Faculty & staff
Last updated: May 25, 2020, 12:10 p.m.
Remote teaching – fall 2020
The university implemented a pass/fail option for the winter 2020 term to address the exceptional circumstances that surrounded the sudden and unexpected switch to online teaching and learning.
Given that this notation is not currently in Concordia’s academic calendar, the university needs to assess the viability, as well as the application, of a pass/fail option in the long term and will begin that process over the summer.
The vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning is leading a working group with faculty representation that is developing guidelines for fall 2020 course delivery. The working group’s aim is to have a document ready for approval by the deans, after which they will circulate the guidelines to faculty members for guidance in developing their courses.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning’s Online Course Design Toolkit has a full range of resources available to help guide faculty in preparing their courses.
The working group is still finalizing a guide for faculty members requiring in-person components for their courses. More information will follow shortly.
Faculty members who need to purchase any IT equipment using professional development allowance or research funds should use the intake form and indicate that they are making an emergency purchase request.
Funds can be used in accordance with the usual process, even if they do not appear in the account. Faculty members should contact their faculty financial officer if they have any questions.
The university strongly recommends that faculty members have the necessary equipment to be able to teach remotely. More information will follow during the summer regarding support available to faculty.
Keeping in constant contact with current and prospective students is especially important to maintain Concordia’s personalized approach to teaching and development. The Teaching and Learning working group is looking into building supports for online teaching.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning has a range of support tools for faculty members to adapt to online teaching.
Maintaining support for students with learning disabilities is a core principle of Concordia’s shift to online learning. Every course with remote or online delivery must remain accessible to all students.
The university encourages all faculty members to record their lectures and online activities, which would allow for closed captioning. Recordings could help students with learning disabilities and will also be useful for students unable to attend a course at a designated time.
To qualify to borrow a laptop from the university, students need to be enrolled in fall 2020 term courses and not have access to a computer. They can also request the loan of a webcam or internet stick.
Students can fill out this web form or call 514 848-2424, ext. 7613.
Because of the limited number of devices available, students may be asked to briefly explain the nature of the work they need to accomplish. Concordia also requests that they strictly adhere to borrowing deadlines since other students, faculty and staff members may be negatively impacted by return delays.
This service is reserved for students who do not have a personal device and are unable to borrow one by another means. Requests do not guarantee availability of equipment as stock is limited. The university continues to explore all options to distribute equipment safely and efficiently within the present restrictions of the COVID-19 situation.
Physical distancing measures will prevail in Montreal for an indefinite period. Given that physical distancing is difficult to maintain on the Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses, the university is moving the bulk of its fall term online.
Concordia’s fall 2020 term will be accessible anytime, from anywhere in the world. The university is putting all its efforts into providing a quality education and preparing students for whatever they’re planning next. As such, Concordia is focusing its energies on developing the best-quality online experience for all students.
Concordia is piloting a very gradual return to labs on each campus in the coming weeks, which includes creating a schedule to ensure everyone adheres to physical distancing guidelines.
A Teaching and Learning working group led by the vice-provost Innovation in Teaching and Learning is working with faculties and members of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Instructional and Information Technology Services, Concordia Library, Student Services and Knowledge One (K1) to develop protocols and best practices for online course delivery.
In addition, guidance on how to design courses for an online context will be readily available from experts in the CTL and K1.
The Teaching and Learning working group is in contact with faculties and departments to identify which activities absolutely require physical presence. Concordia is also developing protocols to establish how in-person activities will be conducted to conform with physical distancing and health and safety measures mandated by public health authorities.
Concordia remains committed to providing an online version of in-person sessions for those who cannot, or choose not to, attend for any reason. This is part of the university’s commitment to be accessible and equitable. Whether your students are in their home country or their Montreal apartment, they will be able to fulfill your course requirements.
Although the Webster and Vanier libraries, as well as the Grey Nuns Reading Room, will remain physically closed, access to digital collections, “Ask a Librarian,” consultations with subject librarians, interlibrary loans and other online services are functional, and will continue to expand to include instruction and additional digital resources.
Concordia Library is also planning to provide restricted access to its physical collections over the summer and fall terms. For Course Reserves, the Library will ensure the best access possible for your students, as well as copyright compliance on your behalf.
Follett, the new bookstore service provider on campus, will help with all your course material needs for the fall 2020 term. Students will be able to purchase digital course materials through the provider’s website. Follett will also ship textbooks and coursepacks to students’ homes, whether they’re living in Montreal or elsewhere.
A diverse selection of digital learning technologies will also be available. Follett will also offer affordable open educational resources content and courseware through Lumen Learning.
