FAQS for transitioning to online instruction due to COVID-19

These are some of the frequently asked questions we have received so far related to on transition to an online/remote delivery mode for all face-to-face courses.

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General questions

  • We have to move our classes to online delivery. Where do I start?

    Leverage WebCampus. Even if you don’t already use WebCampus, you most likely have a course shell ready to use for this semester. It has tools for assignments, discussion, assessments and grading. Students are already familiar with this option and these tools.

    Get comfortable with Zoom. Before your first class, set up a test call with colleagues, friends, or family. Make sure you are comfortable with where the controls/settings are before your first Zoom meetings with students. Use the screen sharing function to present a PowerPoint or demonstrate steps in a process. Make sure things work the way you expect. If you encounter any problems or have any questions, contact idt@unr.edu.

    Be okay with technical issues. You will experience technical issues at some point. Be prepared for them and expect them. Record your Zoom sessions in case you have students that can’t connect. They can watch the recording and you can have them follow up with the OIT Help Desk to troubleshoot.

    Rethink assignments that may be difficult to deliver/complete online. Some assignments and labs may not be possible when quickly switching to online delivery. You may need to rethink assignments that would have had student come to campus to use campus resources that may not be available to them (i.e. the Maker Space, art labs, STEM labs). There may be some virtual options available via MERLOT.

    Read about recommendations and best practices in moving your class online. All teaching faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno have been added to Coronavirus: Transitioning to Teaching Remotely, a WebCampus class that contains information on how to move your class online, including tips and tutorials for tools you may not be familiar with. This course should appear on your dashboard when you log in to WebCampus.

  • Is there a central location for students to ask questions about the course material?

    Yes, WebCampus discussion boards are great for this. You can have threads related to specific topics or a general thread for all course questions. The discussion boards provide some measure of flexibility that allows you to set them up based on what works best for your class and materials.

  • Is training available for Zoom or WebCampus?

    Yes, during this transition to remote instruction, we will also provide remote training and consultation. If you would like to request a training or consultation, please email idt@unr.edu.

  • Can I use my normally scheduled classroom (or other campus classroom) to teach my class via Zoom?

    Unfortunately, no, campus is closed to all nonessential personnel. Please do you best to use your home office or other space to conduct your class. If you have bandwidth concerns, turning off your video, when possible, will help. If it becomes more practical, there are also asynchronous options to conduct your class.

  • How long will classes delivered online?

    At this point we do not know; the situation continues to evolve. We are recommending that faculty prepare for completing the remainder of the semester through online delivery.

  • How can I support students I work with on an individual basis?

    You are encouraged to convert meetings with students to Zoom, email and/or phone calls. This is in line with the social distancing measures recommended to keep our community healthy.

  • Do I still need to hold office hours?

    Yes. Please hold virtual office hours. Potential virtual options include: Zoom, email and/or phone calls.

    Video on conducting office hours with Zoom

 

Zoom

  • Does everyone have a Zoom Pro license now?

    Yes, the University has purchased a site license for Zoom. All faculty, staff and students have access to Zoom accounts.

  • How do I activate my Zoom account/license?

    Please visit the Zoom activation page to activate your account. Please activate your account before trying to set up in WebCampus.

  • What are the technical requirements for Zoom?

    The Zoom technical requirements are available on the Zoom website.

  • Are there any hardware recommendations to use with Zoom?

    Webcams: In most cases, the integrated webcam on your device should work fine. If you do not have a webcam on your PC, an external USB webcam such as the Logitech 920S is recommended but not required.

    Microphone/Speakers: A USB headset, such as a Logitech H390, or handsfree device, such as a Jabra Speak 410, is recommended. These devices have built-in echo cancellation that help to ensure you do not get feedback loops (these are bad). If you are connecting with a mobile device, the use of an external mic/earbuds/headset is strongly recommended.

  • Does Zoom have enough bandwidth/capacity to handle all of our courses?

    Yes, Zoom is a cloud-based service that can scale to meet user needs. It is not dependent on University infrastructure to support the bandwidth needed to scale up to meet the needs of this transition.

  • How do I use Zoom with large classes?

    Here are some best practices:

    • Set up your Zoom meetings with all participants muted on entry.
    • Have a strategy for dealing with student questions.
    • WebCampus discussion boards can be very useful for this. Leverage any GTAs for classroom management.
  • What is the best way to deal with student questions in Zoom?

    For classes with 20+ students, we have two recommendations for how best to deal with student questions:

    • For each lecture have an accompanying WebCampus discussion board where student can post their questions. This will allow you to reply asynchronously after class.
    • For larger courses with GTAs available, you can have students submit questions via chat and have the GTA either respond to the questions via chat or relay them to the instructor.

    For smaller discussion-based classes it is usually feasible to allow for normal discussion. However, if someone is having audio issues, be prepared to mute the student as needed.

  • My lectures require me to write on the whiteboard. How do I replicate a whiteboard function in Zoom?

    There are a few options:

    • Zoom has an internal whiteboard function that may be useful.
    • Laptops with pen functionality can share their notes application via Zoom.
    • iPads with Apple Pens can use their pens with the Zoom whiteboard function to provide improved functionality.
    • While not ideal, a webcam can be directed at a sheet of white paper or a personal whiteboard to capture content that might otherwise be put on a whiteboard or document camera.
  • Is Zoom FERPA compliant?

    Zoom is FERPA compliant if used in a FERPA complaint manner. If conducting a meeting directly with one student, then it would be no different than an in-person meeting. In this usage case, you want to make sure recording was not utilized.

  • Do I need to record my Zoom Class Session?

    We strongly recommend that you use the cloud-recording function record all of your Zoom Class Sessions. The recording will provide some measure of flexibility for those students who may not be able to easily attend class at the normally scheduled time and will mediate the effect of any technical difficulties experienced by any one student. Additionally, this is will ensure a captioned version is automatically created of your session.

 

WebCampus

  • I have never used WebCampus before this transition, where do I start?

    We can provide WebCampus training via Zoom. If you have not used WebCampus before you can request training or consultation by emailing idt@unr.edu. We also have resources available on our website. The Canvas website also has a wide variety of resources available.

  • Do I need to request a WebCampus course?

    No, except for individual study courses, all other courses automatically have a course shell created each semester. If you have not used it yet, the course shell is ready for you to post materials and publish your course. If you are teaching an individual study course and need a course shell created, please contact idt@unr.edu.

 

Video in WebCampus

  • When I want to use a video for multiple courses, do I need to upload once for every course?

    No. Upload the video to the MyMedia area in any course one time and you can publish the video to any course, either at the time of upload or at any point through MyMedia - or you can add anywhere in your course where you can access the full text editor (e.g. quizzes, discussion boards, pages). There’s no need to upload any time you need to reuse the video, it will be available in to publish through My Media.

  • I’ve uploaded a video into MyMedia in WebCampus, but I do not see it.

    Media added to your MyMedia (Kaltura) area in WebCampus, is first uploaded and then re-encoded for optimized web delivery. It can take longer than the actual play-length of the video to process, so it might not show up in your video list in MyMedia immediately. For longer videos, it’s best to check back later and confirm that it’s ready for use. You can upload multiple videos at a time; you do not need to wait for one to complete to upload others.

 

Testing and exams

  • How should high stakes assessments and exams be handled?

    For high stakes assessments, like Unit Tests or Final Exams, you can use the Proctorio online proctoring tool. Proctorio is available in WebCampus. It should only be used for high stakes assessments, not for routine quizzes, etc. 

  • How should routine quizzes be handled?
    • Shuffle Answers: This will randomize the order in which answers to multiple choice question appear.
    • Limit quiz completion time: This will limit the amount of time the student has to look up answers
    • Deliver one question at a time: This will help prevent students from sharing the quiz and can limit the students’ ability to look up answers.
    • Use a question bank (if possible): This will randomly select questions from a bank of questions so the quizzes will have similar content but not the same questions.
  • How do I access Proctorio?

    Proctorio can be accessed through WebCampus and can be enabled through your course settings. More information is available on our Proctorio webpage. If you need help setting up your exam through Proctorio, please contact idt@unr.edu and someone can assist you.