Monday, March 23
As you “return to classes” from home this week, I am hoping to share a bit of advice. Normally, I write with institutional updates and specific pieces of critical information, but today, I write with guidance for your success. OK, I know you’re getting a ton of stuff -- please keep reading anyway.
I’ve been working from home for about a week now and I’ve learned a few things that I hope may help you as you also begin to “work from home.”
I’ve learned a ton about myself this past week and I’m confident that you will too. We can get through this together. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about solidarity and the sacrifices it takes as a global community to slow a pandemic. I am confident that our IWU community understands solidarity, sacrifice for the common good, and resilience as we face this challenge together. I am also confident that we will all be stronger in the end.
Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students
Sunday, March 22, 2:46 PM
To our students,
Welcome back from your extended Spring Break! We hope you were able to find the opportunity for some rest during the past two weeks, though we know that this has been a time of great uncertainty, and of many changes, for all of us. This has been true for faculty and staff here at IWU, as well, but we have been working consistently over the past week to make sure that your return to (virtual) classes on Monday is as smooth as it can be.
As we continue this journey together, we wanted to share some resources that we hope will help you to make a smooth transition to your online learning program for the remainder of the semester. For many of you, our learning management system, Moodle, will not be new, as many of our faculty have used it for years to post syllabi, assignments, discussions, and grades. To find your Moodle courses (including new ones), visit the MyIWU portal and, after logging in, select the “Moodle” option from the navigation on the left. You should see “My Courses” when you enter the system, and you can choose where you want to go from there. If you have any trouble logging into Moodle, please submit a question through the ITS Help Desk. If you need more immediate help, e.g., if you are trying to login to Moodle to gain access to your professor’s video lecture, please use this link to access our on-call IT help. This page will be updated regularly with virtual help sessions that we will make available through the rest of the semester.
In addition to Moodle, you may find your professors and your classmates making more active use of our Google Apps for Education (also known as the “G-suite”). You have probably used Gmail and Drive before, but you may not have used Google Calendar (for scheduling) or Google Meet (for live videoconferencing). These two Google apps work very well together, and may be used by your faculty to schedule advising appointments, office hours, or video lectures. Some of these opportunities may be linked directly into your Moodle course site, but keep an eye out for messages from your faculty sharing how they will be using these tools (and possibly others) to help you keep meeting your learning goals for your class(es). If you’ve never used Google Meet before, you can review these resources and tutorials on the Google site. And, again, if you have any technical issues using Meet, you can always contact the ITS Help Desk or get on-call help. You may also find some faculty using Zoom, a commercial application that does allow for free account creation. We are not currently supporting Zoom on campus, but they have a number of tutorials available for those of you who may be new to the application.
Finally, remember that the Ames Library is still available to you, wherever you are. Our faculty and staff have been working with your professors for the past week to make sure that as much of the content you need for your assignments will be available to you through your Moodle course sites. If there is a required reading that you don’t see available, please ask your professor to contact the library so that we can determine if (and how quickly) we can make that material available to you. We have also placed links to a full range of digital content and services available to you at the Guide to Remote Library Services. We have tens of thousands of electronic books and journals available to you wherever you are, as well as many media materials. Again, if you have a question, you can always email your liaison librarian, and you can connect for on-call help (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
This is new to all of us, and we know that you may need some help adjusting to an all-online learning environment. We have found this set of suggestions from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to be very helpful, and we encourage you to take a look. We are all learning this together, and we are looking forward to learning with you even as we work to make sure that you can complete your learning goals for your classes and your program. Keep checking in with your professors, and keep reaching out to each other and to those of us in Student Affairs, the Library, and ITS, who are here to help you to be successful in your new, virtual classroom.
Like everyone, we continue monitoring developments in the coronavirus epidemic, locally, nationally, and globally. Please visit the IWU Coronavirus Virus Response site for the most current information about our plans and resources available to you.
Thank you, again. We look forward to seeing you back in Bloomington as soon as we can!
Provost and Dean of Faculty
University Librarian and Co-Interim Chief Technology Officer