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Fall ’20 Reintegration Q&As

Academic Affairs Q&As

The Provost’s Office will continue to add questions and answers as the university makes decisions about campus reintegration.

Town Hall 7-16-20

Academic Affairs 7-16-20 Town Hall recording

Town Hall Chat Q&A

Q: Given the current upward trend in infections, is it too late to change to online?

A: Please discuss with your Chair. If it’s determined that changing the modality of a course (in whatever direction) is the best thing to do, all things considered, contact Jim Munger asap.

Q: I think many faculty were expecting to receive and email confirming their instructional mode (especially since students received one). Should faculty just take what’s in their PeopleSoft as their final mode? Have all classrooms been updated in PeopleSoft?

A: Faculty members should confirm that the instructional mode listed in PeopleSoft is what they prefer. The chair and admin should be checking for accuracy.  Classrooms have not been updated; that should happen by the end of July.

Q: Will a call to security result in backup for mask enforcement?

A: The notion of “backup” probably doesn’t have much application here. If a student refuses to wear appropriate face covering in a class, the instructor should cancel the class meeting altogether. The standard operating procedures for classroom mask enforcement are forthcoming.

Q: If someone has a medical condition that does not allow them to wear it, will letters of accommodation be sent to instructors? HIPAA.

A: Any ADA accommodations relating to face coverings will be managed in a fashion similar to any other accommodation facilitated by the EAC.

Q: Will there be 20 minutes between classes in the fall, and what about elevator travel/stairwells in academic buildings between classes?

A: Elevator cars will have a posted limit of 2 passengers at a time. Stairwells will be one-way.

Q: During this time of the pandemic it is difficult if not impossible to proctor exams. There are companies such as Chegg that will do students exams for a fee (take home or online timed exams). Their basic model for STEM course is to “farm out” questions to India. These companies post the solutions on their website. Boise State and the faculty have the copyright to their exams and HW assignments. Why won’t Boise State University use legal means to go after such companies to make them prove they have the copyright to such material before they can post it? This would at least help cut down on cheating and to support the students who don’t cheat.

A. This is a game of “whack-a-mole,” because there are so many of these companies, and they can easily shut down one site and open another. As you note, many operate outside the U.S., which reduces the prospect of a viable legal challenge to near zero.

Q: I would like to ask if you can expand on the pledge that we will ask students to sign/adhere to for public health and safety.

A: This is currently in development, and the intent is to ask all campus community members (including faculty and staff) to make the pledge to abide by campus health and safety protocols. It will likely be presented at the end of a mandatory online training.

Q: How is supply paper masks, hand sanitizers, wipes, etc.? Sufficient for Fa20?

A: We believe the supply chain will support our needs through the semester.

Q: With classes becoming online and/or hybrid, is there any discussion/plan to provide the Testing Center the resources to remote proctor online assessments?

A: The Testing Center faces the same challenges we have in classrooms, plus the additional challenge of queue management. Discussions and planning for how to operate the Center most safely and effectively are ongoing.

Q: How will in person classes (I’m teaching all in person this fall) deal with hearing impaired students with distancing and masks?

A: Faculty will be provided with face shields to facilitate lip reading, and microphones are being installed in larger classrooms that don’t already have them.

Q: Do we have additional plans for furloughs for staff and or faculty?

A: There are currently no definitive plans to implement employee furloughs; however, furloughing remains a distinct possibility, depending on how fall enrollment and other revenue inputs materialize.

Q: If at some point there is the capacity to require testing of students, will there be accommodations or options for students who do not have health insurance to cover the cost of a test and can’t afford to get testing without penalizing them? Also, is there a plan to continue/expand the Dean of Students emergency fund to assist students who may start to or continue to have financial hardship due to COVID?

A: Yes and yes.

Q: Football games are still planned-with social distancing, correct?

A: Currently, yes. The Mountain West Conference is constantly monitoring the situation.

Q: How will the University manage students going into classrooms and leaving them while maintaining social distancing?

