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FAQ

Below are answers to the most frequent questions we have received from instructors. We will continue to add updates. If you have a question that is not on this page, send to campusconnect@tcu.edu.

LAST UPDATED: 1/6/21

Can I choose how I will deliver my classes for Spring 2021?
Yes. Instructors will designate their classes as one of four modalities for Spring 2021:

In Person (IP) – This is the only dual-mode option. Instructors teach students in person in the classroom and simultaneously online. Student Engagement Facilitators support classroom technology and engagement with online students.

Online Only (O) – Instructors teach entirely online. Students connect from on campus or anywhere. Most classes are “synchronous,” meaning students meet as a class for virtual face-to-face instruction at least 80% of class time.

In-person Only (IO) – This new mode provides teaching to students in a classroom without an online audience. Lectures would be recorded solely for students with approved accommodations or for students who have made arrangements in advance because of documented self-isolation or quarantine. In-Person Only classes are not available for students to take in online mode.

Alternating (AL)  – In this new mode, the instructor teaches at least one weekly lecture to all students in person, without an online audience. Lectures would be recorded solely for students with approved accommodations or for students who have made arrangements in advance because of documented self-isolation or quarantine. The instructor teaches the other one or two weekly lectures to all students online. Alternating classes are not available for students who are unable to attend the one weekly on-campus lecture in person.

How do I request Student Engagement Facilitators for In Person (IP) dual mode? 
The Provost is providing paid Student Engagement Facilitators to assist with technology and engagement with online students. Consult your department chair to request a Student Engagement Facilitator.

Can I change how I will deliver my classes?
You can change from In Person to Online, either temporarily or permanently, at any time, but you cannot change from Online to In Person. Below are instructions for changing from in person to online.

Changing from In Person to Online: Temporarily

  • Instructor notifies the department chair of the duration the class is expected to be online.
  • Instructor notifies all enrolled students, more than once. Multiple notifications are especially important during the first week of the semester since students routinely add and drop classes during this time.
  • Notification to students must include instructions for how to access the course and any online resources needed.

Changing from In Person to Online: Permanently

  1. Instructor notifies the department chair and dean.
  2. Deans notify the Registrar’s Office by sending an email to: ScheduleChanges@tcu.edu.
  3. Registrar’s Office notifies enrolled students of the change and notifies Scholarships & Financial Aid to initiate the tuition discount.
  4. Instructor notifies students, clearly communicating any changes in course expectations due to the change in modality. If the change occurs in the first week of the semester, it is important to notify students more than once to make sure all are aware of the change.
  5. Notification to students must include instructions for how to access the course and any online resources needed.

Are there occupancy limits for On-Campus classes?
Yes. All On-Campus classes must adhere to established COVID-19 capacities. To facilitate physical distancing while filing in and out of classrooms, instructors should structure the class to ensure adherence to these capacities.

What are the COVID capacities for classrooms?  
Classrooms have been diagramed by an architect to ensure the maximum COVID capacity and proper physical distancing. A spreadsheet of COVID capacities is available here. In addition, capacities and classroom diagrams are posted on all classroom doors. Please note that COVID capacities include students as designated and one instructor.

Can I deliver my Online course from an on-campus classroom?
Yes. Designated Teaching Spaces exist to teach Online from campus if you prefer not to use your office or off-campus location. Each space is equipped with the technology needed for Online course delivery. Specific technology components, room size and configurations may vary. Contact your Dean or ConnectedCampus@tcu.edu to reserve a space. For specific technology needs, consult TCU Center for Instructional Services.

Can I request an on-campus class for administering tests for Online students? 
Unfortunately, we cannot provide on-campus classrooms for administering tests to students in online-only courses. Please seek advice from the Koehler Center on best practices for online exam administration.

Is there a prescribed attendance policy for students?
The attendance policy is at the discretion of the instructor but must be clearly communicated in the syllabus. Pay particular attention to issues of equity and inclusiveness in establishing the attendance policy. In general, students are expected to engage synchronously at the time designated in the course schedule, Central Standard Time zone (Horned Frog Time) as it translates to where the student is located. You may elect to make alternate provisions for remote students, such as recording class lectures.

Are there best practices I should follow if I record a class session?
Instructors who choose to record class sessions and student meetings should carefully consider FERPA requirements. If you record class sessions or meetings in Zoom or a similar platform:

  • Identifiable student information should not be shared with anyone who is not enrolled in your course.
  • Tell students that you will be recording. While this notice is not required by law in Texas, it is required by many states where students reside. By default, Zoom notifies meeting participants that a meeting is being recorded, but it is best to have an acknowledgment from you. An example that can be used at the start of the session: “This class session is being recorded. By joining today’s class session, you consent to being recorded.”
  • Allow students to turn off their camera and microphone using STOP VIDEO and MUTE in Zoom and participate via CHAT if they prefer.
  • Although you cannot stop students from using local or personal technology to record a meeting, you can disable cloud recording settings.
  • Include language in your syllabus about the purpose of Zoom recordings and the protection of student information. An example: “All class sessions will be recorded for use by enrolled students, including those who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are consenting to have their video or image recorded. If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are consenting to have their voices recorded. If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the CHAT feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live.”

