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Advice On Covering Classes During A Prolonged Instructor Absence: Keep The Students Learning

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

New Faculty Issues and Concerns

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.169.1 - 8.169.10



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Rose

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3275 Advice on Covering Classes during a Prolonged Instructor Absence: Keep the Students Learning

Andrew T. Rose University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Introduction Careers in academia have some situations different than careers in industry. One difference is the general ease of taking a prolonged trip at any time during the year. In industry, vacation or personal time can typically be scheduled by employees when needed. In academia, vacations and long trips are usually planned between semesters or during the summer. Occasionally a conference or committee meeting may require travel away from campus for several days. These short absences are less disrupting to students and can usually be covered by giving an exam, having a guest lecturer, assigning a special assignment or showing a video. Prolonged absences during a semester are rare and when they do occur are usually unplanned and result from a sudden personal family need to be somewhere away from campus. Graduate or post-doctoral students are often available to teach in these situations at research institutions. In other cases, faculty colleagues with similar expertise are able to cover a class or two. At small teaching institutions where graduate students are not available and faculty members are often the only one in their field, faculty must pursue other options on how to keep their students learning during such an absence.

A two week absence from campus was required for the author to complete an international adoption. Although the absence was anticipated from the beginning of the semester, the exact dates of the trip were not known until about one month before the trip. Without graduate students to cover the missed classes and laboratories, the instructor chose a combination of videotaped lectures and laboratories, exams, a computer design project, selected reading assignments, and professionally produced videotapes to keep students learning during the absence.

Students and Classes Affected The students affected were juniors in a BS degree program in Civil Engineering Technology (CET) at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ). The courses were Soil Engineering, a four credit class consisting of a three credit lecture and a one credit hands-on laboratory period and Structural Steel Design, a four credit class consisting of a three credit lecture and a one credit recitation period. There were 30 different students in the two courses. Twenty-four students were registered for both classes. For both courses, the one credit laboratory and recitation were taught twice each week in smaller class settings than the larger lecture class size.

Timing of Absence The travel dates were not known before fall semester began, but travel was expected to be during Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Rose, A. (2003, June), Advice On Covering Classes During A Prolonged Instructor Absence: Keep The Students Learning Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12447

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015