A: Virtually all campus classrooms have two doors. One will be clearly marked “In” for ingress and “Out” for egress. Students are responsible for maintaining appropriate distance from one another.

Q: One of the emails from Jim mentioned that the break between classes will be changed from 15 to 20, which would have shifted our class times. From what I could tell, looking at the schedule, the times have not been changed. Does that mean we’re not changing the times between classes?

A: Passing time between classes has been lengthened from 15 to 20 minutes, however, the start times for classes has not changed. Each class meeting will end five minutes earlier than is typical to create the additional passing time.

Q: How will face-to-face classes of 50 or more students be asked to comply with current stage 3 rules limiting 50 people?

A: The Governor’s office has granted an exemption to the University on this limitation, in recognition of the strength of our public health plan and the nature of class meetings themselves. (A recurring class of 75 students is quite different from a concert, for example.)

Q: Does the student code of conduct apply to students for behavior off campus?

A: Yes. “The Student Code of Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on any Boise State University premises (as defined in this Student Code of Conduct), at University-sponsored events, and off of the University premises when a Student Conduct Administrator determines that the off-premises conduct affects a clear and distinct University interest [including behaviors that] Pose a threat to the health and/or safety of a member of the University Community.” (Policy 2020, §1.D.2.i)

Q: How will reintegration plans be enforced?

A: The public health and safety aspects of reintegration plans are a matter of community concern and must be reinforced by every member of the campus community. If a faculty or staff member is concerned that their unit’s plan is not being observed, the matter should be called to the attention of the unit supervisor/Chair, the Dean, and/or the Provost.

Q: Will the courses changed to online platform be labeled as “remote” vs. “online”? This could impact students using the GI Bill and can impact BAH.

A: Online (i.e., asynchronous) classes will be labeled as such, and remote (synchronous) will be labeled as such.

Academic Leader Sessions

Academic Leaders Q&A sessions re: scheduling for fall.  Via Zoom June 3, 4, and 5, 2020.

Consolidated and condensed and organized.  Distributed on June 8, 2020.

Facial Coverings

Q: Faculty members are very concerned with who will enforce the wearing of masks by students.  How will that be done? 

A: There are three parts to the answer: How do we increase the likelihood that students will be wearing masks, what do we do if a student refuses, and how do we deal with potentially confrontational situations that may result.

  • Increasing the likelihood: First, faculty members must model the wearing of masks.  Second, the University is developing a robust public-awareness/educational campaign and will be deploying signage strategically all across campus.  Third, we are exploring a number of options that include (i) the use of student ambassadors, (ii) the placement of people at the entrance to buildings and classrooms who can pass out masks and serve as checkpoints, (iii) the insertion of public safety protocols (such as wearing masks) into such documents as the student code of conduct, (iv) insertion of common language regarding masks into all syllabi, (v) the explicit agreement by students when registering for classes that they will adhere to protocols.
  • Enforcing the wearing of masks:  First, although faculty members will be asked to request that a recalcitrant individual wear a mask, faculty members should not escalate the interaction.  The exact protocol is being worked out.  But protecting health and safety is paramount.
  • We are developing plans to offer workshops in how to de-escalate confrontational situations.  They will be offered by John Kaplan, our AVP of Public Safety, who has extensive experience in police leadership roles in municipal and university settings and who has substantial training in and experience with de-escalation techniques.

Q: Will students understand that security may be called if a student resists wearing a mask?  That may be very scary to a student.

A: It will be important that everyone knows up front what the protocols are for this and any other situation in which a student presents a health or physical risk to other students in class.

Q:  You say you are going to require that instructors wear masks.  However, many students with diagnosed and undiagnosed hearing disorders need to be able read the lips of their instructors.  How do we deal with that issue?  Should we employ the principles of Universal Design and work toward a solution that would work for everyone.  Perhaps face shields for all instructors?