How can I promote inclusive online teaching?
Some students may not have access to advanced computers/software, internet access, or quiet places to study. Some may wish to keep their home environment private and turn off video during online courses. You can encourage engagement with brief reflective exercises and exit surveys. Anonymously ask about their access to technology. Ensure materials are accessible and mobile-friendly, such as PDFs. As you are designing activities and lessons for your fall courses, keep in mind that all meetings held in Zoom (or a similar platform) that include course content or student information are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Policy Act (FERPA). The Office of Diversity & Inclusion has also compiled a list of strategies and tips for creating equitable classrooms online.

Is there a place on campus for students to participate in Online courses?
There are several locations across campus for students to participate in online classes.

  • Landing Zones have been designated as classroom spaces in Sadler Hall suite 3000, Library room 1208, Smith Hall room 1520 A&B.
  • Tents will again be available beginning in March.
  • Students may use the same spaces they gathered in before, such as computer labs and the library, which have been set up for social distancing.

In all instances, students should use their personal devices to connect with the class (unless accessing a computer in a lab), wear earbuds to reduce disruptions for others, wear face coverings and follow social distancing. It is helpful if instructors remind students of the health and safety protocols, but you have no responsibility to enforce in those designated areas.

How will faculty be compensated for course overloads? 
The Provost’s Office will reimburse departments for additional teaching costs incurred by breaking a large online course section into one or more smaller sections to be taught on campus. Course overloads will be handled in one of two ways: you may accept overload payment for teaching a course in addition to your normal faculty workload, or you may forgo the additional compensation and the additional course will instead serve as a replacement to other work that is part of your normal faculty workload. Please work with your chair and dean to answer questions about guidelines for splitting courses into multiple sections, as well as payments for adjuncts and overloads.

If I am an adjunct, how many courses may I teach for Spring 2021? 
Normally, TCU adjuncts teach a maximum of 10 credit hours per semester and 20 credit hours per academic year.  Occasionally, the Provost’s Office approves a limited number of adjuncts to teach 22 credit hours in an academic year, if the dean demonstrates that unexpected teaching needs have arisen. This practice remains true for Spring 2021, and adjuncts may choose either online or on-campus course delivery.

If I am an adjunct, can I receive a visiting lecturer appointment for Spring 2021 if I request to teach an additional course?
Normally, Visiting Lecturer positions, along with other full-time faculty positions, are requested by deans during the annual budget cycle to cover temporary teaching needs due to merited leaves or full-time vacancies. A Visiting Lecturer typically teaches 12 credit hours per semester. During Spring 2021, Visiting Lecturers appointed following this normal process may choose either online or on-campus course delivery.

Uniquely, for Spring 2021, the Provost’s Office approved deans’ requests to create some new one-semester-only Visiting Lecturer positions to increase delivery of on-campus courses offered by the college.  Visiting Lecturers appointed to these Spring-2021-only positions are expected to teach at least 12 credit hours on campus.

What is Hybrid Certification?
There are three required elements that lead to Hybrid Certification: TCU Online training, Hybrid Course, and a one-hour consultation with an assigned eTrainer. More information on Hybrid Certification and alternate ways to meet the training requirement can be found in the “Fall 2020 Online Course Delivery Training Expectations FAQ”. 

What is the deadline for Spring 2021 instructors to complete Hybrid certification?
Spring 2021 instructors must complete Hybrid Certification by Nov. 1, 2020. This deadline is extended to January 18, 2021, for instructors who are on medical leave during the Fall 2020 semester and new adjuncts hired late in the Fall semester.

Who is in charge of redesigning my course?
You are in charge of redesigning your course(s). TCU eTrainers can assist you with designing course elements (e.g., lecture, discussion, lab).

Are there specific criteria that must be considered in redesigning my course? 
Yes. The criteria are broad and intended to verify that you have considered important issues such as equitable testing and inclusive access. Your Dean will adapt these criteria to School/College expectations as they communicate the verification process to you.

How do I get assistance for redesigning my course?
Each instructor has been assigned an eTrainer to assist you with course redesign. eTrainers are instructors identified by your Dean. who have completed additional training.  The Koehler Center also provides training opportunities and resources that may be helpful as you redesign your course.

What new technology is available in the classroom?
Visit virtualclassroom.tcu.edu to see what is being installed in each space, along with a status of the room.

