Takeaway: Your responses to the remote teaching survey we launched this summer were indispensable in forming the demands we’re taking to Rutgers management to ensure quality online learning conditions for our students and teaching conditions for our members. Find out more about the survey and our proposals here. We’re asking for compensation for converting courses, adequate equipment and tech support, protection of our intellectual property, and more. We’ve also organized a series of Remote Teaching Best Practices Webinars for August to share knowledge about confronting the unique challenges of remote instruction; please RSVP for the first of the three on August 19 at 11:30 a.m.
Earlier this summer, we developed a survey to find out exactly what members are worried about in a remote learning environment this Fall. We found out that 70% of you had never taught an online class prior to this past Spring. We learned that one-third of you spent money out of your own pockets to accommodate the transition to online courses and that many expect additional expenses as we look toward Fall. We heard PTLs comment on the number of hours they invested transitioning courses from traditional formats to remote teaching without additional compensation. Instructors were deeply concerned about issues of student equity and access.
Based on the survey results, our union, in conjunction with the Coalition of Rutgers Union, formulated demands we’re making of the university. We’ve called for Rutgers to pay for the items you require for your job responsibilities, including adequate internet access, computers, or additional supplies. We’re asking that faculty be compensated for each unique course converted from in-person to remote instruction. We’ve provided Rutgers management with enhanced language to protect intellectual property, and we’re demanding adequate IT support. We’re also reiterating that the university must extend funding and timelines for degree completion for our grad workers, who play an essential role in course instruction.
We thank you for sharing this critical information, which has been integral to the union determining what we need to demand from Rutgers. Please click here to take a closer look at some of the information we gathered and the ways we utilized your feedback to build proposals to management.
Many of you took the time to write in about your concerns around student engagement, accessibility, adequate disability accommodations, and how to best build courses for a remote learning environment. To address these, we’ve developed a series of Remote Teaching Best Practices Webinars that will bring together experiences and insights from our full-time and part-time faculty, grad instructors, and staff to address more complex questions that arose in the survey.
The first of these, on August 19 at 11:30 a.m. (click here to RSVP), will address student engagement and fostering student peer learning relationships; it will be led by Darrin York, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Cyberlearning and Innovations Research Center. Professor York and his colleagues will describe the impressive combination of technology and supporting infrastructure that they have developed at CIRC to enhance Chemistry students’ learning and engagement. They will share the lessons they have learned and how these proved useful as they moved courses to fully remote.
Future webinars in the series will discuss digital and disability access issues and course building. On August 21 (click here to RSVP), we will explore how faculty can respond to disability access needs in remote learning with researchers and staff from Rutgers, and Drs. Vikki Katz and Amy Jordan, faculty in the School of Communication and Information, will discuss what they learned by surveying more than 3,000 undergraduates about remote learning, and how faculty, departments, and the university can best support students’ learning as we move into a remote fall (see their op-ed on the subject here). On August 24 (click here to RSVP), Dr. Mary Chayko, director of the Digital Communication, Information, and Media minor and of the Gender and Media minor at the School of Communication and Information, and education technology specialist Chris Nesi will lead a discussion on using different technologies in remote learning and the benefits of synchronous and asynchronous remote instruction.
We hope you can join and bring questions, but if you can’t, we will be recording the webinars and making them available online.
Many of you expressed concerns about intellectual property issues and students’ ability to share any course content you post. We’re recommending this language that you can use in your syllabuses to affirm your intellectual property rights and remind students of their obligations under the academic integrity policy.
It’s never too late to raise your questions or concerns about online teaching. Please email [email protected] to share your thoughts with us and help our union meet the challenges we will all face as we return to the classroom and continue with remote instruction.
Danyel and Becky
Danyel Ferrari, Graduate Steering Committee member, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read how Rutgers AAUP-AFT is confronting the crisis here.