A:  There are two alternative facial coverings that would help in this situation: facial shields and face masks that have a clear plastic window that gives visibility of the lips.  A key challenge, however, is knowing which instructor should wear those alternative coverings and which do not need to.  Therefore, we are exploring at this point the application of universal design principles to come up with a solution that would work in all situations so that students know that in any class they will be taken care of.

Q: What if a faculty member doesn’t want to wear a mask in class?  

A: The instructor should plan ahead and instead teach online/remote (and should go through training this summer if not already trained).  Alternatively, the instructor can wear a mask in spite of not wanting to, and in doing so help to protect the health of students and the rest of the campus community.  Bottom line: wearing a face mask or shield will be a requirement for teaching in person.  Masks will also be required in hallways and common spaces in all buildings.

Q: Will the university supply masks and/or face shields for faculty and staff?

A: Yes.

Q: What do we do with students right after class who want to speak with the instructor?  

A: Such conversations can be very important to students, but it will be important to maintain physical distancing and to wear facial coverings during that conversation.   Also consider the alternative connecting with students at a later time virtually.

Q: There are situations where there is no choice but for instructors to be very close to students and/or for students to be very close to other students.  Examples: Two students setting up glassware in a chemical fume hood, a task that often requires two sets of hands. Nursing students need to be in close proximity to one another when learning certain skills.  Art instructors need to be near students when teaching the use of dangerous equipment.  

A:  We are working out the details of what would be acceptable and practical.  But in the broad sense, such a situation is acceptable so long as both students are fully protected by, for example, N95 or K95 masks and by face shields (although safety glasses may be an acceptable substitute).  Why N95/K95?  Because unlike surgical or cloth masks, which serve to protect other people in the wearer’s vicinity, an N95 protects those people but also protects the wearer.  A caveat is that we must ensure that we do not contribute to the shortage of N95 masks for health care workers.

Other Health and Safety Issues

Q: Will hand sanitizer be available in classrooms?

A: It is the plan that hand sanitizer will be provided.  One caveat is that the supply chain may be a challenge.

Q: Will the safety protocols put in place for summer to conduct in-person patient care (masks, gloves, face shields, etc.) be sufficient to meet guidelines for fall? 

A: Patient care is a very specialized situation, so it is important to work with leadership in the health care facility regarding the protocols that should be used.

Q: What should be done about students who get up in the midst of a class meeting to use the restroom, and therefore end up sliding behind the chairs of other students and probably touching those other chairs

A:  Make sure that students understand that they are NOT to touch the back of other chairs when getting up and leaving the classrooms.  If the classroom setup makes it impossible to NOT touch the other chairs then the setup needs to be adjusted

Q: What are the protocols in the following scenario?  One student in a class, e.g., a biology lab, becomes ill and tests positive in a PCR test (or simply tests positive in a PCR test but remains asymptomatic).  Obviously that student would be isolated.  What about the others in the class?  Isolate them? Monitor them and test to prevent asymptomatic spread?

A: We are developing protocols for this sort of situation.

Q: Will departments need to supply masks to students as well as supply disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.?

A: In general, no.  Those will all be supplied centrally.  The exception is PPE used by students who are on clinical rotations in local health care facilities.

Q: Who will be responsible for wiping chairs, desks, etc., in classrooms?  Will custodial staff do so?

A: It is not feasible to have enough staff members on hand to swoop in and clean every seat and desk in every classroom in the 20 minutes between classes.  Therefore, we will crowdsource that task to our students, supplying them with sanitizing wipes and educating them as to protocol.

Non-classroom Spaces

Q: What is the plan for office staff and their protection via barriers?

A: Facilities people are surveying student facing spaces as a first step to making sure staff members are protected.

Q: Many department offices have water and coffee “dispensers”.  Is it OK to keep those?  

A: Good question.  Further investigation is needed.

Q: I have eight employees in a set of cubicles that are in a relatively confined office space; some of them are in more vulnerable age groups.  What should I do?

