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HawkFLEX FAQs

Fall 2021 General FAQs for instructors
  • Where can I find the health and safety protocols and policies issued by the University and the State?  What are the rules regarding vaccination?  Are all students vaccinated?

All information and updates will be found on the COVID-19 Information website. In particular, instructors will find the following sections pertinent: Reporting, Testing, Tracing & Safety FAQs and Faculty & Staff Procedures.

  • I’m concerned about ventilation.  Where do I find that information? 

University Facilities is home to the Environmental Health and Safety Office which maintains the COVID-19 Facilities FAQs. If you are concerned about a specific classroom’s ventilation, use the Facilities work order system, Maximo, to raise your concern. Contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office with concerns regarding air quality issues at ehs@montclair.edu.

  • How do instructors guide students who test positive for, or believe they may have, COVID-19?

Tell the student to stay home (or remain in their residence hall room) or if on campus, to return home or to their room, and do Hawk Check immediately. Doing Hawk Check will alert the University Health Center (UHC), who will follow up with the student to gather information so as to generate the process for the university to offer care and engage in public health protocols. If you are concerned that your student may not have reported their health status, you may contact the University Health Center at 973-655-3549 or askanurse@montclair.edu. For academic or other support, students should be directed to contact their College/School advising center or the Dean of Students Office. If they need accommodations, students should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC has created a form for students to use to begin the process. For more advice, see Academic continuity planning for Fall 2021.

  • If I am teaching a class on campus, do I have to accommodate students who request to attend via Zoom or be allowed asynchronous options because they don’t feel comfortable, are nervous, worried, or anxious about the classroom environment?  

No.

  • If students are unable to come to class due to having COVID-19 or being exposed to COVID-19, how will faculty be notified of students’ legitimate absences, and what is the expectation in regards to faculty providing accommodations? 

The University will follow the same procedure that was in place during Spring 2021. Faculty will be notified by the Office of the Dean of Students regarding a verified absence. As the faculty of record, it is in their purview to decide what is appropriate. Guidance and suggestions are found at Academic Continuity Planning for Fall 2021.

  • What if I am unable to attend an in-person class per a University Health Center directive?

As was the case pre-COVID, instructors work with their department chairs to make arrangements for how to cover class if they are unable to attend.  However, with the skills and supportive technologies we have mastered over the last year, a viable option is to conduct classes online for a short period of time. Whether or not it is the best option is dependent on many individual factors, which is why department chair consultation is essential.

  • If a student is found to have had COVID-19 when they were in my classroom, should I just assume that we all should quarantine or isolate and that I should cancel in-person classes?

No. The University Health Center manages all decisions around quarantine and isolation. Recall that MSU requires student vaccinations, and so the strategies are different than they were when we didn’t have vaccines. And, science-based recommended has evolved since last spring, and we follow the science.

  •  Will instructors be notified if an unvaccinated person tests positive? Who is making sure these students are attending their testing schedule?

Instructors will not be notified unless contract tracing investigations require it, following CDC protocols and recommendations from the state of NJ. SLCL is asking students to let their faculty know if they are going to be out of class due to COVID-related matters. The Dean of Students office will also outreach to faculty regarding students who may need assistance during their time away from campus.

  • What about unvaccinated students? What are the policies and procedures for these students?

See Weekly COVID Newsletter August 27, 2021. Students who have been approved for exemption from vaccination are tested regularly.  Compliance is managed by IT, SDCL, and the UHC testing center, with test reports sent to the SDCL team four times a day. Students in residence halls who are exempt from vaccination follow a rigorous protocol that includes oversight by a professional staff member.

  • What procedures are followed for religious exemption?  Were any students denied?

The UHC followed the guidelines set forth by the State of NJ N.J.A.C. 8:57-6.15. Yes, some students were denied.

  • As an instructor, will I be informed about individuals in my classes who are not vaccinated?

No. Information on the vaccination status of individual students cannot be provided to the faculty.  Faculty cannot ask students either. The comprehensive strategy for health and safety is detailed on the COVID-19 information page.

  • How do students seek accommodation if they are in a F2F course and believe they can no longer attend F2F?

Students who selected an on-campus class but develop a need for exemption from scheduled on-campus experiences will apply for an accommodation with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC has created a form for students to use to begin the process.

