Frequently Asked Questions - Instructor FAQ spring 2022

Instructor FAQ spring 2022 questions

Instructor FAQ spring 2022 answers

Overview answers

About this FAQ

The following answers reflect the most current planning on our campus for Spring 2022 instruction. Although subsequent developments in public health guidance may necessitate changes, these answers are intended to provide the best and most up-to-date basis for instructional planning.

This document will be supplemented and updated as needed on an ongoing basis. If you would like to propose an additional question, or if you have other additions or corrections, please email aschair@berkeley.edu

Last updated 01/12/22

Important additional resources

This document lists questions commonly encountered by instructors. Instructors are also strongly encouraged to read through the Instruction FAQ for Students on the Office of the Registrar website, which also provides up-to-date information but focuses on the students’ perspective on instructional issues.

Helpful guides and strategies for remote teaching can be found on the Keep Teaching website, along with links to important updates and communications as they become available.

The online resources for Reading & Composition instructors includes a good deal of information of general interest.

For further general ongoing updates on the campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic, see this campus listing of resources and support.

In-residence requirement for Senate faculty answers

If I am only teaching COCI-approved online courses in Spring 2022, am I required to be in residence in the Spring? Does “in residence” mean I must work from my office, or can I continue to teach from home or other off-campus location?

In-person engagement is part of a vibrant campus experience that fosters discovery and education. Reflecting that, University policy (APM 730) states, "Academic personnel appointed on an academic-year basis are expected to be in residence from the day designated in the University Calendar as the opening of the Fall term through the end of the Spring term." Senate faculty are expected, therefore, to maintain a presence on campus with most activities, in addition to their teaching, being done in-person (including some of their office hours). Those faculty who seek an exception should discuss with their department chair to see if their situation accords with one or more of the limited number of grounds for an exception.

I am vaccinated and have a breakthrough case of COVID with mild or no symptoms. During my quarantine period, should I pivot to remote instruction?

Yes. You should not be on campus if you cannot get a green badge from the symptom screener. If you feel healthy enough and able to continue teaching, you can pivot to remote instruction. It is best to be sure, in advance of this situation, that all of your students have access to the necessary technology to participate in remote learning.

Instruction, office hours, and exams answers

What plans are in place for Spring 2022 instruction?

As outlined in the Spring 2022 instruction update, we will begin the semester with a two-stage process. Most courses will be offered fully remote for the first two weeks (January 18th-28th). Starting January 31st and beyond, the mode of instruction for each class will default to the mode approved by the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) for that course. For most courses, that is in-person instruction.

I would like to do a mix of in-person and online teaching for my Spring 2022 class, with some sessions in person and some via Zoom. Do I need permission to hold some of my class sessions in an online format?

COCI approval is required for changes to courses that plan to include regular online components (a component is a lecture, discussion, lab, etc.) in current or future semesters.

COCI approval is not required for occasional remote sessions in response to a campus wide emergency arising from public health conditions; in response to an instructor's inability to come to campus due to, e.g., quarantine (see item below); fire-related poor air quality, power outages, earthquakes, or other unforeseeable events.

I am concerned about the safety of all my students in my in-person class. If a student shows up to my in-person class unmasked, what do I do?
I am concerned about the safety of all my students in my in-person class. If a student shows up to my in-person class unmasked, what do I do? If I ask the unmasked student to put on a mask and they refuse, can I have them disenrolled from the course? Can I ask them to leave the room?

Please consult UC Berkeley’s Coronavirus Instructor Guidance for up-to-date guidance on this question.

If a student in my in-person class tests positive, will I be informed? Will I and the other students need to isolate or quarantine for a time? Will my class need to pivot to remote instruction? If so, for how long?

Please consult UC Berkeley’s Coronavirus Instructor Guidance for up-to-date guidance on this question.

When is it permitted to pivot to remote instruction?

Campus may issue a directive to shift to remote instruction based on public health conditions, fire-related poor air quality, or some other emergency. A temporary shift to remote instruction is also appropriate if an instructor is ill. For short illnesses faculty should do what they would have done before the pandemic, whether cancelling a class, offering the class remotely, or giving a small assignment to substitute for the class session. For longer illnesses, or if a faculty member (or their young children) are instructed by public health to quarantine/isolate for ~10 days, instructors should confer with their chair and communicate an agreed-upon solution to students as soon as possible.

In pivoting to remote instruction, communication with students is key. Students should be reminded of the possibility at the start of the semester so that they may make remote arrangements on their end (finding a space, wifi, devices, and other technical requirements).

I am scheduled to teach in person. Is there any information about remote instruction that should be in my syllabus?

There are a number of circumstances under which you may need to pivot to remote instruction. To name a few: public health guidance, wildfire and smoke, having a substantial share of your students unable to attend class due to illness or quarantine, being ill or exposed to covid yourself, being unable to pass the symptom screener and receive your green badge. You should include information in your syllabus about remote instruction and ensure that all of your students have access to the necessary technology.

For final exams administered in-person are instructors allowed to check students for green badges or require that students have a green badge to take the final exam?

