Instructional Updates

9/2/2022: Canvas Best Practices

Colleagues,

I am reaching out to remind you about best practices for preparing Canvas course sites. The best practices below, endorsed by the Academic Policy Committee and by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, benefit students.

Best Practices for Preparing Canvas Sites

UWM instructors have diverse needs and approaches when it comes to using Canvas (our current Learning Management System). However, a reasonable level of consistency across all courses can have a significant, positive effect on student success. When used effectively, Canvas provides a quick and easy pathway for students to find all relevant course materials, such as readings, assignments, and instructor feedback. To this end, instructors teaching face-to-face, online, and blended/hybrid courses should incorporate the following strategies into their course sites. It is particularly important for instructors to consider how regular and substantive interaction is integrated in their online course(s) and to provide multiple ways for students to contact them.

Interact with Every Student at Least Weekly
Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a hallmark of good teaching and a federal requirement for online courses. While welcoming students and building classroom community are important, interactions must contribute to students’ progress toward course learning objectives: https://uwm.edu/cetl/online-learning-regulatory-policy-considerations/

Provide Multiple Ways for Students to Contact You
Ensure that students have a way to contact you (e.g., video office hours, phone number) in addition to email and the Canvas inbox. Do what you can to facilitate communication and interaction between you and your students.

Use CETL’s Course Template
Instructors should consider using CETL’s Course Template.  The Canvas Course Template was designed to help instructors efficiently and effectively set up their courses and to promote a consistent student experience among courses in Canvas.  More information here: https://uwm.edu/cetl/canvas-course-template/

Publish Course Site Prior to the Course Start Date
Instructors should publish the course site prior to the course start date so students can orient themselves to the course materials and course sites. Three days prior is recommended.

Organize Materials Chronologically
Course materials in the LMS should be organized chronologically so that students can quickly navigate to a given week or module to find what they need at that moment in the course.

Use Student-Friendly Naming Conventions
For all documents, assignments, and other course components, instructors should use consistent and concise naming conventions that help students easily identify the materials and resources they need to be successful.  Consider these examples:

  • Change “HONORS-250-Smith-Spring-22-Syllabus.docx” to “Course Syllabus” or “Syllabus.”
  • Instead of saying “Week 8 Video” provide the title of the video.
  • Include a description such as “Creating a Game in Tabletopia” rather than just listing the full URL (https://help.tabletopia.com/knowledge-base/how-to-create-a-game/)

Use Due Dates
For all assignments with specific deadlines, instructors should assign due dates directly in the LMS so that students can easily track upcoming assignments in the course.  When possible, deadlines should be consistent from week to week.

Use the Gradebook
Instructors should provide timely and accurate grades to students using the gradebook in the LMS so that students can determine where they stand at any point in the course.

For more information or assistance implementing these strategies, please contact the UWM Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL): you can email (cetl@uwm.edu), call (414-229-4319), or visit Englemann Hall B50.

Take care,

Scott

Scott Gronert
Interim Provost

NOTE: On 9/2/2022 this message was sent to all Fall 2022 online instructors


2021-22 Provost messages regarding Instruction:

8/2022: Fall COVID-19 Guidance Documents & Start of Semester Memo

8/12 & 8/19/2022

Fall COVID-19 Guidance Documents
In preparation for the Fall 2022 semester, Academic Affairs has updated several COVID-19 guidance documents:

  • COVID-19 Syllabus Statements (PDF, Word)
  • Guidelines for Considering a Change in Instructional Modality (PDF)
  • Instructor & Academic Support Staff FAQs – COVID 19 Protocols  (PDF)

For more information regarding the fall semester, please visit the Academic Affairs Covid page and UWM’s FAQ pages. Updates will be posted to those pages through August.

Fall Start of Semester Memo
The Provost’s Fall 2022 start-of-semester memo is available online

6/9/2022: Best Practices for Canvas Sites

6/9/2022: Best Practices for Canvas Sites

NOTE: On 6/8/2022 this message was sent to all Fall 2022 online instructors

Colleagues,

I am reaching out to remind you about best practices for preparing Canvas course sites. The best practices below, endorsed by the Academic Policy Committee and by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, benefit students.

Best Practices for Preparing Canvas Sites

UWM instructors have diverse needs and approaches when it comes to using Canvas (our current Learning Management System). However, a reasonable level of consistency across all courses can have a significant, positive effect on student success. When used effectively, Canvas provides a quick and easy pathway for students to find all relevant course materials, such as readings, assignments, and instructor feedback. To this end, instructors teaching face-to-face, online, and blended/hybrid courses should incorporate the following strategies into their course sites. It is particularly important for instructors to consider how regular and substantive interaction is integrated in their online course(s) and to provide multiple ways for students to contact them.

Interact with Every Student at Least Weekly
Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a hallmark of good teaching and a federal requirement for online courses. While welcoming students and building classroom community are important, interactions must contribute to students’ progress toward course learning objectives: https://uwm.edu/cetl/online-learning-regulatory-policy-considerations/

Provide Multiple Ways for Students to Contact You
Ensure that students have a way to contact you (e.g., video office hours, phone number) in addition to email and the Canvas inbox. Do what you can to facilitate communication and interaction between you and your students.

