Spring 2020 Teaching & Advising Resources
Includes both CAHNR/RHSA specific policies as well as short links to other UConn resources that were applicable during the response to Covid-19 in the Spring of 2020.
Updates from CAHNR Associate Dean of Academic Programs
- No courses will be cancelled.
- Courses will be offered remotely beginning Monday, March 23 through at least April 6; be prepared for this to continue beyond this date.
- UConn has provided a web page related to Teaching Continuity (“Keep Teaching”). This page has links to most of the resources you will need : https://ecampus.uconn.edu/keep-teaching-resources/. It is a nice page to use to find a variety of different resources in different places, and can be more user friendly then some of the other pages.
- CETL is providing a one-hour turn around for email questions from 9am-9pm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HUSKY CT is a key tool for us to use as we make a rapid (I almost typed “rabid…”) transition to online teaching. We strongly suggest using Husky CT for online student teaching and discussion purposes; students are used to it, it is a secure system, and it has many options. Specialized training and support is available for both instructors and students. Husky CT also has a functional phone app, which is important for students who do not have computer/internet access.
- All instructors should have a Husky CT site for their class (sites have already been created for those classes that did not already have one, so you should not need to request a new site). For those who would like it, Husky CT basic training is available from CETL: https://cetl.uconn.edu/huskyct-blackboard-2/ ; or see the video on “Husky CT Therapy” https://cetl.uconn.edu/faculty-teaching-workshop/
- CETL has lots of online training available, especially for Husky CT Collaborate online teaching tools and WebEx. WebEx is a remote conferencing tool that can accommodate large lectures (creating an “EVENT” can accommodate up to 1000 student participants, with only one [or a few] presenters). Smaller groups can use this as an interactive meeting tool. If you go to its.uconn.edu/webex you can get details on WebEx. I would recommend downloading the app onto your computer. When you open the app, it will show you the link to your personal room in WebEx.
- CETL workshops are an efficient way to get up to speed with these technologies. Many extra trainings have been added for today and next week. The times and registration for these can be found at: https://fins.uconn.edu/upcoming_workshops.php. Departmental TAs may be able to provide knowledge and assistance! Be sure you add them to your course as TAs on Husky CT so they have access; please share this note with them as needed.
- The switch to online instructional mode does not need to include fancy videos or synchronous interactive lectures (although these can be done also: helpful tip- keep video in 10 minute segments to avoid technological and pedogeological problems.) A simple but effective approach would be to use class PowerPoints plus a discussion board with a required number of student questions and specific answers to stimulate discussion. Be sure to offer your presentation in PPT as well as PDF formats; PDF is easier to read on cell phones.
- Several CAHNR faculty have volunteered to assist those struggling with the transition to online teaching; feel free to email them:
Thanks so much to all of you!!
- According to the President’s Town Hall meeting, schools and departments will make decisions on labs and experiential learning that work for them on a case by case basis; some ideas include virtual labs where feasible, video labs with discussions, alternative research papers on techniques, or a combo of the in- person labs already taken combined with virtual components for the last 6 weeks. If nothing fits, there can be an incomplete FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING COMPONENT ONLY with makeup when students return to campus. More university guidance should be available for this next week. UPDATE: I have gathered concerns from CAHNR Departments and will be part of a University task force to examine solutions, starting tomorrow. I will keep you updated.
- Please outline your proposed course modifications in writing, and obtain Department Head approval.
- Then, amend your syllabus, providing the dates of the modifications and specific grading information for new content. Make sure both original and modified DATED versions are available on Husky CT, so students are crystal clear as to how classes will be held, what their responsibilities are and how modified content will be graded.
- Exams: Husky CT offers online examination options, including quiz building, assignment submission and remote secure exam processes (some of these require a webcam, which all student may not have access to). https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Tests_Pools_Surveys
Alternate assignments, such as take home exams or research papers are also a possibility as alternatives to exams.
- UConn Instructional Technologies will be offering computer loans for students without them, details should be released shortly.