A: First and foremost: make sure they are on campus only when they must be on campus to teach or work.  Otherwise, have them work remotely.  Use virtual office hours.  As to the general guidelines for cubicles, those are being developed by facilities people.

Q: About shared grad students office space: How do we find out about the maximum occupancy of those spaces?  How and when will those rooms be disinfected? Will students have to purchase their own sanitizing wipes?  Should we close the shared offices spaces altogether and push students into their labs (if they have them).  

A: Several parts:

  • I am hoping that the custodial staff will be able to do disinfecting once a day, but that is not certain at this point.  If I were you, I’d have some wipes available and make sure your people use them.  Pretty sure those will be supplied centrally.
  • It is unlikely that facilities people will be surveying office space for occupancy numbers; but it is likely that they will develop guidelines for offices to help you determine occupancy.
  • The more you can get the students to work remotely for the semester, the better.  Keep them out of the office and out of the lab unless they really need to be there.  There will be occupancy guidelines for labs coming out of Research Office; what you do not want to happen is for an unessential person (who is in the lab but working on something (e.g., data analysis) that could be done elsewhere) to prevent an essential person from doing their work in the lab.

Q: What about using temporary structures on campus to give students a place to study or sit for their virtual meetings?  Given social distancing guidelines, spaces such as the ILC will need to be at a much lower density and students will need a place to hang out.  Also, could dividers be placed around students in study/computer areas to isolate them from their neighbors and allow greater density?

A: Interesting ideas; I will forward them to the facilities people.

Q: Do buildings have a maximum capacity?  Should we worry about the total number of people in a building?

A: It is probably not feasible to come up with a building capacity.  But we can come up with guidelines, the primary of which is to minimize the number of people who are in the building.  Do so by maximizing the number of people who work remotely as much as possible.

Types of Instruction

Q: Is there a preferable mode of instruction?  In-person? Online? Remote?  

A: The answer is multifaceted.  We are working to ensure that freshmen have a robust array of in-person coursework available.  Beyond that, (i) we need to make sure students can get the classes they need to make progress, (ii) we need to take account of health considerations of faculty and their families and switch to remote/online as necessary, (iii) we need to make sure faculty members are competent in the modality they wish to use (and so should go to the workshops this summer if needed to be competent in online/remote).  Note that faculty members must plan on wearing face masks or shields while instructing in person; any who refuse to do so will not be teaching in-person.

Q: One of my faculty members wants to transition their fall in-person course to online or remote or hybrid, but that faculty member has not participated in faculty development training in any of these areas.  Would it be advisable to enroll in Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the Flexible Teaching for Student Success workshops?

A: Absolutely!  Although Tier 1 and Tier 2 will not provide in-depth coverage of all the best practices in online, remote, or hybrid course design and delivery offered by the eCampus Center and CTL, faculty members will gain substantial skills and competencies that will help plan transitioning components of in-person fall course to these other modes. So, yes, encourage your faculty member to take advantage of the FTSS offerings.

Q: Will every course switch to remote/online at Thanksgiving?

A: Yes, although we may need to make some special accommodations for courses in which those weeks are critical for students if they are to get the clinical hours or student teaching hours they need.

Q: Is there a review process for instructors who want to switch to online/remote?

A: It is not our plan to find a way for the central administration to strictly enforce the rule that faculty members be well prepared to switch to online/remote.  Instead, we are relying on the professionalism of our faculty members, the guidance provided to faculty members by academic leaders, and the provision of a variety of avenues for faculty members to gain the skills that they need to be competent.  Any instructor not prepared at this point should enroll in the Flexible Teaching for Student Success workshops being offered by eCampus and the CTL this summer.

Q: What if a student ends up unable to continue to attend an in-person class because, for example, they (or a family member) become ill?

A: It is important that faculty members be as flexible and accommodating as possible this fall.  They should try to cover all bases by, for examples, recording lectures for those who cannot attend.

