Who owns the videos or other materials that I create and post for my course?
In most circumstances, you do. Rutgers University Policy 50.3.7 says:
Faculty, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants also own copyright to pedagogical materials, including materials in electronic format or posted to a website, that they develop in the regular course of their teaching duties using resources ordinarily available to all or most faculty members (as described in the section of this policy concerning Use of Substantial University Resources).
Departments that provide substantial university resources to support the development of online courses may have policies about ownership of course materials developed using these resources. Contact your department for more details.
What should I tell students who ask about the new P/NC?
We very much understand the anxiety that the move to remote instruction may be causing you as a student. And, we understand that you are dealing with multiple issues right now related to the measures put in place as a result of COVID-19 and the impact those measures have on you and your household.
We urge you to postpone making decisions about whether to request the P/NC option. Over the next weeks, the university will be developing new policies in light of the new challenges presented by measures being taken to contain the COVID-19 virus. Our goal is to support you as much as possible. In addition, instructors will contact you soon explaining how they intend to proceed for the semester, giving you a better idea of your own comfort in adapting to this new situation. Instructors themselves will also be learning what works and what things they need to do to further adapt. Please give them a chance. Our advisors would also like the opportunity to help you make the best decisions for you. Please engage with your classes over the next several weeks before you make the decision to withdraw or chose the P/NC option which will remain open to you for a week after grades are posted.
Right now, everything has unfolded so quickly that many of us are feeling very uncertain and overwhelmed. However, as we all make this adjustment and find ourselves greatly limited in our activities outside the home, the opportunity to stay connected to your studies and the university may provide a comfort.
Please know that students across the country are now facing disruptions in their college experience and there will continue to be wide awareness among employers and graduate admissions committees that spring 2020 was not business as usual.
We are deeply sorry for the impact this is having on your Rutgers experience.
What does the P/NC option mean for me as an instructor?
- Faculty must submit traditional letter grades of A, B+, B, C+, C, D, or F.
- Students will be making decisions on a course by course basis up until a week after grades are submitted, and the decision can have vastly different implications for different students. Please direct student to speak to SAS OAAS academic advisors. Taking P grades can be disastrous for students on any kind of need-based financial aid. The student-facing FAQ addresses many of these issues and anyone providing any advising to student should read it in full.
- Our students are losing so much this semester, we don’t want to take grades away from those who have been and will continue to work very hard to earn these grades.
- For those students who fill out the form requesting the P/NC option, the registrar will change A, B+, B, C+, and C grades to P. Ds and Fs will be changed to NC.
- Since P grades are equivalent to C or better, we are asking all departments to accept P grades toward all majors, minors, certificates, etc.
- The Core Requirements Committee has agreed to accept P grades as meeting Core requirements for spring 2020.
Why didn’t RU-NB decide to make the whole semester P/NC for everybody?
A policy of converting all classes to Pass/No Credit was rejected because P/NC grades impact each student differently. Early next week an FAQ will be released that will explain the many nuanced considerations students must make, with advising help, before deciding to adopt P/NC for a particular course.
We were especially worried about how mandating that students accept P/NC grades would impact students on any kind of need-based financial aid – over 2/3rd of students. Under federal policies over which we have no control, students must maintain federally defined standards of academic progress. P grades are never calculated in GPAs. Every P grade hurts students’ ability to achieve the required GPA which increases as attempted credits increase. And, NC grades count as attempted credits not completed, whereas getting the D would have allowed them to earn the credits and count them toward graduation.
There are many discussions on social media in which students are strenuously objecting to the idea that instructors or the university would force Pass/No Credit on them. These objections are often coming from high achieving students; from ones working very hard to increase their GPA for graduation honors, employment, and scholarship eligibility; and from ones headed to a range of professional and graduate programs.
Institutions have taken a range of approaches and more announcements will be made across the country in the coming weeks. The policy Rutgers has adopted seems to be the most common. One crowd-sourced list can be found here.
NEW: What technology requirements can I reasonably expect of students in my remote classes? What resources are available for students who don't have the necessary technology?
We’ve found the following requirements are typically the bare minimum to support most remote instruction:
- High speed internet
- A laptop or desktop computer. If the computer does not have a built-in microphone and camera, students will need a separate webcam with a microphone, which can be purchased online for under $50.
Students who have difficulties with technology access should consult the Rutgers Technology Resources for Students page. Included on that page is a list of providers that may be providing free or low cost internet access to students during the Covid-19 crisis. Students who indicate they have limited internet access or do not have access to a laptop should also be referred to the Dean of Students.
