Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty

* Please note that we will update this page as more information become available. Please visit USC’s COVID-19 Resource Center for the university’s latest updates.

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Q1. How is the school planning to teach campus-based programs this fall?

The campus-based MSW and PhD programs will be taught via a HighFlex/HyFlex model where classes will take place in person and online simultaneously via Zoom. Classrooms on campus in the Social Work Center, Montgomery Ross Fisher, and at City Center are being outfitted with cameras, screens, and Zoom connectivity so that instructors can teach students joining class in person and remotely at the same time. As the pandemic continues to evolve and public health guidelines shift, the HighFlex/HyFlex model provides the school and students with ultimate flexibility, allowing instructors to move from hybrid learning to 100% online learning with little to no downtime.

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Q2. Is there an instruction manual that I can refer to when I teach a class in HighFlex/HyFlex? How do I set up the classroom for in-person students and for those who are joining remotely?

A manual is in development and will be provided to faculty. In the meantime, we encourage faculty to participate in Blackboard training by visiting https://keepteaching.usc.edu  and https://blackboardhelp.usc.edu. A link to a recently completed training session can be viewed here.

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Q3. What LMS will campus-based MSW courses use to administer the HighFlex/HyFlex model?

The campus-based MSW courses will be adapted to the Blackboard LMS. It is recommended that faculty who are teaching campus-based MSW classes in HighFlex/HyFlex become familiar with using Blackboard. Please review the training materials found at: https://keepteaching.usc.edu/ and https://blackboardhelp.usc.edu/.  You can also view the recently recorded training session by clicking here.

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Q4. What platform will campus-based MSW classes use to broadcast live classes?

Faculty will host their classes on Zoom to ensure students who are learning remotely can participate in their classes virtually. All USC faculty have access to Zoom. If you need assistance with your Zoom account, please visit: https://keepteaching.usc.edu/tools/zoom/.

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Q5. Where can I refresh my Zoom skills?

To sharpen your Zoom skills, we encourage you to visit the resources found at https://keepteaching.usc.edu/tools/zoom/.

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Q6. Will the school have practice HighFlex/HyFlex runs for faculty to test out this teaching method at City Center, SWC, and MRF?

Yes, we will offer training opportunities throughout August. Please monitor your e-mail since we will provide more information soon.

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Q7. . Are all of the campus-based MSW classes being converted to Blackboard? Who is responsible for converting the classes into Blackboard?

Course leads are responsible for adapting campus-based courses for Blackboard. For more information about setting up adapted courses, we encourage you to visit the training videos available at https://keepteaching.usc.edu/ and https://blackboardhelp.usc.edu/.

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Q8. Is there a template I can use or follow to convert a class to Blackboard?

Please visit https://keepteaching.usc.edu/ and https://blackboardhelp.usc.edu/.

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Q10. Will there be technical support available to me if I’m having issues administering my class in-person and online?

The school is planning to have at least one IT staff available at both UPC and City Center to assist with classroom support.   

  • For technical issues in SWC, please contact: 213-821-5630.
  • For technical issues at City Center, please contact: 213-821-5630.
  • For technical issues at MRF, please contact: 213-821-5630
  • If no one answers, please call Steve Hong at 213-821-6606, and he will try to coordinate a response.
  • For 24/7 Zoom support, call: 1-888-799-8854. Additionally, you can call ITS at 231-740-5555 if you are having trouble logging in with your USC NetID.
  • For the 24/7 Blackboard Help Line, call: 213-740-5555, Option 2.
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Q12. What is the process for reserving in-person spots for students, and who is responsible for monitoring reservations?

If the number of students who want to attend class in person exceeds the number allowed based on the classroom’s capacity and public health guidelines, the instructor will have to rotate students’ attendance every week. The method for tracking students’ in-person reservation requests is up to the discretion of the instructor. Please note that students are not required to attend in person and can therefore choose to attend all classes online every week.

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Q13. How are we checking students into class? Will faculty members need to take the students’ temperatures before they enter the classroom?

No. It’s important to note that before coming to campus, faculty, students, and staff must take the mandatory ‘Health, Hygiene and Safety Training’ module in TrojanLearn (requires flash-compatible browser). This will help our community better understand the health and hygiene requirements for returning to campus, and why it’s important for us to be aware of how the virus spreads.

Students, faculty, and staff will not be able to complete Trojan Check, which is the daily wellness assessment, without completing the training module first. Within one hour of completing the training module, they will have access to Trojan Check.

Prior to coming to campus each day, they will be required to take their wellness assessment via Trojan Check where they will affirm that they have not recently been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, and that they are not currently experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Once they have completed Trojan Check, they will be allowed to make a reservation to come to campus. At the end of the process, students, faculty, and staff will receive an access pass with a QR code to enter the campus or their specific building. You can learn more about coming back to campus by visiting the university’s return checklist.

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Q15. Will there be hand sanitizers and masks available for faculty and students at SWC, MRF and City Center?

Hand sanitizer stations will be located at SWC, MRF, and City Center. Students, staff, and faculty will be required to bring their own personal face coverings and will be required to complete the ‘Health, Hygiene and Safety Training’ module on TrojanLearn. For more information about the university’s health and safety guidelines, please visit: EH&S COVID-19 Resource Center.  

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Q16. If no students sign up to attend class in person, can I teach the class via Zoom? How much notice am I required to give students?

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the situation is evolving rapidly, and changes to instructional methods can occur with very short notice. If students do not sign up for in-person attendance one week, class can be taught online that week. The school encourages faculty members to give students at least 48 hours of notice if a HighFlex/HyFlex class will be taught 100% online for the week.

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Q17. If we have several students sign up to attend class in person that exceeds the maximum number allowed, what is the preferred method for rotating in-person spots each week?

