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Hey @AcademicChatter, here is a laundry list of things we've done in @UWChemE to transition to all online education and nearly all staff teleworking. I suggest department chairs and associate deans plan in advance and be proactive vs reactive (1/18)
1) Have your IT staff develop zoom (or whatever you use) trainings now. We have done specific zoom trainings for staff, TA’s and faculty. The TA training is essential so they understand how to support the faculty (e.g., muting all microphones, handling questions, etc). (2/n)
Develop the zoom trainings so that they can be delivered remotely over zoom - we had 24 hrs notice to get most staff working remotely. (n.b., labs remain open for now and I expect them to even after we go to quarantine but the continuation of operations is really important). (3/n
2) If you do not have zoom pro accounts or an equivalent software, I suggest you invest in it. Zoom has been a tank for us and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The pro version will be required to get the right features for online delivery of classes. (4/n)
3) Prepare for students who may not have access to tablets, phones or computers. We are lucky that someone in our upper leadership has a cache of last gen smartphones that can be used on wifi for any students who don’t have access. (5/n)
If you have populations of economically challenged students this may become important. I suggest you prepare to support these students and identify ways they can use Zoom (or equivalent) if they require technology solutions. (6/n)
4) Purchase headsets w/microphones. You can always return them later, but with so much telework imminent there is going to be a run on decent headset/mic combos that will work easily on a variety of computers and supply may run short. (7/n)
Some of our faculty with more years of experience may really benefit from a comfortable ear-can style headphone with a dedicated mic (like they have at customer service centers), vs. trying to make use of phone/tablet/laptop combinations. (8/n)
Also the microphones that are built into devices are often not good and pickup background noise - the instructors need quality audio/mic. (9/n)
5) Purchase doc cams. We immediately purchased 6 and they got scooped up by faculty. The doc cams can be used by USB and work great with Zoom. Faculty who have handwritten notes or like to deliver by whiteboard will find a very similar teaching experience. (10/n)
Faculty who use powerpoint will have no trouble w/Zoom. Again, I believe as more and more universities go online, there might be shortage and price gauging and you can always return them later. (11/n)
6) Train your TA’s now - especially for office hours. I promise I’m not a shareholder and I know I sound like a broken record. But… Zoom has really great tools for ‘waiting rooms’ , handling Q&A, etc.. (12/n)
(there is a button you can click to raise your hand, etc..) People need to know basic things like how to mute all microphones, etc. (13/n)
7) Develop a plan for virtual advising of students. My advisors have been amazing and were able to implement this right away. We serve around 1/3 of community college transfers, and so a lot of this was already in the works to do advising of students across the state. (14/n)
8) Develop a plan to sustain your staff, faculty and graduate students. We use Slack in my department for staff and faculty, I can’t recommend it enough (all staff and over half the faculty use it). People are going to feel really isolated and they are already on edge. (15/n)
My IT staff is working on installing a few fun games we can play in slack (trivia, etc.) to maybe take some lunch breaks together and my dept. administrator is going to start a virtual morning ’scrum’ w/her finance teams, etc. (16/n)
9) Consult now with your dean and office of research about expected interruptions to grant submissions and research labs. So far so good at UW, but all faculty are thinking about what will happen if this continues. (17/n)
10) Many have asked about faculty hiring. I am proceeding with faculty hiring. I will make adjustments at the direction of my dean or university leadership (18/18)
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