  • If students tell their professor that they cannot come to class because someone they live with is not vaccinated, and with new data on Delta and the spreading of COVID-19 by vaccinated people, they realizes that they could carry the vaccine home even if they are vaccinated, what is the professor’s obligation and latitude? That is, are faculty required to accommodate students in such a situation?

No. Instructors are not required to support flexibility if an individual chooses not to come to class due to their household vaccination status.  If faculty are unsure how to respond, they can consult with their department chair or the DOS office.

  • What do I do if a student refuses to put on a mask?

The first strategy is to ask students to put on their masks. If a student absolutely refuses, you cantell the student to leave your class and contact the Dean of Students office. In the very unlikely event of a dangerous situation, as always, call the University Police at 973-655-5222. Faculty who taught on campus in AY21-22 had these concerns in August of 2020, but they found that students were very compliant in their classes.

  • Will students who have not been vaccinated (having appealed for health or religious reasons) be on campus and in classes?

Yes. Students who have had their appeals approved due to medical or religious exemptions have been informed they must wear a mask on campus and are subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing 2x per week. All must continue to follow COVID-19 protocols. See COVID-19 Information subpage on Vaccination Policy for more details on what is required of students who are exempted from the vaccination requirement.

  • If students are on campus who have not been vaccinated, what protections will be in place for those students and the students, faculty, and staff who are around them?

We are an open campus. Those who have not been vaccinated and have had their accommodation appeals denied were informed they cannot access campus or campus activities, e.g., classes, activities, meetings. There is no tracking protocol that will monitor individuals as they leave or enter campus. Students will be required and expected to follow University protocols. Students who have been found in violation of University policy will be subject to sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct.

  • Are there recommendations for office hours for the Fall?

Colleges and schools may make their own decisions regarding office hours, but in the absence of a policy, we recommend including virtual Zoom office hours via video conferencing.  Call them Zoom Student Hours. 

  • What about communicating in the classroom with masks.  Any advice?

Yes.  See Classroom communication while masked.

  • If the modality an instructor begins with is not working for pedagogical reasons, can the instructor change modality?

No. You should not change your course modality.  If you believe you have an exceptional situation, consult your department who will advise you further, and if appropriate, seek an exception from the college or school dean’s office.

  • How is Hawk2Hawk different from the traditional F2F classroom setting? 

It isn’t.

  • If a student wishes not to attend what is constructed as a F2F course, must the instructor then have to repeat the same lesson via Panopto or by providing asynchronous materials? 

No.  Faculty are not required to teach in multiple modalities simultaneously.  In fact, unless you are scheduled to teach in a course that is pre-determined to mix modalities (HawkMIX, for example), you are discouraged from attempting to teach in multiple modalities as it will lessen the class experience provided by the original modality.

  • Do I have to come to campus if my class is Hawk2Hawk?

Yes.

  • For classes that include synchronous online components and require class participation and engagement — HawkLIVE, and in some cases, HawkMIX –should students be expected to show themselves on video?

Yes. See Zoom Etiquette for more details. Also available as a page for Canvas download in Canvas Commons.

  • How will students be informed of the equipment requirements for each modality?

Information about equipment requirements for each modality is available on the Registrar’s page. In addition, instructors should re-post the equipment requirements on the syllabus as yet another reminder.  

  • Are there any differences in retention between online and F2F modalities?

Yes.  Online courses and programs typically struggle with retention more so than is the case with F2F courses and programs.  Instructors teaching fully online should be watching for engagement/activity, and seek to re-engage students who drop off and report problems and concerns in Navigate, requesting tutoring, studying skills, or even help with navigating Canvas, if that’s appropriate, or simply to provide information for advisers.

  • Outdoor space inquiries
    • The Amphitheater can be reserved through Andy Dickerson, Production Coordinator at Kasser Theater.
    • The Student Center Quad area tents can be reserved through 25Live.
    • Athletic spaces, i.e. bleachers etc., are currently not reservable, but if someone inquires they can be directed to the Athletics department
    • For other outdoor spaces, contact University facilities.  You will need to know the specific date and time that you would like to use a specific outdoor space.
    • Please send all schedule changes/revisions/edits to the following email address: Classsched@montclair.edu
Modalities that have F2F elements(HawkF2F, HawkLive and HawkMix)
  • How is HawkLIVE different from HawkMIX? Who decides which students are in class vs. watching remotely week to week?