Q: Is it acceptable to do a combo of remote and online (synchronous and asynchronous). Or do you want instructors to firmly commit to one or the other? 

A: It is perfectly acceptable to do a combo of synchronous and asynchronous.  If there are no in-person meetings involved, label the section as “remote (synchronous)” because that signifies to students that there will be a scheduled class time that they need to deal with.  And consider contacting the students in the class directly to describe how it will be conducted.

Q: If at this point a faculty member says that they want to keep their class in-person, can they change their mind later and move it to online, hybrid, or remote?  If so, is there a deadline by when they have to change their mind, and then after that they are “stuck” with in-person?  If so, when is the deadline?  And what about switching from online/remote to in-person?

A: Our plan is that by July 15 the University will inform students of the modalities of all of the course sections we will be offering in the fall.  I’d regard a week before that date as the deadline, given that there will need to be processing to get the info into the system, etc.  Is that an absolute deadline?  There will always be special cases.  But think of the students: they would appreciate some firmness about their future.   Note that if it turns out after June 19 that there is not enough space to accommodate all the in-person courses, I will be asking departments for courses they can switch to non-in-person.  And if it turns out that there is space left over, I will make that information known so that people can switch back to in-person so long as they do so promptly.  Bottom line: regard what is issued on July 15 as being solid and as unchangeable as we can make it.

Q: Does the waiver of the $30 online fee apply to the High Enrollment/High Impact courses that are being developed this summer?

A: Yes, the waiver applies to all courses for which the online fee is a separate $30 per credit fee. There will be no change to the cost of courses in fully online programs, which have no separate $30 fee.

Schedule Challenges

Q: Many faculty members have young children who are in the public schools.  Is the university in conversation with those schools to determine what they are going to do in terms of being open in the fall?  There is talk of alternating days and other sorts of schedules in the schools.  What should those faculty members do regarding their own teaching schedules?

A: At this point, it is unknowable what the school districts will do.  The only way for a faculty member to be 100% in control of their schedule is to go fully online.  It is reasonable to consider other options as well, of course, such as teaching a hybrid course to reduce total time on campus or coordinating scheduling with the spouse.

Q: The guidelines warn that there may be a need to move in-person courses to different times if there is not enough room to accommodate them all.  Will you be sensitive to the fact that some faculty members have young children and there are constraints on possible times for lectures?

A: Important point.  We are developing guidelines regarding this sort of consideration.

Q: I have a faculty member whose spouse also works at Boise State; they are parents of young children.  That faculty member is concerned about the challenges of teaching and attending meetings while caring for their young children.  What are the plans to accommodate the needs of employees who have family obligations that affect their ability to teach in-person, to attend meetings, etc.?

A: A very important question.  Those guidelines are being developed.

Q: What about making schedules for Spring semester 2021?  Round 1 for spring is due on August 25.  Should we plan and schedule spring classes based on the same guidance we are now using to plan for fall classes?  Will room caps be reduced because of social distancing guidelines?

A: Good question but without a solid answer at this point.  We don’t know how fall semester will turn out, let alone having any idea what spring semester will be like.  As we get closer to the deadline for schedules, the University will solidify a plan for spring.  At this point, the best advice is to be prepared for any eventuality.

Q: How important is the July 15 “publishing” of information for students as to what mode each class will be in?

A: Basically, whatever published on July 15 is what we will be doing in terms of modalities being offered.  Very few changes will be made after that date.  Students need to be able to make solid plans.

Q: What will it look like between classes?  How will the transition into and out of classes be handled?

A: First, the schedule is being modified to give an extra five minutes between class periods.  Second, the facilities people are developing plans to dedicate separate doors for ingress and egress. Third, they are also working on building-level movement patterns.  Fourth, instructors will want to facilitate orderly entry and dismissal of students (e.g., dismiss sections of the room in a particular order; fill seats from left to right).

Q: You mentioned that there will most likely be 20 minute breaks in between classes in the fall (rather than the normal 15 minutes).  When will the decision be finalized and will the revised meeting times be shared with the chairs?  