Use CETL’s Course Template
Instructors should consider using CETL’s Course Template.  The Canvas Course Template was designed to help instructors efficiently and effectively set up their courses and to promote a consistent student experience among courses in Canvas.  More information here: https://uwm.edu/cetl/canvas-course-template/

Publish Course Site Prior to the Course Start Date
Instructors should publish the course site prior to the course start date so students can orient themselves to the course materials and course sites. Three days prior is recommended.

Organize Materials Chronologically
Course materials in the LMS should be organized chronologically so that students can quickly navigate to a given week or module to find what they need at that moment in the course.

Use Student-Friendly Naming Conventions
For all documents, assignments, and other course components, instructors should use consistent and concise naming conventions that help students easily identify the materials and resources they need to be successful. Consider these examples:

  • Change “HONORS-250-Smith-Spring-22-Syllabus.docx” to “Course Syllabus” or “Syllabus.”
  • Instead of saying “Week 8 Video” provide the title of the video.
  • Include a description such as “Creating a Game in Tabletopia” rather than just listing the full URL (https://help.tabletopia.com/knowledge-base/how-to-create-a-game/

Use Due Dates
For all assignments with specific deadlines, instructors should assign due dates directly in the LMS so that students can easily track upcoming assignments in the course.  When possible, deadlines should be consistent from week to week.

Use the Gradebook
Instructors should provide timely and accurate grades to students using the gradebook in the LMS so that students can determine where they stand at any point in the course.

​Take care,

Scott

Scott Gronert
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

6/9/2022: Classroom and Campus Safety Training

NOTE: On 6/8/2022 this message was sent to all Fall 2022 Instructors

Colleagues,

Active and mass shootings are unfortunately increasing across the country. As a result, instructor-focused classroom and campus safety training based around an active shooter scenario is available during the summer semester and offered by UWMPD. This training will help ensure that we are prepared to respond to situations that could cause students to feel unsafe. To date, more than 1000 faculty, instructional staff, and support staff have received this training. If you have not attended a training, please consider making this a priority.

There are three in-person sessions and one virtual session offered between June and August 2022. Presented by the UWM Police Department, this training has been well received by past participants and inspired productive conversation on a difficult topic.

The training lasts approximately an hour and a half. To view the dates/times and register for the training, please visit: http://uwm.edu/safetytraining.

Thank you for participating in this important and essential campus training program.

If you have questions regarding the sign-up procedure for this training, please direct them to Aundria Johnson (aundria@uwm.edu).

If you have questions regarding the content of this training, please direct them to Officer Craig Rafferty (rafferty@uwm.edu).

Take care,
Scott

Scott Gronert
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

4/28/2022: Spring 2022 End of Semester Memo

The End of Semester Memo for Spring 2022 is available online. The memorandum contains useful policy-related information for instructors on the following topics:

  • Schedule of Final Exams
  • Teaching Evaluation Procedures
  • Posting of Student Grades
  • Grading and Grade Records
  • Students Called to Active Duty Military Service
  • Course Syllabus Policy
  • Important Textbook Adoption Reminder
  • Course Reserves
  • Helping Student Cope with Stress
  • Sexual Harassment/Sexual Violence
  • The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) and Student Support Team (SST)

A one page summary of links, updated in April 2022, is also available.

3/16/2022: Deadlines During Spring Break

3/16/2022: Deadlines during Spring Break

NOTE: On 3/16/2022 this message was sent to all Spring 2022 Instructors

Colleagues,

I know you are looking forward to the upcoming break as much as I am, and I know our students, too, are tired and need some time away. To that end, please avoid setting assignment, quiz, and test deadlines during spring break. If you have already set such a deadline, please consider giving your students additional time to complete the work.

I sincerely hope you have a restful break.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

3/4/2022: Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQ for Post-Spring Break 2022

3/4/2022: Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQ for Post-Spring Break 2022

NOTE: On 3/4/2022 this message was sent to all Spring 2022 Instructors, Deans, Associate Deans and Department Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the changes to UWM’s masking guidelines, we know there are many questions arising among our instructors and academic support staff. Linked you will find an Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQ created to address questions arising from the changes to masking policy, which takes effect March 19, 2022.

The FAQs are particularly relevant to our instructors teaching in-person classes. However, we think all instructors and academic support staff will benefit, since many of you may hear questions from students or colleagues. We’ve kept the document brief while providing additional links for you and your students.

We understand that your class or circumstance may have unique considerations not addressed in this document. Should that be the case, please contact your dean, associate dean, department chair or supervisor.

As always, I’m grateful for everyone’s commitment and flexibility as we learn to live with COVID-19 and fulfill our education mission. And, I know that your compassion, caring and flexibility with our students will demonstrate the values of the UWM Panther community.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/14/2022: Spring 2022 Progress Reports

2/14/2022: Spring 2022 Progress Reports

NOTE: On February 14, 2022, this message was sent to all Spring 2022 instructors

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks again for your participation in this semester’s Enrollment Census Campaign. Over 30,000 reports on student engagement were submitted, and as a result we reached out to over 130 students who were not participating in two or more courses.

