Q: What does moving to a fully remote model mean in terms of COCI approvals for summer courses? Do we need to re-submit our courses for approval?
On April 3, 2020, the Academic Senate made the decision to support a move to remote learning in a similar fashion to their approach in the spring semester, specifically allowing one-time approval for departments to offer their summer courses remotely. This approval remains in place as we continue to face challenges related to the ongoing pandemic and its impact on our campus.
Q: If students have questions about their remote-learning experience in a specific class, who should they contact?
Students should start with their instructor, followed by the home department and then they may wish to reach out to the Summer Sessions Student Services team.
Q: Will we be more generous with refund and grading options should students be unhappy with the remote experience or challenged by the format?
Cancellation Fees will be waived for Summer 2021 as long as students cancel by the published cancellation deadline. International Service Fee will be waived for Summer 2021 for any international student enrolled in remote Summer Sessions course(s).
In addition, the decision was made to extend the refund deadlines for tuition and mandatory fees, as well as grade option deadlines.
After the second week of instruction, students will be need to submit an appeal should they wish to request a refund and we will take into consideration this change to remote course delivery and potential issues experienced by students. As for grading options, students will be able to change their grading option by the dates outlined for summer. Please visit the Grading Options page for more details.
Q: Will international and domestic visiting students be able to participate in remote-learning options made available this summer?
While international students are welcome to enroll in courses that will now be delivered remotely, the primary audience for these courses will be our Berkeley students who need these opportunities to continue their degree progress. Remote-learning courses are different from our online courses in that they may require synchronous sessions that may be difficult for students located out-of-country to attend. We do wish to encourage departments and summer instructors to be as flexible as possible in terms of their course structures and requirements so Berkeley students in international locations, as well as international visiting students, may take advantage of Summer 2021 offerings.
Q: Is the idea to make remote courses available and let students decide if it will work for them?
Yes, our remote-learning courses will be available to all interested students and it will be up to individuals to decide if they are able to take the course given the requirements as outlined in the syllabus.
Q: Should there be guidelines on technical requirements (ie- access to specific browsers, zoom, bCourses, bMail). Would there be a way international visitors could test access?
Digital Learning Services provides guidance around technical requirements for courses being offered remotely and these will be shared with students so they understand the expectations. Students will be able to drop from these courses during the add/drop period should they find they cannot meet the technical needs to stay enrolled.
Students can also now receive a full refund during the first two weeks of their first session while they try out these courses. More information about this extension can be found here.
Q: Are departments required to convert all face-to-face offerings to a remote delivery model for summer? What are our other options, if any?
In light of the ongoing challenges and uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campus has made the difficult decision to continue with remote-only learning for Summer 2021. While departments are not in any way required to move to this remote-delivery model, any courses unable to be offered remotely should either be cancelled or move through the pending request process for face-to-face delivery of a course.
Q: Will the same enrollment and revenue share minimums apply for these remote courses? What other factors will be critical as departments make decisions about how best to move forward?
Yes, all course enrollment and revenue share minimums will still be applicable, so departments should consider this as they make decisions about moving to a remote learning model for the upcoming summer. Departments may also want to consider summer instructors and GSI capacity to move courses to remote offering, as well as changes to a variety of circumstances that may impact the ability to offer certain courses in this manner.
As we have in the past, we advise you to use the Profitability Analysis worksheet (Black/White version) to help estimate the financial viability of your courses. We have made exceptions in the past for courses with enrollments below the minimum but were still financially viable. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact Deb Scher (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any concerns about low enrollment and to discuss if the course can move forward.
Q: Is there a plan for Summer Bridge yet? Can you confirm that Summer Bridge students will not be on campus?
Summer Bridge was successfully offered virtually in Summer 2020 and we expect this may be the case for Summer 2021; more information will be shared in the coming months.
Q: Can a department lose money by teaching a summer session course? The profitability spreadsheet suggests no — the dept. support funds just go to zero, not below. If expenses exceed revenues for a single course, then is it the case that the department will lose money or owe money for that loss? According to the Profitability Analysis worksheet for Summer 2020, any class with an enrollment less than the minimum results with no amount given for the Estimated Departmental Support Funds Total. Does this mean that $0 is owed?
Summer Sessions hosted a Revenue Share Information Session to help explain how this works and answer questions from departments - the presentation slides can also be reviewed here. Per the revenue share formula, departments are not expected to pay/owe funds. However, to qualify for Departmental Support Funds (revenue share), your course(s) must meet the revenue share enrollment minimum; the number of units for the course and profitability of the course also affect the funds received through Departmental Support Funds.
