This page will continuously be updated as information is made available throughout the term.
Preparing to teach this fall?
This consolidated resource includes information on classroom technologies, the new video platform, LTSI supports, accessibility, strategies for supporting student and instructor absences, and more.
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Start off your term strong
The Teach Anywhere website is the primary resource for instructors and is regularly updated. We also host many learning and teaching workshops and events. Start your term strong with our Term Start Guide – an excellent starting place if you are planning a course this coming year. Instructors may supplement their in-person delivery of courses with online or virtual elements (such as holding virtual office hours, conducting online quizzes, or posting recorded content). A well-designed Brightspace course site can serve as an effective backup for your in-person course. Need more assistance or support? Attend one of our workshops or events to get hands on help.
Assessments (exams, tests, quizzes, etc.)
There are a series of resources available to help you select your assessment strategies used in your courses including online assessments and alternatives to exams. Flexible assessment strategies are encouraged recognizing that within the COVID-19 context students may experience short-term absences.
Making your assessments accessible
Learning Experience Designers – Accessibility provide guidance and support to faculty/instructors in designing accessible learning activities, creating/ setting up accessible content and learning environments, and addressing the needs of learners with exam accommodations. You can connect with an LED-A through email@example.com, the academic accommodations form, or the Centre for Accessible Learning.
Changing course assessment modes from in-person to online
Online Assessment Room (OAR)
The OAR is a supportive invigilation environment for online, synchronous and timed assessments and exams. This space is available to be booked for students requiring an alternative assessment arrangement (e.g. to accommodate extended time, distraction free environment, time zone, illness, etc.)
Classroom masking guidance
In accordance with the Face Coverings (COVID-19) PHO Order, all students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear a mask in:
- Classrooms including lecture theatres, teaching laboratories, art studios and shops, music and theatre facilities and other indoor instructional settings that are used for in-person educational programs.
- Common areas of buildings open to the public including hallways, lobbies, stairwells, elevators and bathrooms
- Other workplace areas that are shared or open to the public
Uvic Ambassadors will be present in buildings to promote, educate and assist the campus community on our return to campus safety measures. They will also have a supply of disposable masks available, if required, to support mask wearing in public spaces and classrooms.
Using lapel microphones in classrooms
Lapel microphones are widely available in classrooms also equipped with a resident computer. These microphones include a lapel mic/clip attached to a body-pack. They have been tested, and are suitable for use with a mask should the instructor chose to wear a mask. The sound quality is adequate for room amplification and for class recording (in equipped classrooms).
Echo360 – New video platform
UVic has implemented the Echo360 video platform for in-person, online and multi-access learning and teaching environments. As a replacement for Kaltura, this platform fully integrates with Brightspace and allows instructors to:
- Record and share in-person classes (to enhance student learning and support short-term absences);
- Create, edit and manage videos and recordings;
- Improve accessibility of video content (e.g., automatic transcription);
- Provide video feedback and assessments; and
- Support student engagement through polls, discussions, etc.
All instructors have access to Echo360, with resources, training, webinars and demos.
Migration of your videos from Kaltura to Echo360
Automatic migration of instructor videos from Kaltura to Echo360 is now complete. You also have the option for manual migration if you prefer. Hands-on supports is once again be available from LTSI to assist with migrations, and embedding links to video within your course.
Two multi-access classrooms (HHB 110 and CLE A127), have been outfitted with technology that instructors can use to teach both in-person and online attending students, synchronously. These rooms are equipped with technology that allows active participation in the class regardless of physical location as well as the ability to record the lecture if desired. Instructors are not expected to teach in two modalities (in person and online) simultaneously. Instructors teaching classes scheduled in these rooms can use as much or as little of the new technologies as necessary for the delivery of their course. The rooms have been developed, as it is important for UVic to begin establishing some capacity for instructors to teach in flexible modes should they choose to do so. These technologies can also help with supporting international students who may be delayed coming to in-person classes this fall.
In-person class recordings
University Systems has outfitted 135 centrally booked classrooms for basic recording of class instruction. These classrooms have a webcam and the ability to record instruction on the resident computer as well as digital content such as PowerPoint or document camera. Instructors can use the resident classroom computer installed in the room or their own UVic laptop for presenting.
Instructors are not required to record their classes. In the case of absences, you can encourage students to get notes from other students, provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during office hours to review miss session(s). While recording lectures are not required, students find recordings beneficial to their learning.
Echo360 will provide the learning technology support necessary for class recording. Lapel microphones are widely available in classrooms also equipped with a resident computer. These microphones include a lapel mic/clip attached to a body-pack.
In accordance with BC Privacy legislation, students should be informed if a class is being recorded and for what purpose.
LTSI Class Recording Assistants
We have classroom assistants that are available to help you start a recording in all classrooms that are equipped with basic class recording. You can book in advance to have an assistant come to your class or access live help and have an assistant join remotely to turn on your class recordings.
Live-streaming and the participation of online students
The current classroom technologies do not allow for students to fully participate remotely, with the exception of the multi-access classrooms (HHB 110 and CLE A127).
If you are exploring options for connecting students virtually to the in-person classroom (e.g., students experiencing short-term absences), there are two possibilities for live-stream with limited capabilities for student interaction. Those options are Echo360 livestream, or Zoom.
Students joining remotely via Echo360 livestream or Zoom may not be able to adequately hear class discussions, questions, or student to student interaction. Without careful planning, it may also be difficult for instructors to monitor the in-person and online environment. Current solutions are limited and the use of livestreaming will require LTSI consultation and the use of the resident computer. If you would like to discuss this further, consider contacting the faculty support teams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructors can consult the syllabus guidelines for information on key elements of a course syllabus, including University statements related to Territorial Acknowledgement, academic integrity, student accommodations, class recordings, copyright and the waiver of medical documentation for absences for Fall 2021 (approved by Senate).
Flexible and accessible courses
Use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in developing your course
In designing your course and to save time, we encourage you to adopt principles of UDL to create more flexibility in your course to support the needs of our increasingly diverse complement of students. UDL is a research-based framework developed by the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST) that guides instructors to incorporate strategies for delivering instruction, reduce student learning barriers, and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Consider planning for in-person class absences
Instructors may supplement their in-person delivery of courses with online or virtual elements (such as holding virtual office hours, conducting online quizzes, or posting recorded content). A well-designed Brightspace course site can serve as an effective backup for your in-person course, housing both your course materials and important class communications and will support students through class interruptions and short-term absences. Instructors are not expected to pivot their courses from in-person to online except where the University receives direction to do so from the Public Health Officer.
In Spring 2022 term, with the approval with the chair/directors, instructors may embrace blended models (incorporating online elements to their in-person course), provided that at least two thirds of the instructional hours of in-person course contact remains in place.
Supporting students with academic accommodations
A set of resources to improve accessibility is available to support all students, including those with academic accommodations. Notably, Echo360 includes automated captioning with an easy edit function as well as a notetaking feature that allows students to create time-stamped notes.
In the past year, we have heard repeatedly from students about the value of video recordings that allow them to review concepts and prepare for exams or other forms of assessment. While class recordings are not required, we encourage use of video where possible to support student learning.
Instructor support will continue to be available to assist with accommodations and exams in the fall. Three Learning Experience Designers—Accessibility are available to support the design and delivery of accessible digital content and assessments. The Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) is the primary resource for questions about academic accommodations, including exam accommodations.
Supporting international students
There are international students who are experiencing significant challenges related to study permits and travel. In some academic areas, fully online courses have been developed to address the specific needs of international students. However, in other instances, students from travel restricted countries may be: arriving late in Canada, self-isolating into the start of class, or are unable to resume in-person classes until January 2022.
Instructors can help support the transition process of International students by being flexible and understanding. Many of the strategies instructors may use for short term absences may also be effective to support the transition of international students. For example, instructors can provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during virtual office hours to review missed session(s). While recording lectures is not required or expected, impacted students would likely find such recordings beneficial as they transition into the in-person environment. To successfully complete the course, the student must meet course requirements. It is important to be clear about what those core requirements are in the syllabus, so students can choose whether to stay registered in the course.
International Centre for Students is the primary resource for students transitioning to campus.
Strategies for supporting absences related to COVID-19
Stay home and do not come to campus if you are not feeling well.
The Senate Committee on Agenda and Governance (SCAG) has approved a continuation of the waivier of medical documentation for academic concession for the fall term; Instructors are advised to include this information on your syllabus (see below).
