Urgent Message COVID-19 Updates »

Coronavirus Updates

For the most up-to-date news, please see the University’s official COVID‑19 information webpage.

Academic Calendar and Course Modalities

The Academic Calendar for spring 2021 (PDF) has been updated to reflect later start and end dates. Here are the highlights:

  • Last day for registration is Thursday, Jan. 14.
  • Late registration and add/swap period is Friday, Jan. 15 – Tuesday, Jan. 26.
  • Spring 2021 will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19.
  • Census Day is Wednesday, Feb. 3.
  • Last day of classes is Saturday, May 8.
  • Finals will occur Monday, May 10 – Saturday, May 15.

Faculty Courses

The University of Texas at Dallas will continue to offer five different modalities of learning (PDF) for spring 2021.

Asynchronous Access

  • All courses, regardless of modality, will have asynchronous (i.e., not in real time) access so that students who cannot or choose not to return to campus can take their courses online.
  • Syllabi, course assignments, class recordings, etc. will be posted in eLearning so that they can be accessed by students outside of scheduled class time. Syllabi must also be posted in CourseBook in compliance with state law.
  • By incorporating asynchronous access into every course, faculty and students will be prepared to transition off campus if required by COVID-19.

Resources for Faculty

Student Assessment

  • Information about Honorlock
  • The UT Dallas Center for Teaching and Learning recently offered a workshop that provided an overview of the Honorlock remote proctoring tool, strategies for explaining the system to promote student buy-in, and options for alternative assessment practices.

Resources for Student Support

Virtual Teaching and Accessibility

Online Resources

As a reminder, there are numerous online resources available to support virtual teaching and instruction. Preferred platforms are those already in use at UT Dallas, including eLearning (including Blackboard Collaborate) and Microsoft Teams or Webex conferencing. Other technologies that faculty members already use for their courses may continue to be used, but they should not try to acquire new technologies.

In addition, the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning is regularly providing webinars to help faculty transition to virtual learning.

Accessibility Requirements New 7/14

Course materials should be accessible to students, regardless of disability. A text equivalent for every non-text element should be included for all course materials. This includes images, graphics, video and audio.

Text-based course materials

Text-based course materials, such as syllabi and readings, must be made available in an accessible format. Detailed instructions are available from Microsoft on how to make Word documents accessible Opens in a new tab. and how to those can be saved as accessible PDFs Opens in a new tab.. Documents should:

  • Include alternative text with all visuals.
  • Use meaningful hyperlink text rather than URLs.
  • Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.
  • Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.
  • Use simple structures for tables, and specify column header information.

PDFs from external sources can be checked for accessibility and made accessible. Adobe Acrobat allows users to create and verify PDF accessibility Opens in a new tab..

Live virtual classes

Subtitles must be made available during live virtual lectures or class meetings.

  • Microsoft Teams provides automatic real-time closed captioning, which can be turned on by participants (please note that captioning will not appear on iPhones or iPads). Teams meetings that are recorded may be uploaded to Microsoft Stream to creat automatically-generated captions Opens in a new tab.. Refer to instructions below.
  • PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 can transcribe your words as you present and display them on-screen as captions in the same language you are speaking, or as subtitles translated to another language. Instructions for setting up PowerPoint captions and subtitles Opens in a new tab..
  • Instructors who choose to use another platform are responsible for ensuring that live captioning is available to all students.

Pre-recorded lectures

If lectures are prerecorded, a text alternative must be made available, either as open or closed captions, or as a separate transcript file. Videos published in Microsoft Stream will have automatically-generated captions Opens in a new tab.. Any on-screen graphics should be described audibly in the lecture or in the transcription to make that content available to students with low or no vision. When uploading pre-recorded video to Stream, follow these steps to trigger Stream’s production of closed captions:

  1. Open the video playback page in your browser.
  2. In the Details pane, select the ellipsis (“More”) button, and then select Edit.
  3. Under Details, specify the Video Language. Currently, auto-generated caption files can be created for English- and Spanish-language videos in MP4 and WMV formats.
  4. Next, in the Options window on the right, select Autogenerate a caption file.
  5. Select Apply at the top of the page to save these settings.

Note: Automatic captions generally take 1-2 times the video’s duration to finish processing (that is, expect to wait roughly two hours for the creation of captions for a one-hour video). Instructors may need to edit the captions for accuracy.

Resources for Course Accessibility

Frequently Asked Questions

Click below to view frequently asked questions related to the specific topic.