As employees and students unite on and off campus, UAB will launch its hybrid learning model — a course delivery system that requires a combination of both in-person instruction and remote instruction — to ensure social distancing precautions. We want to equip you with information and how to be successful in hybrid learning no matter what your classroom looks like.

UAB is committed to providing the nation's safest campus environment for its students, faculty, and staff. Home to the renowned UAB Health System and nationally ranked UAB School of Medicine, our institution is fortunate to have top-tier infectious disease doctors, epidemiologists, virologists and other scientists who are helping our administration and system leadership guide our planning. The situation is fluid—please check this site and your UAB email regularly for updates. We are united in our shared goals of ensuring the safety of our campus and surrounding communities.

As described here on the UAB United students will be required to complete the COVID-19 assessment tool Healthcheck on a daily basis, and their assigned risk level will automatically be communicated to the GuideSafe™ Event Passport system. Students will press the “Passport” button after completing Healthcheck to get their passports, which are good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status which will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen to display on students’ phones. 

Fall 2020 Semester Schedule

To promote the health and safety of the campus community, adjustments have been made to the fall semester schedule:

AUG

24

Fall semester classes will start.

NOV

20

Fall semester in-person classes will end for the Thanksgiving break.

Nov

30

 

Dec

4

Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break but courses will continue remotely.

DEC

7

 

DEC

11

Final exams will be conducted remotely.

Exceptions can be granted for students based on work, research or clinical responsibilities, and adjustments can be requested for international students or others who do not have alternate living arrangements. For more information, contact your instructor or appropriate campus support office.

Students who meet conditions (i.e. tested positive for COVID-19, considered a higher risk for severe illness per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or care for or reside with a high risk individual) that require COVID-19 related temporary adjustments, should contact Disability Support Services.

Coursework engagement during these weeks is necessary to accommodate SACSCOC accrediting standard requirements for credit granted for coursework.

Spring 2021 Semester Schedule

To promote the health and safety of the campus community, adjustments have been made to the spring semester schedule:

JAN

19

Classes will begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, eight calendar days later than originally planned.

MAR

16

Wellness Day

APR

14

Wellness Day

APR

23

Last Day of Classes

APR

26

 

APR

30

Final exams conducted

*There will be no spring break. Classes will end on the regularly-scheduled date of Friday, April 23, 2021, and the normal reading period and final exam period will follow. Grades will be due as usual on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Wellness Days

Wellness Days are intended to provide students, instructors, and instructional support staff some opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate, particularly in light of the fact that there will be no Spring Break.

When planning for the two Wellness Days, we must balance need to refresh and rejuvenate with our obligation to provide a minimum number of “instructional days.” This obligation arises from our accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, as well as from a variety of the more than 30 other accreditations we currently hold throughout the university.

Because classes will be starting for the Spring 2021 semester eight days later than usual but will be ending at the usual time, providing no “instruction” opportunities whatsoever on the two Wellness Days would potentially violate the SACSCOC requirements (even with no Spring Break). We believe that we can accomplish both of our goals of giving students, faculty, and instructional support staff some needed breaks, while also meeting our educational goals with students.

Here are some guidelines for planning your course syllabi for the semester:

  • Assessments: Please avoid exams, quizzes, or other assessments on the Wellness Days, and please avoid “high stakes” assessments in the immediate days following these days. Use this as an opportunity to consider using multiple, lower-stakes assignments throughout the semester. Consider not scheduling high stakes assignments any time during the week of March 15, 2021 that would have been Spring Break week.
  • Other opportunities for instruction: Consider encouraging students to take advantage of co-curricular activities that will be provided by Student Affairs, that might be offered by your unit, or that you might identify. These could be tied to your learning objectives or you might consider how current topics such as social justice or diversity, equity, and inclusion could be addressed.
    • Examples might include encouraging students to take self-guided tours of Railroad Park or the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to reflect on what they see or can read about.
    • However, as with other assessments, avoid having any assessment of learning from such activities come due immediately following the Wellness Days.
  • Alternative forms of assessment: Use planning for the Wellness Days to spark your ideas for crafting outcome-focused, online assessments that keep students engaged. See this article from Faculty Focus (a free publication on higher education teaching) that includes some ideas for using Canvas LMS tools that you might not now be using.
  • Learning activities covering both days:You may wish to make whatever new guidance you might provide apply to both of the Wellness Days.
  • Reminders of regular out-of-classroom assignments: Consider simply reminding students that, as is always the case, long-term assignments such as reading assignments can always be worked on at any time, including on the Wellness Days.
  • Stay safe: Of course, an overriding principle for all of us on these Wellness Days, and throughout the semester, will be to stay safe:

