Pandemic Business Continuity
Online services for Faculty and Students in case of school closure
As you are probably aware, the Swine flu pandemic continued to produce cases in the US throughout its off-season, and flu season returns this fall. While it has had a fairly mild effect in the vast majority of cases to date, it does spread like wildfire. Schools across the country are bracing for flu season this fall, including Purchase.
In a worst case scenario, if the campus were to close due to pandemic pandemonium or other emergency during the semester for a period of several weeks or more, there are a variety of tools that could help the faculty and students continue their studies and complete the semester. These tools include both low-tech (email!) and hi-tech options, and the college’s Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) is offering a series of faculty workshops over the next few weeks that may help you get started.
Some course activities translate more easily than others into an online environment. It is easy to see how writing assignments, discussions, and even tests can be conducted through the internet without too much effort – but a painting or dance class is another matter entirely. Whatever your discipline, we encourage all faculty to begin considering their options and strategizing on how to cope with a disruptive campus closing during the semester.
The services below are available to faculty and students, and are listed in low-tech to high-tech order:
Purchase College Email
Each faculty and staff member is assigned an email account. You can use your account from any computer with an Internet connection and a standard Web Browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.) by going to the Purchase Home Page and following the email link in the page footer. Your account is used for official communications to and from the College and students, and it provides access to self-service web applications (grades, class lists, etc.) Your account also provides access to online Library resources and reserved readings, and to the Moodle and Blackboard course management systems.
CTS automatically creates an email distribution list for each class, with the faculty member as the list manager. The new Banner system introduces changes in the term format, the course numbering format, and eliminates section numbers. The format for summer 2014 classes and beyond is YYYY-TERM-Subject-Code-CRN@purchase.edu or for example 2014-40-WRl1105email@example.com. Faculty do not have to create their own lists.
(Banner Term codes are 20=Summer, 40=Fall, 55=Winter, 60=Spring)
Each faculty advisor has a distribution list containing their advisees:adv.faculty.FirstName.LastName@purchase.edu.
If you are the head of a Board of Study there is a list of your majors (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org ).
There is a faculty listserve Faculty.Discuss@purchase.edu open to all faculty members. This list is moderated by the Faculty at Large President, and is for discussion of faculty matters.
All Purchase College email distribution lists can be used from any email account, on or off campus using the format List.Name@purchase.edu.
Purchase College Voice Mail and Unified Messaging
Purchase College provides Voice Mail for each campus phone, and has an option for Unified Messaging service which forwards all of your campus voice-mail to your College email account as sound files. To sign up for Unified Messaging, contact CTS at x6465 or submit a request through the CTS Work Order System. This is an excellent way to get your voice mail messages when you are away from your office.
Remote Access VPN, File Servers and Remote Desktop
Purchase also has a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service available for faculty and staff. The VPN connects your home computer or remote laptop to the campus network – and optionally to your office computer by remote desktop session. This means you have access to all the programs and data that you are accustomed to on your office computer – from home. The VPN also provides access to your Home Directory and other file shares on our servers. The VPN is very cool and very convenient, and it could make a very big difference if you cannot come into your office – but you must set it up in advance. If you want to use the VPN, call CTS at 251-6465 or submit a request through the CTS Work Order System.
The college has the Moodle online Learning Management System (LMS). A LMS is basically a web site for each class. Moodle includes a wide variety of tools and plug-ins that provide rich functionality for students and faculty administrative services such as quizzes and gradebooks. Contact the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center to find out about Moodle workshops and other training opportunities.
Online quizzes can be created at any time, and posted during a certain window of opportunity. You can alert students to an upcoming quiz via email. Students can use their Purchase credentials to log in and take the quiz.
Moodle contains “online Quiz” functions. Moodle allows faculty to create quizzes that contain text and multiple choice style tests, and allow you to embed/link to various media. For instance, you can embed an audio file or a picture and ask students to provide a context or analysis of it.
The College’s ClassApps Web survey tool (available on the Portal Page) can also be used to administer tests online. The ClassApps Web Survey provides a rich array of question types, branching functions, and other features that allow you to create elaborate tests. There is even a built-in response scoring function for non-text (multiple choice) answers. Surveys can be authenticated with Purchase college student credentials, and you can release the URL via email and close it at the end of the testing window (which can be as long or as short as you want).
Web 2.0 Tools
CTS also runs a Wiki Server. This can be used for classes or as a collaboration tool.
The college has Zoom videoconferencing available. Zoom can be used to connect a group of dispersed individuals with laptops webcams in a unified group with a shared whiteboard and document workspace. This works reasonably well for small groups – you can see and hear each person in a thumb nail video, and share documents.
Skype is an internet based telephone application that also includes video if you have a webcam on your computer. While Skype is best for one-to-one video connections, it also supports small groups for conference activities, and provides tools for white-boarding and sharing documents.
Software for your home computer
The College has a Microsoft Campus Agreement that provides work-at-home rights for MS Office (Word, Excel, Outlook Email, PowerPoint, and Access Database) for all faculty and staff home computers. The software is free, but must be ordered on media or download costing about $15 per copy. The order form is linked from the Downloads Page. The College also provides Anti-Virus work-at-home licenses for all faculty and staff home computers. That software can be downloaded directly from the Downloads page.
Administrative Computing Services for Faculty
The Web Portal contains the Master Calendar of Events, Announcements from College Officers, Deans and Directors, and links to the Employee Services site.
The Employee Services site is where Faculty and staff self-service web applications such as class lists, grades, enrollment reports, committee web sites, and other resources can be found.
The Campus Technology Services (CTS) provides telephone and on-site support services for network access and standard applications. The CTS Service Center in SS0025 is open to 7:45pm Monday through Thursday, and to 4:45pm Friday. You can also contact us at (914) 251-6465.
CTS uses Remote Assistance to troubleshoot and resolve most problems. The Technical Support staff strives to provide responsive on-the-spot or same-day service for faculty and staff.
College-owned computers are provided for all full-time faculty, and are running Windows 10 or the latest Mac OSX.
Other Faculty Technology Resources
The Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) provides extensive support for faculty and staff using the Web based Moodle course management systems. the TLTC is located in the Purchase college Library. For more information, contact the TLTC at 251-6440.
Please keep in mind that if the campus closes, CTS and TLTC staff may not be on campus either, the helpdesk may not be fully staffed to answer calls, etc. We encourage everyone to plan ahead to avoid delays.