Students purchasing equipment should be advised to shop for the best available price. Kite+key is the Rutgers Technology Store and a limited number of products are offered at an educational discount there.
NEW: Do I need to get consent from my students before recording a synchronous session?
It is best practice for an instructor to record synchronous sessions for students who are unable to attend. You can add a statement in your syllabus and remind students during the synchronous session before you begin recording. You can pause the recording if you are sending students into breakout rooms or having students share questions or comments, especially if you feel the recording is prohibiting students from participating in the course. For example, an instructor can record their synchronous lecture but not the other parts of the synchronous session that are more student-centered. These recordings should only be shared inside the course LMS and not in any public forums. If you download the MP4 file from Zoom or Webex you can upload it to Kaltura and share it with your students through your course LMS. Kaltura also automatically includes machine-generated captions. If you choose to share the chat file with your students, please keep in mind that any students who privately chat you will be saved as a part of that file. It is best to edit the chat file to remove private chat text sent to just you and keep the chat text that was sent to everyone.
NEW: How can my students utilize OIT computer lab PCs – and all Windows applications provided in the general-use New Brunswick labs – from any location at any time without a virtual private network (VPN)? (The available software includes ProQuest, Mathematica and PSpice, among scores of others for a variety of academic disciplines.)
Are there any limitations?
- Standard desktop features such as printing and local saving are not available. Users can download a PDF copy of any print output and are encouraged to save documents to their preferred cloud storage platform.
- Multimedia performance, including video playback, will be reduced.
- Clients must have a HTML5 web browser, and they will have the best user experience connecting from devices with a keyboard and mouse.
If you or your users have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Office of Information Technology Help Desk.
I’m worried that since remote instruction started, some of my students are disengaged, haven’t participated, or aren’t completing their work. What should I do?
First, use the tools available in your course site to check students’ participation. In Sakai, you can use Sakai Statistics. In Canvas, use the Student Interactions Summary and the Course Access Report. This will give you a clearer picture of students’ engagement in your class.
Many schools are doing this sort of outreach systematically, because they use a single learning management system and can tell which students have logged in and which haven't. Unfortunately at Rutgers, we have no single system mechanism to know if students are engaged or not. All we can do is rely on individual faculty.
If you identify students who have not engaged since the change to remote instruction, we strongly encourage you to reach out to them individually. Provide encouragement and flexibility wherever possible.
NEW: How should I grade students who have not completed work since the transition to remote instruction?
The following are some general guidelines for students who do not complete their work this semester:
- If the student’s work before break was strong enough, you can issue them a C. Under the University’s P/NC policy, students can apply to have a C grade changed to a P.
- If the student’s work was not strong enough, we recommend issuing a grade of F or D rather than a T grade unless the student has made specific arrangement. This will bring some closure to the semester. And, if the student later reappears and wants to complete the course, a grade change from NC to an appropriate letter grade will be possible.
- It is important to remember that all instructors need to submit regular letter grades for each student: faculty cannot submit P/NC grades. All changes to P/NC will be made by the registrar while maintaining a confidential record of the actual letter grades faculty submitted.
What mental health resources are available for students?
CAPS services are currently available by phone. Refer students to the “Mental Health Resources” section of this page for details. GSAPP is also coordinating a COVID-19 Psychological Services Network for members of the Rutgers community. Students can be referred to this page for more information.
What resources are available to help students learn remotely?
The Learning Centers are available to help as students transition to fully online learning. They will continue to offer tutoring, academic coaching, writing support, study groups, and in-class support online; students should visit https://rlc.rutgers.edu/remote_instruction for more information about how to access remote services and contact the LearningCenter staff.
How do students reach SAS Advising and Academic Services remotely?
Effective Wednesday March 18, SAS Advising and Academic Services will have our Live Chat system active from 9am - 11am and 1pm - 5pm weekdays. Students can access Live Chat to ask simple questions or to schedule a remote advising appointment. Give students this link to access Live Chat:https://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu. The Live Chat icon is at the end of the "Welcome to SAS Advising" paragraph.
Effective Monday March 23, Advising and Academic Services will be hosting all advising appointments by WebEx. Students should visit https://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu to sign up for advising appointments.
I’m worried that I or my students don’t have access to the software they need.
Several software packages are being made available: students, faculty, and staff who need access to Maple, STATA, and SPSS can now download and use these tools on their laptops FREE until the end of May (for Maple and Stata) or June (for SPSS). Downloads and licensing details can be found here.