We will continue to monitor the effect of Covid on our operations. Our plan is to continue in the Spring semester the same in-person/hybrid/remote teaching formats as were in place in Fall 2020.

We sincerely appreciate all that you do for our students, and for your continued cooperation during this difficult time.

Hybrid Learning

""UAB is adopting a hybrid learning model for face-to-face instruction designed to maximize flexibility for students and faculty, while still meeting the university’s goal of providing on-campus teaching and learning. The model involves capturing an instructor’s in-class lecture/presentation and making it available to students who were working remotely on the day of the lecture. While the hybrid learning delivery model doesn’t demand sophisticated knowledge of online delivery, the more familiarity the instructor has, the better the experience will be for both the instructor and the students. Resources and workshops have been compiled by the Division of eLearning and Professional Studies and the Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty in preparing for fall courses using the hybrid learning delivery model and other pedagogical techniques.

Continuing to operate in a blended learning environment will present continuing challenges as we determine how to engage and support students under new circumstances. In keeping with Provost Benoit’s intent to keep faculty informed as much as possible, the information below provides faculty with updated information related to our planned entry to on-campus teaching and learning for the Fall 2020 semester on August 24, 2020.

In this model, UAB will offer four options:

face to face

Face-to-Face

These are typically courses that are discussion sections, labs, or performance-based courses that are small in size where we can socially distance and allow for safe quality education. Classes will be taught in-person, on-campus on the days and hours listed in the class schedule. (Social distancing, mask wearing and other safety measures will be implemented.)

hybridlearningmark

Hybrid Learning

Courses will be a mixture of in-person and on-campus instruction and remote learning components. In this format, the instructor will present the class lecture in-person, which will be captured by new camera systems being installed in designated classrooms across campus. The video feed of the in-class presentation will be available at the same time to the remaining registered students, as well as stored and available on Canvas.

Students will alternate in-class and remote options based on a schedule that UAB is currently working through. UAB is exploring creative options to make sure students are able to socially distance within the classroom. Having half of the students in the classroom at a time allows us to be able to accomplish that in many of our classrooms and we anticipate that a significant number of the classes will be in this hybrid format. Students should be available on the days and hours listed in the class schedule. Students will be assigned which days to attend class in person.

For example, if you are taking a Tuesday/Thursday class, students would alternate who is in class and who is viewing the class remotely. The class will have 50% of students in a classroom at one time to allow for proper social distancing.

remote

Remote

Courses will be conducted virtually using a combination of live and recorded content through Canvas, Zoom and other tools. These are typically going to be classes that might be large lecture courses where we cannot appropriately social distance. Usually, a remote class is very synchronous, meaning at the same time all the students and the instructors are available and hearing the information. Students should reserve the days and hours listed in the class schedule for live course elements, determined by the teacher. Students will not attend class on-campus.

fully online

Fully Online

Courses will be conducted entirely online through Canvas, Zoom and other tools. They are courses that were designed to be entirely online and tend to be primarily asynchronous so that you are not necessarily in the same location at the same time. Students will not attend class on-campus. These classes are designated in the class schedule with a section number beginning with the letter "Q."

A full breakdown of UAB's four modes of instructions can be found in this PDF. The delivery mode for your course (hybrid, remote or face-to-face) can be found in BlazerNet on your faculty profile and class roster. 

