English Faculty and Staff COVID-19 FAQ

The University Health Center (UHC) is in regular communication with county and state health officials and is sharing additional information as it becomes available.

New Undergraduate Grading Policy and Evaluations

Remote Dissertation/Thesis Defenses from the Graduate School

TECH SUPPORT

Who can I contact for tech support?

UMD Service Desk can help you set up and resolve technical issues on campus. Visit online or call 301-405-1500.

English Department Tech Support

  • Shawn Saremi, IT coordinator, Department of English
  • Alexa Bleach, Multimedia Assistant, College of Arts & Humanities
  • Kevin Nesline, Director of Administrative and Technical Operations, Department of English
  • Scott Moses, Senior Lecturer, Department of English Online and Blended Learning Coordinator
  • Lyra Hilliard, Senior Lecturer, Department of English Online and Blended Learning Coordinator 

ACCESSIBILITY

UMD has created a central email that students, faculty and staff with disabilities can contact, in order to get the help and support that they need. Contact accessibility@umd.edu if you have any disability related concerns, or need accessibility services or support, during this period of transition. Additional resources include: 

  • Keep Teaching includes resources for instructors and students on how to implement accessibility and accommodations in online courses. 
  • Instructors, undergraduate and graduate students should contact the Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) office if they have any questions on how to implement course accommodations online. ADS staff can be reached at (301) 314-7682 or adsfrontdesk@umd.edu

University faculty and staff members with disabilities, who may be experiencing challenges related to teleworking such as inability to use technology, not having the needed assistive technology, etc., may seek assistance at: Office of Faculty Affairs at faculty@umd.edu.

RESEARCH

Is McKeldin Library open?

McKeldin Library will be closed March 14-17, as regularly scheduled due to Spring Break. Effective Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, April 10, McKeldin Library will be open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.  Although McKeldin Library will remain open, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to use services and resources remotely.

AskUs/Chat will be monitored 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday to respond to questions about online reference services. Please see message from the Dean of Libraries, Adriene Lim that includes information on accessing library resources from off-campus remotely.

TEACHING

What are guides I can use for online teaching?

Find resources and support for teaching online classes here. Contact keepteaching@umd.edu to request additional and specialized training and support.

Should I hold my online class at the same time as my live class? 

If you’re going to host a synchronous online class session, you should schedule that session during the regular time of your scheduled class meeting times to prevent confusion for your students and conflicts with other class meetings. However, you may find that running synchronous online class sessions isn’t necessary for your course. You could post videos and/or readings for students to engage with asynchronously, and even handle instructor-student and student-student interactions asynchronously through email, discussion boards, blogs, or Google Hangouts. If your students have limited bandwidth or are spread out over multiple time zones, asynchronous activities could be particularly useful.
 
If I plan on holding synchronous class meetings, when should they be?

They should be during your regularly scheduled class time so that they don’t create confusion for your students or conflict with other course meetings students may have.
 
Do I have to make videos for my courses?

Video is one of several ways to present information, but you can also present information through readings and links to other resources, including videos created by others. The most important piece is to make sure you are communicating with your students early and often so they know you are present and what to expect.  As plans continue to evolve and change clear messaging is essential.
 
What is the best way to set up remote instruction if I have children in my home?

Teaching remotely with children at home can be challenging. It might be useful to think about asynchronous learning activities, meaning activities that you can create at one point in time, which your students can then engage with at a different point in time. For instance, instead of delivering live lectures or demonstrations, consider recording your lecture ahead of time when the house is quiet, and then upload your lecture video to ELMS-Canvas for student viewing. Instead of facilitating live discussions, consider asynchronous discussions. Students can post when they are able, and then you, the instructor, can review the posts and add to the discussion when you are able.
 
What if my students do not have stable Internet access?

Consider using asynchronous activities to a significant degree. When thinking about presenting information, consider posting video or readings with guiding questions for students to engage with in their own time. When considering interactions your students have with you and each other, use your ELMS discussion board for some of these interactions. For synchronous activities that you schedule, be sure to be flexible for students who can’t attend or who are sharing a home computer with other family members who may learning remotely. Recording live sessions for later viewing by students is sometimes easier than participating live. These tools also allow users to turn off their own video as they participate, which can make it easier for participants on limited bandwidth.
 
Which online platforms does UMD support through ELMS/Canvas?

Zoom

The latest web and video-conferencing system available to UMD students, faculty, and staff. It allows users to host, participate in, and record meetings and features an intuitive user interface. Zoom supports meetings with up to 300 participants and has the ability to save session recordings to the cloud or onto a local device. Zoom is integrated with ELMS-Canvas.

  • We recommend that you first configure your account/profile on the UMD Zoom website before you connect from inside ELMS-Canvas for the first time. If you get started from ELMS-Canvas, you may encounter unwanted errors.

To get started, go to UMD Zoom and sign in with your Directory ID and password. Your profile will be automatically created, and you may customize your preferences and settings. The website includes a link with video tutorials about how to use Zoom.   