A: The changes in meeting times will not affect your scheduling.  Standard meeting periods will be moved either earlier or later by no more than 30 minutes to accommodate the extra five minutes between those periods.  There will still be the same number of periods during the day.

Q: What is the timeline for the conversion of the information submitted into changes in the system?

A: Selected changes are already being made by the Registrar’s Office, but most will be made in the time period between June 19 and July 15.  Depending on how much space is requested by departments, we may need to go back to departments during that time frame to ask for additional conversions to online/remote.  We have promised that students will have access to final decisions as to the mode in which courses will be taught by July 15.  That is the target date for everything to be finalized and firm.

Scheduling and Rooms

Q: We have classrooms into which we typically schedule our classes.  If we make adjustments to fit our classes into those rooms, will we be allowed to do that?  OR will the space be scooped up centrally?  And do you want us to go ahead and submit our plans if they are complete?

A: In principle yes, we can take your space centrally.  But in practice, it is much easier for us to let people who know the space do the thinking about that space.  One thing: we need to protect those depts that do not have dedicated space.  COBE has space.  ENGR has space.  COHS has space.  But most other depts do not.  They need to be protected.  And yes, you may submit your plans as soon as completed but please remember that they are necessarily tentative at this point.

Q: Can we assume that whatever we turn in on our spreadsheets is final and that can we go ahead and tell the registrar to make the changes?

A: There are three (and maybe more) potential pushbacks from me to whatever you turn in.  It may be that you put too many freshman courses online.  It may be that you put unqualified people in online situations.  Or it may be that you have too many classes that are in-person and take big rooms.  So whatever you turn in must be seen as tentative.  As to whether the Registrar can start processing even before June 19?  If all looks good, then we will try to make that happen.

Q: Do I need to go to two sections instead of one so that I can fit all my students in the room I’m assigned to?

A: Going to two sections or going to a hybrid-split model will make it more probable that you will be able to maintain the same time and room.  However, realize that the larger lecture halls with fixed seating will end up with very low capacity.  For example, LA 106 will go from 272 to less than 50.  So, you may not fit even if you cut the class in half.  But you will make it easier to find a space.

Q: Will there be any way to request physical space for in-person office hours outside of class time?

A: Consider using remote office hours if that works.  But if physical space is required, it is likely that there will be such space available because many of the smaller classrooms will not be usable as classrooms because of physical distancing guidelines.  But scheduling details will need to be worked out.

Q: We are planning our classes around the space we typically use, going to hybrid, etc., so as to be able to use the space with proper physical distancing.  Will we get to use that space, or will it be scooped up?

A: Go ahead and do that planning but realize that there will be limited space on campus and if there is not enough space, I may need to scoop that space for high priority classes.

Q: If a class switches from being in-person to some remote or online, but the instructor wants to still schedule a classroom (for regular tutoring sessions/office hours to answer questions and be able to help students who might be struggling), how should that be identified on the spreadsheet?  The classroom would need to hold 20 or so for critical mass and benefits that come from group discussion and interaction.  Some faculty might want the classroom scheduled at the same time, but others may want a different time because the scheduled time when synchronous remote instruction would occur.

A: First, consider Zoom-based discussion/office hours.  Many of the benefits you describe can be gained in such a venue.  Second, to keep a classroom space: If the informal meeting times are at the same scheduled time, call it “hybrid-hyflex” and specify a reasonable room size and clarify which days the room will be needed.  If the informal gatherings will be at a different time, call it “hybrid-other” and again, make sure that the room capacity needs and days/times are clearly depicted.  And make sure you communicate with students so that they fully understand what they will be experiencing.

Q: If the new reduced room capacities are strictly enforced, how do we deal with the likelihood that there may be more students wanting to enroll than the original cap?  We want students to have access to the course if they need it.