While the information provided reflects the current state of affairs, please be aware that the context in which we are operating with the COVID-19 pandemic is still fluid. The information below reflects the input of an ad hoc work group comprised of representatives from across the university, including multiple faculty as well as a members of the Faculty Senate leadership team. The over-arching concern behind the plans and policies for a return to academic life in the fall are the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. Circumstances dictate that the teaching environment will demand some flexibility on behalf of faculty. We know that faculty will continue to serve as positive role models for our students by exhibiting flexibility, innovation, and resilience to cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic.

***Guidance and requirements are subject to change and will be updated prior to future phases of entry, including a return to in-person instruction.***

Pedagogy

Teaching in this format will require commitment. We’re very aware of, and deeply grateful for, the efforts of our faculty to give UAB students a good learning experience this fall. There are two different kinds of work involved in a course structured for the hybrid learning delivery model:

1. Building the online structure of the course.

It is widely recognized that setting up an online course requires additional time and effort. While courses that had to be changed to remote-only offerings in Canvas for the Spring 2020 semester—and especially for the Summer 2020 semester—have already achieved much or all of the way toward being hybrid-ready, we recognize that many faculty will have to put additional work into “hybridizing” courses that they have taught effectively for years in a traditional format. We are mindful of these pressures, and the Division of eLearning and the Center for Teaching and Learning will offer as much support as possible in order to ease the burden on faculty.

2. Running the course.

In a traditional, on-ground course, the student/faculty interaction “ends” on a given day when the class period ends. In a hybrid learning delivery model, students who are participating in the course asynchronously will continue to interact with their instructors beyond the class period. (Students might later email the instructor or visit virtually during virtual office hours, not unlike the way students schedule office hours after a face-to-face course.) Strategies such as online threaded discussions can allow these students options for engaged learning without requiring faculty to teach two separate, parallel courses. UAB’s offices of Division of eLearning and Professional Studies and the Center for Teaching and Learning can provide additional information on the hybrid learning model.

Hybrid Learning Key Terms:

Face-to-Face Courses

Sometimes abbreviated F2F, face-to-face is a traditional classroom setting where teachers work with students in a physical classroom to deliver lectures, facilitate discussions and learning activities, and complete assessments of student learning. Outside-of-class activities and homework are often an important part of student learning in F2F classes. In most cases, a clinical experience course is a F2F course.

Hybrid Courses

A hybrid course combines elements of traditional F2F courses with academic technology to provide some elements of the course in the traditional F2F classroom and other elements of the course remotely in the Canvas Learning Management System. Some activities in the course are synchronous and others are asynchronous. The UAB hybrid instruction model will safely manage class sizes to promote social distancing. In most classes, students will rotate days in and out of the classroom with a combination of in-person and remote learning. Faculty will provide in-person instruction to roughly 30-50 percent of students registered in a class while a camera system feeds real-time video to the remainder of the class remotely. The recording will also be available in Canvas for later viewing. Equipment has been secured to support the hybrid model and will be installed in time for the fall semester.

Remote Courses

Remote courses or remote teaching occurs when face-to-face courses are delivered in an online format. During the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters, all traditionally F2F classes were taught remotely. Remote teaching is usually a temporary format and differs from fully online teaching because remote courses are not originally designed to be delivered online. In Fall 2020, some F2F courses that cannot be taught using a hybrid model will be taught remotely. These courses do not carry a ‘Q’ course designation. Also, all fully face-to-face and hybrid courses will be taught remotely after November 20, 2020.

Fully Online Courses

In online courses, course instructors utilize the Canvas Learning Management System and other academic technologies to provide lectures, learning activities, and assessments over the internet. Instructors may employ a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities to help students reach course and learning objectives. UAB’s fully online courses are indicated by section numbers that begin with Q, if they were originally designated as such.

Synchronous

Synchronous refers to course activities that happen at the same time. In traditional F2F classes, a lecture is a synchronous activity, because the instructor lectures and the students listen at the same time. In hybrid, remote, or fully online course, a live Zoom or Kaltura lecture is a synchronous activity, because the instructor and students participate live at the same time.

Asynchronous

Course activities in which participants engage with course material at different times. In traditional F2F classes, homework assignments are asynchronous activities, as the students complete their homework assignments independently. In a remote course, a prerecorded lecture is an asynchronous activity, because the students can view the lecture at a time different than when it was created.

