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.
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.
The Office of the Registrar (OTR) has sent the following emails to Rice students about the Fall 2020 schedule:
The following decisions have been made regarding the Fall 2020 academic calendar:
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:
To assist in the new, updated Fall 2020 guideline implementation, the OTR has:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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?
What if the classroom I am assigned will not work for me or my class?
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.