Faculty FAQs – Spring 2021
Course Planning and Organization
I am an instructor. I do not see my course on Canvas. What should I do?
Check with your department’s administrative assistant to ensure you are listed as the instructor of record for the course in MyMav.
There appear to be three different modalities. Do we, as instructors, select the one we want, or will it be assigned? And what are the pros and cons of each?
The faculty, in consultation with their departments and/or colleges, should have already set the mode of instruction for spring 2021 courses. Faculty with their departments were asked to consider disciplinary and pedagogical requirements, and whether the course enrolls first-time-in-college students who may require modalities that support student success. Definitions of each modality can be found at https://www.uta.edu/academics/courses-and-schedules.
How often do courses offered in face-to-face (F2F) or hybrid modalities need to meet in person/on campus?
A course offered in the F2F modality would follow the regular meeting schedule. Hybrid courses offer a mix of F2F and online instruction and engagement. The frequency of course meetings is determined by the faculty member, following the dates/times indicated in the class schedule. Faculty need to ensure that the instructional hours for the course are fulfilled through in-class or take-home assignments.
For a course with 60 students enrolled, how can exams be given in person while still social distancing?
The Registrar’s Office is working with departments to identify and allocate space based on requests submitted by departments. Faculty with larger classes are asked to consider fully online courses or, if needing some face-to-face activities, hybrid courses. Hybrid courses can be organized so that students rotate through the course—for example, in a class of 60 that meets twice per week, 30 students attend the Tuesday class face-to-face, while the other 30 watch online or complete other assignments off campus. On Thursday, the other 30 students attend the class face-to-face and the remaining complete the online assignment. Faculty can determine the type of modality to use in collaboration with their department chair.
What percentage of F2F vs online does hybrid require?
For hybrid courses, faculty can determine which class meetings, assignments, or exams take place on campus versus those that are done online. The hybrid modality types (Hybrid 1, Hybrid 2, Hybrid 3, and Hybrid 4) are designed to allow for flexibility to align with course pedagogy.
What do I do if my lab space doesn't have Echo 360 or other video recording devices?
Echo 360 offers an app that faculty can use through their laptops. Alternatively, faculty can use Teams to livestream or tape the lecture, use a whiteboard, or record a demonstration. Both online F2F trainings on Teams are available to faculty and GTAs.
How do I manage student expectations? What modifications do I need to make to the syllabus?
Faculty are encouraged to post their initial syllabi as soon as possible, sharing the type of modality for the course, days of the week it will meet (if using a hybrid modality), and technology expectations (e.g., a webcam if using Teams, Canvas Studio, etc.). Syllabi must be posted on Canvas for students to access and can be updated before the start of spring classes for migration to Digital Measures.
Can lectures be in person, but the exams and quizzes online to save time for students who are usually off campus?
Yes, faculty have flexibility in designing the modality of their courses as long as they use the original day/time of class as posted in MyMav and adhere to the posted final exam schedule for spring 2021.
Do students have an option to attend classes through a completely online manner, or just a partially offline manner?
Students who have health concerns or are not comfortable returning for in-person classes in spring do have the option of enrolling in all online classes. Faculty are encouraged to livestream or record their lectures or other course materials to accommodate students when possible. Students are being reminded that not all classes will be available in an online format, so they will need to assess how their choices impact their path to graduation. We encourage students to discuss any such plans with their advisors.
Will faculty have the discretion to switch course modalities (e.g., from F2F to online) before the spring semester has started? Or after?
If there is a critical need to change modalities from the updated listing in MyMav, faculty need to discuss the situation with their chair or immediate supervisor. It is important that we limit changes to the course schedule as much as possible.
Will faculty workload policies be changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Workload for faculty is determined in their discussions with chairs or program directors. For staff, it involves discussions with their supervisors.
Support for Teaching
I want to continue to improve my online course and online teaching; what can I do?
UTA’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning Excellence (CRTLE) offers many virtual seminars, workshops, and short courses for faculty to improve their online and hybrid design courses and effectiveness in teaching. Live Teams sessions are advertised via the CRTLE newsletter and on the homepage of the CRTLE website https://uta.edu/crtle. (Scroll to the bottom to sign up for the CRTLE newsletter.) Recorded past sessions on teaching are here: Seminars on Teaching – CRTLE. For recordings on Canvas basics, go to Canvas Training – CRTLE. CRTLE also offers ongoing self-paced short courses on Effective Online Teaching and Hybrid Teaching Design with certificates. Enroll in these courses: Effective Online & Hybrid Teaching Design – CRTLE
I have concerns about the best way to administer online exams and assessments; how can I learn about best practices?