Hybrid Learning Resources:

We encourage instructors to utilize the resources available to you. 

UAB's Teaching Remotely site walks through steps necessary to teach a class online, including low-tech options, and strategies for transitioning face-to-face classes to online instruction.

The UAB eLearning website provides resources available to faculty. There are options for posting lectures and slides, using video for lectures, providing remote testing and more.

Use peer guidance to help navigate teaching remotely.

Policies regarding clinical and research requirements, student-teacher programs and other specific professional programs will be formulated based on guidance from the state of Alabama and the appropriate academic departments and governing agencies.

The Canvas landing page for every instructor has a banner with a link to download a syllabus template with this information, including safety information, special Disability Support Services processes, and a description of the various course delivery methods that an instructor can choose from when using the template. Instructors are encouraged to incorporate this template language into the syllabus built into Canvas for each course.

Hybrid Learning Best Practices:

Health and Safety

  • As described here on the UAB United website, students will be required to complete the COVID-19 assessment tool Healthcheck on a daily basis, and their assigned risk level will automatically be communicated to the GuideSafe™ Event Passport system.
  • Students and employees will press the “Passport” button after completing Healthcheck to get their passports, which are good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status which will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen to display on students’ phones. A clear passport will be required to enter classes, meetings, the library and other events on campus.
  • No food is allowed to be consumed in classrooms, but bottled water is permissible.

Syllabus Language

  • The Canvas landing page for every instructor has a banner with a link to download a syllabus template with this information, including safety information, special Disability Support Services processes, and a description of the various course delivery methods that an instructor can choose from when using the template.
  • Instructors are encouraged to incorporate this template language into the syllabus built into Canvas for each course.

Attendance

  • Faculty will be asked to devise a mechanism to monitor attendance for students designated to be participating remotely and synchronously. eLearning professionalscan assist with that. Absences related to COVID-19 illness will be excused. Students concerned about their attendance as a result of COVID-19 should register with Disability Support Services.
  • Find out what a student's assigned attendance day for hybrid or face-to-face course through BlazerNet, under "Attendance Day" on your class roster. 
  • Attendance Day assignments cannot be changed centrally, so Assignment Day designations will remain the same throughout the semester for all students. If an instructor can be certain that a sufficient number of other students are not in attendance in person so as to make room for the student who might show up on the wrong day, then it would be permissible for that student to remain. If an instructor cannot be certain, they should follow the usual procedures for when a student does not observe health and safety rules, including cancelling the class if the student attending on the wrong day will not leave.

Assignments

  • View the Canvas Assignment Tutorials to learn how to set up assignments.
  • Graded Assignments include book reviews, journals, reflections, research papers, compare and contrast, article reviews, interviews and more.
  • You can use the Peer Review tool in Canvas to require students to review a certain number of peers’ papers.
  • Provide students an opportunity to submit drafts so they can receive feedback.
  • Written assignments can include images, charts, tables, etc., and can be in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Adobe PDF.
  • Providing feedback on assignments is made easy through using rubrics and annotating student submissions.

Quizzes and Other Student Assessments

Interactions with Students

  • Students can present live to the instructor and peers using Zoom; it can be used for individual and group presentations.
  • GoReact, a cloud-based video tool, integrates a variety of feedback options and grading of student video assignments. It works for communication and public speaking, interpretation, clinical training, evaluations, performance arts, and more, and can be used for individual and group presentations.
  • Just like in your face-to-face class, you have the ability to assign group projects to your students in an online environment. There are multiple ways students can collaborate on completing these projects. The Groups section of Canvas is a space where students can share files, discuss topics, and compile information. Group sets house the different groups within a course. The Groups space, only accessible by the members of the group and the instructor, allows the instructor to view content and student activity within a group.

