Classes & Instruction

Page Updated: March 27, 2020

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For Students – plans for remote learning

Any student having problems accessing remote education, please contact the InfoDesk ( or 814-332-3768) so we can assist with support. If contacting the InfoDesk, please let us know the best way to reach you (email or phone, etc.).

As you learned from President Link’s email on March 16, we have made the very difficult decision to conduct all classes through remote instruction through the end of the spring semester. We ask that you work with faculty individually to see how you might best continue to participate in classes, as you are able. We have asked faculty to provide flexibility and options for individuals who may be temporarily unable to participate in class due to restrictions placed on them related to possible exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, sickness, or other situations beyond their control. Please be aware that some faculty may also be temporarily unable to conduct classes.

The Learning Commons and LITS have compiled some tips for remote learning for students. A similar resource for faculty is linked below — please read it!

LITS has also compiled a list of options for free internet access.

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For Faculty – plans for remote teaching

What should faculty be thinking about related to remote instruction:

  • Be flexible and adaptable. The pandemic situation is changing extremely rapidly and what is true for you and your students one day may not be true the next. Remember that students are scattered over the United States and the world, and may have specific local conditions they need to account for, as well as time zone variations. Again, please be flexible and adaptable.
  • Concentrate on core learning outcomes — you are NOT designing remote courses according to best practices; you are delivering remote instruction under trying conditions.
  • Think about the ways in which you can deliver your remote instruction asynchronously as much as possible, recognizing that this may be less suited to some disciplines or pedagogies. Given the expected variations in students’ environments, access to technology, and time zones, we expect that asynchronous learning strategies will provide a more consistent and user-friendly learning experience for students in most cases.
  • The expectation is that a full-time student would take sixteen credits (four four-credit courses), and that full-time work is approximately 40 hours per week. As a rule, we encourage faculty to assign work so that the total amount of time a typical student would spend on a four-credit course would be 10 hours per week, recognizing there is substantial variation among students in how many hours they might work. This includes direct classroom time and time spent on other tasks (see below). We assume that via remote instruction, the amount of direct time with students may diminish and the amount of indirect time may increase. We know that many faculty will be delivering much of their coursework asynchronously, and we encourage faculty to consider the amount of time students could be expected to spend completing the assignments. Structures for lab and studio type classes may vary.
  • Coursework includes all aspects of student work—reading, viewing, or otherwise accessing course materials; library research; group work of various kinds; preparing and recording oral presentations; writing papers; taking exams; attending virtual office hours—and all delivery modalities—synchronous or asynchronous remote instruction, chat rooms, telephone conferences, and even delivery of course materials by mail.
  • Notwithstanding advice to deliver content asynchronously when possible, to help maintain student engagement with their courses, we encourage faculty to connect at least once or twice each week with students in real-time interactions, either by video conference or by phone. This does not have to be intensive or time-consuming, but students may drift away from their education in ways we can less easily control outside of person-to-person instruction.
  • Faculty should continue to hold office hours as per the Faculty Handbook, virtually (methods could include phone, chat room, email, video conference).

FERPA & Remote Instruction

Please click here for additional information about student privacy (FERPA) and remote instruction.

The highlights:

  1. Please use only e-mail accounts to communicate with students.
  2. Students do not have the right to be anonymous in the classroom setting. However, if you are recording a class session, they need to know that.
  3. Access to class recordings should generally only be granted to current members of the class.
  4. Please maintain educational information in your Allegheny College Google Drive or other accounts and not on your personal computers.
  5. Please be careful if you are communicating grades to students electronically.

There is a sample syllabus statement at the link above. We strongly suggest faculty add it to their syllabi and discuss it with their students.


Faculty should visit the Resources for Remote Course Delivery page on the LITS website for additional suggestions regarding remote delivery of courses. For help with questions not addressed on this page, faculty should contact the LITS InfoDesk at or (814) 332-3768.

As libraries continue to close, students may need additional options for accessing textbooks and other materials. We are compiling a list of such resources here. Please add any others you may know of.

Helen McCollough has compiled a helpful list of Open Education Resources, including textbooks.

Support of Instruction

The Learning Commons staff will continue to provide academic support and resources to faculty and students via APR response and support, advising concerning academic policies and procedures, student individual appointments (utilizing G-Suite tools), 4-year planning for students, general academic and registration questions and assistance, athletic student academic support, limited tutoring/consulting services, and prospective students and families communication.

The Library, Information Technology Services, Learning Commons, Student Disability Services, the Office of the Registrar, and the Allegheny Gateway are prepared to continue offering support to students and faculty via e-mail, voice and text, shared Google documents, or web conferencing.

