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Frequently Asked Questions About Classroom Instruction

Can I choose to teach my course remotely?

Instructors should teach in person, in the classroom, laboratory, studio or relevant setting, unless they have previously been approved by their dean to teach a hybrid or online course.

What kind of technology is in my classroom? How can I get information about my classroom?

Most of Pitt’s general-purpose classrooms are equipped with a large monitor or projector to display instructors’ laptop screens and are paired with sound amplification for program audio from the laptop. In addition, large lecture halls have voice amplification for instructors. Rooms scheduled and controlled by professional schools, academic departments, and regional campuses may vary from this standard. For consultation on installed room technologies, instructors should check with their departmental technology support staff (for rooms controlled by schools/departments) or contact Classroom Services (for general purpose classrooms).

The Office of the Registrar manages nearly half of the classrooms on campus.If you are teaching in a Registrar-managed room, you can get details about capacity, classroom technology, and the physical layout of the room by visiting 25LivePro, the University’s academic learning space management system. For additional information, visit the Office of the Registrar’s classroom scheduling page.

All other classrooms are controlled by individual schools and departments. If you have questions about who controls the room in which you are assigned to teach, contact the person responsible for classroom scheduling in your school or department.

You are strongly encouraged to visit your assigned classroom before classes start to become familiar with the layout and technology.

If you have additional questions about classroom technology, the Classroom Services team can advise individual instructors on what technology is in the room as well as on how to use technology to best meet their teaching goals.

Do classrooms still have modified capacities?

Classroom capacities have returned to pre-COVID levels. University requirements for modified classroom capacities and social distancing are currently not in effect.

Are face coverings required in the classroom?

Yes. Face coverings are required when indoors, including all University buildings and classroom, unless you are in your enclosed private office or dwelling.

Visit the University’s Face Coverings FAQ for more information and details.

What should I do if a student refuses to wear a properly fitted face covering in class?

Students should not be able to gain access to University buildings and classrooms without a face covering. If a student in your classroom refuses to wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth, you should follow these steps:

  1. Remind the student of the universal face covering policy and ask the student to put on a face covering or adjust an ill-fitting one.
  2. If the student refuses to wear or adjust a face-covering, ask the student to leave the classroom.
  3. If the student is still refusing to wear a face covering and to leave the classroom, you should dismiss the class for the safety of the other students and file a conduct referral with the Office of Student Conduct.

For additional information and recommendations related to specific mask-related scenarios, visit the Instructor and Staff Scenarios page.

Signs will be posted in campus building to remind students of face-covering requirements.

What happens if I have students who are in isolation, quarantine, or become ill?

Let your students know that they should inform you as soon as possible if they are in isolation, quarantine, or become ill. The Teaching Center website has a suggested statement about health and safety that you may use in your syllabus. Also, please review our suggested strategies for accommodating students in quarantine, isolation, or who become ill page.

What can instructors do if they are required to quarantine, isolate, or become ill?

If you are required to quarantine or isolate, or if you become ill, you will need to contact your department chair and dean. If you are well enough to teach, you may arrange to deliver your course remotely from outside the classroom. In this situation, contact Classroom Services at 412-648-7240 or ClassroomServices@pitt.edu for assistance and guidance. If you are ill and unable to teach, you should consult with your department chair or dean for policies regarding extended absence.

I want to make an educational video to post on Canvas. I'm not sure where to start. What software can I use?

Making short video lectures is a great way to provide access to course content to support learning. These videos allow students to review class content at a place and time that is convenient for them, review the content as many times as they like, and can be used to support more robust problem-solving, discussions, and application during in-class sessions. The Teaching Center’s video resource hub is a great place to learn more about creating and using videos and multi-media.

Do I need to record all class sessions? Do I need to inform my students if I’m recording? Can I require them to participate if they’re being recorded?

Instructors are not required to record their class sessions. Decisions to record classes are at the professional judgement of the instructor and may be subject to established practices of the department, school, or campus, as appropriate. Where established practice may be at odds with other aspects of this guidance, instructors should reach out to their dean’s office, the Teaching Center, DRS, or the Office of the Provost, as appropriate, for clarity. Information relevant to recording classroom sessions and step-by-step how-to directions are available on the Teaching Center’s web page.

To facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if you intend to record a lecture with student participation, students must be advised, via email and at the beginning of the semester that you intend to record all or some of your class sessions. In addition, you should verbally remind students at the beginning of any recorded class session that the session, including their participation, is being recorded. Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encouraged to ask questions offline if they elect not to participate in class. Further, the recorded sessions may be used only by the instructor and the registered students solely for internal class purposes and only during the term in which the course is being offered.

What if I have some students who are uncomfortable being recorded during synchronous class sessions?

To facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if you intend to record a lecture with student participation, students must be advised, via email and at the beginning of the semester that you intend to record all or some of your class sessions. In addition, you should verbally remind students at the beginning of any recorded class session that the session, including their participation, is being recorded. Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encouraged to ask questions offline if they elect not to participate in class. Further, the recorded sessions may be used only by the instructor and the registered students solely for internal class purposes and only during the term in which the course is being offered. Instructors who have questions should contact faculty@pitt.edu.

How can I keep my Zoom sessions secure? (Keep from being "Zoom-bombed")

Please review our suggestions for Zoom security, which outlines the steps to make Zoom session more secure.

Is there proctoring software available for online exams?

Due to concerns about academic integrity, fair and equitable access, and technological security and privacy, the University does not have an institutional remote proctoring solution.

For guidance about assessments in the remote environment, visit the Assessment Strategies at the Teaching Center’s website. There you will find information on strategies to address cheating in online coursesalternative final assessment ideas, and general assessment strategies.

Note, the Office of the Provost has provided guidance for what instructors can and cannot ask of students when administering assessments, online exams, and finals.

Permitted:

  • Require a student to keep their camera on, if the camera is focused solely on the student doing the work.
  • Record the session (with no sound) for later examination for anomalies.
  • Use exam proctoring software (if your school/department has purchased and uses such a solution), assuming it does not directly conflict with items listed below.

Not Permitted:

  • Ask a student to pan the room with their camera to show that the room is empty.
  • Require students to keep their microphones unmuted.

Visit the Teaching Center’s Assessments page for more information.

What is the University’s policy regarding intellectual property and the course materials I create for online or hybrid delivery?

The University has recently approved updated policies on intellectual property and copyright ownership, as stated in University of Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Policy RI 10 (PDF – 250 KB) (replacing Policy 11-02-02.). Please review this document for details regarding definitions and policies relevant to intellectual property in the digital learning environment.

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