All students HAVE to complete the Daily Symptom Screener and be cleared with a green badge to access UC Berkeley campus. If an exam is scheduled in person in a campus building, the students are required to have a green badge valid for the day of the exam. 

While it certainly may be good practice to remind students of that requirement, faculty are not authorized to verify compliance with that mandate. Currently, no one is authorized to ask to see someone else’s badge status except in health care settings and during Golden Bear Orientation check in. (https://coronavirus.berkeley.edu/campus-access/)

What policies will be in effect for Spring 2022 final examinations?

Guidelines for Spring 2022 final examinations will be the same as those for final examinations in Spring 2020—alternate means of final assessment will be permitted with the approval of the department chair, but without need for COCI approval. See also COCI’s statement on Fall 2021 Instruction

My course is approved as a course with a final exam, but I would instead like to have students do a final project or paper. Do I need anyone’s permission in order to make that change?

Senate Regulation 772 stipulates that a final examination that may take up to three hours to complete is required in all undergraduate classes. Permanent exceptions to that requirement require COCI approval. Your department chair has the authority to make a one-time exception to the final exam requirement.

If I record a class lecture or discussion, and it includes student participation (identifying information such as name, image, or voice), can I share the recording with individuals who are not enrolled in the course?

To share recordings of class sessions that include student participation with individuals not enrolled in the course (e.g., future courses, prospective students, audiences outside of Berkeley), instructors must provide notice in the syllabus prior to semester start regarding the recording and sharing of classroom lectures and discussion sections and receive written consent from students via a form/survey sent to all class enrollments asking them to opt in/opt out.  In accordance with FERPA requirements, students must be provided with the opportunity to consent or to withhold their consent to the sharing of their identifying information (name, image, voice) with other individuals not enrolled in the recorded course.  The consent language should describe with whom the recordings will be shared and the purpose of sharing the recordings.

Additionally, students should be verbally reminded prior to each class session that the lecture/discussion section will be recorded and may be shared with individuals outside of the course. For remote students that opted out, they should be encouraged to mute their audio and turn off their video.

For students that do not consent, the recordings should be edited to de-identify the students prior to sharing the recording, which can include avoiding or removing any mention of the student’s name, removing or blurring the student’s image, and altering voice recordings.

As a best practice, it is recommended that instructors only provide recordings of synchronous lectures to students who are enrolled in the same class. For lectures that will be used across semesters, it is recommended that instructors develop asynchronous lectures that do not include students from any class.

Instructors are also advised to make sure that videos are closed captioned by DSP if students (including auditors) in their classes have this accommodation or they wish to post videos in public forums. For further details on ADA compliance of video recordings please see https://dac.berkeley.edu/events/planning-accessible-events/ada-compliant-remote-events-and-recordings

Permanent changes to courses answers

Teaching my course remotely worked out well for the students. If I prefer to teach online rather than in person in the future, what do I need to submit to COCI and by when in order to get the course approved as an online course?

When you submit your course modification proposal in CMS, you will need to provide information about what is expected of students in the online version of your course. COCI has provided guidelines that should be considered when proposing an online course in COCI Handbook 2.5 Web-based and Online Courses. The schedule for COCI review can be found here

Wildfires, smoke, air quality, natural disasters, PG&E outages answers

Can I expect a “normal” semester of classroom instruction?

No—along with public health guidance regarding safe use of shared spaces, it will be important to bear in mind that you will need to retain a plan for moving back to remote instruction at any time if developments relating to public health (or other emergencies) render it necessary. For example, if classroom buildings are closed for a period due to smoke from a wildfire, you may be able to shift your class to remote instruction for one or two meetings.

How should I approach the teaching of my course if the Air Quality Index from wildfire smoke forces campus to close?

As we did in Fall 2019, if campus is forced to close because of fires, you should conduct your class remotely.

How can I best prepare my course and my students for a power outage, particularly one which disrupts a scheduled exam?

Do your best to plan ahead and provide clear messages about how you will handle power outages and related disruptions. Let students know how you plan to communicate with them in the event of a disruption, with a method that is as robust to power outages and disruptions as possible, keeping in mind that there may be inevitable delays in sending and receiving these communications. Let students know how you expect them to handle assignments, exams, and access to course materials in the event of a disruption. Include these plans in your syllabus. Announce them verbally on Day 1. Be sure all GSIs are aware of these plans. In the week leading up to any exam, both you and your GSIs should reiterate your plans in written announcements to the students.

If you must cancel synchronous lectures because you, your GSIs, or some or all of your students are without power, you may cancel the class, or reschedule it, or provide asynchronous materials (e.g. readings, pre-recorded lectures) once power has been restored. 

If you must reschedule an exam, try not to be in an urgent rush to complete the exam. If possible, wait at least 24-48 hours after the return of power, especially for extended outages. It is likely that you and your students will have practical concerns that may take precedence immediately after power is restored.

For more info, the Instructional Resilience Checklist contains a full list of suggestions of what to do before and after a disruption.