Q: Will there be any opportunities for course capture? Will there be instructor support for adapting to remote teaching?
Yes, please see Research, Teaching and Learning's (RTL) Keep Teaching website for a list of Digital Tools + Resources; the Center for Teaching & Learning is hosting webinars and will post a concise web page with resources for how to deliver classes remotely.
Q: What flexibility do instructors have to modify the Summer Session curriculum to be able to offer it via remote instruction?
More information will be sent out with the official notice from COCI. Instructors should expect to comply with required contact hours as approved by COCI. However, creative means should be implemented to provide the best educational experience for students. We encourage departments and instructors to make use of the resources provided by Digital Learning Services (DLS). Our intent is to make Summer remote courses the best experience possible for students.
Q: Is there news on what lockdown proctoring solution the University is purchasing and when it will be available?
The campus released the following guidelines regarding proctoring and final examinations. In addition, DLS intends to integrate tools into bCourses and they are currently working directly with vendors on potential tools for campus.
Q: For the lecturers who are not officially hired and do not have a Calnet ID yet, how do they get access to zoom pro account and bCourses so they can setup the online courses early?
DLS is researching how to grant access to Zoom Pro/campus systems to lecturers who do not yet have Calnet accounts. In the meantime, it is possible for them to use Calnet Sponsored Guest accounts: https:// calnetweb.berkeley.edu/calnet-departments/calnet-sponsored-guests.
Please note that HR is working to expedite new instructors being entered into the system so they will have their CalNet IDs in time and they continue to prioritize this based on the sessions in which instructors are teaching.
Q: What about lab courses? Can we decide at this time to remove the lab component of the course? Do we need to get it approved by COCI in order to modify the course and not offer the lab component of the course?
The removal of a lab from a course will require approval from the academic department and COCI. Many majors and graduate programs require the lab component. If creative ways can be used to still deliver the lab, then consider that strategy. For example, some labs have done experiments on video so the students can experience the lab virtually. The current shelter-in-place order may make this very difficult. If existing recordings of experiments, dissections, etc. cannot be found through open-source means or through DLS, the course should likely be cancelled for Summer 2021. A limited number of courses may be approved for face-to-face instruction, which will require approval through the pending request process determined by the VCUE. Some courses split the lab from the lecture. Consider only offering the lecture portion if students can get the lab in a later semester.
Q: Since we have lots of international visitors, we want to remove the times listed and work that out with the students/instructors (we have small classes). Does that work for you all (i.e., Summer Sessions)?
This is a complicated question. Please contact Jess Bauer (email@example.com) at Summer Sessions to talk through your remote delivery strategy and we will work with you to see if it is compliant with current rules/laws/regulations/policy/exceptions.
Q: Will we be getting an exception for our courses this summer if they are not currently approved by COCI for online? If we want to substitute courses that cannot be taught online with ones that can be taught online, what is the process?
COCI has given exceptional approval for all face-to-face courses to be delivered remotely. If you have an online equivalent of a face-to-face Summer Sessions course, which has already been approved by COCI, it can be added to the schedule. You may need to have it approved by COCI for the appropriate summer format and the compressed number of weeks in the selected session(s).
Please note, an approved online course is not the same as remote instruction of a face-to-face course. Online courses go through an extensive review by COCI. Remote instruction is an emergency temporary measure approved as an exception due to COVID-19.
Q: Carol Christ’s CalMessage said there was a hiring freeze in place. Are Summer Sessions lecturers included in this freeze?
Summer Sessions instructional staff are not affected by the hiring freeze.
Q: If we hired a lecturer for a course now and the course enrollment minimum is not met, then what happens to the lecturer's appointment? Do we still pay? Who pays?
We will notify you if this policy changes, but for now we can share that all summer appointments, instructors included, are contingent on the course being delivered and, in the past, there has been no payment for cancelled courses.
Q: Is there any guidance regarding striking GSIs who may be assigned to teach in Summer Sessions?
There is no information on this topic at this time.
Q: Is there any offer of financial support for having professors teach with GSIs (which you seemed to propose with “more experienced instructors")? That is very expensive to do for the department but would be good for the undergrads.
Currently, Summer Sessions is expecting to run at a loss of ~$8-10 mil. Summer Sessions will support appropriate instructional expenses. Please keep in mind that course profitability will be affected and subsequently Departmental Support Funds.
