Remote Access to Classes

Remote Access to Classes

Guidance for Faculty and Students


Teachers College is committed to the in-person class experience, while also being flexible enough to accommodate the changing pandemic landscape. We want to reduce uncertainty for instructors as they prepare their lessons and ensure that the in-class experience is supported by consistent student attendance.

  • The following guidelines have been set for Spring 2022 and may change in response to changing circumstances.
  • Instructors are not expected to determine the veracity of remote access requests. Only explain the guidelines and report the number of requests.
  • It is important that we monitor remote access requests to combine with other data that informs decisions around our COVID-19 response, community sentiment toward on-campus instruction and the support needs for students and faculty.

Temporary Remote Access to Classes for Students

When is temporary remote access permitted?

Remote access to an in-person Teachers College course is restricted to those students who cannot attend for COVID-19 related reasons. Temporary access to remote instruction can be granted in the following cases:

  • Positive COVID-19 test (please see contact tracing information also)
  • Quarantine requirements due to exposure to person(s) with a positive COVID-19 test
  • COVID-19 related child care or caretaker responsibilities (COVID-19 required school or work closures, family member quarantine requirements)
  • When the vaccination process has been initiated but not completed and the student has received special permission from the Division of Student Affairs

Students must request and receive permission directly from their instructor for temporary remote access prior to class. Students Affairs does not need to review these requests.

When is temporary remote access not permitted?

Lack of vaccination or booster shot without an approved medical or religious exemption is not grounds for remote instruction. An approved COVID-19 and flu vaccination is a requirement to enroll in classes at Teachers College.

In other cases where students are unable to attend class, remote access is not an option. For example, non-COVID-19 illness or work or family responsibilities. In these cases alternative accommodations should be made available, for example class recording, office hours, make-up sessions or shared class notes.

Long Term Remote Access to Classes for Students

Long-term Remote Access to classes is being considered for students who were approved for Long-term Remote Access in the Fall 2021 semester only. In-person students from the Fall 2021 semester will not be eligible to request Long-term Remote access for the Spring 2022 semester. Remote access to Teachers College classes for COVID-related reasons for more than three consecutive classes or 10 days (whichever is shorter) requires approval through the Division of Student Affairs. Please email returntocampus@tc.columbia.edu with requests for approval to study remotely on a Long-term basis. As a reminder, failure to comply with vaccination requirements is not grounds for Long-term remote access.

Reporting

Teachers College is obligated to notify NYC Health + Hospitals of positive COVID-19 tests and we also maintain our own contact tracing system. Therefore, faculty who are notified by a student of a positive COVID-19 test must tell the student to report their result to the college.

In addition to this reporting requirement DFI will select a random sample of 85 instructors who will be sent a survey asking two questions.

  • How many students did you give permission to this week to study remotely? (0 or more)
  • Did you hold a class remotely? Y/N

These results will be used to monitor the extent to which remote access is being utilized.

Faculty Request for Remote Access Guidelines

Temporary Remote Access for an Entire Class

Converting an entire class from in-person to remote instruction should be limited to the following COVID-19 related circumstances:

  • A College-wide decision to move instruction online in response to external circumstances
  • Other COVID-19 related circumstances such as:
    • Instructor has positive COVID-19 test (please see contact tracing information also)
    • Instructor is exposed to person(s) with a positive COVID-19 test
    • COVID-19 related child care or caretaker responsibilities (COVID-19 required school or work closures, family member quarantine requirements)
  • Also, remote instruction should only be utilized when the following options have been exhausted:
    • A suitable substitute instructor cannot conduct the class in the instructor’s absence
    • The class cannot be rescheduled or made up in another way that maintains the requisite number of credit hours for the semester
  • In the case that a class is to be temporarily held remotely, students should still attend the classroom in person with a CA/TA if available. If there is no CA/TA please contact DFI for assistance.
  • All other non-COVID-19 illness or absences should be handled in the same way as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with the Faculty Handbook Section 7, Page 7.
  • The available technology, support and internet connection on the Teachers College campus makes it more suitable than individuals’ homes for running a class even for a sizeable number of remote learners.
  • If using the Honorlock system to administer an exam the option to take the exam remotely can be offered to students but the classroom must also be available to any student who needs a quiet space to perform the exam.
  • Instructors who have historically incorporated remote instruction into their courses must work with their Department Chairs to ensure that we are balancing the pedagogical value of these strategies against the needs of the college to focus our energies on responding to the changing nature of the pandemic.

Long Term Remote Access for an Entire Class

Remote access for more than three classes or 10 days (whichever is shorter) must be approved by Department Chairs and the Provost. These classes will be re-coded as online by the Registrar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Faculty

Jump ahead for employees in international locations questions.

Prior to the start of the semester, instructors will receive class lists that identify the names and UNIs of any students who have permission to study remotely. These notifications will be sent weekly until the end of the Add/Drop period. Department chairs and DAAs will also receive a spreadsheet of all students with permission to study remotely each week.

