FAQs: Return to Campus Fall 2021

What will Fall 2021 look like?

Looking ahead to fall, we plan to resume a normal range of campus activities, though with some measures to reduce density where needed. Overall, we expect:

  • Primarily in-person classes.
  • Typical occupancy for USC Housing.
  • Indoor and outdoor dining options for students.
  • Resumption of most student-life activities.

What support will the university offer to faculty members during this transition from online back to onground instruction?

USC ITS and CET continue to be available to faculty who are transiting from online back on onground instruction. Support services will also continue to support faculty who teach online.

Can all faculty conduct research in the fall?

Please view the latest updates from USC’s Office of Research.

How can I prevent Zoombombing during my online classes, and what should I do if it happens?

Zoombombing is a form of trolling where a participant uses Zoom’s screensharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes. Please view resources to prevent Zoombombing during your classes.

Should Zoombombing occur during your class, please alert your dean of faculty. Students, staff, and faculty who are impacted by protected class (like race, sex, gender, religion, or national origin) misconduct during Zoom sessions should be referred to eeotix@usc.edu for supportive resources and reporting options.

Does USC provide any guidance for how to best proctor or administer exams remotely?

Yes, please see recommendations from ITS.

How can I accommodate students in my courses who have disabilities?

The Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS) is the campus unit that works with students with disabilities. All of OSAS’s operations can appropriately serve students who are enrolled in in-person classes, online classes, and both types of classes.

How do I access the collections, programs, and services of the USC Libraries for my online or onground course?

The USC Libraries offer extensive resources and expertise that support both onground and online teaching, research and learning.

Subscription journals and databases, digital collections, remote research help, and many other library services and programs are available. The libraries also make several streaming services available, including music and film collections.

In most cases, the libraries can ship books or other materials from USC’s collections. If the item you need appears available in the libraries’ online catalog, request shipment using the “Request via interlibrary loan” link. Please note that “Request via interlibrary loan” is the correct option for requesting books from the USC Libraries’ collections that are marked as available. This is necessary to initiate the shipping process. You will receive the book from USC Libraries rather than the interlibrary loan.

Faculty can schedule information literacy and other library instruction for their classes, and subject specialists can help students with research projects and other coursework in person or via Zoom. Both physical course reserves and electronic reserves will be available in the fall.

The USC Libraries maintain a detailed set of online research guides that include information on subject-specific resources. You can also find more specific information on digital collections of primary sources.

The most current information on USC Libraries’ services, collections, and programs is available at libraries.usc.edu/coronavirus. Students and faculty with questions about library resources can contact the libraries remotely through email and chat services.

Where can I find the USC-branded Zoom backgrounds?

You can download a variety of USC-branded Zoom backgrounds via this link.

How can I get needed equipment to my students?

For students returning to campus this fall, you may return to normal operations for distribution of equipment to students.

For students who will not be returning to campus this fall:

For students outside of the Los Angeles area, please continue to ship whatever equipment is necessary. We recommend that your teams insure all equipment being distributed for its full replacement value.

Students who live in the Los Angeles area may come to campus to pick up the equipment they require to complete their course work.

Please be sure to remind any students coming to campus to follow guidelines about vaccinations and COVID testing provided by the university.

Online or Hybrid Streaming Courses

If I continue to teach online or using a streaming hybrid model in the fall, do I need to offer my classes asynchronously to accommodate students living in different time zones?

Professors who will continue to teach online or using a streaming hybrid model in the fall, should record classes and make them available to students to watch whenever it is convenient for them. Please see the FAQs below regarding asynchronous teaching.

If I am still teaching online or am using a streaming hybrid model in the fall, do I have to record my synchronous (live) lectures or class sessions?

Yes. All online or streaming hybrid class sessions must be recorded, with audio transcripts, whether you use Zoom or another platform. Zoom is already set to transcribe video recordings. If you wish to check your settings, there is an ITS Document under the “Live Transcription” accordion that shows you how to do this.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are still displaced, and some do not have access to the typical support structures they need to take their courses. Many are facing challenges that make it difficult for them to be present for a live (synchronous) online class. These challenges include caregiving responsibilities, unstable or inaccessible internet connections, time zone differences, and illness. Equally important is our commitment to providing an equitable learning experience for our students who need accommodations.

