Subject: Moving to online-only instruction
Date: March 11, 2020

Dear faculty,

As you know, Calvin University has taken an unprecedented step of placing all our courses online from March 16, 2020, to at least April 13, 2020. We are able to do this because the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting agency, has granted temporary waivers for all universities to teach programs in a distance education mode. We recognize that this change presents us with an enormous challenge. We will need to work together and learn together how to serve our students well as we protect the health and safety of our community.

To maintain the highest standards of teaching and learning, many of you will want help withe techniques and platforms for effectively teaching students remotely. To provide this help, we have created a team (Keep-Teaching@Calvin) to assist faculty in developing the strategies to move their courses online. Robert Bobeldyk has already subscribed you to a mailing listserv, Keep-Teaching@calvin.edu, which will be used as an informal channel for faculty to ask questions and explore solutions as we place our courses online. This will become an important resource for crowdsourcing, a practice by which the entire faculty community can become experts and inform each other about solutions that are, and are not, working.

We will also be offering workshops for faculty about effective ways to work with distance-based technologies on Friday, March 13, and Monday, March 16. The locations and times for the workshops will be communicated on Keep-Teaching@calvin.edu. The Keep-Teaching team will lead these in-person workshops. Topics will include:

  • a discussion of how to get a VPN account so that all documents stored in the R drive can be assessible from home
  • An introduction to working with Microsoft Teams, including Video Chat, group discussion boards, etc.
  • Moodle capabilities

URL: www.calvin.edu/go/remote

Robert Bobeldyk has already subscribed you to a mailing listserv, Keep-Teaching@calvin.edu, which will be used as an informal channel for faculty to ask questions and explore solutions as we place our courses online. This will become an important resource for crowdsourcing, a practice by which the entire faculty community can become experts and inform each other about solutions that are, and are not, working.

We will be offering workshops to help faculty learn effective ways to work with distance-based technologies on Friday, March 13, and Monday, March 16. The locations and times for the workshops will be communicated on the Keep Teaching listserv. The Keep Teaching team will be leading these in-person workshops. Topics will include:

  • A discussion of how to get a VPN account so that all documents stored in the R drive can be assessible from home
  • An introduction to working with Microsoft Teams, including Video Chat, group discussion boards, etc.
  • Moodle capabilities

We encourage faculty to attend one of these workshops. We understand that faculty have differing levels of familiarity with online teaching. The goal is to develop the basics of online teaching. We do not expect faculty to become experts overnight. Faculty with more knowledge and experience can serve as invaluable resources as they share their expertise with those with less experience.

CIT will be a key partner with the Academic Division as we move courses into the online environment. The first floor of Hekman Library will have a range of support available, including video equipment for capturing lectures and general troubleshooting. Keep an eye out for communications about resources and opportunities on the Keep Teaching listserv and through Sharepoint.

This is a unique – and we hope temporary – moment in Calvin’s history. Our deepest thanks in advance for coming together to make extraordinary things happen at this uncertain time.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Brandsen, provost
Kevin den Dulk, associate provost
Arlene Hoogewerf, academic dean
Elizabeth Vander Lei, academic