This semester’s Progress Report campaign will run from February 14-March 21. Some quick notes:

  • Please submit as soon as possible: If you have actionable information about a student now, please submit it now; the sooner the better.
  • Please discuss progress reports with your students: We still need to do more to help students understand the purpose of Progress Reports. Please post the below language in your Canvas site and/or share via email.
  • As a reminder, as of last semester we’ve added the new positive progress options:
    • Exceptional course performance
    • Exceptional discussion participation (in-person/online)
    • Improved course performance

Instructors will be receiving an email soon with their course specific link. Thank you for your help with this important initiative.

Take care,

Johannes


Suitable for Posting on Canvas

UWM uses Navigate, a powerful tool dedicated to student success. There are numerous benefits to you as a student to engage with the platform and mobile application, including learning about academic resources, setting up study groups in your courses, making appointments with your academic advisor, getting reminders on important dates, and much more.

In addition, Navigate allows instructors to send Progress Reports to students throughout the term, allowing for updates on your academic progress in a course in addition to your grade. Certain reports may encourage academic advisors or other support staff to provide outreach to you as well. You can log into the platform here:  https://uwmilwaukee.campus.eab.com/ or by finding the Navigate link under the Current Students tab on the UWM home page. More information on how you can use Navigate and the app, including tutorials, can be found on UWM’s Navigate website.

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

  1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
  2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
  3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.


How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. Please post the above message to Canvas and your syllabus and also talk to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. (Instructions for students are included above.)

Submitting. Instructors can submit a progress report or alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Student Success Center.

Routing. New progress report reasons that reinforce positive course performance are received by students directly. When someone submits a progress report on a student that is struggling academically, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how such progress reports are routed:

Progress Report Routing chart

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert,” which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Alert Routing Chart

Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this past year, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Student Success Center will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

 

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/3/2022: Reminder: Enrollment Census

2/3/2022: Reminder: Enrollment Census

NOTE: On February 3, 2022, this message was sent to Spring 2022 instructors

Colleagues –

Just a reminder that Friday, February 4th is the last day of this semester’s Enrollment Census; this process helps us to identify students who are no-shows in multiple courses so that we can provide outreach.

If you haven’t yet submitted attendance and participation information, please look for an email with a subject line that includes “Action Requested;” in the email, you’ll find a personalized link.

If you don’t normally take attendance but do use Canvas, remember that you can click “People” in the left-side navigation to view your class roster, which includes a “date of last activity” for each student.

Thanks for helping with this important work.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes BritzProvost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/18/2022: Message to Instructors: Student Messaging

1/18/2022 Message to Instructors: Student Messaging

NOTE: On January 18, 2022, this message was sent to all Spring 2022 instructors, as well as Deans and Associate Deans

Colleagues –

To avoid student confusion next week, we must clearly communicate any changes to meeting locations. To that end, I want to call attention to this paragraph in the Spring Guidelines document (the full document is available here: https://uwm.edu/academicaffairs/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/01/Spring_2022_guidelines_FINAL-2.pdf):

All instructors should communicate clearly with students by the morning of January 19. The Canvas announcements should have one of these titles, as appropriate, with more specific information in the body of the announcement:

a. Class will meet as planned, or
b. Class will meet online through 1/28/22.

Please use these exact phrasings, as doing so will allow us to scrape course meeting location data to create a comprehensive list. Advisors, peer mentors, and others can then use that list to help students who may be switching or adding sections.

Instructors will also need to “Publish” the Canvas course to make it available to students (https://kb.uwm.edu/91181).

Due to time sensitivity, we do ask that you please complete these actions by noon tomorrow (January 19). Thanks for your help with this.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/14/2022: Spring ’22 First Week & Semester Guidance document

1/14/2022: Spring ’22 First Week & Semester Guidance document

NOTE: On January 14, 2022, this message was sent to Deans, Associate Deans and Department Chairs

Colleagues,

Thank you for making time to meet today to discuss details about the start of spring 2022 semester. As I mentioned in the meeting, I am grateful for everyone’s resilience and flexibility as we start our fifth semester dealing with the covid epidemic.

Please find attached a final draft of the guidance document. We hope this document will help conversations within your unit’s leadership to prepare and communicate expectations for the start of the semester. Please do not hesitate to reach out, if you have questions.

Wishing you all a restful weekend.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/13/2022: Start of Spring Semester

1/13/2022: Start of Spring Semester

Colleagues,

Spring semester is upon us and numerous teams have been meeting for the past several weeks to evaluate spring semester plans. Thank you for your patience as we worked through this dynamic situation to chart UWM’s path.

This morning after final discussion with the Covid Management Team, we have approved the following for the start of spring semester 2022:

UWM will start classes on January 24, 2022, as planned for spring semester with both in-person and online presence. To facilitate the transition to full-scale campus operations with added challenges of the omicron variant, UWM will allow units as needed to shift in-person classes to online during the first week of the semester. Courses with pedagogical, accreditation, clinical or other in-person requirements will start as planned in person on January 24. UWM will work with departments and programs to determine which courses will start their first week in an online format.

We met with deans and associate deans earlier today and will meet with department chairs tomorrow to provide them with the guidelines for moving in-person courses to online for the first week. Your department chairs and/or deans will communicate these expectations to you tomorrow afternoon. Departments should finalize their plans as soon as possible and instructors should notify students of any first-week shifts in modality no later than Wednesday morning, January 19, 2022.

A campus-wide communication will be sent soon about our start to the semester and other important details. All campus and administrative buildings will remain open and may have reduced staffing as approved by unit/division supervisors. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we considered the many details of starting the semester.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

12/6/2021: Change-in-Modality Guidelines Extended for Spring 2022

12/6/2021: Change-in-Modality Guidelines Extended for Spring 2022

NOTE: Included in the 12/6/2021 Provost’s Monday Update

Academic Affairs has extended the change-in-modality process for Spring 2022. Similar to the last few semesters, instructors wanting to change their courses from in-person (P) to online only or hybrid format (WW, H1-H3) should review the Guidelines and consult their chair, associate dean, or dean about desired changes. Please send requests for changes in modality for spring in-person courses to Stephen Schmid, schmids@uwm.edu. The Review Team, including faculty and administrators, will make their recommendations to Provost Britz for final approval.

9/29/2021: Fall 2021 Progress Reports

9/29/2021: Fall 2021 Progress Reports

NOTE: On September 29, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks for your participation in our first Enrollment Census Campaign. Over 20,000 reports on student engagement were submitted, and as a result we reached out to over 130 students who were not participating in two or more courses.

This semester’s Progress Report campaign will run from September 29-November 2. Some quick notes:

  • Check out our new report reasons! In order to reinforce positive behavior, we’ve added the following new reasons for you to use:
    • Exceptional course performance
    • Exceptional discussion participation (in-person/online)
    • Improved course performance
  • Please submit as soon as possible: If you have actionable information about a student now, please submit it now; the sooner the better.
  • Please discuss progress reports with your students: We still need to do more to help students understand the purpose of Progress Reports. Please post the below language in your Canvas site and/or share via email.

Instructors will be receiving an email soon with their course specific link. Thank you for your help with this important initiative.

Take care,

Johannes


Suitable for Posting on Canvas

UWM uses Navigate, a powerful tool dedicated to student success. There are numerous benefits to you as a student to engage with the platform and mobile application, including learning about academic resources, setting up study groups in your courses, making appointments with your academic advisor, getting reminders on important dates, and much more.

In addition, Navigate allows instructors to send Progress Reports to students throughout the term, allowing for updates on your academic progress in a course in addition to your grade. Certain reports may encourage academic advisors or other support staff to provide outreach to you as well. You can log into the platform here:  https://uwmilwaukee.campus.eab.com/ or by finding the Navigate link under the Current Students tab on the UWM home page. More information on how you can use Navigate and the app, including tutorials, can be found on UWM’s Navigate website.

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

  1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
  2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
  3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.


How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. Please post the above message to Canvas and also talk to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. (Instructions for students are included above.)

Submitting. Instructors can submit a progress report or alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Student Success Center.

Routing. New progress report reasons that reinforce positive course performance are received by students directly. When someone submits a progress report on a student that is struggling academically, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how such progress reports are routed:

Progress Report Routing chart

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert,” which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Alert Routing Chart

Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this past year, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Student Success Center will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

9/7/2021: Undergraduate Enrollment Census

9/7/2021: Undergraduate Enrollment Census

NOTE: On September 7, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses

Colleagues,

Every semester we have undergraduate students who simply do not show up for multiple courses; these students are at significant risk of failing out of the institution with a lot of debt. If we can figure out who they are, we can help them, or drop them early enough so that they can receive a refund.

The Enrollment Census Campaign can help us find these students, and we’ll run it from September 9-15. On September 9th you will receive an email with a link for the course(s) you teach this term. At the point that makes the most sense for your course, click the link and you’ll be taken to a current class roster; there you will indicate which students are active in your course and can add any additional information you may have. To save time, you can quickly select those that have never participated, and select the “Mark remaining as active” box at the end of the class roster.

We will then use your submissions to identify students who are not participating in multiple courses, and then we will ask school/college/unit advising offices to reach out to those students.

Thanks in advance for your caring commitment to our students, and best of luck in yet another challenging semester.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

9/1/2021: Instructors: Supplemental messaging to students about Fall semester and our response to COVID-19

9/1/2021: Instructors: Supplemental messaging to students about Fall semester and our response to COVID-19

NOTE: On September 1, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses, as well as Deans and Associate Deans

Dear Instructors,

We are excited to start the semester and to have students and staff back on our UW–Milwaukee campuses. We are asking your help in supplemental messaging to students about the return to campus and our response to COVID-19.