CRTLE is leading workshops on assessment that are advertised on their webpage https://utacrtle.org. Faculty also have options for online proctoring tools and should contact email@example.com for more information.
Where can I find faculty workshops on teaching with Canvas and Teams?
Faculty can attend workshops on Canvas by checking the CDE training schedule (https://www.uta.edu/distance/training-workshops.php), or if they have specific questions, signing up for Open Lab hours at https://common.forms.uta.edu/view.php?id=4943.
CRTLE also co-sponsors seminars and workshops with CDE (e.g., Assessment) and OIT (Teams for Teaching). Dates and times are posted on the CRTLE website homepage and CRTLE newsletter https://uta.edu/crtle. Access to recordings of past trainings may be found under the “Going Online?” tab Going Online? – CRTLE and “Teaching” tab Teaching – CRTLE on the homepage.
What should faculty who do not have necessary technology (hardware, software, connectivity) to teach online do?
Faculty should discuss with their chairs or immediate supervisors any concerns regarding their ability to teach or work online.
When will faculty know if their F2F or hybrid classes have been accommodated with a larger room to allow for appropriate social distancing?
Nearly all spring 2021 course modality submissions from departments, schools, and colleges were accommodated; only a few lab classroom assignments are still outstanding. Campus room assignments should now be reflected in MyMav.
What additional cleaning and sanitation steps are being taken in UTA buildings and classrooms?
The following are just a few of the measures being implemented to ensure the University community is safe:
- The Office of Facilities Management will increase cleaning frequencies and modify cleaning schedules to meet the needs of the campus community
- Campus departments are encouraged to clean common touchpoints (copiers, printers, coffee makers) within their office/work area throughout each day
- All drinking fountains and refilling stations will be turned off; faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to bring their own water to further reduce the spread of the virus
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at many entrances, common areas, and offices across campus; cleaning supplies will be stocked in classrooms for students' use
- Certain student seats/desks and rows will not be used in lecture halls and classrooms to ensure social distancing guidelines are met
- Faculty and staff will continue to hold virtual meetings instead of face-to-face meetings
- Community members will minimize the use of other workers' phones, devices, tools, and equipment and will disinfect before and after each use
- Building air systems will be programmed for 100% outside air (no recirculated air)
- Signage installed throughout campus will serve as reminders for social distancing, wearing masks/face coverings, and using proper hygiene
- Plexi-glass screen/partitions will be installed to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading
Don't forget about your own personal devices (e.g., cellphones). Avoid touching them after you have touched common surfaces, and clean often.
Whom should I contact to report a classroom or building space that needs additional cleaning or attention?
Please report any campus areas that need additional cleaning or attention to the Office of Facilities Management by calling 817-272-2000 or completing an Online Service Request at uta.edu/fixit.
How will UTA help students maintain 6-foot distance when entering and exiting classrooms or gathering in the hallways before class begins?
Students should be encouraged to not come to campus until the scheduled start time for their course. UTA will place signs in buildings to discourage congregating. Some social spaces that cannot be socially distanced may be closed or furniture removed to maintain appropriate distancing protocols.
Should faculty plan to hold face-to-face office hours in spring 2021?
Faculty can determine the modality for offering office hours in consultation with their department chairs and/or deans. Departments may choose to designate a conference room or other larger space that can be reserved by faculty or others to have one-on-one meetings, such as office hours.
Will UTA libraries be open this spring?
Yes, UTA all UTA libraries plan to be open for the spring 2021 semester. The Central Library is open to current UTA students, faculty, and staff only. Please visit the UTA libraries page at https://libraries.uta.edu for important information about changes in practices, including course reserves, to meet heightened safety protocols due to COVID-19.
Will computer labs and examination centers be open and operating this spring? How should I arrange to use these for my courses?
OIT operates several computer labs that have instituted cleaning and social distancing protocols. Faculty can reserve space by going to oit.uta.edu/utaremote. Departments may need to provide their own proctors and staff to ensure that UTA cleaning and social distancing protocols are followed.
Preparing for Exams
What proctoring tools can I use to administer a final exam?