- Course registration for summer and fall classes remains on the same schedule. Update: this is being reconsidered; stay tuned…
- Please contact all advisees and inform them as to how you will hold advising appointments and how they should make an appointment.
- Advising meetings can be done on phone, email or via HUSKY CT Collaborate or Web Ex. You can direct students to make appointments via NEXUS and then they can call or join online. Be prepared with the student’s Student Administration (peoplesoft) Academic Progress report in front of you when you are talking with them.
- Please be sure to check and release any advising holds that may be in place for certain majors.
- Please remind students that the last day to drop a course (with a “W” designation) is Monday, March 30. Update: this deadline is being reconsidered also; stay tuned.
General Suggestion: Access to remote desktop will make working at home easier and more efficient in some cases. https://confluence.uconn.edu/display/IKB/Using+Remote+Desktop
Sandy L. Bushmich, MS, DVM
She | Her | Hers
College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
University of Connecticut
Please update your syllabi to reflect changes (including content, delivery, assignments, exams, grading) and post this clearly on Husky CT in a way that clearly delineates the changes to students. Make sure the new syllabus is dated.
CETL’s Instructor Resources
https://ecampus.uconn.edu/keep-teaching : This site is being continuously updated, favorite it in your browser!
CIETL LockDown & Monitor: Instructor Training
Respondus Monitor sessions were up 300% last week. We expect that to grow significantly in the coming weeks as thousands of instructors try online proctoring for the first time. Respondus Monitor has scaled smoothly so far, with no issues to report. (More on this below.)
While technology scales easily, humans don’t. With over 700 universities ramping up their use of Respondus Monitor in a significant way, we are seeing large increases in technical support volume. About 80% of support questions are very basic – such as where to find the tool in the LMS, or how to set an exam so it requires students to use Respondus Monitor. We have put together a set of resources that we encourage you to share with administrators, trainers, and instructors.
- Respondus Monitor: overview of key features, and instructor resources
- LockDown Browser: overview of key features, and instructor resources
- Rapid Rollout for Instructors answers the top questions instructors have about LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor
DAILY TRAINING WEBINARS with LIVE Q&A
Please (pretty please!) direct your faculty to the daily training webinars for LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor: https://web.respondus.com/webinars/. The trainings are about 45 minutes, with an extended Q/A period where questions are answered live. The trainings are an amazingly effective way at getting instructors quickly up-and-running with these applications.
We are getting questions about the scalability of Respondus Monitor for situations where thousands of students start an exam simultaneously. The quick answer is that the autoscaling has worked smoothly so far, even in situations where thousands of students at a university began an exam at the same time. However, we are planning for exceptionally high volume scenarios (eg. final exams) where thousands of students across hundreds of universities might start an exam proctoring session during the same minute. If our autoscaling isn’t fast enough (it takes about 2 minutes to launch new servers), students will enter a queuing system with a countdown clock showing when the proctoring session will begin. In the rare event that the queuing system is triggered, the countdown clock isn’t expected to last more than one minute.
Additional IT Support
Message from CETL’s Peter Diplock (excerpt from message sent to administrators and Sp 2020 instructors)
- …three specific suggestions: (1) rely on HuskyCT as much as possible since it is the common currency for teaching and learning, (2) ask your students if they are familiar with the technologies you plan to use (the vast majority of students are familiar with HuskyCT but very few will be familiar with Collaborate, WebEx, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, etc.) and give them a chance to become familiar, and (3) if you do plan on teaching using Collaborate or WebEx to live stream, be sure to complete this form and be sure to record your lecture/discussion so that it will be available for students who experience technical problems or who are unable to attend. The CETL keep teaching website is designed to provide you with resources.
- If you need additional support you can schedule a one-on-one remote consultation with a CETL staff member including for the purpose of doing technology test-runs.
