Week Three of Remote Instruction: Roundup

Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs | April 17, 2020

Email sent to Faculty, Staff, and Teaching Assistants

As we close the third week of remote instruction, I want to thank you for your significant commitment and efforts in making the transition.  My office has received many compliments on how well our faculty and staff are supporting students, and each other, to ensure a healthy and successful spring semester for all.  I could not be prouder of the unprecedented collaboration and community spirit that is alive and well at Texas State.

WellCats: Live. Work. Be Well.

This week, I want to highlight the Texas State wellness program, WellCats, that was developed in 2015 by four Texas State faculty members.  Today, WellCats is a nationally recognized, evidenced-based, comprehensive employee program designed to inspire Texas State employees and the community to enhance wellness.  WellCats focuses on the eight dimensions of wellness, including nutrition, physical, social, and emotional well-being. Join now to learn more about this inspiring program.

Between now and May 9, 2020, WellCats and Campus Recreation are advertising live and on-demand exercise sessions.  Learn more about these sessions here: https://www.campusrecreation.txstate.edu/fitness/Group-Exercise/Fitness-From-Home.html.  For questions regarding WellCats and the Bobcat Balance program profiled last week, please contact Rose Trevino or Josh Arguelles via email at worklife@txstate.edu or (512) 245-2557.  

Professional Development Requirements for Teaching Online

AA/PPS No. 02.03.20 – Maintenance and Improvement of Quality in Teaching requires anyone who will teach an online (INT) or hybrid (HYB) course to participate in an approved professional development program.  Soon, anyone scheduled to teach a course in summer I or scheduled to teach an INT or HYB course in any summer term and who has not previously been approved for online teaching will receive a message from the Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL) about how to access the program.  Other participants are welcome, including those who completed the program in the past.  Questions may be directed to ODEL at (512) 245-2322 or via email at distanceedu@txstate.edu.

Faculty only engaged in dissertation, thesis, independent study, and individualized instruction in summer I will not be required to participate in the professional development program.  For all other courses coded as INT or HYB, professional development will be necessary for faculty who have not previously completed the program.  Some faculty scheduled to teach during Summer I may not yet have a netID.  These faculty are still required to meet the requirement and will need guest accounts in Canvas until their net IDs arrive.  Their names, along with a request to add them to Canvas as a guest user, may be sent to distanceed@txstate.edu.

Resources for Moving Forward

Now that the intensive rush toward remote instruction has dissipated, there are unknowns and new realities facing each one of us.  My office compiled a few resources that may be helpful to you, colleagues, and family members as we move into the last few weeks of the spring semester.

Technology Tips

  • The quickest route to service through ITAC is to engage the LiveChat function on this page: https://livechat.itac.txstate.edu/
  • If students are having difficulty with internet speed, remind them that plugging directly into a wireless router with an ethernet cable will yield faster results.  It also works for faculty and staff!
  • Do you have innovative ideas (or frustrations) to share on using technology for teaching and learning?  All are welcome to join “Let’s Do Lunch” each Friday at 12:00 p.m.: https://www.facdv.txstate.edu/Special-Events/Lunch.html
  • Academic integrity, including the way that technology may affect testing and assignments, is a lingering question for some faculty.  Be sure to watch the Faculty Development session, “Their Cheating Hearts: Tips for Maintaining Academic Integrity While Teaching Remotely,” here: https://mediaflo.txstate.edu/hapi/v1/contents/permalinks/Dm43NrZi/view.  Closed captioning is enabled for the video.
  • ITAC has more information on technology for faculty, staff, and students here: https://itac.txstate.edu/remote.html

Next Friday, I will provide updates as we finalize our fourth week of remote instruction.  In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy.