Virginia Tech™home

Provost's Update for Week of October 5-9

Resources for mid-semester course check-in

As we reach the half-way point of the fall semester, conducting a course check-in is a useful process for gathering student perceptions on course design and delivery as it relates to their learning. This information gathering exercise provides a faculty member with ideas for course adjustments. A check-in not only provides students' perspectives, but it can also enhance community building.

Resources for mid-semester course check-in include best practices to ensure students understand the purpose and provide helpful feedback, options for faculty to design their own check-in survey and administer it through Canvas or survey software, and a mid-semester feedback session through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

CETL offers four options (traditional, split, abbreviated, or online) for participating in a mid-semester feedback session to accommodate the growing need, as well as limitations, that a number of classes present. Additional information about these sessions and how faculty can sign up is available, or you can email CETL directly with specific questions or concerns.

Course design and development resources

As faculty and academic departments continue planning for the spring 2021 semester, the Preparing for Teaching and Learning website offers a number of resources in areas such as classroom set-up, health and safety, teaching continuity, instructional technologies, and academic advising.

Additional resources have been updated to provide further support for faculty and departments preparing for the spring semester.

  • Course Design Resources: Guidance on rigorous instructional design, assignment-based assessment, active learning strategies, and inclusive course design. 
  • Classroom Setup: provides support for departments with departmentally controlled instructional space. 
  • Zoom Security: important updates to Zoom to include requirements for passwords or waiting rooms. 
  • Signage for College and Departmental Spaces: catalog of items that can be ordered through Printing Services to communicate space and health/safety guidelines. 
  • Accessibility and Accommodations: assists instructors in providing accessible course materials and improving student engagement in various learning environments.

Spaces to study: Outdoor wi-fi and reserved library seating

To enable academic activities while physical distancing on campuses, Virginia Tech has provided a number of wi-fi enabled outdoor spaces in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the greater Washington D.C., metro area. Students, employees, and guests can connect in these areas using either the Virginia Tech guest or eduroam networks.

map of approximate outdoor wi-fi ranges is available for spaces on the Blacksburg campus. For info on available spaces and wi-fi connectivity in the Roanoke and greater Washington D.C. areas, students should contact their faculty, department heads, or facility directors in those locations.

University Libraries offers a seat reservation system to give students an opportunity to secure a study spot before coming to the library. Students are required to book their study time and seat online for Newman Library, the Art and Architecture LibraryVeterinary Medicine LibraryVirginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Library, and the Northern Virginia Center Library. A reservation ensures that the seat is saved for the student and cannot be occupied by another patron during their scheduled time.

Interested faculty and students should visit the University Libraries seat reservation website for more information.

ICYMI: Notifications of positive COVID-19 student cases

The Provost’s OfficeEmergency ManagementDean of Students, and University Registrar have provided updated information regarding faculty notification of students attending in-person classes/labs who have tested positive for COVID-19, and their return following required isolation.

Upon notice of an undergraduate or graduate student who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the submission of a report through the university’s case management system, the Dean of Students Office will generate an automated notification that will be sent to the faculty member who reports the disclosure, who will then have the option to send the DOS notification on to the students registered for that section.

The student’s name will not be cited in the notification, but it is likely the student will self-identify to the faculty to arrange for alternate options for instruction during the isolation period. Per FERPA guidelines, the identity or condition of the student who has tested positive cannot be disclosed.

The student should be advised to follow all VDH/CDC protocols and return to the classroom/lab only when they have been told by their healthcare provider that it is safe to do so.

Additional information can be found in the Faculty with COVID-19 Positive/Symptomatic Students FAQ or by contacting the Dean of Students Office.

Recent resource and information updates

Please visit VT Ready and the Provost’s website frequently for new and updated university information. All members of the campus community should also read their VT Daily email for further important updates, notices, and resources.