HawkLIVE, which uses one of our tech-enhanced mediated classrooms, is the most similar to traditional F2F teaching in that the expectation is for all students to attend “LIVE,” either in the classroom, F2F, or remotely through video-conference software.  Instructors attend every session F2F and students rotate into the F2F environment as determined by instructors.  In HawkMIX instructors determine which sessions are appropriate for F2F and which will be delivered online, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities. 

  • What is the technical set-up of a HawkLIVE class?

A HawkLIVE tech-enhanced mediated classroom is equipped with mics to pick up faculty and student voices; at the lectern, the familiar console includes controls for a Pan-Tilt-Camera [PTC] (positioned at the back of the room) as well as the usual capacity to hook up a laptop and project. The PTC camera will be pre-set to 6 views, each enabled by pressing a button: one preset on the podium, three positioned at different whiteboards around the rooms, and two positioned to capture the in-person student population (some variation related to room is likely).  In addition, there are controls to move the camera manually.  Remote students should be able to hear instructor and student voices through the mics, and in-class participants should be able to hear remote students via the speaker system.

HawkLIVE
  • Can any class be offered HawkLIVE?

Presumably, though some are more suitable than others.  Consult your chair and/or Dean’s Office with specific questions.

  • What are the benefits of HawkLIVE?

HawkLIVE is most like traditional F2F so it is a good choice for instructors who believe the traditional F2F experience is most conducive to effective teaching and learning of their courses.  For an individual instructor teaching multiple courses, some courses may seem more in need of a simulated F2F experience than others.  HawkLIVE is also a good choice for students who have found they learn more effectively in F2F modalities, or who simply wish to have that classroom experience.  Finally, University leadership has discovered that student need and desire for on-campus educational experiences follows class level, with first-year students being most appropriate for on-campus instruction, and graduate students being least in need of on-campus instruction.  

  • What additional supports will be given to instructors who teach via HawkLIVE?

instructors will be provided with training on the classroom equipment, and they will be given opportunities to visit and test out classrooms prior to the start of class.  In addition, OFA and ITDS will be working to provide support sessions throughout the semester for instructors who teach HawkLIVE.  We may set up a list-serv for the HawkLIVE faculty community, and we’ll certainly host open office hours at OFA to discuss challenges and share strategies and successes.

  • Who or what does the camera focus on? 

The pan-tilt-zoom camera, positioned near the ceiling at the back of the room, has six preset positions that instructors can toggle among at controls found at the podium; in addition, instructors can make manual adjustments to shift the view.  At present the plan is to have one preset on the podium, three positioned at different whiteboards or walls around the rooms, and two positioned to capture the in-person student population.

  • Will students be able to see the instructor, the board, and the instructor’s projected screen all at once?

Not all at once — students can have one main screen view, and one smaller inset view. There are six preset positions on the room camera, and the camera can also be moved manually.  When instructors project to remote students, they have a choice as to whether to foreground one of the camera views, a screen share (the instructor’s screen), and they can toggle among these options.  In addition, when in Zoom, the backgrounded screen is typically shown in smaller squares, allowing, for example, a view of the instructor lecturing to be shown as a slide deck is being worked through. Alternatively, instructors can highlight a shot of an actual whiteboard or one of the students sitting in class, among other options.

  • What room will I be assigned to?  Can I request a change?

Room assignments will be managed by the Registrar’s Office in coordination with the outfitting of rooms for HawkLIVE technology.  In consultation with the chair, instructors may request room changes.

  • How does one interact with the students in the room in an engaged way, while also facilitating interaction with the students online?

Briefly, in the tech-enhanced mediated classrooms, both remote and F2F students can speak up and be heard by all others.  Sometimes students will need to repeat themselves, or faculty will need to restate questions or comments, practices that are familiar but which will need to be used more frequently.  Notably, these sessions work best when there is one large group conversation, with one person speaking at a time. 

  • Where are students visible to the instructor — laptop, screen?

