Charles University will make every effort to maintain in-person instruction as much as possible. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport does not anticipate imposing general restrictions on in-person instruction. However, we cannot predict at this time how the epidemiological situation will develop. Please find below recommendations concerning both in-person instruction and the potential transition to distance learning.
CU continues in the hybrid form of academic year according to the document “Recommendations for faculties – hybrid autumn 2021/2022” download link:
General, longer-term recommendations
● Regularly publish current information for students and employees, preferably in one place (make sure that students and employees know this place). Don’t forget about other language versions for students and employees.
● Update the contacts for all instructors and relevant administrative employees, even if they cannot be contacted on their land lines in their offices (e-mail addresses, mobile phone numbers).
Recommendations for deans and vice-deans for studies
● Consider establishing the position of study advisor/ tutor (this could even be a higher-year student) who will proactively help students adapt to instruction and motivate them with respect to their studies (help prevent them from failing in their studies).
● When switching to remote learning, maintain ideally one primary distance learning platform for the entire faculty, or at least a whole study programme, with sufficient technical and personnel support. When selecting a platform, make sure the licence is sufficiently available (when using the university-wide supported tools Moodle, MS Teams, ZOOM, Socrative, and Streamserver CUNI, you can contact the Centre for the Support of E-Learning). Support instructors in their training relating to the methodological and technical aspects of distance learning. You can find the current training schedule at the following address and on the training portal.
● When using MS Teams and other components of MS Office 365, use the university tenant, which allows students from all faculties to log in (i.e. logging in with the ID number firstname.lastname@example.org). Using faculty tenants complicates, among other things, transmission/ accessibility for students.
● Engage student associations and initiatives in supporting distance learning. Support volunteer activities aimed at communication among students and teachers.
● When making innovations to in-person instruction in the form of various online tools in both the courses and curricula of the individual programmes of study, we recommend monitoring and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of instruction in the specific programmes of study.
● If necessary, update the calendar for the academic year so that students can complete all practical instruction and have a sufficiently long examination period.
Recommendations for guarantors of study programmes and courses
From the perspective of the quality of educational activities
● If there are no new pandemic restrictions, then instruction must be carried out according to the form of study set out in the accreditation of the specific programme of study. In this matter, we would like to point out the statement of prof. Wildová addressed to the deans of the faculties dated 29 June 2021, which is in accordance with the notification of the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education of 15 July 2021:
„With respect to in-person instruction, the innovations and tools for online instruction can be valuable for increasing the quality of contact teaching. However, one must always take into account that a specific programme of study is accredited for fulltime, in-person instruction, and the existing university and national standards do not yet permit the widespread introduction of the elements of online instruction into full-time, in-person studies.
The use of such innovations and tools is supported by the management of Charles University. However, it is up to the study programme guarantors who know the situation of the specific programmes of study whether such innovations will lead to increasing the quality and efficiency of instruction and learning in the programme of study, even with regard to students’ individual years of study, internship needs, preparation for theses, etc.“
As for innovations and the introduction of online teaching tools in individual courses, it is important to consider whether this is a pivotal course in terms of the graduate profile and whether such innovations will continue to allow students to acquire the declared knowledge, skills, and competence (learning outcomes). In addition, it is very important to take into account the form of instruction (lecture, seminar, training) and the form of evaluation (oral or written exams, final projects, tests, etc.).
Decisions on the implementation of any innovations or decisions on further modifications with regard to various mode restrictions (especially with regard to the objective infeasibility of some students participating in direct-contact instruction) must be made primarily at the level of individual courses and in cooperation with the instructors..
A survey of instructors revealed several interesting suggestions, which we recommend you take into account when implementing innovations and modifications:
● 1.) Students positively evaluated the option of recording and playing back lectures. Nevertheless, the National Accreditation Bureau points out in its opinion that recorded lectures are not considered to be direct-contact teaching, but only study support. Therefore, for lectures, we recommend combining both in-person and online forms according to the specific capacity of the faculty. As for technical options, we recommend keeping the possibility of replaying lectures for students who cannot participate in direct-contact instruction for objective reasons. When choosing between the two forms or when determining how they are combined, we recommend taking into account the importance of the lecture in the student’s curriculum and in relation to the graduate profile and its contribution to the transfer of required knowledge or the training and development of required skills.
● 2.) When switching seminars and training to an online mode, we recommend taking into account the extent to which the online form of their instruction can provide the same opportunities for interaction as the in-person form. Some students, and especially instructors, stated in the survey that the online form, with the absence of direct social contact, limits in a specific way not only the interactive training and development of certain skills, but also the possibilities of interactive knowledge transfer. On the other hand, some instructors stated that the online form makes it possible to better stratify and diversify teaching (more groups, division of activities among more students who do not interrupt, etc.). Thus, we recommend taking into account similarly effective online teaching tools if the instructor considers them to be beneficial for the quality of instruction in in seminars or training.