The University has a number of tools available through Canvas. These include Respondus Lockdown Browser, which locks the computer screen so students cannot look at other sites during the exam, and Respondus Monitor, which records students during an exam.
What are best practices for administering final exams during a pandemic?
Many students have serious concerns about the lack of reliability of their internet connections and the impact of losing their connection during a proctored exam. Students, especially those who have children at home, have also reported feeling challenged to find a quiet space and uninterrupted time. We encourage you to consider no-tech or low-tech exams and avoid introducing new technology tools for major exams.
Some tools, such as Respondus Monitor, require a webcam, which some students do not have on their devices. Students without webcams can convert their smartphone cameras to webcams using the following links:
For Androids: https://www.digitalcitizen.life/turn-android-smartphone-webcam-windows
For iPhones: https://www.digitalcitizen.life/how-turn-iphone-ipad-webcam-windows-pc
Students will need to download both the application on their phone and the driver for their computer (Mac or Windows). For best results, students should plug their phones into their computers with a USB cable.
What happens if a student cannot take the exam and wishes to retake it?
Faculty are encouraged to develop policies for handling these scenarios that are consistent across the college/school. Flexibility is important in accommodating students who may fall sick, may be dropped due to poor internet connection, or may face a family emergency.
- Encourage students to identify a location where they can take the exam, preferably with access to a wired connection.
- UTA computer labs will be open and offer social distancing. Faculty should add instructions to the exam stating that if the student will be testing in a computer lab, a mask should be worn throughout the entire testing process, including during the pre-exam sequence.
- To further reduce the likelihood of issues, faculty should uncheck the box in the Monitor settings that says, “prevent students from starting the exam if face cannot be detected during Startup Sequence.”
- If Respondus tools have not yet been used in the course, create a short practice exam requiring Lockdown Browser and Monitor so that students may test their systems and become familiar with the process. A brief tutorial is available for you to share.
- Encourage students to access review sessions and tutoring help by logging into the UTA Tutoring site, accessing the online tutoring by disciplinary area through the IDEAS Center, and considering offering extra credit or other incentives for students who access these services.
How do I get help for creating my exams in Canvas?
Research and Labs
For faculty who work with student researchers, should we transition research activities online if possible?
Faculty and student researchers should continue to work remotely to the extent possible for activities such as literature reviews, data analysis, and writing, and continue to meet remotely (e.g., using Teams) even for meetings with only two people. When on-campus research activity is necessary, refer to the UTA Research Coronavirus Updates page for further direction and guidance on operating laboratories within social distancing guidelines.
How should labs and offices request or purchase cleaning supplies?
Faculty and staff should work with their department or lab administrative staff to order cleaning supplies.
Student Access to Technology
How should faculty address situations when domestic and international students in online classes do not have the proper hardware, software, or access to engage in the class or take exams with virtual proctoring software?
UTA has purchased additional laptops and Surface-Pro devices for students to use. Students can contact the Central Library to inquire about checking out a laptop or hotspot. Students who are unable to come to campus to check out technology will need to identify resources local to their area.
Can I require specific hardware (e.g., webcam) or software as part of my course in order to dissuade academic dishonesty?
Faculty can list the course technology requirements in their class syllabi and can include hardware and online proctoring tools. UTA uses Respondus Lockdown and Unicheck to support academic integrity. Both tools are available through Canvas.
The Office of Community Standards has prepared the Faculty Academic Integrity Guide for Online Learning to support instructors. Find more information on faculty resources for academic integrity, as well as information on how to report an alleged violation.
Communicating Health and Safety Protocols, Practices, and Concerns
Where can I find the most recent information about UTA policies and protocols for spring 2021?
UT Arlington's COVID-19 webpage is the most up-to-date resource: esources.uta.edu/coronavirus.
How will students be educated on UTA’s health and safety expectations and protocols?
UTA is communicating health and safety protocols and expectations to incoming students through orientation, and will continue to communicate with all students regularly throughout the semester. There is a shared responsibility for all of us to remind our community to follow the procedures.
Is there training or a checklist faculty can use to ensure proper adherence to UTA’s health and safety protocols?
All UTA faculty and staff were required to complete the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Training in Canvas in fall 2020 before the start date of the repopulation phase for their departments. Protocols have not changed since that training was offered. The course is still available for anyone who missed it or would like a refresher. To enroll in the course, go to uta.catalog.instructure.com/courses/covidtraining.
