Updated: March 27, 2020

Faculty FAQs regarding Alternate Modes of Instruction

1. Where can I find recent emails regarding COVID-19 coming from the President or Provost>

For your convenience, the emails have been added as PDFs to this SharePoint library.

2. I am a classroom faculty member. What is expected of me during this two-week period after spring break and before classes resume on March 30th?

During this two-week period the following are part of your modified work assignment, which we would ask you accomplish at an off-campus location if at all possible. If you must be on campus, please work with your dean or director.

  1. Use this time to plan for the remainder of your course instruction to occur via an alternative modality.
  2. Make contact via e-mail, telephone, Zoom, or another preferred technology to meet with your advisees and remove advising holds. This is critically important work that must be done to ensure the impact of COVID-19 does not interrupt the fall semester.
  3. Begin to think about your summer courses. What are your contingency plans should the pandemic still be a threat to the Commonwealth?
  4. If you are supervising internships, practica, field placements, or other out-of-class educational experiences, you should remain available to those students as they will be resuming those experiences on Monday, March 16th. If you feel it safe, you are permitted to make site visits.
  5. You may also want to consider reaching out to your colleagues who have experience teaching via alternative instructional modalities, including online, as they have a wealth of expertise to offer.

3. When modifying my course for the alternative modality, should I seek to address the loss of two weeks’ time?

a. Instead of focusing on “making up” for the lost time, we ask that you adapt the remainder of your course in such a way that the course will meet the learning outcomes as fully as possible.

4. I am a non-classroom faculty member or librarian, what should I be doing during the two-week period?

  1. During this two-week period, you will work with your dean to plan for providing services to students remotely and assist students with the transition to alternative instructional modalities. If you are able to do this work remotely, we ask you to do so. If you are not, we ask that you work with your dean or director on coming to campus.
  2. If your responsibilities include advising, make contact via e-mail, telephone, Zoom, or another preferred technology to meet with your advisees and remove advising holds. This is critically important work that must be done to ensure the impact of COVID-19 does not interrupt the fall semester.

5. Should I hold online office hours in the next two weeks? Do my office hours have to resume at the same time?  Must I be in my office?

  1. You should not hold course-related office hours until classes resume on March 30. During the two-week period, you do have to work with advisees to be sure they are scheduled and advised and you have lifted their scheduling flag.  All office hours must remain at their posted times and are virtual for the remainder of the term.
  2. You may use software like Zoom and should email your classes to tell them where to find you online. We ask that you do not conduct your office hours in your actual office.

6. If I can quickly make the transition to an alternative modality for my face-to-face courses, can I begin classes before the end of the two-week period?

  1.  To ensure that students have time to transition their residence to another location and allow us to adequately ensure all necessary resources are in place for this transition, all face-to-face classes will resume beginning March 30, 2020 in an alternative modality.

7. Am I able to continue in-person meetings with my students at an alternative location, perhaps even in group or one-on-one meetings?

  1. We are proactively instituting social distancing protocols to prevent transmission of COVID-19 among members of our community. Faculty are encouraged to use alternative methods of contact with their students that are not in person.

8. What alternative modality is most equivalent to replicating the in-class experience for my students?

a. Zoom, which allows up to 300 participants, allows faculty to lecture, present presentations (i.e. PowerPoint) and to interact with students using video, audio, and even real-time polling. Please note that Zoom is an institutionally supported tool and the Help Desk is a resource for you when using this technology.

9. When choosing an alternative modality, am I able to choose a new class time for my students?

a. Faculty whose classes were designed to meet synchronously (i.e. face to face in real time) should continue to use the time slot assigned in the course schedule for the synchronous parts of their modified instructional delivery. Absences outside those times will not count against the students.  Remember, all of our offerings will be in alternative modalities, and keeping to a schedule is meant to help our students stay organized.

10. I’m trying my best to serve my students well during this public health crisis, but I just am unable to identify an alternative instructional modality.

a. We are very thankful for any and all efforts you will undertake in seeking to finish the semester successfully for our students and award them a grade. If you find yourself needing assistance, please work directly with your chair and dean.

11. I need assistance in thinking through all of the alternative modality options available to me. Where can I find this information and secure assistance?

  1. First, please visit this website the Distance Education Continuity Plan website.
  2. Second, we will be issuing a Faculty Survey that we ask you complete so you can indicate what assistance, if any, you might need in making this transition.
  3. The Helpdesk is the first point of contact for troubleshooting and assistance with using digital tools. They will connect you with the relevant support.
  4. Contact your assigned instructional designer for remote consultation meetings to assist you in planning a transition of your instruction. If you are unsure of who your instructional designer is or don’t have an assigned instructional designer, email distanceed@wcupa.edufor help. 
  5. Work Continuity

12. If I have a student in my course that has a disability, what should I do?

  1. Be sure to review the Accessibility Statement in Response to COVID-19 Impact on Class Instruction and use the University resources provided through Information Services and Technology (IS &T), the Office for Educational Accessibility (OEA) or the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure ADA student accommodations are provided.
  2. If you previously provided proctored examinations through OEA, consider using D2L to offer the exam with accommodations.  Instructions for offering extended time on exams can be found online: wcupa.edu/universityCollege/OEA/documents/Extended-Time-D2L.pdf
  3. For tips about supporting students with disabilities, please consult this document created by the OEA.