Webex

Also integrated with ELMS-Canvas. Webex is an online multi-platform service that enables UMD students, faculty and staff to meet using multi-party conferencing and screen sharing. Webex supports meetings with up to 1,000 participants, and has the ability to save session recordings to the cloud or onto a local device. Webex can be accessed via ELMS-Canvas integration or by visiting umd.webex.com. For more information on how to use Webex, see this guide to Webex.

Google Hangouts

Also available to the UMD community members as options for web conferencing.  Google Hangouts Meet is a video, chat, and calling application that can be accessed through UMD G Suite or TERPmail. Google Hangouts supports up to 25 video participants and up to 250 total participants. Google Hangouts does not have a feature that allows for session recording. For more information on how to use Google Hangouts Meet, see this guide to Google Hangouts Meet.
 
How do I implement remote accommodations for students?

Accommodations may change as classes move from in-person to online formats. Keep Teaching is currently developing information on remote accommodations as well as information on how to ensure your online content is accessible, including means of applying for extra time for quizzes, tests, and exams. In the meantime, we ask that you err on the side of generosity, permitting make-up exams and extending due dates of final assignments and projects, if necessary.
 
Will my students have access to tutoring?

Yes, the Writing Center is still here to support writers and all of the valuable learning that takes place through the writing process. All Writing Center appointments will now be held online.

How do I hold office hours?

You should continue to meet with your students one-on-one via phone calls, video conferencing, and email.
 
Are Student Services Available? 

Yes, while the university is operating under reduced operations the week of March 23 and moving to an online environment starting March 30 through the end of the semester. Click here for details regarding services from Residence Life, Dining Services, University Health Center, Counseling Center, Accessibility and Disability Service, RecWell, Libraries, Stamp Student Union and UM-Shuttle.

SICK LEAVE AND TELEWORKING

Will English department staff and faculty administrators be working remotely?

Yes, all staff and faculty administrators in the English Department have been approved for telework. The MEO will be closed from March 16-March 23.

What if I become sick or someone in my household becomes ill and I am unsure that I have enough leave time?

During this unprecedented situation, the university is increasing the flexibility of sick and advanced sick leave, and excused absence. Direct supervisors will work with those who are ill and do not currently have sufficient leave available.

PAYROLL AND REIMBURSEMENTS

Will payroll and timesheets be processed as usual?

Yes, all payroll and timesheet deadlines will continue as normal.  Employees should continue to complete timesheets and, per usual, supervisors must approve timesheets so that employees get paid on time. Payroll will continue to be processed and all employees will be paid.
 
If I am not signed up for direct deposit, how will I receive my paycheck?

Shannon will come to campus to pick up paychecks on March 20th, but instead of distributing them, she will put them in the US mail. She will mail out checks via US mail to the address on file.  She will be adding direct deposit slips to each envelope she is sending out on Friday, March 20 so that you can sign up for direct deposit. If currently, you do not have direct deposit, we strongly recommend that you now enroll in the Payroll Direct Deposit program. Please see attached form.

Can I still be reimbursed for airfare and conference registration fees if my trip was cancelled? 

Many airlines have now altered flight schedules and capacity for both domestic and international destinations. All cancelled reservations are being reviewed by all major carriers, and in most cases, are being refunded. If the airline has issued a waiver of the exchange fee, this will be noted in the traveler’s profile along with the unused ticket. Any unused ticket will be listed in your profile as unused and applied on a future ticket for that airline. If cancellations are made by the airline, the airline will reimburse the airfare cost or allow the full value of the ticket to be used for future travel.  

If you have registered for a conference and the conference organization announces that it has been cancelled, the conference should reimburse registration fees, as well as fees for conference hotel bookings/deposits.  Please review information posted on the conference website. 
 
What if my airline will not reimburse me for a cancelled flight and/or my professional organization will not refund conference registration fees?

If you have already checked with your airline and they will not issue you a refund, credit, or rebook your ticket for a later date, and if your professional organization is not refunding fees, we have recently learned that the university will allow us to apply your travel funds to reimburse you for unused airfare and conference registration fees if you have a pre-approved TAR. Similarly, if you are asked to pay a change fee or penalty, we may be able to reimburse you for this as well.

Currently, the department is able to apply only travel/research monies to reimbursements, however, we are currently investigating what other funds, if any, may be at our disposable to assist graduate students with the costs associated with cancelled travel.

What if I am attending a conference or taking a trip in June and have not yet purchased my flight?

Before booking new travel, please reach out to the meeting planner and/or conference organization to see if the meeting is still scheduled to occur or being postponed to a later date. Travelers should not book reservations too far in advance.  Because UMD’s Globetrotter travel agency is insured, and reimbursement is guaranteed when you book with them, we ask that you book all travel through them.

UNIVERSITY RESOURCES

For any further inquiries contact Department Chair Amanda Bailey.