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Provost Communication to Campus 3-13-20

March 13, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Late yesterday afternoon, the South Dakota Board of Regents announced actions the public universities across South Dakota are taking in response to COVID-19.  Shortly thereafter, President Dunn released a statement describing specific actions being taken by South Dakota State University.  Among the actions are extension of spring break for students through Friday, March 20, additional travel restrictions, cancelation of on-campus events and visitor activities, and the temporary closure of a number of SDSU attractions and business operations.  These actions are being taken with the health and safety of our university community in mind.

I know there is frustration that additional clarification was not provided yesterday about suspending in-person classes and moving to online instruction.  Although we were not able to clarify that for you yesterday, moving to online instruction when courses resume on March 23 is a strong possibility.  With that being said, the upcoming week should be used to prepare for a move of in-person classes to online.  That should be our focus, and we are taking steps to support you in this endeavor.  As a next step, all SDSU faculty need to activate their courses in D2L.

Please follow these steps to verify or activate your courses:

In your D2L class, Edit, Course Offering Information, check Course is Active, Save. See below screen capture:

Active Course Screenshot

If you need further assistance with D2L, please check out this D2L Tutorials page, or contact Instructional Design Services regarding any questions related to moving your classes to D2L. 

Our team continues to add to the academic continuity planning page on InsideState.  To assist your work during the upcoming week, a link has been created to a page with helpful videos and tutorials.  Under Faculty Information you can find general information on D2L, a readiness check to work remotely, tips for communication with students, and other suggestions for teaching an online course.

Beyond the information on InsideState, we are meeting later today to schedule help and training sessions for faculty during the upcoming week.  Shouhong Zhang and his team will focus on faculty assistance with instructional technology, Kevin Sackreiter and the CETL team will provide instructional strategy support, and Lindsey Hamlin and the Continuing and Distance Education team will focus their efforts on supporting and assisting students.

As soon as a decision is made on how courses will be delivered when we resume instruction on March 23, I will send another communication.  In the meantime, I ask that you work toward a move from in-person courses to online.  To get started, I suggest focusing on the next couple of weeks of our semester.  Your college Dean and Department Head/School Director will provide you with additional guidance.  In addition, if you have questions, I ask that you direct them back through your Department Head/School Director and Dean so we all remain on the same page.

In summary, spring break has been extended by an extra week for students.  Our campus is open for faculty and staff and most operations continue.  During the week ahead, we will focus on preparation, including for the strong possibility of a move to online instruction when classes resume on March 23.

I will close as I did on Wednesday-- Be attentive to your own health as well as the health of other members of the SDSU community.  Please stay home when you are ill and take care of yourself.  Thank you for your patience as we address this challenge together.

Dennis