Student Attendance and Engagement

Allegheny College’s class attendance policy already allows instructors to permit students to miss class at their discretion, and specifically allows faculty to adopt a permissive standard.

We request that faculty provide flexibility and options for students who may be temporarily unable to engage in class due to sickness or complications related to the remote learning environment (e.g., different time zones, limited internet access, limited access to resources, such as sharing a family laptop with other family members, etc.).

The Department of Education (DoE) has provided guidance on financial aid and related academic regulations that we continue to review. DoE’s specific guidance on substituting distance for classroom learning reminds us that “distance learning does not require the use of sophisticated learning management systems or online platforms . . . instructors must initiate substantive communication with students, either individually or collectively, on a regular basis. In other words, an instructor could use email to provide instructional materials to students enrolled in his or her class, use chat features to communicate with students, set up conference calls to facilitate group conversations, engage in email exchanges or require students to submit work electronically that the instructor will evaluate.”

Student Disability Services

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) continues to apply to all methods of instruction.

  • Students who are currently approved for extended time on in-class tests/quizzes are still entitled to time and a half for anything remote that is timed. This does not apply to papers/assignments that have been assigned ahead of time and are intended to be worked on outside of the scheduled remote instruction period.
  • Student Disability Services will coordinate with current, hired note takers about providing notes to students they are currently working with on a case by case basis.
  • Faculty should only use college approved platforms for instruction and materials so that we can ensure Section 508 compliance and remote accessibility.
  • Students who are utilizing assistive technology have had the software installed on their current machines, so that should not be an issue. PDF tends to be the most accessible document format for most reading software.
  • Captioning should be implemented into all videos/audio.
  • Any newly approved accommodations for students or issues with current accommodations can be handled over email/phone if necessary.
  • It is inevitable that we will have individualized circumstances to work around with some of our more creative and unique accommodations for students. Please don’t hesitate to contact Student Disability Services with any questions or concerns.



Registration for Fall 2020 is proceeding as scheduled using Self-Service. Please refer to the training materials for Self-Service implementation provided on the Registrar’s website or email if you have questions. Unless otherwise notified, please expect that academic rules, procedures, and deadlines remain in effect (see below for some exceptions). Transcripts and other services will remain available to students as usual, although paper-based services may be very slow or even impossible to process.

Canceling a Course

If you are considering to CANCEL a Spring 2020 course due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please complete this form. Your request will be assessed by the Provost and Dean of the College, Registrar and Dean of Curriculum, and Vice President for Information Services & Assessment as appropriate. Please DO NOT discuss course cancellations with students outside of this process.

Grade in Place

The hope is that we will continue to be able to work with all students in some way through the end of the semester. As noted above, we anticipate that faculty will use a variety of instructional methods and pedagogies, depending on the nature of the class and the availability of necessary technology. If you have exhausted ALL options with a specific student and you think that their participation in the course should be “graded in place” or some other solution, please use this form to record that information. We want to ensure that we manage student outcomes equitably in this difficult time and ensure that graduation and paths to degree completion are as little affected as possible. The Provost and Dean of the College and/or Registrar and Dean of Curriculum will review these requests.


Please continue to use the shared Google sheet to submit questions.

  • Following recent State and Federal guidelines for social distancing, faculty are encouraged to work remotely (from home) to the extent possible. Note that academic buildings may be locked.
  • Office hours – As per the Faculty Handbook, faculty should maintain virtual office hours (by email, chat/video), but not in-person office hours.
  • The policy of no exams or final papers in the last full week of classes is waived for Spring 2020.
  • RSEs will not be administered. Narrative RSEs will be available via Sakai (more information will be provided). A memo will go into the file of every faculty member to document this extraordinary circumstance.
  • Classroom observations for the remainder of the semester are suspended; any observations that have already been conducted, including partial observations, should be written up and added to faculty files.
  • All standing committee meetings are cancelled for the remainder of the semester; committees with essential College business should convene remotely at the discretion of the committee chair(s). Committee chairs should feel free to contact the Provost or Chair of Faculty Council with any questions.
  • Pelletier Library is CLOSED until further notice.
  • The senior grading deadline is extended to the same as for all other students (May 11).
  • The deadline for submitting grades for Incomplete courses from spring 2020 is extended from September 23 to December 15, 2020.
  • In order to facilitate student registration for fall 2020, holds for outstanding balances and declaration of major have been removed; there will be follow up with individual students after registration as necessary.
  • Many in our community have raised questions about CR/NC options; this is a topic being discussed by the Academic Standards and Awards Committee.
  • Reminder that non-refundable expenses incurred for conference travel that was cancelled due to the coronavirus will be reimbursed (submit by the regular travel expense report process).

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