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Instructional Delivery Adaptations & Centralizing Scheduling Implementation Effective Fall 2020 Semester

To: Faculty and Staff, Las Cruces Campus

From: Carol Parker, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

cc: Academic Deans and Associate Deans; Registrar; Provost’s Office Staff

Re: Instructional Delivery Adaptations and Centralizing Scheduling Implementation Effective Fall 2020 Semester

I write to provide an update of where we are regarding the very large undertaking of preparing to return instructional delivery to campus effective Fall Semester. Great effort and coordination have been required to implement the instructional adaptation plans which were prepared by the departments and colleges just prior to the end of the Spring Semester. The Registrar and Associate Deans Academic Council (ADAC) have provided invaluable leadership in order to make the plans a reality, as have the leadership and staff of the ICT and Facilities units.

Instructional Delivery Adaptations

For additional context, please know that to facilitate on-campus instruction, NMSU has adopted the CDC’s guideline of needing 48 sq. ft. of space per person, together with other virus transmission reduction protocols. These space adaptations roughly translate into a loss of a little more than half of our classroom capacity, with the largest rooms being the most affected by seating loss. Another challenge is that most of the traditionally scheduled classrooms, once adapted for virus transmission reduction protocols, cannot accommodate more than 10 students. Thus, we are actively looking for other rooms that may have larger capacity. To date, ADAC and the Registrar have analyzed the Fall 2020 schedule which offers nearly 73,843 total seats via nearly 4,000 sections, for which students have already registered. A number of these sections have had to be adjusted to accommodate reduced room capacities, and new requirements for classroom technology, etc. With the help of CARES Act funds, ICT will be installing new simulcast technology in a total of 40 rooms over the summer. Facilities personnel will also be working on reconfiguring seating and passageways throughout the summer.

Analysis of the instructional delivery plans prepared by the academic units showed that, roughly speaking, about half of our Fall 2020 sections will require students to be on campus to complete, and about half will not require students to be on campus. Below is a breakdown of course adaptations based on delivery modalities this fall:

100% asynchronous online (students work independently) 23%

100% synchronous online (students attend online sessions together) 32%

Flex (students choose to attend in-person or online) 15% Content delivery is duplicated for each modality

Hybrid (delivery is a mix of in-person and online) 15% Content delivery incorporates more than one modality

100% on campus (adapted to reduce virus transmission) 7%

Adapted labs/studios/production sections 8%

Classroom Assignments

Previously, only about half of the classrooms were centrally assigned. To accommodate the delivery adaptations, all classroom assignments will need to be listed in the classroom database, together with all relevant attributes and usage priorities. The room assignment process requires rebuilding the classroom database with accurate data. That work is also underway. By accurately capturing a room’s usage priorities and attributes, we can preserve the appropriate rooms for special use, while also maximizing use of more general classrooms. I would like to encourage the Department Heads to become actively engaged in the process of capturing all room usage priorities and attributes to ensure we are working from completely accurate information.

Student and Faculty Impact

All rescheduling work is occurring outside of the live registration system, and we have temporarily eliminated the ability to make most other schedule changes in the live system. In the next few weeks, Associate Deans and Department Heads will need to reach out to all faculty to discuss proposed schedule changes with them to make sure their instructional needs will be met. Within a few weeks our advisors will also start the work of contacting students to determine if they would prefer different sections that might better meet their preferences and needs of on-campus vs. online delivery modalities. When the process is finished – our target date is mid-July – the schedule will be loaded into the live schedule and registration system. Room assignments will occur in late July / early August. During the summer Facilities and ICT will continue to make the needed classroom modifications.

Future communications will be required to provide guidance and information to faculty who will be teaching on campus, such as classroom management in the era of COVID and how to maintain recommended physical distancing protocols, etc.

Future Scheduling Process

Fundamentally, these adaptations mean that the traditional manner of scheduling courses and rooms from the past is no longer an option for scheduling Las Cruces campus. Previously, the primary considerations for scheduling included section capacity and room assignment. Now instructional delivery modalities must also be incorporated.

We will soon turn our attention to developing the Spring 2021 schedule so that similar adaptations can be identified and incorporated before Spring 2021 registration opens in November. While Spring 2021 is a transition semester, in which

we will be relying on AdAstra to optimize classroom assignments as described in item 5 below, we are still using the old Excel spreadsheet proof process. Those spreadsheet proofs were sent to Departments in late April and are due back to the Student Records Office by September 27th.

Building the course schedules in the future will follow this process:

1. The previous like semester schedule will be revised, based on the refined Platinum Analytics course and seat demand projections.

2. The draft schedule will then be released to Departments via a new section scheduling software, CLSS. CLSS is an intuitive web-based user interface that will allow academic units to see and modify their class schedule in relation to the entire University schedule. The system will also allow schedule and section modifications to route through appropriate workflows and be published directly to Banner. Training will be provided to all Departmental users in the coming months.

3. ARP 12.71 rules will be applied, and approval workflows will route exceptions through the appropriate approval process.

4. The schedule will be published for students to view prior to registration.

5. Using the updated AdAstra classroom database, including physical space attributes such as region of campus, regular and/or reduced room capacity, technology and equipment, furniture, etc., sections will be assigned to classrooms/lab spaces prior to the start of the semester.

6. The final version of the schedule will be loaded into the system in time for registration.

Much effort has gone, and will continue to go, into adapting our classrooms, course schedule and instructional delivery modalities in order to accommodate the realities of living in a pandemic. This effort has required much sacrifice, and I am grateful for the way in which everyone has pulled together to make this happen. I would especially like to thank our Registrar, Dacia Sedillo, our new Facilities and Services AVP, Luis Campos, the members of the Associate Deans Academic Council (ADAC), and especially ADAC Chair, Associate Dean and Prof. Joe Lakey, for their leadership in overseeing the work that is underway to achieve these process adaptations.

I will make every effort to keep you apprised as other milestones are achieved.

Instructional Delivery Adaptations & Centralizing Scheduling Implementation Effective Fall 2020 Semester (PDF)