Internal - Faculty & Staff

Support for Online Transition

Simmons is dedicated to supporting both faculty and students during this shift from on-ground to online courses (which began on March 23, 2020). Supporting our students in successfully meeting the learning objectives of their spring courses is our priority. While the highest-quality online course designs are a longer, more involved process, we are offering approaches that can be implemented quickly to ensure educational continuity. 

Information current as of April 6, 2020 – We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Support Specialists

Each of the four Colleges will work with a faculty support specialist, who will coordinate direct, 1:1 support in helping faculty transition their courses online. They will also work with the Deans to bring together faculty and support staff within the College with expertise in online teaching, who can help support their peers. You will hear from these individuals soon with more information on direct support in your area. These specialists are:

Technology Support

Support for Simmons-supported academic technologies, including Moodle, Zoom, and Panopto will be available through our Academic Systems IT team. Technology has created a website with resources to help you get up to speed with using these tools, including videos and quick start guides, virtual classroom examples, and a technology-focused planning checklist. We are reviewing data from the faculty survey to determine other types of support from this team, such as webinars or other programming.

Support Programs

Library Support

The Simmons University Library is available to support your learning and teaching during the rapidly changing public health crisis. Please see our Covid-19 Library Guide for information on digitizing course reserves, interlibrary loan services, research and instruction librarian support, and free resources from major publishers, including JSTOR and the Harvard Business Review.

Advising Support

As we all transition to the new normal of online learning, we should remember that fall 2020 registration opened on March 30th. To continue to provide your advisees with support around course registration and academic planning for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester, the Office of Undergraduate Advising has shared best practices, resources, and tips in providing online advising support to your students through Zoom.

Next Steps

In the meantime, we’d recommend taking these steps to prepare:

  • Consider whether you’d like to move your class online as a synchronous (“live”) or asynchronous (not “live”) approach. A synchronous session allows for real-time lectures, discussions, and activities, but not all of your students may have the technology or Internet access at home to connect in this way. Think through which option might be the best fit in your particular context.
  • Communicate with students. It is important to give them as much information as you can about how the class will operate online and to be reassuring as well. Wherever possible, keep the syllabus and plan consistent. 
  • Note that lectures, discussion, student presentations, and similar common pedagogical approaches can be moved online using Moodle, Zoom, Panopto, and other tools. Contact your College’s faculty specialist for ideas and strategies for how to do this. Some experiential learning approaches are more difficult to move online– we recommend reaching out to your College’s faculty support specialist, colleagues, and Dean to develop an appropriate strategy.
  • Move your office hours online, and let students know how to connect with you virtually. Either Zoom or email are great ways to be available online during office hours.
  • Make sure that you have the tools that you need, such as access to files from home.
  • Do what you can to create space on your calendar so that you’ll have the time that you’ll need to support your students.
  • Accessibility Services will be communicating with students served by OAS about how their accommodations will be met in the online environment. OAS can answer these questions for you, as well. For technical questions, contact your faculty support person, who can triage and refer questions to IT or OAS, as appropriate.
  • Moving a course online can provide unique challenges with exam-based student assessments. Your College’s specialist can review options with you to help you decide how to best assess student learning in an online environment.

More information and support will be coming soon. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate this change together.