Dear PTS Students (and Faculty/Instructors),

First, we have you on our hearts and in our prayers during these turbulent days. Some of you are still re-locating, many are thinking about the safety of loved ones near and far, some are trying to supervise the learning of children at home, and everyone is trying to wrap minds around our sudden shift to online learning—even one of those things would be daunting but all together they can seem overwhelming!  We are sensitive to the fact that this is an unprecedented time of challenge.

With information in this email from the Academic Affairs Office and the Office of Digital Learning we hope to provide some resources and information to make at least some of the challenges related to online learning a little easier.  We understand that this crisis has affected every student in different ways, and our goal is to work with you to successfully complete your semester.

The information in this email is being shared with the Faculty and other instructors (copied here) so that students and faculty are all on the same page about expectations going forward.

What can I expect from my classes?

Live class sessions with the option to watch recordings. Your instructors are committed to offering live class sessions for as long as the situation allows. We recognize that It may not always be possible for everyone to join the live sessions. For most classes, video recordings will be available on Blackboard within 48 hours so that you can track with the class if you have to miss. If you have concerns about accessing the recordings, email your instructor.

Pass/D/Fail grading. Remember that the default grading scheme will be Pass/D/Fail. We hope this will take some of the pressure off as you navigate attendance and assignments for the next few weeks.

A revised syllabus. I have asked the Faculty to consider the challenges you are facing and revise their syllabi with that in mind.

Library resources and course reserves. Faculty are aware that you are only able to access online resources either through Blackboard or through the library. Note that the library has many online resources that are available to you with your PTS login, even if you are off-campus. Click here to see a note from the library about their response to the virus and how you can access the materials you need online.

Online office hours. I have asked the Faculty to hold at least one hour of online office hours during the week. They will let you know of their plans and how to access their office hours on Webex.  

Support and accommodations for specific challenges.  If you have ongoing challenges that prevent you from staying on track with a particular class, please reach out to the instructor first. For other specific concerns, please direct them as follows:  

·         Academic issues that your instructor cannot or does not address –academic.support@ptsem.edu

·         Sickness or other personal challenges  deanofstudentlife@ptsem.edu

·         Webex – help.desk@ptsem.edu

·         Blackboard – blackboard@ptsem.edu

·         Other online learning concerns – learning@ptsem.edu

How do I join the live class session?

All you need is the internet and a computer/phone/tablet.

Click here to learn how to find your Webex class link in Blackboard.

Click on the following links to learn how to…

What if I can’t join a live class session? 

We understand that a number of issues may prevent you from joining a live class session (losing your internet connection, a time zone change, or other demands on your time). If you expect to miss a session or have ongoing concerns about attendance, please talk with your instructor. If you unexpectedly miss a session, please email your instructor to let them know that you will view the recording when it is available.

What do I do if my kids are at home, or if I have roommates or other family?

We understand that many of you are working at home alongside family or other roommates. Try to join the live class, if possible, and feel free to use the mute and video off features as needed. If, for personal reasons, you are unable to attend a live class session and a recording is available, be sure to watch it on your own time.

Where do I find tech support and resources?

Attend DLL Support Hours. The Digital Learning Lab has become truly digital. Find them on Webex here Monday through Friday from 1:00-5:00 pm. An Office of Digital Learning staff member will be there to answer your questions about Webex, Blackboard, Zotero, or other digital learning tools. The Office of Digital Learning also has a news page at https://learning.ptsem.edu/news/.

Search the ODL Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base has articles that can help answer some basic Webex questions. If you are having trouble with a Webex feature, try searching there or the Webex Help Center.

Email. If you can’t find the help you need during the support hours or from the knowledge base, feel free to email the Office of Digital Learning with your questions. Email blackboard@ptsem.edu with any Blackboard-related questions, and email help.desk@ptsem.edu with any Webex-related questions.

Can I use Webex on my own to meet with other students?

Yes! You are able to host a meeting yourself. Feel free to use this to collaborate with others on your own time. To learn how to schedule a meeting on the website click here and on the desktop application click here. To learn how to use your personal meeting room click here.

We hope you find this information and these resources helpful. We are here to support your learning and want you to have a successful rest of the spring term, despite all the challenges!

Again, please reach out to the email addresses listed above—we are here to support you!

Warm regards,

Jacq Lapsley