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Email from Amy Hungerford, Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of Faculty

From: EVPAS <rc32@columbia.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 3:25 PM
Subject: Pedagogy for 2020-21: Support for Remote Teaching & Possibilities for In-person Learning


Dear Arts and Sciences Faculty and Graduate Student Instructors of Record,

We have been working closely in the past ten days with departments to plan a student-centered curriculum to span three semesters – fall, spring and summer. These have been excellent conversations so far. Your flexibility and creativity have not gone unnoticed.

I write again this week as we move to the next, two-fold step of our work:

  1. Preparing to teach remotely and in hybrid modes
  2. Identifying parts of the curriculum where in-person learning may be most impactful, should this be among the possibilities available to us

Before addressing these, I draw your attention to the results of the student survey that Dan O’Flaherty, EPPC chair, shared recently. The findings provide us with guideposts as we think creatively about the best ways to teach remotely and where to target in-person experiences should these be possible. Most telling for me was how taxing Zoom meetings were for our students.

Resources for Remote and Hybrid Pedagogy

Below is an overview of key resources to help us teach remotely with skills comparable to those we bring to the in-person classroom.  While we await the university’s announcements about dormitory occupancy and the extent to which there can be in-person instruction, we must also embrace the reality that remote instruction will be with us for some time, and take pride in offering this in a way worthy of Columbia and our students.

Here are some key supports for remote pedagogy:

  • The Library is able to help supply course materials for students learning remotely. They shared a document with DUS’s that may be useful as you plan your courses (also attached).
  • The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has created modules for faculty that cover the following areas (Please see the attached flyers for details):
    • First steps to adapt in-person teaching to remote instruction
    • Online learning and creating community
    • Engaging students in active/collaborative learning
    • Assessing students including best practices for assignments and exams
    • Essentials for teaching courses where some students are in-person and others remote (“hyflex” teaching)
  • With a focus on language instruction, the Language Resource Center (LRC) is offering a distance language teaching pedagogy seminar.  (Please see attached calendar for details.)

I encourage you to use these resources. Our own LRC has been an incredible partner for our language instructors.

In addition to these resources, we will ensure that all faculty, instructors and TAs teaching in the fall have a Pro Zoom license, as they did in the spring, and that they have the necessary technology to teach remotely.

Planning for the Possibility of In-person Learning

We imagine two forms of in-person teaching may be possible this fall: one would center on live teaching in specially equipped classrooms with some students while other students participate remotely at the same time. The other would be full classes (of small size) or tutorial or collaborative sessions for a few students at a time, held within spaces designed to allow appropriate physical distancing and with required protective measures.

To enable the first–what are called “hyflex” (hybrid/flexible) classes–the Provost’s Office and A&S will be outfitting large classrooms with the necessary technology, including microphones and multiple video cameras. Teaching in this modality requires some training, but can hold benefits for courses that make use of extensive blackboard/whiteboard work or live demonstrations. If your classes would benefit from this modality, please look at the workshops and resources related to it, and let us and your department know of your interest. We expect additional resources to be available soon.

Enabling the second–regular in-person learning conducted safely–requires that we identify the kinds of class work that most benefit from live presence. This will surely include lab work, some kinds of collaborative study, the study of objects, and performance classes. If you would like your courses to be considered among those first mounted in person, should public health allow, please let your chair and DUS know of your interest, with a cc to Rose Razaghian, and briefly explain why, and what kind of space and in-person time would be required. (The whole class session every week? Tutorial sessions to accompany an online lecture? A unit of a few weeks where in-person collaborative projects can be pursued with the rest of the term taught remotely? We encourage your creativity.)

An additional note on faculty presence

Many faculty are asking whether they would be required to teach in person should classes convene on campus; others are asking if they need to be in New York if they are teaching remotely. We will write to address these questions in more detail in the next week or two. For now, we assure you that a process for requesting accommodations related to health will be available. And faculty should expect that they will need to have access to campus in the fall unless they have such an accommodation or the university has declared that the whole semester will be taught only remotely.

This is only a start and we will continue to share more over the next few weeks and months. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please send them to Rose Razaghian, Dean of Academic Planning and Governance (rr222@columbia.edu).

With best wishes,


Amy Hungerford
Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences
Dean of the Faculty
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Columbia University


Library Resources

Hybrid and Online Teaching Institute for Faculty

Language Resource Center Summer Event Calendar

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
Mail Code 3308  
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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