How do we handle disability accommodations online?
Disability accommodations are still in force. The Office of Disability Services has information about providing extra time for online exams here. For questions about other accommodations, contact ODS. Captioning online videos is an important aspect of online accessibility. Kaltura videos are automatically captioned using automatic speech recognition. This service provides 70-95% accuracy. Video owners will need to review and edit their captions for accuracy.
What if I have students in different time zones around the world?
Students in another time zone can have difficulty participating in live (synchronous) class sessions or office hours held via WebEx, Big Blue Button (Canvas Conference), or even text-based chat. They can also have difficulty participating in scheduled exams.
This is one reason that we recommend posting recorded lectures and using other asynchronous tools (for instance, discussion forums) for student interaction. If you do choose to hold live sessions, there are several ways to ensure that students in other time zones are not unfairly disadvantaged:
- To ensure that students don’t encounter scheduling conflicts, hold live sessions during regularly scheduled class times.
- Do not penalize students’ participation grades for failure to attend live sessions.
- Record live sessions and post them in Canvas or Sakai for students to view after the fact. Instructions for: WebEx, Canvas Conferences (Big Blue Button for Canvas), Sakai Meetings (Big Blue Button for Sakai).
- Provide asynchronous ways for students to participate in the class, for instance discussion forums.
Exams or other timed assignments should be time-limited without being restricted to a single timeslot. Both Sakai and Canvas enable this, for instance allowing students to begin an exam at any point within a 24-hour window and then allowing 1 hour to finish the exam once a student has started it. More information about administering remote exams and alternative assessments is available here.
Remote Teaching tools
Are there any resources specifically directed at transitioning graduate courses to remote instruction?
Notwithstanding our home in the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Teaching and Learning Team is available to provide assistance to all SAS instructors whether they are transitioning a graduate or undergraduate course.
What should I do if outside participants behave inappropriately in a synchronous remote teaching session? (This is sometimes called “Zoom bombing,” though it can also affect Webex.)
A: Anyone with the link to a Webex or Zoom meeting (or your “personal meeting room” in Webex) can enter the meeting. For this reason it is important not to post meeting links on publicly accessible websites. Using a personal room is particularly risky; we recommend against using personal rooms for course meetings. For instructions on securing a WebEx meeting and managing participant behavior, see the Best Practices for Secure Webex Meetings page. Although Zoom is not supported by OIT, Zoom provides these guidelines for keeping crashers out of Zoom events
There have also been some reports of enrolled students behaving disruptively in online courses. The page on Best Practices for Communicating with Participants in Webex Meetings provides more information on using Webex to manage student participation.
It is also important to clearly and directly communicate your expectations to students, including norms for respectful behavior and appropriate avenues for participation or engagement. Students are enrolled in many remote-instruction courses in which the norms and expectations for engagement may vary widely. (A small discussion-based course may encourage voice participation, for instance, while a larger course may require students to use the chat functionality or other methods to ask questions and participate.) Clear communication and regular reminders will help to reduce student stress and increase useful, appropriate participation.
What should I do if Big Blue Button/Kaltura/WebEx/the tool I planned to use isn’t working?
Some faculty want to stream or record lectures from their usual classrooms. Will classrooms be open and accessible after spring break? Will classrooms be accessible during spring break for practice/testing?
See this Digital Classroom Services webpage on classroom technology and how you may use it for remote instruction. Because of the support services required, streaming or recording in a classroom is relatively resource- and labor-intensive; in general, we recommend faculty develop remote alternatives.
If you intend to deliver lectures from your usual classroom while students are learning remotely you should contact DCS immediately using this form so that this can be set up prior to 3/23/20.
What do I do if my Canvas or Sakai site runs out of space due to uploaded videos and other materials?
Where possible, use Kaltura for recorded video (in Canvas or in Sakai) as Kaltura videos do not take up space. If your site reaches capacity, contact the TLT Help Desk to request more space. However, please be aware that large amounts of video may pose significant access problems for students with limited or low-speed internet access.
How should I handle exams?
While Proctortrack is available for proctoring exams online, we strongly recommend finding alternatives to proctored exams wherever possible. Visit this page for wide range of suggested alternatives, including advice for quantitative disciplines provided by the Rutgers Math Department.
We’ve found the following requirements are typically the bare minimum to support most remote instruction:
1) High speed internet
2) A laptop or desktop computer. If the computer does not have a built-in microphone and camera, students will need a separate webcam and a mic, which can be purchased online for under $50.