As expected, the situation at the University of Ottawa and other universities is evolving rapidly. You may have received the following email from the University administration: to implement an operational contingency to ensure the health and safety of the university community and to mitigate the spread coronavirus (COVID-19):
Similar to other universities, the Administration is cancelling classes for Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, to transition from in-class teaching to alternative modes of delivery. It is recognized that this is not feasible for all courses. As part of the information we received this morning, the Administration emphasized that this decision is based on four criteria:
– the health and safety of the community;
– the importance of continuing academic activities to complete the session;
– upholding academic standards;
– and flexibility in course delivery.
The last principle is particularly important for part-time professors as you seek to finish the session. The University has provided resources to facilitate the transition’ to distance and online learning formats:
FLEXIBILITY IN COURSE DELIVERY
You do not have to do online ”teaching”. Part-time professors have academic freedom and you are in the best position to determine the format of the remaining course delivery to best serve your students, where this needs to happen. You can share your notes and reading materials via emails, for example, and be available to answer questions by email or phone. You may decide to complete the session via video-conference or record your lecture using screen capture technology and make it available. Or you may decide to provide materials on Brightspace with reading assignments.
This flexibility is equally important when many of you will likely need to seek alternatives to the in-person format of the final exam period. You may decide on a take-home exam or other alternative, or no final exam, while making sure to uphold the academic standards set out in the course outline and adhere to Senate and/or Faculty regulations.
Some members have contacted the Association and inquired about compensation for supplementary work. If you plan to use Brightspace or Adobe Connect for the completion of your courses and consider that this is necessary to serve students well and to do this, you must take online training to master the software, you may be entitled to monetary compensation Please consult your department in advance to obtain your compensation for these online trainings (article 22.214.171.124). You can copy the association at email@example.com
We are well aware that this new context and these new measures may be stressful for you, as well as the additional work you need to undertake for your students during this uncertain period. We will seek clarification from the Administration next week to discuss the measures to alleviate and/or compensate for impacts, for training on new software applications or additional work for example, other supports available as you make the transition, and other issues that affect your working conditions such as teaching evaluations
SPRING & SUMMER CLASSES
There is a possibility that Spring and Summer courses may have to be delivered through distance learning and, if so, we will engage the Administration to ensure members receive necessary training and compensation.
Do not hesitate to contact us for further information, while recognizing that we are all now in uncharted territory.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & OFFICE
According to the APTUO Constitution, the Association has to hold a AGM in the Winter session. The AGM had been scheduled for 1 April. The Board of Directors has decided to postpone the AGM until later this Spring or Summer and consider an alternative format. In addition, to ensure the health and safety of our employees, the Association has decided to promote telework for everyone in the office. This means that you will not be able to see staff or officers on campus except by appointment. The best way to communicate with the office is via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.