In a mediated classroom, the monitors/screen function as second screens, and you can either duplicate what is on your laptop screen, or you can project a second view. Experiment at home with Zoom and see how you can share a screen (a powerpoint, for example) and also have a slim bar of Zoom participants visible.

HAWK-MIX and HYBRID
  • Are there requirements regarding how many F2F sessions are offered? Who decides which sessions will be F2F?

No. Instructors, working with their chairs and colleagues, determine the right mix of F2F sessions as is appropriate to discipline and course. That said, students who select HawkMIX expect to be on campus sometimes, and with a reasonable amount of frequency; for example, only requiring one or two visits would not be in the spirit of HawkMIX or HYBRID instruction.

  • If students receive 3 hours of instructional time per week live, how is instructional time calculated for modalities that meet for less than 3 hours? 

Instructors in this situation need to be sure to provide at least 3 hours per week of instruction, and asynchronous work — reviewing lectures, reading, answering questions, etc. — “count” in this total.  So it’s not difficult to achieve.

  • Do instructors need to schedule specific sessions ahead of time with the Registrar?

Room scheduling is handled by the Registrar’s office through communication from the Colleges/Schools and departments.  To the extent possible, being very specific about room usage enables the optimal use of our best instructional spaces.

  • Is HawkMIX the same as hybrid? 

It is similar to some versions of hybrid (though note that others consider sync/async hybrid), with differences, including that the HawkMIX instructors more discretion in requiring students not scheduled for a F2F session to attend remotely, and the degree of synchronicity expected for “off” days.  HawkMIX is a mix.

  • Is this the same as a flipped classroom?

Not exactly. The flipped classroom is a methodology for delivering didactic lectures remotely, for homework, and focusing on engagement and activity when in-person — and so it is well suited for the modality HawkMIX.  See our flipped learning resource for more information. 

  • Who determines what constitutes “significant f2f interaction” for a given course? Is this up to the instructor’s discretion?

“Significant” was included to make it clear that this is a course modality that really includes F2F components.  Meeting once or twice would be insignificant, whereas meeting weekly or every other week is significant. That’s the guidance, but yes, this is up to instructor discretion, though in some departments or colleges, group decisions or guidance may be made, which is generally helpful, particularly when there are many sections of the same course. 

HAWK-SYNC ONLINE
  • Do I have to record class sessions and make them available to students who are unable to attend class?

No. 

  • I hold about 60% of my classes SYNC but 40% ASYNC. If I am planning this route would I say it is HAWKSYNC?

Yes, a mixed SYNC/ASYNC option is HawkSYNC.  

HAWK-ASYNC ONLINE
  • If I am teaching a class ASYNC can I require students to attend class during class times?

No. If you are teaching a class ASYNC, you will not have any class times assigned to your course. You may offer optional, supplemental on-campus or online synchronous sessions for students but these cannot be required. 

  • Is an asynchronous class easier or harder than a synchronous one? 

There is no evidence that either asynchronous or synchronous instruction is harder for students.  The difficulty or ease of the course is embedded in how it is structured and taught, not by modality. Instructors who teach asynchronously report providing very clear and detailed instructions on responsibilities for each week so as to make sure students stay on task, are well engaged and are not being short-changed in their education. Frequent assignments and activities of various types and time requirements are helpful to ensuring students achieve learning objectives. Local data at Montclair State University, collected during the pandemic, suggests that ASYNC was less successful than other modalities for first-year students.

  • Do I have to make recorded lectures and put them online?

No. The use of video or audio recorded lectures is entirely at the discretion of individual instructors, and the advisability of doing so is likely both course and individual instructor-dependent. 

  • Can there be any exception to no online in-class time at all?

No. The reason for the rule has to do with student schedules; it is unfair to require a specific meeting time of all students in an asynchronous course as this will put an undue burden on students who have other commitments.

  • Without the ongoing assessment work accomplished through regular class meetings, how can I know whether a student is actually doing her/his own work? Can’t a student just pay someone to do all the written assignments for her/him?

Research conducted on academic honesty in online courses suggests cheating and other academic dishonesty behaviors typically do not occur more frequently than in F2F courses, though research conducted during the pandemic is less clear.  We do know that cheating, overall, is up.  The best route is to have frequent assignments and assessments in the online environment and to develop alternative methods for the online environment. 

Updated 9.8.21