Dear SDSU Faculty,

These are unprecedented times given the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19). I deeply appreciate the dedication and willingness of both faculty and staff as we continue to work together in the interest of personal safety and community support.

A great many of you are trying to balance personal and family care while teleworking. Some are also working on proposals and manuscripts, managing graduate students and student researchers, in addition to ongoing collaborative research, community engagement and instruction now occurring in the virtual environment. It is a hefty task, and I thank you for all creative and innovative methods adopted to help ensure the continuity of our academic and research missions.

As we enter full virtual adoption, you should be aware of the faculty-focused supports and services in place to support your teaching and professional practice, and also your personal health.

As detailed below, the ongoing training sessions, tools and other resources have been designed with you in mind, along with the following reminders of what to do, and what not to do, to aid in your effectiveness and the success of your students.

 
 
 
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Communicate regularly and clearly. Give students clear, concise instructions, and provide ample reminders.

Make content accessible. To assist in learning and retention of information, ensure that virtual resources are accessible to all.

Ask for input. Ask students to share what is working and what can be improved so that you may adjust as needed.

Be empathetic. People are experiencing varying levels of challenge and response. Encourage patience and understanding in interactions.

Take care of yourself. You are contributing much to your students, colleagues and loved ones. Ensure that you are practicing self care.

 
 
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Avoid adopting too many tools. A great number of pedagogical and communications tools exist. Using too many or those for which you have less experience can lead to confusion and miscommunication.

Responding 24/7. You need time for rest and rejuvenation. Maintain virtual office hours to help provide support and feedback to students.

Do not introduce random assignments and activities. Avoid adding activities that are not aligned with the core educational objectives and defined class assessments.

Do not keep silent when you need support. We have a community of support at SDSU. A great number of campus resources exist to help you, and are outlined below.

 
 
 
 
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Virtual Instruction Primer (VIP) Workshop Sessions

Instructional Technology Services (ITS), a unit within the Information Technology Division, has assembled a variety of resources to support faculty as we have transitioned to virtual learning, including the following.

One such example is VIP. VIP workshops are being held via Zoom, and registration is not required to participate. Sessions focus on specific topic areas, such as ways to manage large online courses, how to conduct a virtual assessment via Blackboard, Zoom tips for live online sessions, and ways to improve the quality of your virtual instruction.

ITS staff and Faculty Fellows lead the sessions and are available to answer questions as well as provide guidance regarding instructional strategies, tools and resources for teaching virtually.

The first session is scheduled for Monday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Dr. Rebecca Frazee of the Learning Design & Technology Team will cover basic and advanced Zoom skills. Other session dates and details can be found on the ITS COVID-19 website, or directly at Virtual Instruction Primer (VIP) Workshop, where recordings of the sessions will be posted.

 
 
 
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The Virtual Faculty Instructional Technology (vFIT) Center

Just like the FIT Center on campus, faculty members can virtually “drop in” via Zoom to get immediate information and support from ITS staff in the vFIT Center. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

You can directly enter the vFIT for support during hours of operation through the automatic vFIT launch link.

 
 
 
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College Virtual Support Teams

Available throughout the day, College Virtual Support Teams offer complementary support to the resources already offered by ITS.

These College Support Teams are technical and pedagogical experts within your home college. These faculty and staff have dedicated their time to being available live online throughout the day.

The complete list of College Virtual Support Teams and current schedules, by college, can be found at the ITS COVID-19 website.

 
 
 
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Teaching, Professional Development Training

Additional support for faculty and graduate instructors is available from the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Faculty Advancement, and the Division of Diversity and Innovation (DDI).

These include pedagogical support hosted at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) website and virtual office hours, to be hosted by CTL Director Sarah Elkind. The sessions are held daily, March 23 through March 27, 10 to 11 a.m., and are accessible via the direct Zoom link, which launches automatically during the session times.

Tenure-track faculty members anticipating reappointment, tenure, and promotion can view the updated Spring 2020 RTP orientation video and reserve a space at professional development workshops to be held by Faculty Advancement April 7 through April 9. 

All SDSU faculty and graduate students also have access to resources from the National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development, including webinars for professional development.

 
 
 
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Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs page has information about topics such as assessment and accessibility, and also tools like Blackboard, ServiceNow and Zoom.

All of the following resources, along with other information, is available on the ITS COVID-19 website.

 
 
 

Thank You

I applaud the contributions of ITS, DDI and Faculty Advancement. Those teams, among others, have worked quickly to ensure that we have the infrastructure, training, and support available to best meet your needs during this transitional period.

Salvador Hector Ochoa
SDSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

 
 

San Diego State University