Important message to faculty about preparing to move to online courses

I

 would like to thank all our faculty and academic leadership for their continued support as we work to prepare for possible disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Our university’s deliberations and actions thus far have been guided by three overarching priorities: the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; support of academic completion; and adherence to CDC guidelines.

Supporting academic completion requires us to prepare  for a possible scenario in which we need to transition to remote instruction for a period of time. Our distance education efforts  may even include final exams. I am writing to you to share some information about what that may look like, as well as some actions I’d like you to take now to be best prepared.

How to prepare for online courses:

The simplest solution will focus on using four core solutions to drive our online classwork: Blackboard, Zoom, Techsmith and Office 365. Here is a little information on each.

Blackboard – This is our learning management system, which allows faculty to extend the classroom beyond traditional, in-person meetings. On Blackboard, you can disseminate electronic course material, facilitate class discussions, and post announcements to your students. Click here for a complete overview on how to use Blackboard.

Zoom videoconferencing – This is our web conferencing tool, which includes live video, voice and content sharing. This would be the most convenient way to continue your classes, as regularly scheduled, virtually with your students. Click here for a complete overview on how to use Zoom.

Techsmith – This is a “voice over power point” solution that enables faculty to curate their course content and includes speech recognition capabilities. Click here for a tutorial on Techsmith.

Office 365 – This provides web-based access to Microsoft Office applications, delivering access to files from any Internet connection. Click here for more information on the Office 365 suite of capabilities.

Training and tutorials – you can sign up for training sessions on both Blackboard and Zoom online. Click here for the online training calendar.

IT support services are available to employees who need assistance with any of these technology needs. Please contact Lauren Erardi, director of academic technology, at lauren.erardi@qu.edu, or Fred Tarca, vice president and chief information and technology officer, at fred.tarca@qu.edu.

Actions to take now:

We all recognize that the Coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges.  Each School at Quinnipiac is unique in its courses, modalities, accreditation standards, and resulting requirements to fulfill students’ academic needs for the semester.

I ask that you reach out to your Department Chair and/or Dean now with a very brief (1 page maximum) outline summarizing what it will take for you to deliver your courses and final exams online.  For each course that you are teaching, please outline you plans for each of these elements:

  • Delivering in-class material/discussions/lectures/projects
  • Collecting any required student work
  • Administering examinations
  • Completing lab work, if any
  • Completing field work, if any

Please submit these outlines to your department chair (or if you do not have a department chair, to your school’s associate dean for academic affairs) by end of day March 12.

Now is the time to think this through and acquire the training you need to make good on this plan while we enjoy this pause in student instruction during Spring Break.  

These challenging times require each of us to do our part to help each other and to help our students. Thank you for your continued cooperation and support.

With very kind regards,
Jennifer Gerarda Brown
Interim executive vice president and provost