A: Agree that we want to give access to needed classes.  But we also need to follow the guidelines; the problem with NOT doing so is increased risk of an outbreak…something we must take measures to avoid.  The chair and instructor need to do their best at balancing the need for access with the undesirability of occupying a room that is much too large, which may displace another class that actually does need the larger room.  I am also guessing that there will be much more swapping of rooms than usual as we approach the beginning of the semester: swap a class with too large a room for a class with too small a room.

Q: When will the determination on new room caps be finalized (the caps being determined based on physical distancing rules)?  And will those room caps be shared with the chairs to help with decisions for how to proceed this fall?

A: The caps will be available approximately by Friday June 12.  And they will be made available to chairs.  But two caveats: First, it is not the responsibility of chairs to find space for their classes.  We are doing that centrally.  (That said, ideas and tentative plans are welcome).  Second, rooms that are typically scheduled by a college or department may be repurposed for high priority needs of the University.  Furthermore, it is important we do not disadvantage those departments and colleges that do not have their own buildings by giving first dibs to those that do have their own buildings.

Q: Is it possible for an instructor to teach in a hybrid format, but use the classroom only for several weeks, but not the whole semester?   Would it be helpful if we put the dates or weeks that they would need the classroom in the spreadsheet so that the classroom can be used by other classes when it is not used?

A: The worry is the inefficiency of leaving classrooms vacant for some of the weeks, given that space is likely to be tight for fall.  Is there any way to coordinate among courses so that some weeks would be used by one course and the other weeks by other courses?  If that doesn’t make sense, then yes, please give the weeks they will be used.  The Registrar’s Office will then be able to schedule one-off classes/events in those rooms.  Not sure what that would look like this fall, but we may as well have that info available.  One challenge from my side of things is that there really is no way for us to determine whether you use the classroom for all the scheduled weeks.  So, I appreciate your asking and appreciate the ability to use the classroom when not used by your classes.

Technology and Non-Technology

Q: Will there be enough microphones for faculty members in classrooms?  Is it possible to use Bluetooth?  How will microphones be disinfected?  Can we buy a microphone for each faculty member?

A: OIT is purchasing quite a few lapel microphones; all classrooms with a normal capacity of 30+ will have a microphone.   Bluetooth technology won’t work with the tech in the classrooms we have.  Investigating the disinfection of microphones.  Microphones are quite expensive, but more importantly, they are room-specific (otherwise they would interfere with each other). So microphones will be specific to rooms; faculty members will use the microphones in the rooms in which they teach.

Q: Given the number of classes that are moving to remote synchronous (e.g., zoom) there will be students who are on campus for an in-person class then suddenly need to get set up to attend a zoom session.  Will we have quiet places for them to land and quickly set up to participate in a zoom call, for example?  Will some of those be outfitted for students who do not have their own computers?

A: We are working with OIT to make sure that we have addressed this question.  At present there are 175 kiosks on campus at which students can sit down and participate in a zoom meeting.  All have cameras.  It is best that students supply their own headsets but there are some available for checkout.

Q: Regarding students and webcams.  When the switchover came this spring, there were students who had trouble because they did not have computers with webcams so that (i) they were unable to participate fully in zoom meetings but more importantly (ii) they had challenges with remote test taking (apparently the software for remote test taking requires a webcam for verification of identity).  Are measures being taken? For fall classes that are currently set up as in-person classes but that get switched to online, remote, or hybrid, can the instructor assume that students will have (or are responsible for getting) a webcam so they can fully participate in class and also so they can take exams that are proctored via ProctorU Review+?    

A: Several parts to the answer.  First, the university is endeavoring to purchase several hundred laptops with webcams that will be usable by students.  Second, as noted in a different answer, we will be working to outfit on-campus spaces so students can use them for this kind of purpose.  Third, we are strategizing about how to better make sure all students have access to the technology they need.

Q: Will testing services be available to give exams prior to the Thanksgiving break? 

