The University of Iowa

What do I need to tell my students? 

  • Reassure students that they will continue to learn and that processes have been put in place to help them do so. 
  • Direct students to where and how often they need to check for information and updates about the course and the university.    
    • Updated information and FAQs about the university’s preparation and response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published at Campus Coronavirus Updates

How do I contact my students? 

  • ICON will continue to be the best way to connect with students about their learning.   
    • Add a general message in the syllabus as well as wherever you normally communicate with them in ICON. 
    • Use Announcements to send messages to an entire classes at once. You may want to communicate to students about how to set their Notifications within Canvas to make sure that they are actually receiving the notifications. 
  • You also could use UICapture to create short video updates and add them to your ICON Course. 
  • The ICON Message "Students Who... " function allows you to contact students with specific characteristics (such as those who haven’t turned in a particular assignment). 
  • Use your University of Iowa email address if you wish to communicate with students via email.
  • Students and instructors can also connect via the web conferencing tool, Zoom

What happens if any of my students fall completely out of contact? What is the extent of my responsibilities as an instructor/TA? 

  • There are a variety of resources available to support students on campus. Academic Support & Retention provides a central referral location, through Excelling@Iowa, that helps connect faculty to various campus resources.

What should I do if small proportions of my students are temporarily unable to participate in components of my class due to illness, unreliable internet, childcare duties, or other challenges?

  • Your existing policies may still apply. Faculty navigate similar challenges in face-to-face courses when illness, school-related activities, or religious holidays prevent some students from taking exams or participating in other class activities and assessments. This guide provides a framework for thinking through how your policy can be fair, transparent, and well-aligned with the structure and learning objectives of your course. 
  • Anticipating the need for some students to participate asynchronously through the course ICON site (via Discussions or posting lectures/lecture notes online),even if you are hoping to conduct class with all of your students during your usual class time. 
  • Options include: 
    • Exempting the score for the missed item in a student’s final grade (How to excuse a gradebook item)
    • Substituting another score (final paper, for example) for the missed grade item. Developing alternative assignments and activities, makeup quizzes, etc. that will allow students to meet your most crucial learning objectives
    • Academic Support & Retention may be able to assist in coordinating accommodations across all of the students’ classes. 

How can I support students with disabilities, including those who have accommodations?

  • Contact students in your course who are using accommodations to see if any adjustments need to be made accommodating them in an online environment.
  • Encourage students to reach out to you directly if they have challenges learning in an online environment.
  • Instructors can focus on which resources and technologies that will be used most. Minimizing the number of online tools a student must access to participate in your course will help students who must adapt the tools for their use.
  • Contact Student Disability Services if you have any questions about meeting student’s accommodation needs in an online environment. 
  • Find more information and suggestions at Accessibility and Online Instruction.

What other resources are available to students in this time of disrupted learning? 

  • A collection of resources for University of Iowa students is available on our Keep Learning at Iowa website
  • Lengthy disruptions can have an impact on students’ emotional health. Suggest your students can contact the University Counseling Service
  • Student Care and Assistance in the Office of the Dean of Students provides assistance to University of Iowa students experiencing crisis and emergency situations. These situations may include hospitalization, medical emergencies, mental health concerns or more. If a situation with a student arises or you have questions, concerns, or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact Student Care and Assistance at 319-335-1162 or by email.