What You Can Offer Students:

  • The University Writing Center is available to students provide online consultations. The Purdue OWL site provides resources to help students with various writing needs such as citations and formatting. UAB Libraries Resources can help you and your students continue with coursework.
  • Encourage students to use readily accessible technology (e.g. cellphone, Zoom, PowerPoint or another recording software that they can access) to record their presentation. Recorded presentations can be uploaded to a Canvas assignment or discussion.
  • Students have free access to Microsoft Office 365 and one Tb of file storage, which can be used to collaborate on documents.
  • Students can host Zoom meetings to work on their projects virtually.
  • Students will not be allowed to consume food in classes, but students may temporarily remove their mask to drink from a water bottle. This is included in the syllabus template in Canvas.

Technology

UAB’s Information Technology team is working across campus to ensure that classrooms and other educational spaces are equipped for all learning scenarios. In partnership with UAB eLearning, UAB IT is identifying the most appropriate and affordable options for lecture-capture technology to ensure faculty and students can effectively teach and learn in a remote or hybrid format.

Academic Technology Resources

UAB IT is working to provision classrooms with the hardware necessary to support lecture capture through Zoom and Kaltura Classroom. The lecture capture technology allows students to be able to participate in on-campus classes virtually through Zoom and be able to replay lecture capture videos through Kaltura in the Canvas course afterwards. The technology components installed in the rooms vary depending on the location, size and capacity of the classroom. Click here to learn more.

Video Capture Technology

The Center for Teaching and Learning, Division of eLearning, and UAB IT are partnering to provide in-person demonstrations and live virtual trainings of the new technology installed in UAB classrooms. To register to participate, click HERE.

In person demonstrations will occur on Tuesday, August 18th; Thursday, August 20th, Monday, August 24th, and Wednesday, August 26th in the new home of the CTL on the 4th floor of Lister Hill Library. Each slot is 30 minutes and limited to 5 participants to ensure proper social distancing. Registration is required to participate.

Live virtual trainings offered by the Division of eLearning will be offered on August 17th and 19th at 5:30 PM via Zoom. To register to attend the virtual trainings, click HERE.

Sample classroom technology layouts:

Large classroom

Medium classroom

Small classroom

For a full list of classroom layouts by facility, click here.

Additional Resources

  • Virtual desktop technology — Will be available for employees who need access to published apps or software on campus, without the need of a VPN or powerful computer.
  • Retail Support — UAB IT will open its TechConnect store, and host a soft launch of the Apple on Campus Store, when Hill Center opens.
  • Public WiFi — Express Lot 4 remains open for public WiFi. UAB IT is currently exploring additional lots that would be available to UAB students and faculty.

Faculty can register for training and other support on the UAB eLearning site as well as find additional resources on the UAB IT Remote Work toolkit. To find out in advance if there will be video capture technology in your assigned classroom, visit the Division of eLearning and Professional Studies website on lecture caption found here.

Grading

For more information on grading and communicating with your students on the policies, visit FAQs for Instructors.

The default grading method for the Fall 2020 semester will be the normal letter grade method, and UAB is encouraging students to continue taking courses for a letter grade where possible. 

Where the university can, it is providing a Pass/Fail option in case there are circumstances and/or challenges students are encountering related to the ongoing pandemic that might make a Pass/Fail option a better option. If students are not remaining with the default letter grade method for any of their courses, they must select the Pass/Fail grading method for each course individually. Once a student selects the option for a Pass/Fail grading method for a particular course, that decision is not reversible regardless of their performance on remaining assignments or final exams.

Professors will take an attendance grade, but all COVID-19-related illnesses will be excused. Students concerned about their attendance as a result of COVID-19 should register with Disability Support Services.

Libraries

UAB Libraries' buildings are now open. See our Fall 2020 hours of operation. We have created a library guide for access to special resources during this time and Interlibrary Loan services are available to help obtain articles and/or book chapters. Members of the UAB community with a BlazerID may also submit a request form for circulating items (e.g. books in print format) to be pulled and delivered to them curbside at UAB Libraries' locations. 

UAB is using GuideSafe™ Event Passport to facilitate access to classrooms, meetings, events, or facilities having ten or more people. Attendees, including faculty, staff, and students, will complete UAB Healthcheck, a COVID-19 assessment tool, prior to entering their event. An Event Passport is issued based on factors from your daily risk level as assigned by the UAB Healthcheck. After you have completed Guidesafe™ Healthcheck, press the “Passport” button to get your passport. This passport is good for 24 hours. Each user is assigned a unique passport number indicating their status for the upcoming event that will show a “Clear” screen or “Not Clear” screen. A clear passport will be required to enter classes, meetings, the library and other events on campus.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to reach out through chat, or email.

In the Fall 2020, UAB Libraries will be open with social distancing and masking requirements. 

Procedures for UAB Libraries include: 

  • Entry to building is by badge only. Please do not hold or prop doors open for anyone else.
  • Students need to present a cleared GuideSafe™ Event Passport when entering the library buildings.
  • Upon entering, please check in at the front desk to be directed toward a designated path of traffic.
  • All library users are required to wear a mask correctly (covering nose and mouth). If you don’t have one, a disposable mask will be provided. Study rooms and workstations in the libraries are public spaces and therefore require masks/face coverings.
  • Be kind to your fellow users and limit your stay in the building to 2 hours in order to allow others to use the space. To keep you safe, we can only allow as many users as available seats.
  • Use curbside delivery or request materials to be delivered to the service desks for pick-up to limit traffic in the stacks.
  • Hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies are available throughout the building. Please wipe your work surfaces after use.
  • Please stay at least 6 feet from others at all times and don’t gather in groups.
  • Please don’t rearrange or move furniture, which is configured for your safety.
  • Be sure to pay attention to posted signage, including floor decals.

Safety precautions to create a safe environment for library users:

  • Disperse public seating and computer stations 6 feet apart.
  • Designate separate entrance and exit when possible (may not be feasible at Sterne due to construction) and designate flow of traffic in the common areas with floor markings and signs.
  • Assign separate stairwells for up & down traffic as needed.
  • Post signage for social distancing (including floor indicators and elevators). Reserve elevators for vulnerable employees and patrons who are not able to ascend/descend stairs.
  • Place touchless hand sanitizers in public spaces and entry points and post signage to sanitize surfaces that have been touched;
  • Install Plexiglas partitions at HUB (service) desks and office front desk to separate HUB staff from patrons and mark floors to indicate required distance among patrons. HUB desk surfaces will be cleaned after each transaction.
  • Sanitize frequently used items, such as shared printers, scanners, door handles, light switches, shared computers/monitors/keyboards/mouse, shared phones in office areas, water fountains (drinking spouts will be covered up, bottle-filling function will remain in use).
  • Equip all bathrooms with hands-free paper towels and soap
  • We’ll have regular monitoring of the floors (staff on shifts walking through the floors on a regular basis) to assure that students don’t cluster in groups and wear masks. The staff on those shifts will also help with sanitizing frequently touched surfaces.
  • Based on materials safety guidelines, circulation and recirculation procedures for books and other materials may be changed. Returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before processing and reshelving. Equipment that may be sterilized with a sanitizing agent will be wiped and put back in circulation.

Travel

UAB continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize health and safety while also ensuring delivery of quality education and experiences.

The UA System’s restriction on ALL non-essential international and domestic travel remains in place. Unless modified by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, all university-related non-essential travel is prohibited for all students, faculty, and staff. For essential travel, there are required forms to be completed. Please check this with UAB travel website on allowable travel and travel reimbursements, domestic or international.

Employees with questions about travel should contact the Office of Sponsored International Programs at 205-975–2438 (after hours 205-789-5212) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This office is available to provide guidance and assistance to our travelers, in addition to providing resources through our System travel provider, International SOS.

Access UAB Financial Affairs' guidance on allowable travel reimbursements related to the cancellations due to the coronavirus travel restrictions (international and domestic). While the System policy does not inhibit or restrict individuals traveling on personal business or affiliate programs (i.e., travel that is not university sponsored but related to academic or business pursuits — e.g., travel through another institution or program), the UA System strongly encourages our faculty and staff to consider this Updated Policy when making decisions to continue on or schedule travel to any of the impacted areas. Information on travel reimbursements due to UAB’s Coronavirus Travel Restrictions is available on the Financial Affairs website.