WebEx Phone Resources
Due to the spike in usage of Webex around the world, the carriers that provide telephone services have experienced a bottleneck on the main 415-655-0002 phone number. If this occurs, you can:
Join the Webex meeting online. You will use your computer for audio through a microphone and speaker.
Use one of the alternative numbers shown below.
US Toll +1-415-655-0002
USA Toll (Boston) +1-617-315-0704
United States Toll (Chicago) +1-312-535-8110
United States Toll (Dallas) +1-469-210-7159
United States Toll (Denver) +1-720-650-7664
United States Toll (Jacksonville) +1-904-900-2303
United States Toll (Los Angeles) +1-213-306-3065
United States Toll (New York City) +1-646-992-2010
United States Toll (Phoenix) +1-602-666-0783
United States Toll (Seattle) +1-206-207-1700
United States Toll (Washington D.C.) +1-202-860-2110
If you need additional assistance, please contact the ITS Technology Support Center at techsupport.uconn.edu.
Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Policy
Students could convert a course to Pass/Fail until the last day of classes though it is highly recommended they discuss converting a class with their major advisor (or minor advisor) as there may be unknown impacts towards their CAHNR degree and/or future professional/graduate schools. https://uconn.edu/public-notification/coronavirus/covid-19-academics-and-research/
- Pass/Fail was available to students on probation, freshmen, and Ratcliffe Hicks.
- For CAHNR/RHSA major Pass/Fail policies please visit: https://cahnr.uconn.edu/coronavirus/student-resources/
FERPA: Remote Advising Privacy
Please remember that information from student education records is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You may continue to advise students as you normally would, even when through remote or other virtual means. It is important to remember that except in certain, prescribed circumstances, you need a student’s written consent before disclosing contents of their education records to anyone other than the student (e.g. parents, roommates, spouses). Therefore, if your student wants another individual to participate in the advising session, you should seek written consent from the student (a quick email would suffice) to share information from their education records with that individual before sharing the information.
Suggestions on How to Start Your Meeting
- At the start of your meeting, ask your student if anybody else is present in the room; although you are not responsible for ensuring your student is in a private setting, you can quickly obtain written consent sent from their UConn email account if they are not alone and would like to discuss their educational records with another person (e.g. a parent) in the room. (Please refer to the attached document for helpful information and details.)
- If you sense that the student is not alone and may be uncomfortable speaking freely due to privacy concerns, verbally remind them about giving written consent to continue the conversation or offer to reschedule the appointment.
Easy Ways to Obtain Prior Written Consent
- Offices that utilize the FERPA Designee Pin Page may continue to do so. A FERPA Designee should verbally provide you with their pin code. Per usual, names and pin codes must match what is listed on the FERPA Designee Pin Page in order for University faculty and staff advisors to discuss information specific to a student’s education record.
- If you do not have access to the FERPA Designee Pin Page, your student may send you an e-mail from their official @uconn.edu address with the following information:
- What information from their education records may be shared (e.g. grades, GPA, academic standing, plan of study)
- With whom the information may be shared
- For what purpose
Keep in mind that FERPA only requires prior written consent when disclosing information from a student’s record. For example, you may share information with a parent about an academic policy or process, without ever needing to disclose a student’s specific information. This is no different than our normal course of business. However, you should defer to guidance from your department and/or school before sharing any unique processes or plans related to the current state of affairs.
Also, know it is not your responsibility to ensure the student is in a private setting. If you sense that a student is uncomfortable speaking with you due to privacy concerns, please offer to reschedule. If privacy concerns persist as student circumstances will vary, please contact the University’s Privacy Officer at email@example.com to discuss possible solutions.
Here are a few best practice reminders to safeguard student information while working remotely.
- When not at your computer, use CTRL ALT DEL to lock your screen
- Log out of University systems when not in use
- When speaking with students remotely, please do so in a private setting on your end
For help with advising best practices and resources, please connect with either Peter Diplock in CETL at Peter.Diplock@uconn.edu or Jennifer Lease Butts in Honors and Enrichment Programs at Jennifer.Lease@uconn.edu.