6.12.20: Preparing for Fall 2020

A message to faculty from Greg Reihman. 

Dear Lehigh Faculty,

I am writing to follow up on the recent emails from the President, Provost, and Faculty Senate and to offer some support for your preparations for teaching this fall.

Other units on campus are working to answer key questions, such as

  • How many students are expecting in-classroom learning and how many are expecting remote learning?
  • Which instructors are expecting to teach in a physical classroom and which are expecting to teach remotely?
  • What are our classroom capacities and how well can we meet requests for in-classroom teaching and learning? 

My understanding is that we cannot have all courses online (that would not meet expectations of those who wish to be teaching and learning on campus or meet some of the educational goals we have) and we cannot have all courses on-campus (that is not possible because social distancing limits classroom capacity).

Finding an equitable solution to this complex problem will require coordination among faculty, departments, deans, the registrar, and the provost's office.
Despite this uncertainty, and in light of the Provost's recommendation that we start preparations for fall now, I want to share with you some resources we have developed to help you in your work.

Please take a moment to visit Preparing to Teach in Fall 2020.

On this webpage, you will find:

  • the assumptions that are guiding our approach to teaching in fall 2020;
  • a description of the basic framework we recommend for all classes in the fall; 
  • the recommendations developed by the Faculty Senate working group to enhance remote instruction, which helped shape the framework and other guidance pages;
  • step-by-step guidance for developing a blended course (i.e., one that combines robust online asynchronous learning with flexible approaches to synchronous instruction);
  • links to additional support documentation on a range of topics, videos from past workshops, and our emerging knowledge base; and
  • information about upcoming workshops that will be offered by your college in coordination with CITL staff (for some colleges, these workshops are already under way; for others, this section is still under development)

I recognize it is a lot of information--too much to take in at once. But I hope you'll take a moment to review the page so you know what is there and so you know where to return when you are ready for more.

Last thought: I recognize that this is a lot of work to undertake.  Starting now will help us all be in good shape when fall arrives. If it turns out your class meets fully on-line or in some combination of online/in-classroom, your course will be well-designed and ready to go in the fall. If it turns out you are able to teach on campus, you will have spent time this summer developing robust online course materials that you can still use as a way to structure student learning outside the classroom, prepare students for face-to-face instruction, extend learning beyond the class meeting time constraints, enhance assessment, streamline document exchange, etc.--and you will be ready if circumstances require you to shift back to online instruction.

I will be working throughout the summer with your deans and department chairs to identify additional workshops and forms of support. And LTS staff are here to help.


Greg Reihman, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services 
Director, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning