UO Remote Teaching FAQs

This page distills policy, resources, and guidance related to remote teaching. We will continue to build it as new questions emerge. If you have a question not found here, please send it to us at tep@uoregon.edu. Keep asking! This is how we all learn to teach well during this unprecedented time.

I understand that Academic Council is requiring the use of Canvas—in what ways must I use it?

Faculty are required to use Canvas for their courses spring term. According to Academic Council, “Instructors shall publish their Canvas sites and use them to post materials, collect assignments, provide alternatives to lectures/discussions for students who are absent from class, and post grades.” 

Canvas offers many tools that may prove valuable to faculty and students. More specifically, it is recommended that faculty use Canvas to communicate with students, to post a syllabus and digital content for the course, to assign and assess student work, and to keep students informed of their progress using gradebook. One reminder: Faculty must publish their Canvas course site for it to be available to students. 

For additional support with Canvas, contact UO Online at 541-346-1942 or uoonline@uoregon.edu. You can also access help via chat at livehelp.uoregon.edu, or submit a Service Portal Ticket by clicking the Help button at the bottom of the far left Navigation menu in Canvas.  

There are also recordings of Canvas workshops and self-help documentation available in the Canvas Instructor Guide. 

What kinds of adjustments am I empowered to make to total course contact hours?

The Academic Council offers guidance that instructors “may modify course expectations such that required work is reduced or grading schemes are adjusted provided they can still meet course learning objectives.”  

Thus, faculty have flexibility in reconsidering the total hours of student engagement. It’s up to you to determine what kinds of/how much engagement it will take for students to meet the course goals. Close focus on what you want your students to be able to think, feel, or do at the end of a course is always a good practice and can help you focus on the essentials. With remote teaching, your efforts to build community are essential, too—connections between faculty and students and students as peers are key to student persistence.  

Do I need to meet during my scheduled class time?

Faculty may, but are not required to, hold “live,” real-time class meetings remotely. If you plan to lead live/real-time class meetings remotely, then you must do so at your scheduled day and time. Be sure to record those sessions (this is simple to do in Zoom – link here for instructions) and make them available on Canvas, and provide make-up alternatives for students who cannot be on at the livestream times. You can find basic make-up activities ideas here. Prior to recording, be sure your settings are configured to auto-generate transcripts (Zoom) or captions (Panopto) – see “How can I provide captions for my video lectures?”  

Remember, some students might not have consistent access to the internet, and international students who are studying remotely from home might be in a different time zone. Those are among the things that must be taken into consideration so that we take care to reach all students.  

 

Can I require attendance?

The short answer is no. According to guidance from Academic Council and Provost Patrick Phillips, instructors are asked to be flexible with student attendance, in recognition that remote instruction will present new kinds of challenges to students being able to attend synchronous (or “live”) lectures or meetings. Their guidance includes: 

  • Attendance cannot count in grades. 
  • Participation points must have make-up options. 
  • Make-ups or alternatives to exams are required. 

Instructors are still encouraged to provide opportunities for student participation and engagement, such as discussion forum activities, assignments, and quizzes, that can be used to assess students’ work.  

How should I think about office hours?

Faculty should hold office hours of some sort – whether they are prescheduled or by appointment. A primary reason here is to maintain some personal contact with students where possible. Provost Phillips writes: “Per our usual guidelines, you still need to offer regular ‘office’ hours, remotely, of course. I would also encourage you to think about providing additional avenues of engagement and contact during the term, as many faculty already do as part of the normal course of their work.  

 

How can I provide captions for my video lectures?

Zoom and Panopto both provide basic features for automatic speech recognition. If turned on prior to recording, transcriptions or captions will then be available to students who view the recorded material later. These auto-generated transcriptions or captions are not sufficiently accurate to qualify as accessible, but they are a good starting point to then edit.  

Automated Transcripts for Zoom
Automated Captions for Panopto 

What is synchronous and asynchronous instruction? Where can I find definitions of remote teaching keywords?

During this move to remote teaching, synchronous instruction refers to live, real-time class activities, such as a real-time class meeting remotely using the Canvas Conference tool or Zoom. Asynchronous refers to class activities that are available for students but not expected to be conducted live or in real-time.  

For a list of resources for (education-related) tech vocabulary and remote teaching vocabulary click here. 

Does UO have enough bandwidth and storage capacity for all instructors to record their lectures in spring term?

Bandwidth is not an issue as far as we can tell with Zoom – recordings go to the cloud and then are available later via a link. UO Information Services has evaluated capacity and believes it is adequate for the anticipated demand. 

 

What is being done to support students with access issues?

There are a number of initiatives to support students who have issues accessing their courses remotely. Information Services (IS) has a resource list to help students find low or no-cost internet access and to access virtual computer lab software. A limited number of Chromebook laptops are available for loan to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in courses spring term. Students need to submit a Loaner Laptop Request. 

Instructors who are teaching “live” (synchronously) are encouraged to record, turn on transcriptions or captions at time of recording, and post their teaching sessions to Canvas for students who could not join the class session in real-time. Instructors are also encouraged to create a back-up plan for any “live” or real-time class activities in the case of any technology glitches for you and your students. TEP has advice for designing back-up plans for live class activities.  

If you hear of a student who is having trouble connecting with the university in any way, have them send an email to uoadvising@uoregon.edu so an advisor can reach out to them. 

How can I support students with disabilities or medical conditions who may encounter barriers related to remote instruction?

Some students with disabilities or medical conditions may encounter barriers with remote instruction that were not apparent in in-person classes. Students making these known to you should be encouraged to contact the Accessible Education Center as soon as possible so that appropriate accommodations can be determined and the university can remain in legal compliance. 

