Please Communicate Distance Learning Platform to Students

Chris Brown Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, 2:55 p.m.
KU Lawrence All Staff Faculty and Affiliates,KU Graduate Teaching Assistants


A tremendous amount of work went into scheduling courses for the fall semester with the goal of providing as much clarity as possible regarding course meeting dates, times, locations and delivery modes. However, a technical issue resulted in all online class components being labeled as “ONLNE ZOOM” which caused confusion. This issue has now been resolved by indicating online components of classes, whether fully online or hybrid, are generically “ONLINE” to emphasize instructors have discretion as to what online platform to use.  Instructors can also employ real-time or asynchronous instructional methods. (See the links below for resources related to alternating cohort courses and in-person instruction options.)

To reiterate, student course schedules will not reflect each course’s platform (e.g. Zoom), and it is imperative that you tell your students how online class times will be facilitated. As in past semesters, instructors are responsible for creating any Zoom rooms, Microsoft Teams Rooms, etc., or setting up asynchronous activities in other platforms and sending the relevant links to students.

If your class only meets once per week and you are using an alternating cohort schedule (i.e. group A will meet on odd weeks and group B will meet on even weeks), sections were not created for each cohort. In these situations, you will need to split the students into cohorts and communicate group assignments to students.

To help ensure students retain this important information, we ask that you clearly reiterate and clarify course logistics for students during the initial class meeting. We also ask that you post the course logistics information on each course’s syllabus and in the learning management system (e.g. Blackboard).

Guidance on safety measures

Physical safety

Campus classrooms will be open starting Monday, Aug. 17. I highly encourage you to visit your classrooms before the first day of class so that you can practice and plan for the uniqueness of this semester. To gain access to buildings, you will need to use the CVKey app. While you are there you will notice physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures that have been implemented this summer. Plexiglass barriers and other safety equipment have been installed in most classrooms.

Study Spaces

KU has erected outdoor tents that students can use when participating in online classes and studying. We are also in the process of identifying existing common spaces and specific rooms in buildings that can be used for these purposes. This work is still in progress, but an online campus map at shows this information. If students ask you about available study space, please direct them to this site. (It is recommended you use Firefox to view this site.)

Help and Resources

If you have a concern about personal protective equipment measures or the distancing layout of any of your teaching spaces, please contact KU Operations at Someone will follow up with you as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you have a concern about any IT-related equipment, please contact your departmental IT support staff.

Finally, the Center for Teaching Excellence has collected information on alternating cohort courses and ideas for creating online options for in-person courses.

I want to acknowledge that all of you are working very hard to prepare for this unprecedented semester. Your commitment to your students and to KU is seen and it is appreciated. I am grateful to you for all you do.

Take care,


J. Christopher Brown
Vice Provost for Faculty Development