H1N1 Preparedness for Wellesley College Faculty

To:                   All teaching faculty

From:              Andrew Shennan, Joanne Berger-Sweeney and Adele Wolfson
                        Office of the Dean of the College

Subject:            H1N1 preparedness for faculty

Date:                September 7, 2009

Welcome back to a new academic year!  Like the nation as a whole, Wellesley College has been planning how best to manage the likelihood of H1N1  (swine) flu cases on campus.  There have been and will continue to be notifications to the community about preparedness for this possibility.  We encourage you to pay close attention to these general announcements.  We are making a few suggestions here that are specifically geared to faculty members who will be teaching courses in the 2009-10 academic year. 

Your health and the health of the entire community are foremost in our minds. As with students and all College employees, any faculty member who is experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay at home. You should not return to work until you are symptom free and have not had a temperature above 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C for at least 24 hours, without the aid of any fever-reducing medications.  We realize that there is no explicit sick policy for teaching faculty but we do remind you that the faculty handbook states that any faculty member who will miss a class is expected to arrange either alternate activities or a make-up class, and any faculty member who will miss more than two classes in a given semester should notify the relevant dean.  This is also a reminder that you should notify your department chair of any absence due to illness during the semesters.

We also want to take this opportunity to help you anticipate unusual demands for make-up classes or assignments this year and begin to think about ways that technology could help to address some of these needs.  It is possible that multiple students over a period of weeks could fall ill and be unable to attend classes.  This could interfere significantly with their ability to complete collaborative or group projects.  We are not asking that you change any class requirements but simply that you take the special circumstances into account.  We also encourage you to consider ways that technology may provide support when you or your students can’t be in class face-to face.  Director of Instructional Technology Kenny Freundlich (e-mail: kfreundl@wellesley.edu or phone: x2801), who would be happy to speak with you about instructional technology options, offers the following suggestions:

For lectures, you can upload PowerPoint presentations to a FirstClass (FC) course conference, along with some paragraphs of explanatory text.  You can also record and upload an audio file of yourself speaking about what's been displayed on the screen, and have students listen to the audio while viewing the PowerPoint.  All Macs (desktop and laptop), and many Windows laptops have built-in microphones and free software for recording audio.  Questions from students and discussions could be done either through regular messages within FC, or through a FirstClass Chat.  For faculty who do not have microphones on their computers, please contact Kenny.

For faculty who feel that it is essential to have a "webinar" style class meeting, there is a web conferencing solution.  One that Kenny recommends is DimDim, which even has a free version that allows up to 20 people to meet, share PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, web pages, and whiteboards.  There's only one microphone and/or web camera but it can be passed around.

Finally, if you have any questions or if there are ways that we can help you navigate the challenges of this academic year, please let us know.

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