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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adapting our academic offerings to be receptive of the safety and health of students, staff, and faculty. Here are some resources to help the transition.
General VCU Resources
- Latest updates for VCU-wide announcements: https://covid-19.vcu.edu/
- Updates from VCU Health about the COVID-19 virus: https://www.vcuhealth.org/news-center/news-center-category?&id=11
- Contact for any students who may have questions or concerns about their health, contact University Student Health Services at (804) 828-8828.
- If you have not done so already, please fill out the VCU survey here, it allows the infrastructure people to have an idea of the needs we have.
All student advising will be conducted remotely. Please check your email, Lindsay Freeman has been sending out information on virtual walk-in hours and other logistical issues. Many of the deadlines for this semester have been modified and pushed back to accommodate these changes in our schedule, please see the list you were emailed.
Here are some more updates.
Course Redesign Recommendations
For both students and faculty, this is going to be a transition time for all of us. To help guide us through this, please consider the following general recommendations.
- Seek out all resources, at VCU (ALTLab has a great general page) and elsewhere (such as Linkedin Learning, etc.).
- Ensure all communications go through @vcu.edu email.
- Curricular Changes:
- Review learning objectives to identify essential items.
- Review the syllabus to identify immediate needs and what must be changed to be delivered online. For example, do you need to implement and/or change larger core projects to fit into distributed formats?
- How do you incorporate flexibility to ensure all students can participate (e.g., existing data, online resources, etc.).
- How do we maximize the accessibility of content? It may be the case that not all students have access to all online resources.
- Technology for instruction & communication (we have additional content for these below on additional pages):
- Blackboard - If you use this for your classroom already, there are collaborative tools included (Collaborate, Zoom).
- Zoom - If you do not have an account or have not used Zoom before, technology services has a page with basic information and a request for getting a license here (n.b., you only need a license to host a zoom event, not to participate). You can record sessions, present slides, have discussions (via voice or chat), and save a recording of the session.
- Google: In addition to direct communications via email, you can video chat amongst faculty and students by going to https://hangouts.google.com/.
- Google Meet: We also have access to Google Meet https://meet.google.com, which allows up to 250 participants, can record sessions (that save to Google Drive), auto caption discussions, and allow you to present to students.
- Desktop Recordings: There are several options here for you to record your lectures locally and upload them to youtube for viewing.
- Determine what needs to be done live and what can be presented in static form. For example, lecture content may be delivered in a recorded format but discussions on the content and active learning require real-time interactions.
- Communicate with your students early & often! This is a transition we are working through and we need to be clear about expectations and formats. Reach out to them immediately to give them an update and general overview of what to expect.
- Set and maintain a schedule! Consistency is important here.
Specific Items for Teaching Online Classes
Using Zoom for Classes
Zoom is a suite of video-conferencing that can be used to deploy your classes and give lectures in real-time. You can also use it for virtual meetings with individuals or groups of students.
Many of us use Blackboard in teaching our courses and it has built-in collaboration and video conferencing software. You can also start a Zoom meeting from within your blackboard site.
Google & Youtube
Google has several options for us to help deploy content. You also have access to your own YouTube channel associated with your @vcu.edu email account. For videos you record using Zoom, or Blackboard Collaborate, or Google Meet, you can easily upload them to your YouTube account for students to view (much more portable).