There are two things we all can and must do to address this if we are teaching an online or streaming hybrid course:

  1. Record all lectures/class sessions, with audio transcripts, and make the recordings and transcripts available to students asynchronously (at any time outside of class time).
  2. Make all course materials, including those used during lectures and class sessions (such as faculty notes or slides), available to students asynchronously.

Time zones for your students can be found on your roster through grading and roster system. Time zone comparisons can be found on this CET resource.

To whom should I make these recordings available?

If you are teaching online or are using a streaming hybrid model this fall, links to all lecture/class session recordings and transcripts should be made available to all students in your course. There may be students who need asynchronous access to your course who are too uncomfortable, or may not be able to tell you that they need access to a recording due to illness or internet access challenges. USC’s priority is to provide high quality and inclusive instruction within a stable and predictable structure. Every student should have access to all learning options at all times.

Who controls these recordings?

Faculty control access to the links of their class recordings and transcripts in Zoom, which is the platform centrally supported by USC. If your school uses a different platform, please consult your school’s IT department for answers.

Once recordings and transcripts are processed and available in Zoom, your students should have access to them automatically through Blackboard. If you are using a learning management system other than Blackboard, please check with your school’s IT department. There is an ITS resource under the “Share Recorded Zoom Sessions” accordion that shows you how to control access manually.

Students will have access to three files for each class: A video recording, an audio recording and a written transcript.

How long are cloud recordings stored in the Zoom app?

In Zoom, recording and transcript files are automatically removed after one year. Zoom allows you to delete them at any time; however, you should keep them throughout your course so that students can access them at any time.

If you also wish to keep your recorded lectures or class sessions in your personal archive, you can download them to your computer. Guidance can be found on ITS’ Keep Teaching Website under the “Share Recorded Zoom Sessions”  or “Publish or Download a Zoom Recording From Blackboard” accordions.

When can I delete the recordings?

Faculty can delete their recording and transcript files after their online or streaming hybrid course is over and final grades have been submitted. There is a CET document that shows you how to do this.

Why do I have to create asynchronous course materials in an online or streaming hybrid course if I am holding my class synchronously?

There may be students who have connectivity challenges in their homes, which makes video conferencing or even watching a video online a challenge. Providing the course materials in more than one way, accessible at any time, helps alleviate these challenges.

What if I need help creating the appropriate asynchronous materials for my students?

CET provides resources on effective asynchronous and flipped classroom teaching strategies. If you would like individual support in creating these materials, please contact CET.

What if I want to share my unpublished scholarly work with my online or streaming hybrid class? How can I ensure that it remains private if the class recording is shared with students?

USC will notify students through Blackboard that they may not share class recordings or transcripts outside of their classes. Faculty should remind students of their ethical responsibility as emerging professionals to keep this information private.

However, if you are concerned about protecting any unpublished scholarship, you may decide not to include that information in your recorded classes out of an abundance of caution. You may also wish to consult with colleagues who teach online about how they typically manage this concern.

What if my students share personal information in my online or streaming hybrid class? How will that information be kept private if the class recording is shared with students?

Students are notified in advance that classes are being recorded and are given the option of muting their own audio/video. Students will also be instructed through Blackboard that the recordings may not be shared with anyone outside the class. Faculty should remind students that the class is being recorded and the options available to them, as well as of their ethical responsibility as emerging professionals to keep personal information shared in class private.

There is a Zoom function that allows faculty to trim the beginning and end of the recording in case private conversations with students after class are picked up on video. Please reach out to ITS for more information on this.

Will my recorded lecture or class session be used to evaluate my teaching?

The purpose of asking all faculty to record their online or streaming hybrid classes is to ensure that all of our students have access to our lectures and class discussions. If you normally teach your course in person and are teaching online due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the university will not be accessing your recordings to evaluate your teaching.

However, if your school has decided, through a shared governance process, that class recordings are helpful to the evaluation process, or you typically teach online and review of recorded class sessions is part of the normal peer evaluation process in your school, that process is not changed by this policy. Faculty who have questions about their school’s policies should consult their schools about how video recordings of classes are used in faculty development or evaluation.

Last updated July 2021