First, please review with students UWM’s classroom safety expectations and your attendance policies. Next, take time to acknowledge the challenges and adversity of the past 18 months–students have been through a lot. Social connections are paramount in persevering through traumatic events, and building a community, even a small one in the classroom, is incredibly important. Even just a brief introduction acknowledging those challenges, letting students connect with one another, discussing resources and encouraging self-care, can go a long way. Along with the links below, please feel free to share this link to the Dean of Students Office for additional student resources: https://uwm.edu/deanofstudents/campus-cares/.

Finally, please share this important information about getting COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and exemptions from COVID-19 testing, and the various incentives for those who are vaccinated. This simple link is a good one to share with students as it provides links to many Covid-related resources: https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/.

Please spend five minutes at the start of your class to announce the following information and allow students to get on their phones and upload their proof of vaccination information. You can also post this information to your Canvas course page or include it on your syllabus.

GET VACCINATED, SUBMIT PROOF, BECOME ELIGIBLE TO WIN
(https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/)

Submit proof of full COVID-19 Vaccination to UWM’s Testing Exemption/Vaccine Reporting Form

Students who submit proof of full vaccination are eligible for incentives, including:

The sooner students get vaccinated and submit proof, the better. UWM Incentives have multiple drawings in September, and the State of Wisconsin will give you $100 if you get your first vaccination shot before September 6, 2021, and fill out their registration form. Here are the details for UW’s 70 for 70 Program.

GET EXEMPTED FROM WEEKLY COVID-19 TESTING
(https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/students/)

Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to test weekly for COVID-19. Schedule your COVID-19 test at www.doineedacovid19test.com. If you test off campus, submit your test results to UWM’s Testing Exemption/Vaccine Reporting Form. Once you are fully vaccinated, submit your proof of vaccination to be exempted from weekly testing.

CAMPUS VACCINE CLINICS

Students can still get vaccinated on the Kenwood campus through a partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department. There are clinics on September 1, 2, 7, 8, 10, 14, 20 and 22 at various locations on campus: COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic – UWM COVID-19 Information. Students can also get vaccinated at the Norris Health Center on Thursdays by appointment.

The Waukesha and Washington County campuses will have vaccine clinics the week of September 6. Specific details will be communicated once details are confirmed.

Students can also get vaccinated at local pharmacies, including nearby CVS and Walgreens for those on the Kenwood campus. Students can find local pharmacies offering COVID vaccines at vaccines.gov.

 

Thank you for promoting vaccination reporting and incentive programs to your students. Together, we can make our community safer.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/26/2021: Fall 2021 Information Session on August 31

8/26/2021: Fall 2021 Information Session on August 31

Dear Faculty, Instructional Staff, and Academic Support Staff,

We recently sent out the Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQs to provide answers to lots of questions we’ve heard from you during the past few weeks. We heard at the Chairs’ Retreat earlier this week that there are many more questions and details you’d like addressed.

On Tuesday, August 31, from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., we will hold an Information Session for instructors, advisors, and academic support staff. Of course, other staff are welcome to join as well. We will discuss the Instructor and Academic Support Staff FAQs, questions related to that document, and other questions regarding the fall semester. The session will be held in Teams.

Fall 2021 Information Session

Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Location: Teams: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZTM5YWJmZGUtNmRhYS00MTRmLWFjMzktOTBiNjVjNzBlNTUx%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220bca7ac3-fcb6-4efd-89eb-6de97603cf21%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%227fef8b81-ad6a-4b5a-b3e3-bed645bd0908%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a

Joining me in this interactive Teams Live meeting will be Robin Van Harpen, Scott Gronert, Julie Bonner, Brian Switala, Stephen Schmid, and Tim Danielson. All these individuals are extensively involved in planning and preparations for the fall semester. The same Teams link above can be used for viewing the meeting at a later time if you are unable to watch it live.

We hope to see you next week for the Information Session.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/23/2021: Revisions to Change in Instructional Modality Guidelines

8/23/2021: Revisions to Change in Instructional Modality Guidelines

NOTE: This message was sent to Deans, Associate Deans & Department Chairs on August 23, 2021.

Colleagues,

Here’s another update to share as we start the fall semester. In addition to the email I sent last week with its several attachments, please see the attached and revised Guidelines for Considering a Change in Instructional Modality.

Responding to feedback, we’ve revised the Guidelines to clarify a dean’s authority to approve changes in modality for courses that are currently fully in-person (P) and switching to the mostly in-person Hybrid 1 format (H1: mostly in-person with 20-50% delivered online). These types of changes in modality (P to H1) do not require Review Team and Provost approvals. Courses changing from mostly or all in-person (H1 and P) to mostly or all online (H2, H3 and WW) continue to require Review Team and Provost approvals.

We do require that deans, associate deans, or department chairs notify my office (at schmids@uwm.edu) of the change so that we can facilitate the PAWS update with the Registrar’s Office.