Follett’s cost-saving print options include used books offerings and a text rental program that saves students up to 80 per cent compared to the price of a new title. Follett also has a popular price matching program, which helps ensure students get materials at the lowest cost possible, and a year-round buyback program.
The university is working hard to ensure that being part of the Concordia community remains exciting, and that it retains the vibrant student experience that happens in parallel to in-class learning.
Plans for virtual orientation and welcome-back events are currently underway. In addition, HomeRoom is a new initiative that will provide a virtual space for students to meet and bond with their peers and get to know their department.
FutureReady and GradProSkills will continue to offer professional and academic skills-development opportunities.
In addition, the university is increasing and adapting its services to support students through this exceptional time, including:
- more online student advising
- more online mental health counselling
- more peer-to-peer and mentoring exchanges
- virtual campus-life opportunities to help combat isolation
The university is also exploring ideas to build partnerships to help students enjoy the Montreal experience virtually.
Unfortunately, residencies are not conducive to physical distancing. The university will suspend all residence operations for the 2020-21 academic year to upgrade the infrastructure. Concordia is finding accommodations for the few remaining students in residence who cannot go home and is helping prospective students who were hoping for a residence room to find alternative accommodations.
Working from home
All employees have access to Zoom. Teaching assistants must activate their Concordia email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to gain access to the university’s Zoom license. Once activated, they can use Zoom for the duration of their contract.
Concordia asks that faculty members secure stable, high-speed internet at home so they can teach remotely. A limited supply of data sticks is available for those who do not have internet access.
Concordia will continue working and meeting with union leadership. The objective at this time is to reflect on how to best support the university’s mission and activities.
The university is currently defining some parameters and guidelines for employees who are working from home.
The university is expecting guidelines from Revenue Canada and Revenu Québec. More information will become available later in 2020.
Technical assistance, as well as mechanisms to address software and technical needs, are being identified and developed by the Teaching and Learning working group to help deliver quality learning experiences.
Some of my courses require students do hands-on work that they cannot carry out remotely.
A few exceptions will be made for activities where a hands-on element is key, including experiments, teaching labs and studio work that require a physical demonstration of skills and competencies. These activities will take place on campus, provided that appropriate health and safety measure can be observed, but with fewer participants than usual.
The vast majority of faculty and staff will continue to work from home until further notice. In the late summer and fall, Concordia will re-evaluate the possibility of piloting some gradual return-to-work plans on campus based on lessons learned from the phase-in of external construction and lab activities this summer.
Zoom-bombing describes when someone other than the host takes over an online meeting or class and disrupts it with irrelevant or offensive material.
Concordia has adjusted default settings on our Zoom licence to help lower the risk of such occurrences. However, this also means that some faculty members may need to adjust Zoom settings if they want interactions in their online courses and meetings.
You can learn more about using Zoom through the Centre for Teaching and Learning. If you need technical assistance, you can contact the IITS Service Desk. You can also read the about Zoom security here.
PLEASE NOTE: Zoom class IDs should only be provided to students registered in a class — ideally through Moodle.
To maintain access to your campus files and tools through remote desktop, it is important that you avoid restarting, shutting down or putting to sleep your office computer.
When you need to leave your remote desktop, you can safely select “disconnect.” This should ensure that your office computer remains on.
As a temporary measure, to help office computers remain powered on during the COVID-19 crisis, IITS has hidden the shutdown option on IITS-managed computers.
Please contact the IT Service Desk if you’re having problems connecting to your office computer or maintaining a remote desktop connection.
Please contact the IT Service Desk if you’re having problems connecting to your office computer or maintaining a remote desktop connection.
If your office computer has been shut down or lost power, please provide your office room number in your service request. This will allow IITS to send someone to turn it back on.
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has made available information on how to work from home while minimizing the risk of injuries — particularly linked to your desk and computer setup.
Because some people may have specific concerns, EHS is also booking online appointments for ergonomic consultations. Concordia employees who need to speak with an EHS expert can email a request to email@example.com.
Yes, if you incur an injury while working for the university remotely you should report it to your supervisor.
Please note: If the injury requires medical attention or lost time, a doctor’s note is required.
For additional information, please go to concordia.ca/campus-life/safety/injury.
Info for staff
Yes, you should discuss and plan your vacations with your supervisor as usual. You are entitled to take vacation days during the COVID-19 pandemic campus closure.
You should discuss any plans with your supervisor.
Please contact your manager to discuss your plans. Managers were asked to be as flexible as possible in April and May 2020, while ensuring operational requirements were met. The university will allow employees to carry over vacation into the 2020-21 year, in excess of HR Policy and collective agreement provisions.
You do not have to use your vacation days during the summer 2020 period. However, you must use your vacation entitlement as per your union’s or association’s collective agreement or policy before the end of the 2020-21 vacation year on May 31, 2021.