Is there an updated syllabus template for spring 2021?
Faculty can use the template in their Canvas course, which now includes language on mandatory face coverings and technology requirements for courses, and asks faculty to address attendance policies for hybrid courses. The new template is also available for upload to Canvas through the Course & Curricular Resources & Policies page.
Is there a statement faculty can read or video to show at the start of the semester so students are aware of UTA’s health and safety protocols?
Faculty may choose to point students to and read the updated syllabus language describing UTA’s Mandatory Face Covering Policy and show the Coronavirus and Fall 2020 Semester video.
If I feel sick (e.g., fever, coughing), can my class be canceled without a doctor's note?
All faculty, staff, and students are expected to conduct daily symptom monitoring. If you experience any of the following symptoms that are new, worsening, or occurring in a way that is not normal for any chronic conditions, you should not come to campus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Feverishness, or a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
If an employee experiences any symptoms, they should take immediate precautions to avoid possible virus transmission to others and contact their immediate supervisor.
I’m a UTA employee, where can I get tested?
On-campus testing will be focused on students and will be based on testing strategies implemented in accordance with public health and medical guidance.
Employees seeking testing should contact their health care provider or local health department.
Why is testing for faculty and staff members not offered on UTA’s campus?
UTA is not associated with a medical school and cannot offer testing services to faculty and staff. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their health provider to report symptoms or request testing. Faculty and staff may also contact the Tarrant County Public Health hotline at 817-321-5939 (or dial 211 for resources in other areas).
How should faculty and staff who need to work from home make arrangements to do so?
If you do not feel safe returning to campus, you should discuss this further with your supervisor, who may also consult with Human Resources.
What will the notification and tracing procedures be if a UTA faculty, staff, or student contracts the virus?
For individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been on campus while infectious, the University will work to identify and facilitate quarantine of campus contacts and infected UTA community members. The University reports and coordinates contact tracing with local health authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
What are the number of known active cases of COVID-19 at UTA (faculty, staff, and students) currently?
Updated information on confirmed COVID-19 cases at UTA can be found online at uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/confirmed-cases.
Are there criteria or a threshold that will require many courses to move online?
As we continue to learn from and adapt to the pandemic, we will remain nimble and adjust as necessary. The decision to move more courses online may occur if:
- Local, state, or federal public health authorities declares a public health emergency for a new wave;
- the Texas governor issues a stay-at-home executive order; or
- the University’s COVID-19 positive cases are at a level that threatens the public health and safety of the University and the community. This decision will be made in collaboration with local public health officials and the UT System.
UTA has a task force in place that is developing plans to respond to a variety of scenarios, including the possibility of transitioning to a largely online teaching and learning environment if necessary.
What process should I follow if a student requests accommodations due to COVID-19?
UTA Health Services will then contact the student and, if appropriate, provide a letter saying accommodations are needed. UTA Health Services also commences contact tracing. The student should present the letter of accommodation to the instructor.
Can my department request hand sanitizers for inside our office or within the department?
Hand sanitizing stations will not be placed within office spaces or office suites. Hand sanitizing stations are placed strategically throughout buildings in common areas.
Can employees request disinfectant wipes for their departments?
At this time, due to the high demand, disinfectant wipes will only be utilized in classroom settings. Employees can request disinfectant spray and paper towel supplies for their department by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000.
Why are the water fountains shut down?
Shutting down water fountains is a recommendation of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Protocols for Institutions of Higher Education to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Will the custodial staff clean my department and office suites?
Custodial staff will clean all common areas frequently and throughout the day, with a disinfecting team member assigned throughout each building on campus. The Office of Facilities Management is asking each department to assist with cleaning individual offices, conference rooms, kitchens/breakrooms, copy rooms, etc. (Custodial staff will not clean individual desks.)
Can I request supplies for my department?
Yes. Employees can request supplies for their department by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000. Upon approval, you will be contacted to schedule a pick-up time at the Facilities Management Central Supply Store located at 445 Spaniolo Drive.
Can I get a desk shield?
On campus, the use of plexiglass screens will only be reserved for transactional locations, where the potential of having visitors from outside the department exists. If your work area falls under the transactional location description, you may request a desk shield by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000. Upon approval, you will be contacted to schedule a pick-up time at the Facilities Management Central Supply Store located at 445 Spaniolo Drive. Larger desk shields or multiple requests per department will be scheduled for delivery. Review the varieties of desk shields and sizes.