We also ask that instructors of these courses immediately notify both the enrolled students of the change in modality and ARC to prepare for changes to accommodation plans.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/19/2021: Important Follow-up Message for the Fall Semester

8/19/2021: Important Follow-up Message for the Fall Semester

NOTE: On August 19, 2021, this message was sent to all instructors teaching Fall 2021 courses.

Colleagues,

I hope you’re enjoying the latter part of summer and that you and yours are safe and healthy. I’m reaching out to let you know what our students are thinking about the fall and provide some details you can consider as you plan ahead to your fall courses.

WHAT STUDENTS ARE TELLING US

In her June remarks to the Board of Regents, incoming President of the Student Association Mia Heredia said that she had strongly considered dropping out of UWM during the pandemic, and that the kindness and flexibility of her instructors helped make her ongoing success possible. She emphasized that she hoped that kindness and flexibility will continue this fall, “as if the pandemic never ended.” Sadly, with the emergence of the Delta variant her remarks seem prescient, but even back in June there were signs from our students that they wanted to maintain some of what we put in place.

In talking more generally with students, looking at survey data, and digging into fall enrollments, two key themes are emerging: 1) Students saw and appreciated the efforts instructors made to accommodate them during the pandemic, 2) Students want continued flexibility and accommodation. Much has changed since we surveyed students in March, but much also remains the same, and I invite you to read representative student comments here.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICAL TERMS?

I know that teaching during the pandemic was an enormous lift for all of you and that some of what you did may not be sustainable; for example, many instructors may not be able to build flexible attendance (i.e., “hyflex”) into their course offerings.

Whatever flexibility you can continue will be greatly appreciated by our students, and in addition, students can benefit from some consistency across courses. To be specific,

  • Standardize course presentation. Last fall and spring, students frequently complained to advisors about how different their courses were; it was difficult to, for example, navigate five courses when each course had a different layout and structure. Below I’ve included a list of best practices for preparing Canvas sites, a list that’s been endorsed by the Academic Policy Committee and by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Please consider whether these practices would help your students. Here are links to three additional resources you may find useful:
  • Capture lectures. In the survey and elsewhere, students very consistently indicated that they hoped we would continue the practice of capturing lectures and posting them to Canvas. Lecture capture won’t work for every course, and we don’t want it to become a replacement for attendance, but we have invested in additional lecture capture technology in many of our classrooms and will be providing directions for our instructors.

More information, including an overview and information on classroom installations, is available here: https://kb.uwm.edu/84226. We are also preparing lecture capture training sessions; here are links to the sessions, and sessions will also be recorded for those who cannot attend at any of these times.

https://lubar.mediasite.com/mediasite/Catalog/Full/c8d1e39241274c58a615cf506c70317721

  • Engage the rest of campus. Our students were touched by the kindness and flexibility of their instructors, and we are making additional investments and efforts to help students stay on track, manage their finances, and preserve their mental health (see, for example, this great Chronicle piece about the efforts in our Dean of Students office: https://www.chronicle.com/article/a-trauma-informed-return-to-campus?cid2=gen_login_refresh&cid=gen_sign_in). Instructors are the face of our institution for most students and are our best means of intervening.

To that end, the campus healing and community-building work group, led by Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Global Inclusion and Engagement, has developed a Trauma-Informed Teaching Toolkit. Please read and reflect on the materials in the Toolkit, incorporate them into your teaching practices, and refer students to the appropriate support resources, which are covered in the Toolkit.

I certainly appreciate all you’ve done to get us through some very difficult times, and I am so thankful to have such great and caring instructors to help our students navigate college in unprecedented times. Thank you for considering these recommendations, and I hope you find some time to rest and relax before classes begin in September.

Take care,

Johannes

—————-

Best Practices for Preparing Canvas Sites

UWM instructors have diverse needs and approaches when it comes to using Canvas (our current Learning Management System). However, a reasonable level of consistency across all courses can have a significant, positive effect on student success. When used effectively, Canvas provides a quick and easy pathway for students to find all relevant course materials, such as readings, assignments, and instructor feedback. To this end, instructors teaching face-to-face, online, and blended/hybrid courses should incorporate the following strategies into their course sites.

Use CETL’s Course Template
Instructors should consider using CETL’s Course Template. The Canvas Course Template was designed to help instructors efficiently and effectively set up their courses and to promote a consistent student experience among courses in Canvas. More information here: https://uwm.edu/cetl/canvas-course-template/.
Publish Course Site Prior to the Course Start Date
Instructors should publish the course site prior to the course start date so students can orient themselves to the course materials and course sites. Three days prior is recommended.
Organize Materials Chronologically 
Course materials in the LMS should be organized chronologically so that students can quickly navigate to a given week or module to find what they need at that moment in the course.
Use Student-Friendly Naming Conventions
For all documents, assignments, and other course components, instructors should use consistent and concise naming conventions that help students easily identify the materials and resources they need to be successful. Consider these examples:
  • Change “HONORS-250-Smith-Spring-22-Syllabus.docx” to “Course Syllabus” or “Syllabus.”
  • Instead of saying “Week 8 Video” provide the title of the video.
  • Include a description such as “Creating a Game in Tabletopia” rather than just listing the full URL (https://help.tabletopia.com/knowledge-base/how-to-create-a-game/).
Use Due Dates
For all assignments with specific deadlines, instructors should assign due dates directly in the LMS so that students can easily track upcoming assignments in the course. When possible, deadlines should be consistent from week to week.
Use the Gradebook
Instructors should provide timely and accurate grades to students using the gradebook in the LMS so that students can determine where they stand at any point in the course.
Interact with Every Student at Least Weekly

Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a hallmark of good teaching and a federal requirement for online courses. While welcoming students and building classroom community are important, interactions must contribute to students’ progress toward course learning objectives: https://uwm.edu/cetl/online-learning-regulatory-policy-considerations/.

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

8/17/2021: Fall 2021 Semester Preparations

8/17/2021: Fall 2021 Semester Preparations

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the start of the Fall 2021 semester, we know there are many questions arising among our instructors and academic support staff about navigating the semester with Covid. Attached you will find an Instructor FAQ that provides answers to many questions we’ve been fielding this month. Also, please find attached the suggested Covid Course Syllabus statements, both short and long versions depending on instructor preference.

The FAQs are particularly relevant to our instructors teaching in-person classes. However, we think all instructors and academic support staff will benefit, since many of you may hear questions from students or colleagues. We’ve tried to keep the document brief while providing detailed information, instructions, and important links for you and your students.

Please spend time with this document. We hope the information and recommended actions will help you and your students prepare for the semester. We understand that your class or circumstance may have unique considerations not addressed in this document. Should that be the case, please contact your Dean or Adam Jussel in the Dean of Students Office.

Please forward these documents to your instructors and academic support staff.

As always, I’m grateful for everyone’s commitment and flexibility in preparing for this new academic year. And, I know that your compassion, caring, and flexibility with our students will demonstrate the values of the UWM Panther community.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

ATTACHMENTS:

NOTE: This message was sent to Deans, Associate Deans & Department Chairs on August 17, 2021

3/1/2021: Checking in on Progress Reports and Incomplete Grades

3/1/2021: Checking in on Progress Reports and Incomplete Grades

Colleagues,

I’m writing to check in on a couple of things I’m hearing from advisors about progress reports and incompletes:

Progress Reports
Thank you to all who have already submitted progress reports! This semester’s campaign runs until March 19. Please remember that students do see the language that you submit, so write your messages with them as the primary audience (e.g., “Johannes, I noticed that…”).

Incompletes
I’m hearing from advisors that our students received a high number of incompletes last semester. This is not surprising, of course, given the pandemic, and a clear sign that our instructors are trying to find ways to help students succeed.

The concern expressed to me is that many students do not seem to have a handle on what they need to do about incompletes, and by when. If you granted any incompletes last semester, please reach out to those students and ensure that they have

  • An understanding of the policy, in particular that they know that an ungraded incomplete (“I”) will lapse to an “F” if a grade is not entered by the end of the Spring term.
  • Clear expectations and deadlines.

As a reminder, you can find the text of the policy here (under “incompletes”):
https://catalog.uwm.edu/policies/undergraduate-policies/.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/26/2021: Additional Guidance - Courses Changing Instructional Modality

2/26/2021: Additional Guidance – Courses Changing Instructional Modality

Colleagues,

I hope you are all well. I’m writing to provide some additional guidance developed by the Monitoring Core Team regarding courses changing instructional modality. The attached supplement to the Changes in Modality document (also attached) focuses on concerns arising from courses changing modality from synchronous online to asynchronous. In particular, the supplement asks instructors to provide advanced notice to students and support services prior to implementing any changes. Adequate notice will help our staff to accommodate students in your courses.

The supplement does not replace the expectation that instructors wanting to change modality of their courses should submit their requests to Stephen Schmid, schmids@uwm.edu, for MCT review.

Thank you for reviewing these documents and sharing them with your colleagues.

Take care,
Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2/17/2021: Spring 2021 Progress Reports

2/17/2021: Spring 2021 Progress Reports

Colleagues,

This semester’s Progress Report campaign will run from February 17- March 19. Some quick notes:

  • As soon as possible: If you have actionable information about a student now, please submit it now; the sooner the better.
  • More student-centered language: At long last we can get rid of the “at risk” language. Details below.
  • Explain the purpose: We still need to do more to help students understand the purpose of Progress Reports. Please post the below language in your Canvas site and/or share via email.

Instructors will be receiving an email soon with their course specific link. Thank you for your help with this important initiative.

Take care,

Johannes


Suitable for Posting on Canvas

UWM uses Navigate, a powerful tool dedicated to student success. There are numerous benefits to you as a student to engage with the platform and mobile application, including learning about academic resources, setting up study groups in your courses, making appointments with your academic advisor, getting reminders on important dates, and much more.