AEC is a resource for instructors with questions related to specific student accommodations, accessible course design, Canvas accessibility, and accessible digital content – see AEC’s Spring 2020 Information for Faculty and GEs. 

 

What student support is available during spring term?

Students may face additional academic and personal challenges with the move to remote instruction spring term. Instructors can support students by communicating clear and welcoming messages, and pointing them to campus resources should they need them. The Remote Resources for Students webpage provides students with 24-hour access to holistic information that will help them be academically successful for the upcoming term. For technology support, Information Services (IS) has a student support section on the Going Remote webpage. For technology access support, a limited number of Chromebook laptops are available for loan to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in courses spring term. Students need to submit a Loaner Laptop Request. 

If you hear of a student who is having trouble connecting with the university in any way, have them send an email to uoadvising@uoregon.edu so an advisor can reach out to them. 

I teach a course that includes community engagement and/or internships activities—can those outward-facing activities continue?

Due to Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order, we can no longer allow any in-person, face-to-face fieldwork, internships, practica, or other external experiential activity that is for credit, requirement based, or otherwise sponsored or encouraged by UO. Remember, for students about to graduate, departments can already make exceptions to requirements and this may be necessary in this case. 

 

I feel overwhelmed by all the information on remote teaching. What are the most important resources and where do I find them?

In an attempt to support us all through this extraordinary situation, there has been a lot of information shared, much of which may be new for many faculty. Here are a few key resources to get started:   

  • Office of the Provost’s Academic Continuity Resources and Guide  
  • Information Services (IS) Going Remote webpage points to resources to support faculty (as well as students and other employees) 
  • TEP has a remote starter syllabus including best practice advice for how to organize a Canvas site 
  • Instructions for Zoom 
  • Library Resources for Remote Teaching includes support for using digital content and online research assignments in your remote courses 
  • UO Online has a condensed remote instruction guide for faculty, including suggested technology tools, ideas for implementation, and recordings of Canvas workshops and one-page tutorials 

When you are ready, TEP offers a number of resources, strategies, and activities for deepening engagement remotely with your students on their Keep Teaching blog.  

What help and support is available to me?

Teaching Engagement Program (TEP) offers remote consultations and workshops. Drop-in Consultations through Zoom are M-F 10:00-2:00 (To join, click here). You can also contact TEP any time using this form and a consultant will be in touch, or via email (tep@uoregon.edu). TEP also lists upcoming workshops on their website and hosts the Keep Teaching blog.  

UO Online & Canvas Support is available remotely. Please contact them by phone at (541) 346-1942, by email at uoonline@uoregon.edu. 

 

What rights do I have to the curricula that I develop this term as an instructor?

Remote instruction will be new to many. Executive Vice Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden has affirmed that the university will not seek to capture any of the streaming lecture materials developed by faculty and GEs during this time. Also, please note Zoom recordings that include student interaction can only be shared with registered students due to FERPA. If you have any concerns about this, please discuss with your unit head. You can also send an email to execviceprovost@uoregon.edu. 

Is any additional hardware available to me? How do I get it?

UO Online has a loaner program for mics, iPads, and webcams. Request a device here. 

A student is asking permission to take my course at the same time as another course—do I say yes?

In the event that only one (or neither) of two courses scheduled for the same time include live meetings, students may process time conflict exceptions via the Registrar’s Office with the permission of both instructors. Departments also may contact the Registrar’s Office to remove class time altogether for courses that are entirely “asynchronous” (never meet at their scheduled time). 

 

Academic Council has required instructors provide alternatives to live meetings to help students with challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis and technology access, not to open up more class options for students. If you’re planning live class sessions, you needn’t sign off on an exception. 

What can I do to prevent “Zoombombing” in my class?

Faculty and GEs are encouraged to review UO’s guidelines for preventing Zoombombing. Learn how to secure your classes and meetings to prevent disruptions and end any disruptions quickly. More information about Zoom security is available in the Tech Support FAQs

How can I prevent unwanted student behaviors in Zoom sessions?

Faculty and GEs are encouraged to review UO’s guidelines for preventing Zoombombing. Learn how to secure your classes and meetings to prevent disruptions and end any disruptions quickly. More information about Zoom security is available in the Tech Support FAQs

What is a Zoom recording actually recording?

Zoom records in speaker view (so would capture participants’ faces when they speak) and chat (as a separate file), but not the breakout rooms.

TEP’s Austin Hocker suggests that a good bet is to use “spotlight” view, which allows the host to select which video they want to be in front of students. You can select your own video (click the three dot menu at the top of your own self-view and select ”spotlight”).

An alternative is to set your settings to “record active speaker with shared screen” and tell students you are recording and that if they don’t want their video included they can turn it off.

screen shot of Zoom's recording settings

screen shot of Zoom disclaimer settings

How do we be aware of/proactive about connectivity during Zoom sessions?
  • we should be normalizing connectivity challenges so students don’t give up;
  • instructors can advise students to turn off video to decrease bandwidth;
  • polling and breakout rooms aren’t an additional drag on connectivity;
  • instructors can download info about who participated and for how long.

As with everything this term, record theses sessions and everything have a backup way for students to engage asynchronously if they need to.

What resources are available to help organize ergonomically sound work spaces as the UO community spends extended time at desks and on screens during remote learning?

The University provides numerous resources to support safe ergonomic working conditions, including a limited number of remote assessments of faculty and GE work spaces. Ergonomics is the “science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” You can also refer to this quick worksheet on remote workstation safety. Also consider these tips for preventing eyestrain at a computer.

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