SLS Guidance for Fall 2020 Online Courses

In response to Covid-19, fall semester at Georgia Tech will include a variety of course delivery modes, including residential (in-person with physical distancing), hybrid with limited in-person attendance, or remote.  The majority of courses will have some in-person attendance.  Guidance for students and faculty interested in, enrolled in, or teaching SLS Affiliated Courses is available below.  If we can be of additional help, please be in touch.  We are here to support you!

 

Guidance for Students

We are happy to talk with students one-on-one. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or to arrange a time to talk:

 

Kristina Chatfield

SLS Program and Operations Manager

kchatfield30@gatech.edu

 

I have questions about one of my SLS Affiliated Courses. Who should I talk to?

Please talk to your instructor.

 

I am interested in taking some SLS Affiliated Courses.  Where can I find that information for Fall 2020?

You can search for SLS Affiliated Courses on our website here:  https://serve-learn-sustain.gatech.edu/affiliated-courses

 

I would like to meet with an SLS advisor.  How do I do that?   

SLS will hold virtual advising sessions during fall semester on the following dates:

  • Thursday, August 27
  • Tuesday, September 8
  • Thursday, September 24
  • Tuesday, October 13
  • Thursday, October 22
  • Tuesday, November 10

All sessions on these dates will be held from 10:45am - 11:45am.  All virtual advising dates and links to register may be viewed here. You may also email SLS at serve-learn-sustain@gatech.edu with question if you are unable to attend an advising session.

 

I want to help out in my community. What can I do to help?

As challenging as all of this is for Georgia Tech, many communities are facing even more serious challenges, as Covid-19 is exacerbating existing inequities and creating new ones. If you're interested in taking a course where you can learn about these issues - and in some cases, work with a community partner -  check out these SLS Affiliated Courses. Also make sure to subscribe to the SLS Newsletter, which regularly features opportunities to learn and engage. Also, research virtual ways to help and contribute to your local community, as Georgia Tech students may be in a unique position to provide virtual assistance.

 

How can I learn more about current issues?

Here are some resources that can help you get started:

 


Guidance for Faculty

 

We are happy to help any faculty think through how to adjust their courses, through one-on-one conversations. Please feel free to contact us at any time for assistance with courses or any other questions:

 

Rebecca Watts Hull, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist

rwattshull@gatech.edu

Mobile: 404-313-1779

Ruthie Yow, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist

ruth.yow@gatech.edu

Mobile: 404-394-9220

 


I have an ongoing student project with a community partner that is continuing from a previous semester. How should I proceed?

First and foremost, it’s important to communicate with your partner about changes in your course associated with Covid-19. If your course is designated residential, keep in mind that your partners may not feel comfortable visiting campus or interacting in a shared space off campus. Many organizations continue to operate remotely, so you should discuss with your partner their preferred interactions. Keep in mind that our partners’ lives, families, and communities are being impacted by Covid-19 and partnership with Georgia Tech may no longer be a possibility for them at this point. Additionally, access to quality internet may be a consideration for virtual interaction. 

If you are substantially changing the nature of the project/engagement with the partner, please revise your Scope of Work with the partner (or if you have not created one, these dynamic circumstances due to Covid-19 are motivation to use a Scope of Work - SLS’s template is available here).

If the project is far enough along for students to work on it with no or minimal engagement with the partner, that may be an option to consider. If you do this, you will likely have to adjust project expectations and outcomes accordingly. For example, in place of additional in-person engagement with the partner, you could consider asking the course or project partner(s) if they are willing to participate in an online conversation with their team or the class. Or, in place of any additional partner engagement, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research. 

If you think that it’s best to discontinue partner engagement, that is what you should do, even if your partner expresses interest in continuing. Your partner will likely understand - and may even be relieved. Also, consider picking the project up again in a future semester with another group of students; SLS might be able to help you figure that out. Just make sure to communicate the status of the project (as well as sending any relevant documents) to your liaison in SLS. 

 

I usually incorporate a student project/multiple projects with a community partner in my fall course, but I'm not sure it will work virtually. How should I proceed?

If in-person engagement is central to the project, or if the project will require more than one or two phone calls or virtual meetings, please replace the project with a different assignment. Consider whether some aspects of the learning objectives could be pursued through online resources. For example, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research. Or there may be video options (such as TED talks) that speak to some of the themes you and the partner had intended to address. 

If you feel a virtual partnership with a community organization during fall semester would be valuable, please contact Ruthie (ruth.yow@gatech.edu) or Rebecca (rwattshull@gatech.edu) to discuss options. Like many programs at Georgia Tech, SLS is currently facing budget constraints. Please get in touch so that we may advise you on partners as well as the availability of funds for community partner compensation. 

If you are able to move forward with a virtual partnership, there are many resources that can help you and your partner determine the best way to interact virtually. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Georgia Tech has a number of resources to support online instruction. In addition, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) has led the development of additional guidance for faculty on virtual teaching, available here.  See also: Five Tips for Moving Courses Online Quickly, from an OMSCS Instructor.

Beyond the platforms available to you through Canvas and other tools, like Bluejeans, in some cases “low tech” options may work well. For example, some communication could occur through  group phone calls or by having a guest speaker join by speaker phone, while you share slides or other visuals through Canvas. Another consideration is student familiarity with the conferencing tools in Canvas. Some students may not have experience using the web tools available through Canvas. Again, please consult these CTL resources for guidance on helping your students adjust to the changes in class format.

 

I am restructuring the syllabus and would appreciate some ideas for online resources to use about sustainability or community engagement. What do you suggest?

The SLS Teaching Toolkit has lots of great teaching resources that are ready to use. Some of them may not work well for virtual teaching, but many can be easily adapted to online platforms. If you’re looking specifically for resources related to community engagement, here are a few we suggest. We’d be happy to help you figure out how to tailor them to be used online:

 

How can my students and I learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting partners and frontline communities? How can we help?

As challenging as all of this is for Georgia Tech, many of our community partners are facing even more serious challenges, as COVID-19 is exacerbating existing inequities and creating new ones. If you are working with a partner, ask them how they’re faring and how your course and your students can help from a distance. If you are interested in learning more about these challenges, read and share with your students these resources:

Also you can encourage students to research virtual ways to help and contribute to their local communities. Partners such as New American Pathways are seeking volunteers to engage in online conversation practice with newly arrived individuals seeking to practice English. If you are interested in exploring opportunities, please let us know and we can help you.