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Higher Education Roundup: Working Remotely for Faculty and Staff

March 25, 2020, @ 11:27 AM

Rapidly moving to remote working conditions creates new challenges and opportunities for faculty and staff across the higher education community. From accessing teaching resources to performing typical tasks without campus equipment, shifting to working from home requires new resources to remain efficient. See below for our latest roundup of these offerings, and send any additional ones to info@lvaic.org to keep the list growing.


Smart phones allow for easy scanning through native and downloadable applications. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you can natively scan documents with the camera using the Notes app. Visit the Apple Support page for more detailed directions. For non-Apple devices, Evernote provides another option through the Scannable mobile application. Visit the Scannable website for more detailed instructions and download options.

Securely Signing and Sending Documents

As part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Adobe Creative Suite is offering free access for schools on 90-day licenses until July 1. Within this service is Adobe Sign, which allows for the secure sending of documents and secure signature requests. These services are offered through Adobe Connect, and additional resources for creating a free 90-day account are available on the Adobe website.

Phone Calls

Many positions require the use of an office phone for calling students or receiving calls from the office. Software options allow for working around these challenges to receive office calls on a personal device, mask a personal device’s phone number when calling students, or check voicemail remotely.

Receiving Office Calls on Personal Device

Google Voice allows forwarding from office phones to personal phones. This will allow numbers to contact the office phone number and reach individuals without knowing person phone numbers. For more information for creating an account or setting up this option, visit the Google Voice website.

Checking Voicemail Remotely

Many phones allow for checking messages remotely. Further, several campuses allow for voicemail forwarding to email inboxes. Check with the respective campus IT department. Beyond that feature, carriers often allow for checking voicemail by dialing the direct line, pressing * or # and entering a preset PIN number. Visit the carrier website directly to determine how to access this feature.

Video Conference Meetings

Video conference meetings offer the chance to connect remotely through Zoom. The LVAIC Faculty and Staff Development page of the LVAIC website offers several guides for utilizing Zoom for meetings, education, or conferences. Other systems for educational institutions include:

  • Adobe Connect – free for schools on 90-day licenses until July 1
  • Calendly – scheduling integration with video conferencing
  • Cisco – free video conferencing through Webex
  • Google Hangouts – free video conferencing through Google Suite
  • LogMeIn – free three-month video conferencing
  • Panopto – free three-month video capture and distribution
  • TechSmith (Snagit) – free video recording and distribution through June 30

Additionally, LVAIC developed a Facilitator’s Guide to Zoom, which is available here. This guide outlines steps to ensure all members of a remote conference call remain engaged and maintains opportunities for sharing feedback, ideas, and resources.

Teaching Lab-Based, Studio, and Production Courses

For courses beyond lecture-based learning, LVAIC offers a crowdsourced list of several resources. The full resource list includes the following:

Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning

The LVAIC Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning conference is a full-day workshop on the integration of digital tools into course design and pedagogy for all LVAIC faculty. The conference includes Lightning Round presentations where LVAIC faculty showcased the use of a specific tool in one of their courses and thematic “Test Kitchen” sessions where presenters provide more information on strategies for effective integration of tools to support student learning outcomes and course goals. The tools created at these sessions are showcased in a “Cook Book” each year. The first page of each Cook Book offers a linked table of contents overview of the topics and tools covered, making them an easily-searchable option when facing challenges to teaching remotely. Some of these tools replace document cameras, allow for easier grading without printing documents, or allow students to submit assignments in more creative ways. View each year’s tools below:

Connection to Peer Groups and Support Groups

LVAIC maintains over 70 groups of peer collaborators through its Communities of Practice program. These groups of LVAIC faculty and administrators gather formally or informally for professional development, best practice sharing, advancement of initiatives, and development of programs. Through their purpose-driven cooperation, LVAIC Communities of Practice enable educational, operational, and fiscal advantages that are oftentimes exclusive to larger-scaled institutions. Especially in these challenging times, LVAIC’s staff offers the opportunity to organize remote gatherings and facilitate ongoing conversations across these peer groups, and continues to offer this support now. From administrators forming and adjusting policies to faculty members seeking advice on teaching remotely, LVAIC offers the chance to connect through an organized meeting or asynchronously share via ongoing messaging. The consortium has already hosted a dozen of these sessions in the last week, and will continue to do so as individuals reach out. Visit the LVAIC Community of Practice page to learn more and contact info@lvaic.org get started.

Office Supplies from WB Mason

LVAIC’s exclusive contract with office supply vendor WB Mason allows for price-sourced office supplies. The company is now offering limited at-home delivery while faculty and staff shift to remote working conditions. This contract also offers personal purchase options with the LVAIC-negotiated discounts. Contact the campus Purchasing Director to learn more about ordering needed office supplies with the LVAIC WB Mason discounts.

Mental Health Essentials

Beyond the technology tools for streamlining remote working, streamlining mental check-ins remains equally important.

Taking Breaks

Several mobile applications creates alert reminders, personalized to a set schedule, for taking work breaks. Preview a full list here.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

The Center for Workplace Mental Health offers several resources for managing stress and anxiety, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. These resources include recommendations to maintain a daily schedule, remain remotely connected with family and friends, maintaining personal health and hygiene, exercising, staying informed with limited media consumption, and more. Visit their website for more resources and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, APA, and more. Visit the LVAIC post regarding mental health and mindfulness for more resources regarding managing stress amid while self-isolating during COVID-19.

As companies recognize the urgency for remaining flexible during these uncertain times, surely others will adjust their offerings and extend discounts. While many have been suddenly uprooted and are learning how to change work processes and learn with the new remote model, we will continue to curate ways to ease the transition. Check this page regularly for updates.

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