Expanded course descriptions, limited-enrollment courses, course contingency plans (August 7, 2020)

[Summary: This message reminds faculty that expanded course descriptions should be posted to Canvas today, August 7. It provides guidance on managing student admission to limited-enrollment courses and requests that faculty include in their syllabi instructional contingency plans should circumstances require a pivot to fully on-line delivery.] 
To: FAS Faculty
Cc: FAS Steering; FAS Dean’s Office; FAS Lead Administrators, Operations Managers, Chair Assistants
Dear FAS faculty,

We write to remind you of important deadlines to help undergraduate students preregister for their fall term courses. As outlined in last week’s message, the deadline for providing an expanded course description in Canvas is today, August 7.

Students will be expected to submit a preliminary course schedule for the fall term by August 21, ten days before classes begin on August 31. Although undergraduate students will have the opportunity to drop and add classes through the end of the first week of classes (Friday, September 4), this timeline will allow for better course planning, especially concerning the allocation of teaching fellows. We remind you of the following dates:

  • August 7: Expanded course descriptions available in Canvas for fall 2020 courses
  • August 7-12: Students submit preferences for limited-enrollment courses
  • August 17: Students informed of admission to limited-enrollment courses

Expanded course information: submit by August 7 (today)

In our June 18 announcement we asked instructors to post an expanded course description, on the Canvas site for their courses by August 7. The “Syllabus” page on your course site is preloaded with a template for instructors to use to fill out an expanded course description. Instructors may also upload a brief (2-3 minute) video introduction to the course, if desired, and a full syllabus, if available. Additional information about completing these templates can be found here

Student admission to limited-enrollment courses: please inform students of admission by August 17

From August 7 to August 12, students will have the opportunity to indicate their interest in limited-enrollment courses, such as seminars, labs, and capped lecture courses. We ask that departments or individual instructors inform students of their admission to these courses by August 17. Many departments have their own preregistration processes for seminars and labs or use the “preference selection” tool supplied by the Registrar’s Office, and you may use these same systems. If your department does not currently have a selection process in place for limited-enrollment courses, we encourage you to consider the options outlined below  or simply ask interested students to send a statement of interest to you by email by August 12 and inform admitted students by August 17.

  • Work with the Poorvu Center to create surveys for interested students directly in Canvas course sites. Contact canvas@yale.edu for assistance.
  • Use a Qualtrics survey similar to the attached template and instructions created by the YCDO, titled “Seminar Preregistration Application.” The link to the Qualtrics survey can be posted in Canvas course sites or emailed to students. Contact ycwebdept@yale.edu for assistance.

Course contingency plan

While we hope that that all students and instructors will remain healthy throughout the term, there remains the possibility that some or all participants in a course may need to quarantine. For that reason, we ask that your syllabus include a short description on how you will continue your course if on-campus activities are no longer possible. For most cases, this will simply be that the course will continue on Zoom. For those with in-person components planned, we ask that you provide a description of how you will adapt those aspects of your course should it become necessary.
We are mindful that moving these processes earlier into August have the effect of shortening the summer after a long and challenging academic year, and we are sorry that we have to call on you in this way. But we hope that these measures will significantly ease course planning for you and your students.

With much gratitude and good wishes,

Tamar, Marvin, and Lynn

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin Chun
Dean of Yale College

Lynn Cooley
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences