Dean's Update - late August 2020

Hi Applied Arts,

With the COVID-impacted fall term about to start up, I thought it best to send out another blog posting with a few recent updates.

It’s likely the next few weeks will be chaotic. We’ll need to stay focused on looking after ourselves, supporting one another, and supporting our students. Your adaptability and resourcefulness are amazing!

Student consent to being recorded on Zoom

Ernie and I, in consultation with Teaching and Learning and Janet Welch, have been trying to come up with default language alerting students to the fact they might be part of Zoom recordings throughout the term. Teaching and Learning will be adding the following blurb to all Moodle pages:

Please note that any live online sessions in Yukon University courses may be recorded for purposes of teaching, assessment, and/or quality improvement. By clicking on the link to a session, you consent to being recorded. You may choose to turn off your camera and mute your microphone. Yukon University acknowledges that you are under no obligation to consent and agrees that it is your voluntary decision to do so.

Clearly, it would be difficult for students to participate fully in real-time discussions if they opt not to be seen or heard while on Zoom. For students who are anxious about being recorded, please respect their decision to have their cameras off, if they choose to do so, and make sure they are only being referring to by their first names during discussions (which is probably the norm anyway). Keep in mind that some students may request that the recording be paused while they say something. Also, please note that Teaching and Learning will be, very soon, distributing further guidelines about consent within the vidcon environment.

Zoom classroom bookings

In the wake of an email from Room Bookings earlier this week, a cross-divisional admin group met to coordinate reservations of Zoom-enabled classrooms for those instructors who had requested one. We believe we have a schedule sorted out for the 5 Zoom rooms available, and the bookings are now being made within the Event Management System (EMS). If you had requested a Zoom classroom, please check with your admin assistant for details. If you are planning to work with Zoom from your office or home but find during the term that that arrangement isn’t working, we might be able to accommodate you in one of the Zoom classrooms; again, please work with your admin assistant to determine availability. Overall, we want to make sure our room bookings are coordinated across both divisions, so we are not competing with one another for space.

Enrolments

Although it looks like our prediction of a COVID-related dip in registrations is coming true, the drop in numbers is not as dire as it could have been. I believe this is, in part, thanks to the extraordinary efforts you’ve all made in staying in touch with prospective and returning students throughout the summer months.

Ungendered pronouns

Ernie passed this on to me yesterday: A keen-eyed instructor has pointed out that there is an issue with the wording of the Academic Accommodations language in the course outline template. At the end of the paragraph it states, “he/she should contact," when it should use the more inclusive “they.” Good point. Faculty and admin assistants, please make sure to adjust the language on course outlines.

Workload agreements

Although most Applied Arts workload agreements were settled in principle earlier this spring, many remain unsigned, so we need get that sorted. Watch out for meeting invites--or in many cases just requests to sign, scan and send--coming your way.

The rest of the year (the same message as last time)

The situation with COVID-19 remains fluid and unpredictable. Accordingly, please plan for a continuation of blended online delivery modes through to the end of the 2020-21 academic year. I know that many of you (and me!) were hoping to be able to return to more in-person delivery in January, but we need to remain flexible.

Planning for the worst case

As much as it pains me to say it, we also need to keep in mind that it is within the realm of possibility that the situation with COVID could worsen to the point where we are ordered off campus again. I think the risk of that happening is relatively low, but it is crucial that everyone have a Plan B (or even C) when it comes to course delivery and how you will continue to communicate/engage with students if that happens.

Fall Huddle

Thanks to everyone who joined in for this year's virtual Fall Huddle! Although I prefer that event in person, I thought the collegiality of this organization still came through in a huge way via Zoom. Also, congratulations to the Applied Arts folks who received or were nominated for Employee Recognition Awards--Dawn Lammer, Carrie Huffman, Jenna McDowell and Joscelyne Bergen (our PN faculty) and Drew Lyness, Carolyn Kauth, Melanie McFadyen, and Aubyn O'Grady.

Have a great weekend everyone. As always, feel free to get in touch with questions you might have. You can email them, connect via Teams during my “virtual water cooler” times on Fridays, 9-10 am, or request a meeting via Carolyn.

Take care,

Andrew