  • Traditional Classrooms with A/V Installed – Two cameras and mics attached to the teacher stations. If a room is not equipped with a computer, faculty can check out a loaner by emailing itloaners@tcu.edu.
  • Traditional Classrooms without A/V Installed – Newline TV with cameras on a cart, built-in computer, mics and cameras.
  • Lab Spaces with or without A/V – Rolling carts with a camera and mic attached. Faculty should bring a laptop to start a zoom session. You may check out a loaner by emailing itloaners@tcu.edu.

What about video teleconferencing training on the new equipment?
Visit virtualclassroom.tcu.edu to see all of the online training for using the A/V and cameras/mics in the classrooms.

Is there a TCU Zoom account?
Yes. Download the Zoom App from tcu.zoom.us and login with your TCU username and password.

Log in to Your TCU Zoom Account

Who do I call to get support with Zoom? What if I want training on Zoom or have more questions? 
Please visit the TCU IT website.

What if In-Person students don’t have computers or have problems with theirs?
TCU has more than 100 computer labs on campus. All computer labs have been redesigned with social distancing and enhanced cleaning. Several will be accessible to students without a reservation or class. Faculty and students also may check out loaner laptops from TCU IT by sending a request to itloaners@tcu.edu.

For other TCU IT questions:
Check www.keepworking.tcu.edu and www.keeplearning.tcu.edu.

Will I still be able to have office hours? 
Yes. Maintaining regular office hours is an important way to maintain the personal interaction that is a hallmark of TCU. Office hours may be conducted virtually or in person, following the guidelines below.

What are the guidelines for in-person office hours? 
Instructors may choose to hold in-person or virtual office hours. If you choose to host students in your office space for academic purposes, such as office hours or advising, you must practice physical distancing and follow University and state and local health and safety guidelines including:

Location 

  • If physical distancing is not possible in the assigned office space, instructors should identify a suitable alternate location.
  • Office furniture must be arranged to ensure 6 feet physical distancing. Ideally, the student chair should be positioned near the door to minimize potential contact within the office.
  • Doors should be secured or propped open to minimize contact at entry and exit.

Rules for Conduct

  • Instructors must keep detailed records of student visitors to allow for contact tracing.
  • Instructors and students will greet each other without physical contact.
  • Instructors and students will wear face coverings and practice physical distancing of no less than six feet.
  • No food or beverages will be served.
  • Limit sharing of supplies and materials. Clean and disinfect any shared materials.
  • All shared technology will be cleaned between uses.
  • Instructors and students will be expected to wipe surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after use. Instructors will ensure that adequate supplies are present.
  • To request cleaning supplies, administrative assistants can place a work order with physical plant in AiM system >  Problem Code  >  Restock – Custodial Items  >  type the specific items needed.

For answers to many questions pertaining to health and safety, visit the TCU Coronavirus COVID-19 website. You may also check the TCU Connected Campus Guide for Faculty and Staff.  

What are the requirements for face coverings and social distancing on the TCU Campus? 
The TCU Community is reminded to continue to remain diligent in wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance in the classroom. If you think you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for over 15 minutes) with an infected person or have questions related to this exposure, contact the TCU COVID-19 hotline at 817-257-2684. 

Should I wear a face shield or a face mask, or both?
Face shields without masks may be worn only while teaching in a physically distanced classroom, which designates an Instructor Zone at least 6 feet from students. Instructors must:

  1. Wear a face mask when entering and exiting a classroom and throughout an academic building.
  2. Only inside the instructor zone in a classroom: Put on the face shield first and then remove your mask. Ensure that the shield wraps around the side of your face and below the chin.
  3. Remain in the instructor zone at all times while wearing a face shield without a face mask.
  4. At the end of class, put on your mask and then remove the shield.

Will classrooms be arranged for social distancing?
Yes. A diagram is posted outside each classroom indicating the maximum capacity and approved furniture arrangement.  Please do not move furniture.

Will signage be in place for social distancing and other guidelines? 
Yes. Signage is posted throughout buildings.

What if I get sick? 
If you are symptomatic for COVID-19 or think you have been exposed:

  • Seek a viral test. You can use the Curative kiosk on campus or University Urgent Care at 3107 Greene Avenue will test insured TCU faculty and staff at no out-of-pocket expenses.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, do not come to campus. If you are on campus, leave immediately and begin the isolation process. Contact the TCU COVID-19 hotline at 817-257-2684. This will begin contact tracing and other services.
  • Contact your Dean to assure your class is covered by another instructor.

What if a student gets sick in my classroom? 
If the student needs immediate medical attention or transportation call 9-1-1. If the student is healthy enough to return to their place of residence, instruct them to go there and contact the TCU Health Center as soon as possible. If possible, ask them to wipe down their classroom space to disinfect the exposed area. You may terminate the class period and continue it as a remote session.

