Protocol for Chairs entering online courses from VCAA

May 4, 2020

To:  PNW Faculty

From:   Office of Academic Affairs

Re:  Online Instruction and Feedback


Since the large-scale outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, and the decision to convert all instruction to online formats, faculty and students at Purdue Northwest have made great efforts to quickly and professionally respond to these extraordinary times. While many faculty had considerable experience with pedagogical, theoretical, and practical approaches to online instruction, we know that many others teach disciplines that do not lend themselves as well to online instruction. Hundreds of faculty members have made repeated use of the Office of Instructional Technology and the Center for Faculty Excellence. PNW has long prided itself as an exemplar of all modes of instruction.


When the University transitioned to remote learning in mid-March, Department Chairs met with individual faculty members and discussed how each course would be taught in the changed format. During this period, the Higher Learning Commission communicated with PNW and other institutions expressing concerns that learning objectives and appropriate pedagogical standards be maintained in the online environment.


To comply with the Higher Learning Commission and to offer support to faculty, Academic Affairs concluded that Department Chairs would be given access to all online courses in their departments. The intent of this action is to seamlessly facilitate a supportive mechanism by which faculty and department chairs can collaborate to overcome obstacles/challenges as they arise in the unprecedented and swift shift to online learning.


As with everything we are doing to adjust to the pandemic, the protocols for online course observations have also been modified in the last week.  Please note that Chairs have been urged to communicate with faculty members 48 hours prior to entering a class. Indeed, Chairs and faculty members are encouraged to find ideal times for students, faculty and the Chair.   Furthermore, we hope that after the observation, Chairs and faculty members can have a meaningful dialogue about the course, including the challenges and benefits of the online environment.


We hope there is much to learn from our shared teaching experiences.