Guidelines for Holding Classes and Related Educational Activities Off Campus

Off-campus classes and related educational activities fall within several categories, including field trips, practicums, internships, service learning, data collection, and classes scheduled at other locations for pedagogical reasons. Classes should be held off campus only when there is clear educational benefit in doing so. For courses that normally are held entirely on campus, approval from the school or college dean or dean’s delegate is required before holding a class session or related educational activity off campus. A number of issues must be considered when holding such classes or activities off campus.

Insurance for Damage or Injury

UW-Madison instructors are protected for negligent acts committed while in the course and scope of their actions in conducting classes, regardless of location. These actions may include teaching, selecting the location, or arranging transportation. However, insurance coverage related to the physical surroundings may differ for on- and off-campus classes. For classes on campus, if someone is injured as the result of the university’s negligence in maintaining the grounds or buildings, the university is responsible for any resulting liability claims. However, if a class is held off campus, the owner of that facility is responsible for any building and grounds issues; e.g., a broken hand railing, slippery floor, etc. This includes the homeowner or landlord if a class is held at an instructor’s residence, or the owner of a restaurant or other meeting location. Instructors should consult their insurance agent for clarification if they use their own homes. Owners of other types of meeting facilities (e.g., churches or restaurants) may request information about the University’s insurance. Risk Management can provide this upon request to the Director.


The location must be accessible to any disabled members of the class.


Transportation to the site must be available. Putting students in the position of having to ask for a personal ride from a friend or of using their own vehicle is not appropriate. Either public transportation should be available or the department should offer transportation arranged and funded by the department.

Food and Beverage

Alcohol is not appropriate, and UW (Purchasing) catering policies apply to any food service paid for with university funds.

Worker’s Compensation

Instructors are covered by worker’s compensation in the course and scope of their teaching activities. Worker’s compensation normally covers work-related injuries regardless of location. However, for injuries that occur in one’s home while a class is being conducted, there may be gray areas as to whether the injury is work-related or not, depending on the specific circumstances.


Contact the Office of Risk Management.