain as originally scheduled.
- Final exams will be conducted in a remote format.
- Can presentations or final exams be due during the independent study days?
Work such as papers, homework assignments, and similar materials that are currently allowed by the General Announcements (GA) to be due the last week of classes may be made due on Thursday or Friday of that week (Dec. 3-4) but there will be no class meetings during the week.
Final exams may not be given during the independent study period and may only begin once the final exam period begins.
As a result of the changes to the academic calendar, and in particular, the ending of instruction on an earlier date, important contact time in classes would have been reduced. Combining this with the need to address new classroom space issues caused by physical distancing, it became clear that a number of changes needed to be made. The following measures are being put in place:
- The daily class schedule has been reconfigured and classes have been assigned times and will be assigned rooms in order to provide a sufficiently large space to operate under the guidelines described above.
- Class durations for most courses will be increased by 5 minutes per class in order to meet contact time requirements for Fall.
- Courses with actual or projected enrollments of 100 or more will be offered only online.
- Courses with actual or projected enrollments of 26 - 99 will default to being offered online only; however, a number of instructors have expressed a desire to accommodate these larger classes and still preserve a significant in-person experience. For these courses, the instructor should make a request to their chair to offer the course in a dual delivery format utilizing a plan that caps individual in-person class meetings at 25 persons. If the chair agrees with the plan, and additionally has approval of the dean, the request should be forwarded to the Provost, who will then advise the Registrar. Such requests should be made as soon as possible and should be made no later than July 8, 2020.
- The ARC will soon provide a set of guidelines and suggestions on how to handle dual delivery for courses with enrollments between 26 - 99 which will include the possibility to teach two sections of the course if desired; however, individual faculty will decide exactly how to deal with their specific course. Some of the suggestions may be useful for those teaching courses with smaller enrollments; however, teaching multiple sections of courses with 25 or fewer students which requires additional classroom resources will not be permitted.
- Other than large classes that are moved only online, all courses normally assigned a room will be assigned a room so students can gather even if the instructor is present remotely in order to better facilitate student interactions.
- The daily class schedule will be reconfigured and classes assigned times and rooms in order to provide a sufficiently large space to operate under the guidelines described above. For Fall 2020, the daily schedule will include 20 minutes in between meeting times in order to accommodate potentially longer walking distances between classes, and allow for less congestion in halls and entrances/exits.
To assist in the new, updated Fall 2020 guideline implementation, the OTR has:
- Created new standard time blocks for Fall 2020. These are available here.
- Taken the existing Fall 2020 course schedule and moved it into the new meeting time patterns as best as possible. This was done in a manner that allows courses to generally stay around the same time of the day, although some courses were moved well away from their previous times due to room needs or student registration conflicts.
- Implemented a rule that prevents any new course sections from being offered before 4:00pm during the week. (This is to ensure adequate classroom spaces on campus.) Exceptions may be granted in a very limited set of circumstances.
- Attempted to project the enrollment of Fall 2020 registration, to the course section level, for each and every course section. (To create this “projected enrollment” value, the OTR used various sources, and most specifically historical data from previous semesters, etc.)
- During the week of June 22: Review and (where necessary) correct the course schedule data in the Google Sheet that OTR provided on Tuesday, June 23rd. Revisions and comments should be made in the Google Sheet by the end of the day on July 8, 2020, and that information is automatically sent to OTR. In the review, departments and schools should check and confirm the following for each course:
- Projected enrollment values ("projected enrollment" is different than the current "actual enrollment" or the "max enrollment cap").
- New scheduled meeting times, checking for any instructor teaching time conflicts or other conflicts arising due to the change in times.
- Room Needs (for scheduled courses), and specifically whether the need is for an OTR-Scheduled Room or a Department-Scheduled Room.
- Possible "Alternate Attendance Methods" and identify any courses that will have some sort of "alternate attendance" method (e.g., having half the students attend on Tuesday and the other half attend on Thursday).
- Departments and schools should work with instructors to identify courses in the 26 - 99 enrollment range that may have opportunities to use alternative meetings so that in-person instruction can occur. As noted above, if a department chair agrees with the plan, and it has the approval of the dean, the request should be forwarded to the Provost, who will then advise the Registrar. Such requests should be made as soon as possible, and should be made no later than July 8, 2020.
We realize the revised schedule has created a number of changes, not all of which may be viewed favorably. However, in making these changes we have attempted to limit the number of student registration conflicts. If the newly assigned time does not work due to an instructor being assigned to teach two courses at the same time, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Departments, schools and instructors are asked to be flexible as we work together to provide the best Rice experience that we can amidst these circumstances. If for some reason it is determined that a course at its new scheduled time is not viable, that course can be cancelled and proposed as a new section at a different scheduled time block.
To change the time of a course by cancelling and creating a new course offering, the following steps must be followed:
- The department should create a new section in CourseLeaf CLSS with the proposed new meeting time. The meeting time must be scheduled for after 4pm.
- Drop the maximum enrollment to the original section to zero.
- Contact the students in the original section advising them of the department's need to cancel that section and suggest they register for the new section of the course.
