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Michael Christie

Fall 2020 Readiness Announcement

Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Readiness Announcement

In response to the recent University announcement and many future unknowns, we wantto reassure you that we are in this together as we all prepare for Fall 2020.

As the great songwriter Bob Dylan wrote, “The times, they are a-changin’.” As we reflect on lessons learned from the spring and summer semesters and think about how to best support the Smeal community, we have developed an academy to share resources and provide guidance.The purpose of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning and technology to ensure the Smeal community isprepared to respond to the unique challenges of Fall 2020. More details on the Academy will follow. Keep an eye out for our weekly tips, resources, and opportunities to participate in sessions designed to help us adapt to these changes!

Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Readiness Survey – What Do You Need?

Your response to this brief survey will, in part, guide the Smeal Teaching, Learning, and Technology (TLT) Team in customizing the content of the upcoming Smeal Academy sessions and for reaching out to you individually as needed. We need your input!

Keeping It Real: Strategies and Challenges of Working Remotely

This page shares some takeaways from our April 30, 2020 session concerning strategies and challenges of working remotely.

Challenges Shared

  • It’s hard not having the informal opportunity for chatting that the Business Building affords – every interaction has to be “formal” and handled via email, etc.
  • Zoom is not efficient for being an administrator (you have to send an email and wait for a response, then schedule a formal meeting vs. walking down the hall or talking to a student in person)
  • The Inbox is now flooded, as is the number of Zoom meetings.
  • We’re trying to balance more than just work. There are conflicting priorities (work, family, having to homeschool, do childcare while trying to get work done)
  • Work is “always there.”
  • Feeling like you need to “prove” that you’re working and be “on” all the time.
  • Feeling quarantine guilt: Why have I not been able to make time to _______?
  • Self-care
  • Feeling isolated and disconnected
  • Feeling disorganized or scattered
  • Steep learning curve due to learning new tech or do things differently.
  • Not having the same equipment at home as at work
  • Not having an ideal workspace at home
  • Managing interruptions

Strategies Shared

Staying Healthy:

  • Keep a small set of dumbbells next to the desk.
  • Keep a list of exercises. Every time you get up, move down the list to another set of exercises. Hack: You can move a paperclip down the list to keep track of what you have done.
  • Order food from places like Misfits Market to eat more healthy fruits and veggies.
  • Weather permitting, walk for an hour every day in the late afternoon. It’s a great way to clear your head from the pressures of work.
  • Walk during meetings where you will only be listening.
  • Schedule walking phone meetings, walking while talking. Set them up as a “walk & talk” with the other person.

Work-Life Balance and Efficiency Hacks:

  • For some, this means setting segregated hours for different “facets” of life. For others, it may mean being more flexible – maybe taking breaks during the day to do what you need/want to do and return to work later.
  • It’s important to be kind to ourselves, take care of ourselves, and not feel guilty.
    We are fortunate to have leadership that is supportive and flexible
  • There are differences between faculty and staff expectations for seat time that play into these feelings as well
  • Start the day with a plan (Franklin-Covey kind of list: A, B, C-level items).
  • ‘Job in a Box’: Keep all of your work materials in a box. At the end of the day, put your work in the box and put it away to transition to home time.
  • Schedule breaks deliberately on your calendar so that meetings do not get scheduled.
  • It’s OK to take vacation time! And make it an actual vacation day.
  • Set up rules in your Outlook email to combat the increased emails.
  • Bundle activities together – emails, calls, etc.
  • Consider putting some headphones/earbuds in and listen to some music while working.
  • If an email comes in with ‘unsubscribe’, it goes into a separate box that you can check just once per day

Social Connections

  • Schedule non-business check-in meetings just to chat with colleagues.
  • Use Teams, Slack, or other instant messaging to have conversations with colleagues.
  • Reach out to colleagues to see if they are ok. You can send Kudoboards to encourage folks or Smeal Pawsitive Notes to spread a little cheer.
  • Check out the Smeal Community in Microsoft Teams to stay connected to colleagues and share ideas.

Tools Shared and Discussed

  • Use a Microsoft Surface or tablet with a stylus and the Zoom whiteboard to replace the function of the whiteboard in the classroom.
  • Buy or DIY an inexpensive computer stand to allow for standing while working (especially during meetings). That allows for more movement during the day. This adjustable laptop stand was being used by one of our attendees.
  • Purchase Bluetooth headphones for meetings that you are just listening/receiving information – so you can walk while listening.
  • Use Microsoft To-Do to track tasks.
  • We discussed several ways groups can use Teams. Check out ITLD’s Teams Learning Path for more information.

Articles and Links

Just for Fun

Virtual Bingo created by the eLDIG team for your entertainment

Videos to Make You Laugh


Copyright Questions Answered

PowerPoint File

This session was held on April 15, 2020. It was led by Ana Enriquez, Scholarly Communications Outreach Librarian, and Lauren Reiter, Business Librarian. The presentation explored copyright concerns surrounding the use of a variety of educational materials, including data sets, problem sets, and journal articles, including considerations when moving to a remote instruction environment.

Strategies for Remote Engagement

Part 1

This session was held on March 25, 2020. We explored strategies to increase student engagement in remote learning contexts with a heavy focus on leveraging advanced features in Zoom video conferencing.

Part 2

Link to Document Answering Chat Questions and Sharing Resources

Link to PowerPoint

This session was held on April 3, 2020. We explored strategies to increase student engagement in remote learning contexts leveraging Canvas tools and assessment, gaming, and gamification strategies.

Remote Learning Strategies

This session was held on March 17, 2020, to share tips, tricks, and strategies for remote instruction using Zoom, Canvas, Kaltura, and other tools in response to the University’s decision to move all courses to remote learning delivery for the second half of the Spring 2020 semester.

Link to Presentation PowerPoint Slides

Recording Consent: Can I Record My Class Via Zoom

Yes, you may do this, but you need to securely store the recordings and destroy them at the end of the semester. If you intend to use the recordings after the end of the semester, any type of identifying information must be removed. In addition, you must inform students that they are being recorded by sharing the following language with them: “Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and may only be made available to students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class sessions/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.” Taken from:

Additionally, Zoom has a ‘Recording Consent’ option that can be enabled. It prompts participants for consent to be recorded when recording starts. Here’s how to enable this setting.


Please refer to this file to review Questions and Answers from the Session Chat

Following is a link to the Read – Watch – Do Graphic Organizer Canvas Page that was demoed during the session.

Canvas is Not So Scary

In this session, we discuss and demonstrate some Canvas strategies and best practices with an eye toward easier course management and improved student and instructor experiences. Now that Canvas has become more familiar, this session can help you take your course to the next level.

Session Recording Date: 10.30.19