The method for rotating students’ in-person class participation is up to the discretion of the instructor. The school recommends that instructors develop a process and clearly outline it in Blackboard for their students.  

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Q18. Am I required to meet with students in person, or can I conduct my office hours via Zoom?

Given the latest public health guidelines, we encourage you to conduct office hours via Zoom or another online platform as much as possible.

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Q19. How much notice will faculty and students receive if classes need to be taught on Zoom for the week?

The university will continue to follow public health guidance. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the situation is evolving rapidly, and changes to instructional methods could take place with very short notice. The school encourages faculty members to give students at least 24 hours of notice if a HighFlex/HyFlex class will be taught 100% online for the week.

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Q20. Are international students required to attend class in-person even if California issues another stay-at-home order?

Please refer to the FAQs for incoming and continuing students on our international students page regarding visas and immigration status for the latest updates.

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Q21. How will field be administered for the campus-based MSW students?

Students will be completing their field internships in one or more the of following MSW Field Options:

1. Student on site at agency/clinic providing social work services in person (which may include home visits)

2. Student on site at agency/clinic providing social work services via agency approved video conferencing platform

3. Student at home providing social work services via the agency approved video conferencing program, by telephone and other digital technologies in a confidential setting

The field department is working individually with students and agencies to determine the best fit based on the student and agency circumstances.

All students enrolled in the field practicum will be required to review the COVID Field Policy and complete required training. An Understanding and Acknowledgement of Risk form will be signed by both students and agency field instructors for those who are going to field sites in person.

The Field Education department is prepared to guide students and field agencies on how to adapt to changing conditions and ensure continuity of learning.

If students have any concerns about their field placement or field education experience, please contact sswfield@usc.edu.

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Q22. Who do I contact if I do not feel comfortable teaching classes in person?

Faculty members are encouraged to contact their course lead and faculty affairs representative to discuss their concerns.

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Q23. Will faculty meetings be conducted on Zoom or in person?

The school is evaluating a HighFlex/HyFlex model for faculty meetings. More information will be provided at the beginning of the fall semester.  

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Q24. Will the school provide ergonomic working conditions for faculty and staff who need to work from home?

Yes, support may include picking up furniture or equipment from their school work stations or office and assistance with setting up their home office. Should ergonomic evaluations be needed, this will require scheduling a meeting with the school’s HR department. Some cases will require a note from a healthcare provider.

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Q25. Where can I find additional academic FAQs for faculty?

Stay up to date on the university’s academic operations by visiting the university's Academic FAQs for faculty

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Q28. . Can faculty bring their own laptop and equipment when setting up for class?

Yes, faculty can bring their own laptop and equipment to connect to the classroom’s system. Detailed instructions are being developed.

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Q 29. Are students required to bring a laptop and log into Zoom when they are physically present in the classroom?

The school recommends that students bring their laptop to class and log into Zoom so the students online can see and engage with the students in the classroom.

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Q30. How many cameras will be in each classroom? What should I use? Which direction should the camera face?

Each classroom will have at least one camera pointed at the lectern, but some classrooms have two.  When you start the Zoom meeting on the classroom computer, you will need to select the camera for the Zoom meeting. The camera that’s synced with the classroom’s computer should be pointed at the instructor.

If you bring in a laptop, the laptop should also be connected to the Zoom room. A USB web cam will be available to connect to the laptop to show the classroom to students are attending class virtually, if desired. Detailed instructions are being developed.

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Q31. Will you provide instructions for setting up equipment in each classroom?

Detailed instructions will be provided, and we will also have staff available for assistance. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of your class to make sure everything is working properly.

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Q32. How do I turn on the cameras with the remote?

Directions will be included in the room guide.

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Q33. Where do I stand when I am teaching in the classroom?

You should stand at the lectern or desk in front of the classroom. There could be sight differences in each classroom, but this will be detailed in the room guide.

MSN & DSW - Specific Questions

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Q35. How does the program plan to execute its Onsite Clinical Intensives and White Coat Ceremony?

We are offering the On-Campus Clinical Intensives (OCIs) via Zoom until the COVID-19 pandemic allows us to safely bring students and faculty to campus and conduct the OCIs in person. We have already scheduled the fall 2020 OCI via Zoom, and we will reevaluate prior to the spring semester.

The content of the online OCIs is consistent with what we provided on campus. Equipment to perform physical assessment skills and procedures will be mailed to students’ homes prior to the date of the OCI. Standardized patient experiences are done via telehealth. Faculty will provide instruction to small groups via Zoom and observe students as they perform the required clinical tasks.

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Q36. Are there modifications for how we are executing Clinical Placements for our MSN students?

Clinical experiences will take place both in person and via telehealth, depending on how the assigned clinical site is providing care to patients. Faculty have worked with the clinical placement team to assure that our students receive the best clinical sites for each clinical course.

Prior to attending clinical, students must complete USC’s ‘Health, Hygiene and Safety Training’ module in TrojanLearn.  After completing the training, students must download the university’s Trojan Check Web App and complete a daily wellness assessment before attending clinical each day (by 8 a.m.) and/or arriving on any USC campus . Once you have completed Trojan Check, you will be allowed to make a reservation to come to campus. At the end of the process, you will receive an access pass with a QR code to enter the campus or your specific building.

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Q37. How is the school planning to administer Residencies for our DSW students?

Fall 2020 residencies will occur virtually via Zoom.

  1. Students enrolled in Cohort 8 will participate in residency from Monday through Wednesday, November 9-11.
  2. Students enrolled in Cohort 11 will participate in residency from Monday through Wednesday, November 16-18.

Oral defenses dates will be scheduled between Weeks 12-15. Actual dates will be confirmed within 1 week of the add/drop deadline.