- Cancel the original section of the course.
Please note: These steps are set up in this manner because of the cascading effect changing an existing meeting time will have across student registrations and the overall course schedule.
Courses with actual or projected enrollments of 26 or more are, by guidance from the ARC, to be offered online.
If the actual or projected enrollment of a course is 26 - 99, and the instructor desires to keep a significant in-person experience, the instructor should make a request to their chair to offer the course in dual format utilizing a plan that caps individual in-person class meetings at 25 persons. If the chair agrees with the plan, and it has the approval of the dean, the request should then be forwarded to the Provost, who will then advise the Registrar. Such requests should be made as soon as possible and should be made by July 8, 2020.
Otherwise, the following will occur for all courses with actual or projected enrollments of 26 or more:
- OTR will ensure that the course is approved to be offered online in accordance with Rice Policy 846.
- OTR will initiate a new section of the course and send through the appropriate approvals needed by Rice Policy 846. Courses that currently have meeting times will carry those meeting times into the new section.
- OTR will move the registered students into the new section.
Courses with actual or projected enrollment of 25 or fewer students are expected to be delivered in-person with a dual delivery component. If for some reason a course with actual or projected enrollments of 25 or fewer students desires and is approved to move fully online, the department/instructor will need to perform the following steps:
- Ensure that the course is approved to be offered online in accordance with Rice Policy 846. If it is not approved to be offered online, a proposal should be sent through CourseLeaf CIM.
- After approval of the ability to offer online, initiate a new section of the course and send through the appropriate approvals needed by Rice Policy 846.
- Drop the maximum enrollment to the original section to zero.
- Contact the students to register for the new online section of the course.
- Cancel the original section of the course.
A small number of courses have received approval to be offered only face-to-face/in person. (In some of the courses below, remote students may enroll but are required to be synchronously available for the course. Please contact the course instructor if you are a remote student wishing to take one of these courses.) Those courses are:
- ARTS 225 001 (12857) - BEGINNING DRAWING
- ARTS 311 001 (12861) - BEGINNING PRINTMAKING
- BIOS 211 001 (15094) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 002 (15095) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 003 (15096) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 004 (15097) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 005 (15098) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 006 (15099) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 007 (15100) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 008 (15101) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 009 (15102) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 010 (15103) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 211 011 (15104) - EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 311 001 (15173) - ADV EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 311 002 (15174) - ADV EXPERIMENTAL BIOSCIENCES
- BIOS 339 001 (15187) - PLANT DIVERSITY LAB
- CHEM 205 001 (15673) - ADV TOPICS IN GEN CHEM LAB
- CHEM 215 001 (16153) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 215 002 (16154) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 215 003 (16156) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 215 004 (16155) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 215 005 (16157) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 215 006 (16158) - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB (No longer available)
- CHEM 366 001 (11889) - INORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB
- CHEM 367 001 (11885) - MATERIALS CHEMISTRY LAB
- FOTO 205 0F1 (10560) - INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY
- FOTO 205 003 (15008) - INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY
- FWIS 100 001 (11297) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 002 (11298) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 003 (11299) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 904 (12487) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 905 (16282) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 906 (11300) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 907 (12489) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 908 (11302) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 100 909 (13287) - FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC COMM
- FWIS 115 001 (15736) - EXPLORING BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH
- THEA 102 001 (11235) - INTRODUCTION TO ACTING
- THEA 300 001 (12865) - INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE DESIGN
- THEA 301 001 (14869) - ACTING I
- THEA 304 001 (14870) - COSTUME DESIGN
Please note that while these courses were approved to be offered face-to-face/in person only, departments may choose to move them to dual delivery.
In January 2012, Rice's Faculty Senate approved a student-initiated motion regarding syllabus standards and the required distributing of course syllabus information. Syllabi are normally required to be uploaded by the first day of classes. Uploading a syllbus will enable students to successfully "shop" for courses during the ADD/DROP period, and this is especially important for Fall 2020 because students will not have the same course "shopping" experience as they have had in the past. All students, even those not registered for the course, are able to view a syllabus that has been posted/archived within ESTHER.
Additional information regarding course syllabi can be found on the Course Syllabus page.
- How were the new meeting times assigned to courses?
The following steps were completed to determine the new meeting times:
1. All courses meeting during original standard meeting patterns were moved to the new meeting patterns.
2. Courses that didn’t meet according to the original meeting patterns were manually reviewed and adjusted.
3. Several data checks and queries were run against the results with regard to student registrations to find registration time conflicts.
4. Approximately 450 conflicts were discovered in this process, compared to about 35 before the process. Sections were manually reviewed and adjustments made to several dozen sections to reduce the number of registration time conflicts to a little over 100.
Admittedly, the number of registration time conflicts is much higher than the OTR would have liked to see, but this was expected due to 1) the substantial number of non-standard meeting time courses and 2) the elimination of meeting periods necessitated by the expanding of contact time by 5 minutes and the passing time by 10 minutes.
- If a course is projected to have enrollment of 30 but it only has 20 students enrolled, will it meet in person or be online?