● 3.) In the survey, students and instructors praised the benefits of supporting digital and online tools, such as online consultation, digitized study materials, online tests, other online assignments, etc. We recommend keeping these tools and further developing them even for in-person instruction, especially in relation to students who cannot participate in direct-contact instruction for objective reasons.
From the organizational perspective
● Establish the rules of communication for instructors with students and among students themselves (e.g. assigning and grading homework, individual consultation, student group work, etc.)
● Pay attention to the proper completion of information in SIS – information about the form of instruction and the form of verifying knowledge, the objectives of a course (what knowledge, expertise, skills and competencies the student gains by completing the course), and study aids. When switching to distance learning, the information should also include determining the instruction platform and a link to access the interface, including any passwords.
● When determining the terms for completing a course, consider whether compulsory attendance and active participation are necessary, and if so, specify options for alternatives and substitutions when switching to online instruction and if some of the students are unable to attend class (quarantine, problems returning to the Czech Republic, or work duties).
● Try to minimize changes to the schedule when switching from in-person to distance instruction (distance learning should take place at the same time as in-person, provided there is no rational reason otherwise).
● Identify the courses that cannot be held remotely so that students acquire sufficient knowledge or skills corresponding to the profile of a graduate.
● If, due to external circumstances, it is not possible to organize required practical courses whose scope and nature are defined by the requirements for the relevant regulated professions, for the preparation of which the specific programme of study is intended to the full extent, the guarantor will inform their Vice-Dean for Studies and the Department for the Quality of Education and Accreditation of these circumstances, which will arrange any cooperation with the relevant regulatory body regarding possible modifications to its requirements.
● Take into account the results of past student surveys and try to target any deficiencies.
● Create a coordination position for employees who will help their colleagues with distance learning and who can serve as a contact point for sharing good practice and news. Subsequently, have the nominated person contact the Centre for the Support of E-Learning.
● Support collaboration with the Centre for the Support of E-Learning at the university or faculty level. Monitor current notifications on the web.
Recommendations for instructors
● Make sure the study load is adequate (no course should be significantly more difficult in its distance form).
● Make sure students are sufficiently informed (conditions for completing courses, the platform of instruction, how communication is set up). When switching to remote learning, verify that students are engaged; and if not, try to engage them again.
● When switching to remote learning, adapt the time schedule for lectures and seminars to students’ perceptions in the online environment. Provide space for questions, discussions, divide the lecture into shorter sections followed by discussions, verify knowledge. Use, for example, the method of an “inverted class”, where pre-assigned literature is verified and discussed during a lecture.
● Pay attention to the quality of study materials and the clarity of instructions; do not overwhelm students with unnecessary materials. Use the (university) platforms for sharing instructional materials. Verify that students understand the material and that the study conditions are clear to them.
● Be consistent – do not change platforms, do not change the type of instruction.
● Maintain interaction according to the type of instruction:
● Set up an appropriate method for communication with students and among students themselves (MS Teams groups, discussion forums in Moodle).
● When switching to remote learning, provide your office hours online (e.g. at specific times in a virtual room of the platform).
● Take care of students who do not have equipment for distance learning or who have health, personal, or work problems. Information about borrowing equipment is available at the following links: here and here.
● Respect the specific needs of students.
● Share experiences (positive, even those that don’t lead to anything), inspire, continue to educate yourself, and do not be afraid to ask for advice.
● Verify the availability of study materials, and do not hesitate to give suggestions to the faculty library for acquiring resources. When digitizing study materials, consult librarians about the technical parameters of digitization and the possibility of storing them in the Kramerius digital library at Charles University.
Basic recommendations for distancing
● Consider the use of both in-person and distance testing.
● The Code of Study and Examination states in Article 8(11): “If justified or purposeful, it is possible to perform the assessment of study of a subject remotely, either in part or in full, using information and communication technologies, providing that it is possible to verify the identity of the student and to ensure compliance with the rules set for the given assessment of study of the subject. The details may be provided in the internal regulation of a faculty under Article 19 (2).“
Recommendations for faculty IT support
● Monitor the pages of the Central Library – Centre for the Support of E-Learning.
● Set up a distance learning contact point for students and instructors.
Click here for the current academic calendar.
● Emergency contact for students and employees
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
● Doc. RNDr. Markéta Martínková, Ph.D
Vice-Rector for Education
● Doc. MUDr. Jan Polák, Ph.D.
Vice-Rector for Conception and Quality of Education
● Department for the Quality of Education and Accreditation
Department head – Mgr. Vojtěch Tomášek
● Centre for Lifelong Learning (Distance testing methodology and Karlovkaonline web pages)
Mgr. Pavla Satrapová
● Data Protection Officer
European Office, International Relations Office
● MS Teams support
● ZOOM support