From Provost Joe Urgo: As we prepare to keep teaching

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Thank you for the work you have undertaken to move your classes to remote instruction, which is at the center of UA’s response to the global health emergency. A mid-semester transfer of your pedagogy online poses significant challenges and compromises, and I appreciate the sacrifices you are making in order that our students may complete the semester. OAA is ready to assist in this endeavor.

Design and Development Services and the Institute for Teaching and Learning will continue to provide workshops and support. Look for announcements in the Digest. Please send all questions and requests to

As you prepare to begin teaching remotely on March 30, please have the following in mind:

  • Keep it simple! We are not asking anyone to create online classes with all the latest high-tech bells and whistles.
  • Many students will be logging on using minimal technology. Be prepared to accommodate a range of reception capacity.
  • All faculty should be on Brightspace and ready to use that platform to communicate with their students.
  • The University will not be able to support proctored exams. Please design your exams with the understanding that students will likely have access to the internet while taking them.
    • Faculty who are currently using Respondus Monitor in their online courses may continue to do so but will need to make accommodations for potential changing technology situations of students.
    • Faculty who are currently using Computer-Based Testing will need to adjust their plans and give exams online.
    • Brightspace testing and quiz features do offer some constraints, such as timed testing and browser lock-down.
  • For help with adapting and implementing your course, see our keep-teaching site

We recognize that some classes, such as labs, studios, and performance-based courses, pose greater challenges than others in moving online. The deans are working with departments to develop strategies for these courses, and more guidance will be coming from them soon. We will need to be creative, and flexible, as we think about how to best provide our students the quality educational experiences they have come to expect from The University of Akron.

Based on current information from public health officials, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection will likely increase, and we will need to stay prepared for revised guidance. You’ll find the most current updates at

The second half of the spring semester is, under normal circumstances, a stressful period. Spring 2020 will exceed past experiences, as we are now dealing with matters of personal health and well-being. We’re looking for simple, remotely accessible tools that will allow students to complete their coursework, and salvage the semester. Ask for help when you need it. We have two weeks to prepare, with a lot of assistance available. Onward!