A: Because of the constraints of physical distancing, the capacity of the Testing Center will need to be reduced.  In addition, again because of distancing constraints, it will not be acceptable for students to wait in line for an open computer station.  Therefore, at this time it appears that there will be only very limited use of the Testing Center for academic tests.

 Q: For online, proctored exams, will the same restriction be placed on faculty in the fall that was put in place for spring 2020?  That is, faculty were only allowed to use ProctorU Review+ (so that there would be no charge to the students) and they weren’t allowed to use ProctorU Live (which costs the students to use).

A: It is too late to request a course fee so we cannot require the use of ProctorU.

Q: Are there guidelines for distributing papers to/accepting papers from students? 

A: First, do NOT use a microwave if there are staples involved because of fire danger.  Second: good question, and we will nail down the protocol before the start of the semester.  Using electronic communication is preferable, but not always possible or desirable.

Q: Would a plexiglass barrier be a reasonable alternative to wearing masks?  How about a mobile barrier similar to a rolling white board?

A: Although a plexiglass barrier can provide additional protection for a person who is stationary, instructors cannot be expected to remain immobile behind a plexiglass barrier.  In addition, barriers are designed to protect individuals when they are necessarily in close proximity, which is not the case when an instructor is lecturing.

Resources

Q: Will there be additional resources (LAs, adjuncts) available particularly to help with lab settings?

A: Resources are tight.  Departments should bring to bear whatever resources they can before asking for additional resources.  And any requests for resources should be extremely conservative and very well justified.

Spreadsheet specific questions:

Q: Who is taking care of Work-U sections: 493U?

A: Those are being taken care of by the Career Center.

Q: Who is responsible for the Living Learning Program courses, such as ARTSCI 150 and BUS 150 and SPS 150?  

A: Those are being taken care of by the Living Learning Program people.  So, don’t worry about them.  If on your spreadsheet, leave blank.

Q: There is an “issue” with one of my courses: the sections are listed multiple times.  Should I delete the extras from the spreadsheet before returning it to you so you see only “real” sections?

A: Multiple lines will show up if there are multiple instructors or if there are several different times for the section.  Yes, they are duplicates, but that info is put in so no “hidden” instructors that might possibly not be consulted on a particular course or times that we didn’t plan for.  For those triplicates and duplicates, just put the same info on all lines for that section and also put a note that says something like “duplicate!”

Q: If I have a course that is cross-listed at the 400 and 500 levels, should I combine them on the spreadsheet?  

A: No, make the appropriate changes to both and make sure I know what the combined cap is.

Q: On the spreadsheet, what is “split”?  And what is the definition of hybrid?  

A: Hybrid by definition has an in-person component, and it is mixed either with online (asynch) or with remote (synchronous) or with both.  “Split” means half the students would be attending each class period.  Two key things: Make sure that I know what room capacity you will need and what days/times you will need it.  And make sure that students know what days they will need to attend.

Q: On the spreadsheets that chairs are supposed to fill out – If a class is moving to online or remote, then does that mean I would automatically answer “Yes” in Column T (and enter “0” in Column U) and answer “Yes” in Column V (and enter “Room not needed” in Column W)?

A: Correct.

Q: What if the class is going to stay in-person, but the class cap needs to be changed?  Is that done by answering “Yes” in Column T (and entering the revised cap in Column U)?  I’m asking because, to me, the question in Column T implies that the question would only be answered “Yes” if the class cap is changing because the mode of delivery is changing.

A: Please enter the new cap with an explanation in the notes.  What is important is that if it remains in-person, I know what capacity room you need.

Q: On my spreadsheet, the class cap currently listed for fall 2020 (column H) is incorrect for one class because it was changed recently.    What should I do on the spreadsheet?  

A: Answer yes to column T, put in the new cap in column U, and put a note in that the cap changed but not the mode.

Q: My spreadsheet lists a class that we have cancelled for the fall.  What should I do?

A: Highlight the row in red or other striking color and put “cancelled class” in the notes at far right.

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