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Leaning Into Uncertainty: Ensuring Quality Legal Education During Coronavirus: Roundtable 2: Designing Curriculum and Programs in a World of Social Distancing: Sections, Schedules, and Changing Circumstances

A supplemental page for the Leaning into Uncertainty Conference.

Discussion Prompts for Roundtable 2

Roundtable 2: Once you assign a recorder for your discussion, use that person’s birthday month to determine which question you focus on first/most in depth.


1.January/February/March: How do we structure an academic schedule that balances pedagogical goals and safety concerns

a. Are there different needs/concerns for first year students than for upper level students?

b. Must there be smaller sections, reduced density by rotating some students out of the building on certain days, some fully online classes or blended classes? 

c. More time between classes? Staggered ending times for classes? Should courses be scheduled earlier and later in the day?

d. Should we change the length of the week or even the semester?

e. Should we use weekends? Cancel Labor Day/breaks?

f. How do we plan for and accommodate students who need to be fully online?  Absent if sick?

g. What communications should we send to students? How do we set expectations for students this summer about what to expect in the fall re: academics?


2. April/May: How should we plan for changing circumstances and final exams?

a. What does it look like to prepare for a scenario where everything may need to shift online during the semester?

b. How will classes be impacted if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in the building?

c. Should each class have a “back-up” teacher in case an instructor is out for an extended time?

d. Exams: What worked in Spring 2020? What didn’t work and needs changing?

e. If exams are taken remotely again this year, how do we address concerns about cheating?


3. June/July/August: What safety considerations must be considered in the classroom and building, and how do these considerations impact academics and social interaction?

a. Classroom capacity, social distancing, plastic dividers?

b. Masks in classrooms and while teaching? How will masks impact ability to hear/participate?

c. Hallways, gathering spaces, library space, entry/exit from rooms?

d. May students be on campus to study at times other than when they are present for class?

        Available quiet study space? 

        What space/accommodations will be needed if students need to move from an on campus class to an online class (in a short time period)?

e. How do students collaborate if 6 feet apart?


4. Sept/October: What are the expectations for our faculty and how do we manage anxiety?

a. Some may not come on campus for health reasons; should load/expectations be different?

b. For those on campus, must they be there other than teaching? Committees?  Office hours?

c. How do we help set expectations and reduce anxiety that faculty are likely feeling?

d. How do we assist adjunct faculty, and what can we expect from them?

e. For all, should they be asked/required to keep the same length of class and number of days, or change it by reducing seat time or increasing days taught, etc?


5. November/December: What guiding principles can we use to make decisions? That is, we know there will be changes as things progress. We are living in uncertainty. Are there core things we should remember that help us make the practical choices with which we’ll be faced?

Additional Resources