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Update On IT Support As We Prepare To Resume Classes, March 26, 2020

Update On IT Support As We Prepare To Resume Classes, March 26, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

Greetings from the IT Digital Support team. I write with a few updates, most of which are oriented primarily toward faculty. See below for information about a couple of new support mechanisms, updates on existing support mechanisms, and a preview of support being offered next week. There is also a specific note about a Zoom intellectual property question, as well as a general update on how we’re managing all the questions you’re sending in through the help form on the COVID-19 digital support site https://sophia.smith.edu/covid19-digital-support/.

We are launching a pilot Zoom assistant program, in which ITS student workers and volunteer staff provide technical assistance in courses that are meeting synchronously. Application is required (at this link; Smith login required). We will award support based on capacity; priority goes to larger courses and courses that need special assistance. We will let you know within two business days if your request has been accepted. We need that much time to determine if we have sufficient capacity and to line everything up for approved requests, so if you would like to be considered for having a Zoom assistant in your course early next week, please get your request in today to ensure full consideration. Pro tip: you will need the Zoom link for your course session to complete the application.

Additional capacity in Zoom workshops: We noticed that some workshops were close to filling up, so we have added 5 additional seats in our Zoom workshops (now up to 25 registrants) and have also added an additional Zoom Basics workshop and an additional Zoom Advanced workshop tomorrow, Friday, March 27th. To register, select “Sign up for a workshop or consultation” at https://sophia.smith.edu/covid19-digital-support/faculty/.

Weekend pedagogical consultations: We are adding additional slots for pedagogical consultations for the weekend. Those will be made available for registration by tomorrow (Friday) morning. To register, select “Sign up for a workshop or consultation” at https://sophia.smith.edu/covid19-digital-support/faculty/. Keep in mind that our colleagues in the Sherrerd Center are also offering consultations. To sign up, select the handy “Sherrerd Center Consultations” option on the same page.

Zoom training for TAs and Tutors: We are launching new Zoom training options specifically for those course TAs and tutors hired for the rest of the term. These sessions will be held on March 27, March 30, and March 31. Registration—for TAs and tutors only—is available here, and we will also email that group directly this afternoon.

Support next week for faculty, staff, and students: Next week’s workshop slate (published late Friday, March 27th) will continue to include 1:1 pedagogical consultations as well as a new offering, which are small group discussions that allow faculty to reflect on and refine approaches to remote course instruction. We will also continue to offer training for staff, and we will be offering a new slate of help sessions specifically for students in Spring 2020 courses.

Adding additional help materials: We are working intensively to get additional instructions, recordings, and workshop materials added to the digital support site at https://sophia.smith.edu/covid19-digital-support/. As these are added, we'll post updates on the home page and in the faculty, staff, and student sections.

Processing help and equipment requests: We are increasing training and staff coverage to manage the general questions coming in via the help form on the COVID-19 Digital Support site, so we can answer your questions in a more timely manner. You should start to see prompter response times by Monday if not before. Equipment requests necessarily take a day or two to cycle through the inventory review and approvals; you can continue to expect up to two business days to hear back on those.

Last, but certainly not least, we have fielded questions in many different groups about Zoom recordings and privacy. Let me state for the record that Zoom does NOT own the intellectual property for any recordings made using its features, whether cloud based or locally hosted. Please help us correct the persistent and inaccurate rumor about this. We strongly encourage you to use the cloud recording option for its ease of use in many different features. We will have more information about this and other very specific Zoom questions in the FAQs we’ll be posting to the help site by Friday.

On behalf of the extended IT Digital Support team (representing colleagues from ITS, CATS and the Library, with robust support and connections to offices around the college), we wish you a productive week as you begin remote courses. We are here for you!

Warmly,
Samantha