In addition, Navigate allows instructors to send Progress Reports to students throughout the term, allowing for updates on your academic progress in a course in addition to your grade. Certain reports may encourage academic advisors or other support staff to provide outreach to you as well. You can log into the platform here: https://uwmilwaukee.campus.eab.com/ or by finding the Navigate link under the Current Students tab on the UWM home page. More information on how you can use Navigate and the app, including tutorials, can be found on UWM’s Navigate website.

 

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

  1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
  2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
  3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.

New and Improved Progress Report Language

We have edited the Progress Report emails based on feedback from instructors and students, and in doing so we have streamlined and improved communication. This allows for a more compassionate message to be received by students while also including the course, instructor, alert reason, grades, absences detail (if identified by instructor), and date and time of the submission. This email will no longer appear like it is coming from an instructor, but rather a Student Success Center email address.

 

Old email to student

SUBJECT: You were evaluated as at risk.

EMAIL HEADER: You have been marked at risk.

TEXT: You have received this email because of a professor evaluation in one of the classes you are enrolled in this term.

 

New email to student

SUBJECT: Your professor shared feedback on a course.

EMAIL HEADER: Your instructor is concerned about your progress, and we want to help you succeed!

TEXT: You have received this email because a professor evaluating one of the classes you are enrolled in this term indicated that you could benefit from additional support. It’s common that students experience issues inside and outside of class that affect their ability to be successful.  Read on to learn more about resources available to you!

 

How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. Please post the above message to Canvas and also talk to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. (Instructions for students are included above.)

Submitting. Instructors can submit a progress report or alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Student Success Center.

Routing. When someone submits a progress report on a student that is struggling academically, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how Progress Reports are routed:

Chart of Progress Report Routing

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert,” which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Chart of Alert Reason routing

Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this past year, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Student Success Center will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

 

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/25/2021: 2021 Spring Semester Information: Tenure Clock Extension Requests and Updated Instructor FAQ

1/25/2021: 2021 Spring Semester Information: Tenure Clock Extension Requests and Updated Instructor FAQ

Tenure-Clock Extension Requests: Probationary faculty are able to extend their probationary period (i.e. tenure clock extension) due to factors related to the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Tenure-track faculty who have their mandatory tenure review scheduled after January 1, 2021, are eligible to submit a request. Requests must be submitted prior to May 23, 2021. This memo details the process and deadlines for submitting requests.

Instructor FAQ: The Instructor FAQ was recently updated for Spring 2021 semester. In addition to the linked document, instructors and staff should visit the UWM COVID-19 FAQ website for additional information and current updates.

1/20/2021: Guidelines for Changes in Instructional Modality

1/20/2021: Guidelines for Changes in Instructional Modality

Dear Deans, Associate Deans, and Department Chairs,

As we prepare for the start of the spring semester, I want to communicate expectations for the semester regarding desired changes in course modality of in-person courses.

As you know from last semester, some of our students and staff tested positive for COVID-19. UWM decided early on that it would transparently inform instructors and classmates when students in their classes reported a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. To the extent we have student consent through testing or self-reporting, we will continue this practice.

In addition to the Dean of Students Office notifications, we have developed tools for tracking known positive COVID-19 cases of students enrolled in in-person classes (P, H1, H2, and H3) and students living in the residence halls. Updated daily, these tools allow us to identify possible clusters of infections in a timely fashion. In most cases, these clusters will likely have causes outside of the classroom environment. Nonetheless, we recognized the desire last semester to have a clearer picture of where cases were occurring on our campuses. On a weekly basis, we plan to share with deans deidentified case counts for particular courses within respective schools/colleges. These reports are supplemental to the notifications coming from the Dean of Students Office.

Combined, our existing safety protocols and de-densification practices, increased frequency of testing of students and staff regularly visiting campuses, and tracking, tracing and notifications make UWM campuses safe environments to pursue our educational mission.

Part of our educational mission is to provide students with the courses they need and want, including in-person courses. Learning from last semester, we are providing more detailed guidelines regarding any changes of delivery mode for Spring 2021 courses. The attached document provides details on the process instructors and academic unit leads should follow in requesting a change in modality. As the guidelines make clear, changes in modality should be a collaborative conversation between instructors, department chairs, associate deans and deans with the intent of meeting students’ needs.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And, thank you for your and your colleagues’ continued efforts during this challenging year.

Take care,

Johannes

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

1/11/2021: Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021

1/11/2021: Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021

The Start of Semester Memo for Spring 2021 is available online. The memorandum contains useful policy-related information for instructors on the following topics:

  • Course Syllabus Policy
  • Course Reserves
  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
  • Religious Observances
  • Policy on Teaching Evaluation Procedures
  • FERPA Reminder
  • Grading and Grade Records
  • Posting of Student Grades
  • Drop /Withdrawal/Repeat Policies
  • Progress Reports
  • Helping Students Cope with Stress
  • Title IX/Sexual Violence
  • The Campus Assessment, Response and Education (CARE) Team and Student Support Team (SST)
  • The S.A.F.E. Campaign
  • Students Called to Military Service
  • Schedule of Final Exams
  • Smoke-Free Campus