Q: Can a professor teach from abroad and get paid for the course since her/is course will now be remote?
All academic appointees who can work in the United States (i.e., who are legally permitted to do so by virtue of citizenship or visa status) must work in the U.S. during the period of remote working.
Q: If we use a lecture pool, can we reopen lecture pools if necessary?
Yes, lecturer pools can be reopened if needed.
Q: Has there been any attempt to market Summer Sessions to all of those cancelled programs?
We have been participating in ongoing marketing, outreach and recruitment efforts specific to remote learning for Summer 2021; we do have interest from international and domestic visiting students who wish to attend remote and online courses in the upcoming summer.
To help support your communication efforts, Summer Sessions is adapting our course poster request process to produce digital flyers and/or social media graphics that you can use to reach out to your networks. Flyers and graphics can be requested here: bit.ly/SummerCourseDigitalFlier.
Q: For visiting international students, how are you handling I-20, visas, etc.? For those here now who want to stay for summer, requiring visa extension, is that possible and if so, how/where do we direct them?
In prior years, the Summer Sessions office was able to process extensions on existing I-20s as long as the student was enrolling in at least 6 units for Summer. We have confirmed with the Berkeley International Office that remote courses will count towards the required enrollment units needed for an I-20 extension/transfer.
Q: Will the low enrollment cancellation deadlines for departments be moved up? Generally they are 3 weeks before the start of a session.
Course enrollments and course cancellations will be considered from now until course launch. We do ask that you attempt to cancel a course early if it is expected not to run since the instructors count on the employment and the students count on the instruction. The more notice to instructors and students, the better for them to make alternate plans.
Pending final approval for Summer 2021, students will be allowed to drop courses and receive a full refund during the first two weeks of the first session in which they are enrolled; we are hopeful that leniency on this front might attract additional student enrollments. For more details, please see the following communication sent to students.
Q: Is there a way for us to check and see how many visiting/international students are enrolled in our SS courses so that we could better figure out our enrollment projections?
We will be communicating with department managers and schedulers about how to pull this information. You may also contact Deb Scher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she can assist you with pulling a report to check the current enrollments for your courses.
Q: Do you anticipate any changes to grading options during summer?
Grading for the Summer Sessions is not currently under discussion. Changing grading to P/NP would need to be approved by the Senate AND by the System-wide Senate. So far, there are no plans to change the grading policy for the summer term.
Q. Since Summer courses will be remote, can we change the length of our courses?
COCI has agreed to allow departments to change course length with their approval. In order to change the length of a course, the current course will need to be cancelled and rescheduled for the appropriate sessions. Please make this change by February 1st, in time for registration opening to Berkeley students. Earlier is better so students know how long the course will be and in what session as they plan their summer schedule.
The request process to change the session length is not arduous and the turnaround is quick.
Q. What about final exams, should we proceed as usual?
Campus provided the following guidance to the campus regarding proctoring and final exams. We are also encouraging departments and instructors to please consider alternate final exams, which can be granted by departments on a one time basis. Please contact COCI directly with further questions about changing to an alternate final exam option.
Q. Will students be eligible for Financial Aid?
Financial Aid will still be available to students as long as they are enrolled in a minimum of 6 units.
Q. Will there be any requirements for synchronous vs. asynchronous offerings? Can we choose?
Please attempt to be as asynchronous as possible to accommodate students in other time zones; however, these are your courses - you/the instructor(s) will need to decide the best means of delivering instruction.
Please be as transparent about your course structure as possible in your syllabus and with your students. That said, we are still receiving a lot of interest from international students who wish to participate in online and remote courses. Note, online courses are already structured for asynchronous instruction.
If you conduct a final exam, consider offering 2 sittings, one in the early AM and one in late PM (Pacific Time) to accommodate students in other time zones or who might have a conflict for one of the sittings. Please also remember to allot additional time for disability accommodations.
Q. Will we get any updated, electronic materials noting remote course instruction so we can use that for advertising?
Yes, Marketing is now creating digital posters; digital flyers and graphics can be requested via this link: bit.ly/SummerCourseDigitalFlier
Q. Are you open to new courses?
Yes, if you have courses that are ready to go live in the remote format. However, fully online courses (asynchronous and developed with DLS) need to be approved by COCI.
Q. If changing a course to a different length session and, potentially, different days/times means that students will need to re-enroll -- is there a risk of losing enrollments?