Courses with a projected enrollment 26-99 will be, be default, offered online, and will not be assigned a meeting space unless an alternate plan was approved by July 8, 2020. Therefore, courses in this situation would be offered online and would not transfer to be in-person.
- I don't like the new meeting pattern that I was given. What can be done? Who can I speak with?
Instructors who do not like the newly assigned meeting time may request that their department cancel the current section of the course and offer a new section at a new meeting time. These new sections must be held after 4pm.
- How do I cancel a section?
A department scheduler may cancel a course in CourseLeaf CLSS by performing the following steps:
1. Drop the maximum enrollment to the original section to zero.
2. Contact the students to drop the course.
3. If the students haven't dropped within a few days, contact us at email@example.com, and we'll administratively remove them.
4. Cancel the original section of the course once all students have dropped by going in to CLSS and setting "Status = Cancelled" and submitting through workflow.
- What is considered an exception if an instructor does not think they should teach a new section after 4pm?
These are considered on a case-by-case basis, but exceptions will be generally limited to medical necessity and conflicts with other Rice assigned duties.
- What if I can't reach the instructor of the course and provide an answer to you by July 8 to complete the Google Sheet?
Provide the best information that you can in the Google Sheet; however, please be aware that inaccurate information may result in the real and substantial possibility of the OTR not being able to assign an appropriate classroom.
- Must a course have more than 25 students to have an alternate attendance arrangement (e.g., half the students attend on Tuesday in person and the other half attend on Thursday in person)?
While courses with projected or actual enrollment 26-99 would normally be required to make alternate attendance plans to meet in person, courses with enrollments below 26 may do so as well. It is imperative that these are relayed to OTR, however, because that will drive and assist classroom assignments.
- I am teaching a course that has fewer than 26 students, but I would like it to be online only. What do I need to do?
Courses with actual or projected enrollment of fewer than 25 students are expected to be delivered in-person with a dual delivery component. If for some reason a course with actual or projected enrollments of 25 or fewer students desires and is approved to move fully online, the department/instructor will need to perform the following steps:
2. After approval of the ability to offer online, initiate a new section of the course and send through the appropriate approvals needed by Rice Policy 846.
3. Drop the maximum enrollment to the original section to zero.
4. Contact the students to register for the new online section of the course.
5. Cancel the original section of the course.
The OTR is in the process of assigning classrooms for Fall 2020. This process is significantly more challenging due to the reduced classroom capacities caused by physical distancing requirements. Because of this, it is extremely important that departments and schools review the course schedule information to i.) determine for each course whether an OTR-Scheduled or Department-Scheduled Room is needed and ii.) confirm whether the projected enrollment value is accurate. Failure to provide complete and accurate information may result in the OTR being unable to find a suitable classroom for the course.
- When will room assignments be released?
The process of assigning classrooms is a long and tedious process. The OTR uses an electronic system "optimizer" tool but then manually reviews and adjusts based on other known variables. Our goal is to release classroom assignments on or before the end of July.
- What if the classroom I am assigned will not work for me or my class?
The supply of classrooms is severely limited due to physical distancing requirements and available technology. If your assigned classroom poses a significant problem, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the issue and what you think can be done to rectify it. We will make every attempt to satisfy your need, but please keep in mind that it is possible that the assigned room may be the only option available.
- If a course is being held online only, will an instructor teaching online be assigned a room?
Generally, no, a room will not be assigned. Should a room be needed for the instructor to give the presentation, use classroom technology, utilize a whiteboard, please email email@example.com, and we will find an appropriate room for what is needed from the available spaces.
- Are the rooms going to be cleaned between classes? Who will be going to clean them?
While classrooms will be cleaned more frequently than normal by custodial staff, it is not possible for them to clean each room between classes. Rice will provide disinfectant wipes in each classroom to wipe down surfaces before the start of class and has extended the passing time between classes to 20 minutes in order to allow for this.
Additional information regarding cleaning and disinfectant procedures can be viewed in the message sent to the campus community by VP for Administration and Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby.
- How do I know how many students can fit into a room?
The OTR is working with FE&P to determine the occupancy limits of the OTR-scheduled rooms, so you will not need to worry about these.
For any departmentally-scheduled rooms, you may contact Pat Dwyer, Executive Director for Space Management (firstname.lastname@example.org), for assistance in determining occupancy limits in those spaces.
- In order to apply social distancing in classrooms, it will not be possible to use most of the chairs in each room. Will the unusable chairs be removed? In rooms with movable furniture, how will we know where chairs are supposed to be located in order to remain in compliance with social distancing measures?
To aid in maintaining social distancing restrictions, as well as to avoid having to pay to store several thousands of chairs, chairs will remain in classrooms wherever possible. Chairs that are not to be used will be marked as such. In rooms with movable chairs, the floor will be marked in order for everyone to know where the acceptable chairs need to be located.
The OTR is working with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to properly equip classrooms with the technology needed for dual delivery. OIT is maintaining a Wiki page documenting the progress of the equipping of classrooms, and those can be viewed here.
Questions about classroom technology should be directed to email@example.com.