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Frequently Asked Questions about Fall 2021

Is the University still providing Flex@Pitt options for students?

No. Flex@Pitt is no longer in operation at the University.

As noted in the Provost’s August 20, letter, undergraduate (and some graduate/professional) instructors and students on the Pittsburgh campus have the flexibility to be either inside or outside the classroom during the first two weeks of the semester (again, see letter from the Provost for information about graduate and professional programs and the regional campuses). During this time:

  • Instructors may deliver classes from a location of their choice, including the assigned classroom.
  • Students may choose to attend class and learn from a location of their choice, including the assigned classroom. A remote experience must be made available for students who choose this option.
  • Campus study and experiential spaces – including all classrooms and libraries – will be open and available to all members of the University community to use during this time. Note: all instructors, staff, and students will need to bring their current Pitt ID to gain access to campus buildings.

Beginning Sept. 13, in-person, face-to-face class meetings will resume, unless permission for remote or hybrid delivery has been approved by your dean.

Can I choose to continue to teach my course remotely after the Remote Access to Courses option ends on Sept. 13?

Unless permission for full-semester online, remote, or hybrid delivery has been approved, all classes scheduled for face-to-face meetings are expected to return to in-class, in-person delivery on Sept. 13.

Is the Flex@Pitt technology still available in classrooms?

Much of the technology that was installed in summer 2020 has been removed or moved aside in some classrooms. This was necessary to accommodate the return of desks that had been removed, improve lines of sight, comply with ADA requirements, and other considerations.

Some classrooms will retain the installed Zoom-Room technology.  These are:

Building Room Device Zoom Room Email Address
Benedum 227 x30 zrbe227@pitt.edu
Benedum G27 x30 zrbeg27@pitt.edu
Benedum G29 x30 zrbeg29@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning 206 x30 zrcl206@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning 249 x30 zrcl249@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning 208A x30 zrcl208a@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning 208B x30 zrcl208b@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G14 x30 zrclg14@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G16 x30 zrclg16@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G18 x30 zrclg18@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G20 x30 zrclg20@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G24 x30 zrclg24@pitt.edu
Cathedral of Learning G8 x50 zrclg8@pitt.edu
Crawford Hall 169 x50 zrcd168@pitt.edu
Frick Fine Arts Building 202 x30 zrfa202@pitt.edu
Frick Fine Arts Building 203 x30 zrfa203@pitt.edu
Frick Fine Arts Building 204 x30 zrfa204@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 305 x30 zrli305@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 316 x30 zrli316@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 403 x30 zrli403@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 404 x30 zrli404@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 405 x30 zrli405@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 406 x30 zrli406@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 411 x30 zrli411@pitt.edu
Information Sciences Building 501 x30 zrli501@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 203 X30 zrdl203@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 205 X30 zrdl205@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 207 X30 zrdl207@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 209 X30 zrdl209@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 231 X30 zrdl231@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 232 X30 zrdl232@pitt.edu
Lawrence Hall 233 X30 zrdl233@pitt.edu
Parkvale Building 103 x30 zrpv103@pitt.edu
Public Health A115* x30 zrpha115@pitt.edu
Public Health A215* x30 zrpha215@pitt.edu
Public Health A425 x30 zrpha425@pitt.edu
Public Health A719* X30 zrpha719@pitt.edu
Public Health G23* X50 zrphg23@pitt.edu
Sennott Square 5317 X30 zrmp5317@pitt.edu
Victoria Building 129 X30 zrvb129@pitt.edu
Wesley W Posvar Hall 1500 X50 zrfq1500@pitt.edu
Wesley W Posvar Hall 1501 X50 zrfq1501@pitt.edu
Wesley W Posvar Hall 1502 X50 zrfq1502@pitt.edu
Wesley W Posvar Hall 4130* X30 zrfq4130@pitt.edu

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 going to the 25Live link at the Office of the Registrar website.

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.

As a general rule, it is valuable 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?

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

Are face coverings required in the classroom?

Yes. Regardless of vaccination status, face coverings are required when indoors, including all University buildings and classroom, unless you are in your enclosed private office or dwelling.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated, as well as those who are or live with someone who is immunocompromised, should wear face coverings when outdoors and unable to maintain physical distancing. Additionally, anyone is welcome to wear a face covering outdoors based on their own comfort level.

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 recommendation 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 strategies for accommodating quarantine, isolation, or extended classroom absences.

If I am at high risk, do I need to be in the classroom?

As noted in the Provost’s Aug. 20, letter, undergraduate (and some graduate and professional) instructors and students on the Pittsburgh campus have the flexibility to be either inside or outside the classroom during the first two weeks of the semester (see memo for information about graduate and professional programs and the regional campuses). Beginning Sept. 13, in-person, face-to-face class meetings will resume, unless permission for remote or hybrid delivery has been approved by your dean. If you are at high-risk, consult with your department chair, dean or the Office of Disability Resources and Services.

How can I get students who are participating online to engage with the class?

Set reminders for yourself (an alarm, a slide in your PPT presentation, a note in your lecture notes) to direct targeted questions to the remote students. Use time when face-to-face students are working in groups or independently to check in with remote students. For ideas on how to engage students in active learning in a synchronous blended classroom, see Vanderbilt’s excellent resource on Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distance Classroom.

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

Making short video lectures is a great way to provide access to course content in support of flexible teaching. 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 synchronous sessions (in-person and remote)? Do I need to inform my students if I’m recording? Can I require them to participate if they’re being recorded?

Given that you might have students who cannot join live synchronous sessions due to illness or some other factor, it is a best practice, when possible and appropriate, to record your class sessions. You should encourage the students who are present to participate, but you cannot require them to do so.

To facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if you intend to record a lecture with student participation, students must be advised, via e-mail 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 off-line 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. Under certain limited conditions, such as privacy concerns related to content or class discussions, and with permission from the Dean or Regional President or their designee, instructors may choose not to record a class session.

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 e-mail 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 off-line 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?

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 courses, alternative 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 (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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