Engineering update: Some updates on S2020 and F2020 for instructors

Thursday, May 28, 2020

This message was originally sent to instructors in the Faculty of Engineering by Daniel Davison, associate dean, undergraduate studies.

(a) Feedback on S2020 term:  From my perspective, so far the term is going remarkably smoothly, considering we had only weeks to prepare for our first fully online term.  EngSoc had their first council meeting recently.  I thought their feedback is worth sharing with everyone.  Some key points:

  • students appreciate being able to pause and review lecture recordings
  • students especially like videos where instructors write on powerpoint (or equivalent)
  • there is some frustration about the wide range of technology being used
  • students report a greater disconnect between students and instructors
  • it is desirable for each course to keep to a schedule (even for asynchronous events, release videos at regular intervals) to help students schedule their weeks
  • there is some concern by students if they are learning enough, especially with no hands-on lab experience this term

(b) F2020 plans:  About 95% of all F2020 academic activity will be online.  Each Faculty has spelled out its undergraduate plans (and, as a bonus, graduate plans).
(c) F2020 scheduling:  This is a high priority item.  Scheduling reps will be contacted soon.
(d) F2020 1A enrollment:  The deadline for students to accept offers from universities is June 1.  Stay tuned.
(e) Privacy guidelines about recording videos in courses:  I'm not sure when this was released, but the university has guidelines.  I think the most important takeaway is that students must be clearly informed if anything is being recorded, and if students don't want to be on a video, that should be respected.
(f) The University supports Microsoft Teams and some people are finding it's a good venue for courses.  If you want to learn more about it, there is a session being run by Microsoft
(g) Tip of the day:  If you are using LEARN for a quiz/test and do not want students accessing certain materials, make those materials "invisible" to students.  Right-click on any file or folder you want to hide.  This is better than doing nothing, but note that pro-active students can download your entire LEARN site onto their own computers beforehand, defeating the "invisible" feature.
Best wishes with the remainder of the term and preparations for the fall.