For general workplace environments where staff and faculty work adjacent to each other, the Office of Facilities Management encourages employees to follow CDC recommended social distancing, face coverings, and hand washing guidelines. In some cases, social distancing will require each department to implement its own operational solutions, including staggering office hours, working from home, or re-assigning work locations.
Will classrooms be sanitized between classes?
Classrooms will be equipped with disinfectant wipes for students and instructors to wipe down their seating areas prior to each class. Classrooms will be sterilized during the night cleaning.
Will the Office of Facilities Management install directional signage for my department? If not, how can I get signage for my department?
The Office of Facilities Management has COVID-19 signage approved by the University. You may request specific signage for your department by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000 or access approved signage to print on your own.
How will the Office of Facilities Management address concerns of airborne germs within the HVAC system?
UTA is following guidelines recommended by the CDC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers to help address concerns related to COVID-19. Those include:
- Increasing the use of outdoor air in ventilation systems wherever possible. This proportionally reduces the amount of recirculated air.
- Ensuring that ventilation systems in labs use 100% outside air and do not recirculate air to other spaces.
- Using the highest compatible Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value filters in existing ventilation units.
- Keeping ventilation systems running longer to remove contaminants in the air.
Learn more about the building ventilation.
Is the Office of Facilities Management supplying facial coverings/masks?
No. However, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety will be supplying facial coverings/masks for individuals on campus. These can be picked up at the Central Library and University Center Information Booth. You can also order face coverings for your department or research lab.
Requiring Face Coverings
Where can I find UTA’s policy requiring face coverings in buildings?
UTA implemented a face-covering protocol that went into effect June 10, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. The face-covering protocol is posted online at uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/campus-updates/face-covering-protocol.
How will wearing face coverings be enforced within the buildings and classrooms?
We all have a shared responsibility to remind others of UTA’s health and safety protocols. If someone is not in compliance, you can politely remind them of UTA’s policy to wear face coverings when inside campus buildings and maintain social distancing. Faculty or staff who refuse to comply will be reported to Human Resources. Students who refuse to comply will be reported to the Office of Community Standards.
Will face coverings be made available to faculty, staff, and students? Is there a place on campus students can pick up face coverings if they do not have one?
Through UTA’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, reusable, washable fabric face masks are available for UTA departments and disposable, three-ply, pleated, ear-loop face masks are available for research groups. Research groups can request disposable face masks from EH&S using the Face Mask Request Form linked here: uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/campus-updates/face-covering-protocol.
If faculty, staff, students, or visitors do not have or forgot to bring their face covering to campus, reusable, washable fabric face masks for individuals are available at Central Library and the information desk at the University Center.
If a student in my F2F or hybrid course has a medical issue that prevents them from wearing a face covering, can I require them to inform me in advance?
It is expected that all comply with this policy. Students who have a condition that precludes the wearing of a face covering should follow the procedures for obtaining an accommodation by working with the Office of Students with Disabilities. Faculty and staff who have a condition that precludes wearing a face covering should work with their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources for an accommodation.
What should I do if a student in my course refuses to wear a face covering? What if this happens during an exam?
Faculty should politely remind the student of UTA’s face-covering policy. If the student refuses to comply, they should be asked to leave the class. If they refuse, faculty have the option to cancel class and report the student to the Office of Community Standards. Faculty should also report the incident to their department chair or immediate supervisor.
How do I report someone who refuses to wear a face covering while inside a UTA building?
Members of our campus community are empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage a culture of compliance. An individual who feels that there has been a violation of this procedure may invoke the following actions:
- Attempt to resolve the problem informally by respectfully requesting that the individual comply with the procedure.
- If direct appeal fails, the individual may be asked to leave the building, office, classroom, or event immediately.
- If the behavior persists, the individual should be reported to their immediate supervisor first. If the supervisor is not available or unable to assist, faculty should be referred to Faculty Affairs and staff to the Office of Human Resources. Students should be referred to the Office of Community Standards.
- Members of our campus community should not contact the University Police Department, as UTA PD will not be responsible for the enforcement of the mask/face-covering policy.
- Repeat offenses by the same person shall be handled through already established administrative/disciplinary policies and procedures. Violations may result in disciplinary action.