It is best to be thoughtful about your course structure in accommodating the remote format for students; we want to make this the best experience possible for students.
COCI will hold courses to the contact hour requirements; however, we recommend that departments be creative and accommodating in how they share the course content and instruction with students in order to make this the best possible experience for them
Please make use of the tools and resources provided by by DLS.
Q. Can we increase the hours of GSI work resulting from delivering the course remotely if we are fine with the decrease in net revenue?
Yes, GSI appointments can be adjusted as necessary based on what you expect the work to be. However, please be aware that, if a course is cancelled, the instructor and GSI(s) will not be paid; please also be cognizant of the work (on the part of the instructor or GSI) that might be necessary prior to the start of the course.
If there is to be synchronous instruction, please stick to the course’s scheduled hours so as not to create scheduling conflicts.
Q. What is Summer Sessions' plan to promote online courses vs. remote courses?
Digital fliers and social media icons can be requested via this link: bit.ly/SummerCourseDigitalFlier and we will continue our other efforts; summer newsletter, paid social media, advertising, etc. Additionally , we are making every effort to differentiate between online and remote courses.
Q. We are receiving inquiries regarding additional compensation for remote delivery of courses, specifically labs. from lecturers. Will there be campus wide guidance on this to ensure pay equity or will it be department specific?
GSI & lecturers are all unionized and no adjustment was made beginning with Spring 2020, nor do we expect any change in future terms. Compensation changes would need to be approved on a system-wide level. For exceptions, please reach out to Summer Sessions to discuss.
Q. Can courses be canceled AFTER the April 10th if enrollment looks poor? We need to let lecturers know sooner rather than later as some rely on this income.
Yes, a course can be cancelled after April 10th. Deb Scher typically reaches out six weeks prior to the course start date with an your enrollment numbers and then three weeks prior with an update and request to cancel or confirm the course is okay to offer.
Typically, we ask that you make a decision on whether to cancel at least two weeks prior to the start; at the very latest, a course can be cancelled one week out. Exceptions can be made for courses with enrollment below the course cancellation minimum if the course is still cash flow positive or if the enrolled students need the course to graduate
If you have questions about this, please contact Rick Russo, Jess Bauer & Deb Scher to discuss further.
Q. If we are letting summer students drop after the start of a course and enrollment then becomes unprofitable, do we still need to pay instructors? Can we still cancel their contracts?
No - once a course begins, it must run and instructors must be paid.
Q. Are you using WeChat — for China? So few social media platforms work in China.
We’ve used WeiBo for promoting summer offerings; we’ve set up a profile via the vendor Net Natives, which allows us access. bCourses Chat has so far worked in China. It’s also private and FERPA compliant.
Q. Can Summer Sessions Marketing share the language differentiating the remote and online courses with all of us?
We use “remote delivery instruction”/“remote courses” vs “fully online courses.”
Some helpful information paraphrased from EDUCAUSE review: Online courses are based in careful instructional design focused on content and interaction. Emergency remote-delivery instruction is a temporary shift in delivery mode of face-to-face courses, allowing access to learning in emergencies.
Q. If, midway through Summer, we do go to in-person sessions, can we use course capture to continue to make it remote and who would pay for that?
Courses will be remote all Summer; we will not return to in-person midway through the sessions, as most students will already be remote.
Q. Should we assume that a drop in revenue from $53M to $20M means no profit sharing, or might it mean something even worse in some way?
We will continue to follow the same formula in calculating departmental support funds. In order to be eligible, courses must meet revenue share minimum enrollments. For more information, please watch this recording of our recent Revenue Share Information Session.
Q. If instructors choose to do synchronous lectures for students, it is likely that foreign students will drop. Should we be concerned by this?
Summer Sessions is meant to help Berkeley students make progress towards their degree and we
recommend you focus on them as you make decisions about how to convert to remote instruction.
Q. Will Digital Learner Services (DLS) be expanding its size to ramp up online course development for next year?
Expansion was already in progress and we are hoping to make online learning and course development a part of our culture year-round.
Q. For online courses set up in the future, is there still a 3-year commitment for instructors?
The online learning space has shifted dramatically over the last year. Please contact Jess Bauer (email@example.com & Alex Calvert (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions pertaining to online course development requirements and expectations.
Q. Who do we need to contact for developing an online course for 2021 and beyond?
Please contact Jess Bauer (email@example.com & Alex Calvert (firstname.lastname@example.org).