This Fall, instructors are likely to see an increase in student absences due to illness symptoms or self-isolation. Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are expected to stay home and not attend class. Medical documentation is not required. As usual, instructors are responsible for providing course content to support these short term absences. Instructors may provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during virtual office hours to review missed session(s). While recording lectures is not required, recording lectures provides another option to support student absences and students find such recordings beneficial.
Although attendance is important, instructors are encouraged where possible to provide flexibility. If illness, accident, or family affliction causes a student to miss the final exam or to fail to complete any assignment by the end of the term, the student must submit a Request for Academic Concession. Policies regarding undergraduate student academic concessions and deferrals are also detailed on the Undergraduate Records site. For graduate students, complete the Graduate Academic Concession Form and submit it to your graduate secretary.
We also expect that instructors may be absent or unable to deliver in-person classes because they are experiencing illness symptoms, are sick or self-isolating, and/or are caring for a family member. If the course has a TA assigned, the TA may be able to deliver the course content for a short period. VPAC can provide funds at the end of the term to cover off additional TA expenditures in such instances. Alternatively, and for longer periods, a sessional instructor could deliver course content. In these situations, please work with your chair/director on an appropriate solution and connect with VPAC through your dean on any required funding. In instances where an instructor is absent due to COVID-19 but not sick (and otherwise performing work duties), an instructor can offer course content online for short periods to facilitate continued course delivery.
What supports do I have for learning technologies?
TA Training: Learning and Teaching Together with Technology (L3T)
There is training (5 hours) available for all TAs through LTSI. The training will focus on ensuring that TAs are prepared to use learning technologies and to support instructors in online, blended and face-to-face learning environments. This includes support for class recordings. Upon completion of this training, TAs will have access to a dedicated Brightspace site to support them further. The Brightspace site will contain resources, slide decks, recordings, and more. Compensation is available to support TAs in attending the training. Compensation is available through departments/VPAC to support TAs in attending the training.
Academic planning for Fall term (Video)
UVic academic leaders, faculty and instructors were invited to a VPAC Forum on July 22 to discuss academic strategies for a successful fall term. During this virtual forum, a panel of VPAC leaders shared information about teaching resources, the student experience, and new investments made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panelists and their topics included:
- Susan Lewis, Acting Vice-Provost — academic planning, strategies to support COVID-19 absences, course delivery post-pandemic
- Tony Eder, Executive Director, Academic Resource Planning — investments in teaching supports, TAs and sessionals, classroom infrastructure
- Laurene Sheilds, Executive Director, LTSI — Echo360 and classroom recording, multi-access classrooms, privacy, course syllabus
- Jim Dunsdon, AVP Student Affairs — orientation, New Student Connect, student health and wellness, supporting students, housing
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30, 2021
The B.C. Government recognizes the importance of honouring a day for Truth and Reconciliation and advised all provincial public sector employers, like UVic, to formally recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 this year.
All university employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays will receive this day off. This means the campus will be closed as it is on all other recognized holidays and days of remembrance. Please do not schedule any classes or assessments on this day.
Recognizing Sept. 30 this year is an interim measure while the Province begins to engage with Indigenous partners and the business and labour communities to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day going forward.
UVic’s recognition of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is fully consistent with the university’s commitment to building better and meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities.
Senate has approved revisions for the Fall term 2021 to observe the Sept. 30, 2021 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The revisions will extend the Fall 2021 term course schedule by one day from Friday Dec. 3, 2021 to Monday Dec. 6, 2021. To account for the loss of the Thursday courses, this recuperated Monday will incorporate the Thursday course schedule and all classroom bookings will reflect this revision. The December final exam period will now begin on Dec. 9, 2021 and run until Dec. 20, 2021.
How to access Learning and Teaching supports
Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) will continue to provide pedagogical and learning technology support to faculty and instructors through dedicated LTSI Faculty Support Teams. Each team consists of a Learning Experience Designer, Educational Technologist, LTSI Consultant, and Learning Technology Assistant co-op students. Support is available for teaching across all modalities (in person to online) and all tools in UVic’s learning technology ecosystem, including Brightspace, Zoom, MS Teams, OAC, iClicker, and Echo360.