Even if vacations may be different during these unusual times, it is important for you to take time off to disconnect and find space to relax and recharge.
- Serve others. Reaching out to help others in need may benefit you as well. This may include calling an isolated elderly parent, relative or friend. Check out non-profit organizations that serve populations in need and see how you can safely help. You can also refer to the new CU Cares initiative. There is often satisfaction to be found in serving a cause.
- Register now to be paired up with a colleague who will check in with you by phone. Developed by Concordia’s Human Resources, in collaboration with the LIVE Centre, University Advancement and CU Cares, this initiative offers you a new way to connect with members of the Concordia community. You can also volunteer to make the calls.
- Take advantage of the new CU at Home virtual community webpage.
Unless you are on vacation, on leave, or are sick, you are expected to be available by email in accordance with your usual schedule.
For individual situations, please contact your manager.
Casual and contractual employees, including students and work-study students, will be paid as per their regularly scheduled hours for the period between March 16 and May 1, 2020. Unless your manager requires you to come to campus to complete essential tasks, you are asked to work remotely, where possible.
Employees are expected to be available during their regularly scheduled hours. For individual situations, please contact your manager.
As per usual practice, overtime must be pre-approved by your manager.
Info for managers
Yes, you should request vacation plans from your employee(s) and schedule them as usual taking into account service requirements. All employees are entitled to take vacation days during the COVID-19 pandemic campus closure.
You should openly discuss availabilities with your employee(s) during the campus closure. These conversations will help you set clear expectations for your staff member(s) and give them the opportunity to ask specific questions.
Managers were asked to be as flexible as possible, while ensuring operational requirements were met. The university will allow employees to carry over vacation into the 2020-21 year, in excess of HR Policy and collective agreement provisions.
Your employee(s) do not have to use their vacation days during the summer 2020 period. However, they must use their vacation entitlement as per their union’s or association’s collective agreement or policy before the end of the 2020-21 vacation year on May 31, 2021.
Even if vacations may be different during these unusual times, it is important that your employee(s) take time off to disconnect and find space to relax and recharge.
Employees can still take days off during the quarantine. Time away from work can have positive effects on mental health during this unusual time.
To ensure consistency across the university, please use the following out-of-office message in both languages for generic email accounts:
Thank you for your email. Please note that while Concordia’s campuses and libraries are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are working remotely and most services continue to be offered.
This mailbox is regularly monitored, and we will respond to your email as soon as possible.
Nous avons bien reçu votre courriel et vous en remercions. Bien que les campus et bibliothèques de Concordia soient actuellement fermés en raison de la pandémie de COVID-19, le personnel est en télétravail, et la plupart des services continuent d’être offerts.
Cette boîte de courriel fait l’objet d’une surveillance continue, et nous vous répondrons dès que possible.
Employees should not be activating their out-of-office alerts unless they are away due to illness or vacation. As a reminder, employees working remotely are expected to be available during regular business hours — or as agreed with their supervisor.
Human Resources has created a guide for staff and faculty trying to adjust to new ways of working, some tips and tricks for managers, and a guide to keep managers and staff fully engaged and productive while working from home.
Managers who have specific questions on navigating these challenging times can also reach out to Natalie Camirand, manager of Organizational Development.
The subject matter that you need to cover in a remote meeting may be the same as for an in-person one. However, you may need to adapt certain elements to remote team meetings and those you have with individuals working from home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to be particularly aware of challenges in the lives of team members.
No – please work remotely. Access to our campuses is strictly for designated emergency response employees, and some research activities. These are exceptional circumstances and we appreciate your understanding. If you have questions, speak with your supervisor.
- If you know that someone on your team lives alone, feels lonely or is experiencing difficulties adapting to working remotely, make sure to connect with them regularly to keep track of how they are feeling. Brainstorm together on ideas that may help them go through this situation more easily.
- You may also raise your team’s awareness by suggesting they keep in contact with each other, so they can maintain their relationships and support each other. Everyone has a role to play in lifting their own spirits and, consequently, lifting the spirit of the community.
- If you are worried about one of your team members or colleagues, you may refer them to the Concordia’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-663-1142 (English services) or 1-866-398-9505 (French services). You may also suggest that they visit the EAP website. Assure them that all contact between them and the EAP counsellor is confidential and at no cost.
HR & benefits
Job postings & interviews
Yes, text about online instruction for the fall 2020 term will be added to the June part-time positions job posting.
Concordia is reviewing all recruitment activities for non-academic staff positions on a case-by-case basis. If you are involved in a recruitment and selection process and have not been contacted by an employment advisor, please verify its status at: concordia.ca/hr/jobs/openings/staff-positions.