13. If a student’s letter of accommodation includes use of the OEA Proctoring Center, extended test time and/or other testing accommodations, what do I need to do?

  1. Accessible, online exams may be administered through the D2L system. Exams and quizzes with accommodated, or extended time, should continue to be provided to students with disabilities. Step-by-step instructions on how to complete this can be found at our website.  For more information or questions, please contact oea@wcupa.edu.

14. I am worried about my students’ ability to make this shift; do you have any advice?

  1. A sudden shift from face-to-face instruction to alternative modality instruction may be jarring for students.  It is important to provide them with technical support and guidance during the transition.  Students also have access to the Helpdesk and to Distance Education Support.  In addition, consider asking students to complete tutorials for digital tools you are using on the Navigating Digital Learning D2L site.  This will ensure that students have a basic competency.
  2. Please know that we are deploying a survey to students asking them about their access to a computer device and internet. We will be using that information to issue loaners, including wireless hotspots, to our students.
  3. Academic support services like LARC tutoring, supplemental instructional (SI), Writing Center services, and success coaching have developed contingency plans to continue services online. Students should refer to their websites for more information.

15. Will the Help Desk, Distance Education, and other instructional services have extended hours to accommodate the expected increase in demand for services

  1. Yes, we have instituted a plan for extended hours in these offices and they will be posted online. In addition, we already have in place 24-hour support from D2L to provide basic answers to questions. by submitting a ticket or via phone at 1-866-832-1851.

16. Will I still be able to borrow library materials?

  1. The Libraries will continue processing interlibrary loan requests for digital items that will be delivered to you via email. We will also scan and email print articles and book chapters from our collections. We are exploring the option of using our online request system to send physical items to you via USPS.   See library.wcupa.edu for updates.

17. I am a faculty member with a laboratory on campus, can I continue my research if I isolate myself in my lab and attempt to not come into contact with others on campus?

  1. The Office of Sponsored Research will be issuing guidelines in the coming days that will allow for research continuity. This will be coming as an e-mail to all faculty.

18. I have a student working in a laboratory or has a music recital that is required for graduation this May (2020)?

  1. Our number one priority is to ensure we make every reasonable accommodation to ensure that no student fails to satisfy a degree requirement necessary for a May 2020 degree conferral. We ask that you work with your dean to identify those students and they will work with central administration to attempt to allow students and/or faculty access to the university’s facilities in ways that will protect the health and welfare of the campus community.

19. I am a faculty member who wants access to my office and come in on a daily basis.

  1. In an effort to protect our staff who are unable to work from home or do not have the geographic flexibility that our faculty do, we ask that you access your office only for needed items and attempt to limit your presence on campus. We understand there may be items you need to do your job, and we want to support you in securing your items, but we are asking that you not resume regularly working from your office.

20. I have an Alternative Work Assignment, is that work to continue during the two-week period and through the end of the semester?

  1. Yes, your Alternative Work Assignments can continue. During the two-week period we are most interested in you focusing on the items in #1; after March 30th you can begin work on the Alternative Work Assignment or sooner if you have completed those assignments. Please work with your dean or director in arranging from completing that work remotely.

21. I have specialized equipment in my office that I need to work remotely, including specific hardware. Can I temporarily relocate them to my residence until this event has subsided?

  1. Yes, faculty and staff can relocate technology during the interim period.

22. As I prepare my alternative instructional modality, can I require students to be available for synchronous instruction during their originally scheduled class times?

  1. Yes, faculty can require students to be available for synchronous activities during the regular class times beginning March 30th.

23. Will there be any mechanism for exam proctoring, e.g. Examity?

  1. Yes, the Distance Education Continuity of Instruction website includes a sidebar link to Examity.

24.  What is the official start date for those individuals teaching blended courses?

  1. Fully, or 100% online courses, will resume on Monday March 16th.
  2. Blended, or hybrid courses, will resume on Monday March 30th.
  3. Face-to-face courses will resume on Monday March 30th via their alternative instructional modality.

25. Where can I find resources to assist me in developing an alternative modality for my service-learning course?

Faculty who would like more information about community engagement and service-learning, particularly indirect service or methods for interacting with community partners remotely, should contact WCU's Faculty Associate for Service-Learning Ashlie Delshad (adelshad@wcupa.edu) and/or Pam Frontino (pfrontino@wcupa.edu) with the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs.

26. Where can I find additional IT resources?

Additional technology tools that enable social distancing and productivity can be found on the IS&T Continuity site.

27. Zoom Support

Users looking for just in time Zoom support should dial 610.436.3350 to reach the IS&T HelpDesk and press option 4 to speak to a technician during LIVE synchronous sessions. Coverage extends from 8:00am-8:00pm for Monday-Thursday, and Friday 8:00am-4:00pm.

For additional information about Zoom including how recent security settings impact hosts and participants visit the Zoom support page.

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