Students will access Zoom through Canvas course sites. All Canvas course sites will be populated with Zoom links by the Digital Futures Institute. The meetings are password protected though any student who is enrolled in the class can access without a password. Due to security concerns, it is recommended that you don’t share the meeting link with students via email or post the link explicitly in the Canvas pages or syllabus. Please always instruct students to access the meetings through the Zoom tab in Canvas. Here is the instruction for students to join class meetings in Canvas. You can also learn tips to make Zoom meetings more secure at this link.

Yes, you will need to ask in-class students to access the meeting through the Zoom tab in Canvas and provide students the meeting password if they are not enrolled in the course.

This is not ideal but may be necessary if timezone differences do not allow synchronous interaction. If lecture capture recordings are used to support remote students' learning they should be accompanied by opportunities for synchronous participation or other forms of interaction. Please reach out to the Digital Futures Institute for best practices in recording asynchronous material and other instructional resources. As a reminder, using recordings of a class session from a previous semester that contains audio or images of students is prohibited.

Remote access to an in-person Teachers College course is restricted to those students who cannot attend for COVID-related reasons. Temporary access to remote instruction can be granted in the following cases: 

  • Positive COVID-19 test (please see contact tracing information also)
  • Quarantine requirements due to exposure to person(s) with a positive COVID-19 test
  • COVID-related child care or caretaker responsibilities (COVID-19 required school or work closures, family member quarantine requirements)
  • When the vaccination process has been initiated but not completed and the student has received special permission from the Vice Provost of Student Affairs

Students must receive permission from their instructor for remote access prior to class. Instructors are not expected to verify students’ requests, however, students with positive test results are obligated to notify the College in accordance with New York City and contact tracing requirements. Lack of vaccination without an approved medical or religious exemption is not grounds for remote instruction. An approved COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement to enroll in classes at Teachers College.

Additionally, the Digital Futures Institute will contact a random sample of instructors each week to estimate the utilization of remote access.

Converting an entire class from in-person to temporary remote instruction should be limited to the following COVID-related circumstances:

  • A College-wide decision to move instruction online in response to external circumstances
  • Other COVID-related circumstances such as:
    • Instructor has positive COVID-19 test (please see contact tracing information also)
    • Instructor is exposed to person(s) with a positive COVID-19 test
    • COVID-related child care or caretaker responsibilities ( COVID-19 required school or work closures, family member quarantine requirements)

Also, remote instruction should only be utilized when the following options have been exhausted:

  • A suitable substitute instructor cannot conduct the class in the instructor’s absence
  • The class cannot be rescheduled or made up in another way that maintains the requisite number of credit hours for the semester

In the case that a class is to be temporarily held remotely, students should still attend the classroom in person with a CA/TA if available. If there is no CA/TA please reach out to the Digital Futures Institute for assistance.

Also, please be sure to notify the college of any positive COVID-19 status.

If one student can attend a class in person, that class should be taught in person. The available technology, support and internet connection on the Teachers College campus makes it more suitable than individuals’ homes for running a class even for a sizeable number of remote learners.

Classrooms will not be sanitized between every class. Facilities and Operations have developed cleaning protocols in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and EPA.

If using the Honorlock system to administer an exam, remote completion can be offered as an option to students but the classroom must also be available to any student who needs a quiet space to perform the exam.

Students

Jump ahead for international student questions.

Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination. However you will not be able to attend in-person classes if you are not fully vaccinated at least 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

Yes, as long as they comply with additional weekly Covid-19 PCR testing and other preventive requirements as specified in the exemption approval and as may be updated by later notification and/or posting of requirements on the TC website. In the event of an outbreak on or near campus, individuals holding exemptions may be excluded from all campus facilities and activities, for their protection, until the outbreak is declared to be over.

One vaccine submission is required per person. Staff members who are also students should indicate on their proof of vaccination form that they are an employee. When an employee is in their student role (ie, in class), they must follow the Student COVID-19 Protocols established for students who are attending in-person classes and they are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

Remote access to class will only be permitted for COVID-19 related reasons. For temporary remote access (1-2 classes), please request permission from your faculty member to attend remotely. Long term remote access requires approval through the Division of Student Affairs and does not need to be reported to your professor as they will be made aware. Refer to the Remote Access to Classes page for more information.

Long-term Remote Access to classes is being considered for students who were approved for long-term Remote Access in the Fall 2021 semester only. In-person students from the Fall 2021 semester will not be eligible to request Long-term Remote access for the Spring 2022 semester. Remote access to Teachers College classes for COVID-related reasons for more than three consecutive classes or 10 days (whichever is shorter) requires approval through the Division of Student Affairs. Please email returntocampus@tc.columbia.edu with requests for approval to study remotely on a Long-term basis. As a reminder, failure to comply with vaccination requirements is not grounds for Long-term remote access. Long-term remote access will not be granted once the add/drop period has ended.

If a student is eligible to attend remote class, they will be able to access Zoom through Canvas course sites.

Computing requirements for students can be found here.

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