Policies for Online-by-Design Courses: Mandatory Reporting

This blog post is part of a series to help you build an online course quickly. It is for people who are preparing to launch their third trimester in course that they thought would be F2F but will begin instead as an online course, those looking ahead to intensive May terms, and those who had planned to teach in person in the summer or fall but now find their F2F classes will be online. To follow along, begin by framing your course, selecting your materials, and choosing your assignments. We now shift to writing the policies for your syllabus? Why–given that writing your assignments is actually more important? Because, in a worst-case scenario, you can start a course without the assignments written, but you need to have your syllabus available to students BEFORE the first day of class so they see if it’s a good fit for them.

Below I’ve included the policy that I recommend for mandatory reporting. Feel free to use it if it is helpful.  Note that your obligations may be different from mine, so check with your university to see if you are mandatory reporter. Also, be attentive to what kind of information a student is likely to disclose in your class. For example, I teach a Sociology of Family Violence and Sociology of Sex, both of which involve readings on abuse may prompt student disclosure. Prepare yourself for potential disclosures.

Mandatory Reporting: Like all university employees, I am required by law to report any incidence of violence committed by or against one of my students as well as any abuse of children that I know of. This includes sexual assaults against students. You can ALWAYS talk to me about such cases, but know that I am required by law to report them to the Title IX officer [hyperlink] at our university. If you would like to speak to someone who is not a mandatory reporter, I encourage you to visit the Counseling Center on campus. The counselors are not required to report sexual assaults and will not do so without your permission. I can help you make an appointment with the Counseling Center and help you get to your appointment there, so please ask me if you need support.

<h2>Mother and son in blue tone, Oil painting, Fabrics, 1989</h2>

Mother and Son in Blue Tones by Oswaldo Guayasamin, 1989

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