Will I be notified if a student tests positive for COVID-19? 
In the case that a student tests positive for COVID-19, all in-person class instructors will be notified, along with their Dean and the Dean/Building manager of the located classroom. Typically, no further action will be needed on the part of the instructor.

Will I be notified if a student must attend classes virtually because of self-isolation or self-quarantine requirements? 
Campus Life will notify instructors by email if a student will be unable to attend classes in person. The email will provide the student’s name and expected dates. The student will be advised to communicate with their instructor.

What if the student was in close contact with others in the classroom?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines close contact as someone who is within 6 feet of an infected person for over 15 minutes within 48 hours of symptom onset. Since classrooms are arranged for physical distancing, there should be no close contact in most cases.

Will the classroom be disinfected?
TCU Facility Services disinfects all ALL TCU classrooms nightly, so the room does not need to be closed beyond the time needed for the nightly disinfection. TCU Facility Services will analyze the exposure and initiate any additional disinfection protocols.

What can I do if a student doesn’t comply with TCU’s health and safety protocols?
Students will be expected to practice physical distancing and wear protective face coverings at all times while in public spaces on the TCU campus. Failure to do so in the classroom could result in the student being asked to leave the room and continue the class through remote access. Additionally, the instructor has the option to terminate the class period and continue it as a remote session. Failure to comply with the instructor’s request to adhere to TCU policy regarding face coverings or repeat violations may be reported to Campus Life.

Providing extra-curricular engagement for our students is an important element of a vibrant college experience. To continue to offer these opportunities, TCU is committed to adhering to health and safety policies at the University, County and State levels. To help you plan and approve your event, we have created a form and approval process. Forms are locateded in the drop-down menu.

Which types of activities or events (outside of class) must be registered and/or approved?
All off-campus activities and all on-campus activities that involve a structured gathering of more than 10 people must be registered and/or approved. This includes both indoor or outdoor activities. Note that restrictions exist for food service, outdoor gatherings, campus visitors, and others.

What is the process for registering/approving activities?
Predominately, off-campus activities will be limited to those critical to the mission of the University. The sponsor of the activity or program must complete and submit the appropriate form (below) to request approval. The intention is to ensure adherence to the most current health and safety guidelines and collect important information for contact tracing, if necessary. Submit forms to ConnectedCampus@tcu.edu.

Stage 3 and 4 On-Campus Activity Approval Form

Stage 3 and 4 Off-Campus Activity Approval Form

Note: University, County and State guidance are complex and continuously adapting to the current situation. While current restrictions are frustrating, these restrictions will not be required forever.  We will reassess in early September, once we’ve demonstrated that, as a community, we are able to successfully navigate health and safety protocols.

May I bring visitors to campus, such as guest speakers and judges for competitions?
We encourage you to consider virtual guest speakers and judges. You may find that you have even more volunteers from across the country and around the world via virtual options.

Only TCU employees and authorized contractors and vendors should be on campus until restrictions are lifted and officially communicated by the Chancellor. Any on-campus visitor must be mission-critical. You must complete and submit the form below to request approval. Visitors, if allowed, are required to follow TCU health and safety protocols. Submit forms to ConnectedCampus@tcu.edu.

Stage 3 and 4 On-Campus Activity Approval Form

What about virtual events?
When possible, events should be administered and attended virtually. Zoom videoconferencing is available to all TCU community members and can be used to move an event, or portions of it, online.

Can students participate in off-campus internships, clinicals, research or similar experience earning academic credit? 
Our goal is to permit in-person internships and clinicals earning academic credit starting February 1, 2021. Prior to participating in person, all students must complete the Assumption of Risk Form and COVID addendum.  These forms, along with a log of student participants, must be maintained in the Dean’s office.

COVID Student Release Internships and Activities Final

Informed Consent and Assumption of Risk Form FINAL

What about extending the probationary period in the case of an extraordinary experience or event beyond the individual’s control?
The pandemic is imposing personal challenges on each of us. The TCU Faculty-Staff Handbook states, “In the case of an extraordinary experience or event beyond the individual’s control that affects a non-tenured faculty member’s performance… the faculty member may request an extension of the probationary period” (p. 52). Faculty, within their first five years on the tenure track, may request an extension to their probationary period based on COVID-19 as an extraordinary experience. All requests should be facilitated through your Dean.

Should I record Zoom meetings (non-classroom material)?
As a professional courtesy, you should notify colleagues at the start of a Zoom session that you will be recording. By default, Zoom notifies meeting participants that a meeting is being recorded, but it is still a good idea to state at the start of the meeting, “This session is being recorded. If you prefer to STOP VIDEO or MUTE, please do so.”