Coronavirus Guidance for Faculty

March 6, 2020

In the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Westminster College has developed a set of recommendations to best ensure learning continuity for our students in case individuals are unable to come to campus, or campus-based teaching is not recommended or possible. There is no emergency at this point, and we remain hopeful that we will not need to activate these plans.

The best way that faculty can be prepared is to consider a few potential scenarios and the best response for their spring course/s. Also, it’s a good idea to bring home course materials in case you need to continue your courses from off campus. Please let your dean know if there are no viable options for remote completion of any of your courses so that alternative plans may be developed.

The scenarios include:

  • A single student is required to self-isolate or is quarantined and unable to be on campus
  • You, as the instructor, have been self-isolated or quarantined and are unable to come to campus
  • The campus is closed

Information Services (IS) recommends you consider the resources listed below, keeping in mind that should local and/or national Internet usage peak due to similar approaches taken in other organizations, traffic may slow or even halt at times. For this reason, it’s best to plan to allow for flexible, asynchronous response on assignments, and the development of low bandwidth uses as much as possible (limit or avoid audio and avoid video completely).

Canvas: Westminster’s learning management system, all academic courses are pre-loaded and we would encourage faculty to start populating the courses with course material.

Teams: Collaboration space available to all employees and students, it is a great location to conduct meetings remotely and collaborate on projects. Teams also allow video conferencing, which would be a good way to interact with the community and/or students if face to face contact is needed. IS has prepared a quick-tips guide for use of Teams – simply contact the Help Desk to have one sent to you.

Westminster Anywhere: this a virtual desktop tool that allows users to connect to campus like computer. This resource is extremely useful when the user is needing to use administrative tools (Colleague, Nolij, etc.). Students might also use it for academic software that is needed for class.

OneDrive: cloud file storage that all available to employees. Allowing the user to access any file from anywhere, similar to the H: drive except if you have internet access you can get to your files

You are encouraged to review the staff/faculty resource page as it provides many different resources that might be helpful at this time. As a reminder all systems listed above will require internet connectivity (cell phone service included) and may require internet speeds at least 40MB up and down. IS would also recommend regularly updating your computer (OS and browser) as well as rebooting frequently. Last, please be aware that phishing scams are appearing in many inboxes with content related to preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information about the above resources or for assistance in getting course materials or documents moved, please submit an IS request ticket under the general question form. The IS support team will contact you to set up a meeting time.

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