message aux profs : 2020-03-17

(Email in English and cc Bri Orr-Álvarez, Stephanie Spacciante, Iris Escuer,Robert Miller, Soline Milet as coordinators of multi-section courses in French and Spanish are working together, especially to support TAs together.)

Bonjour à tous !

We’re still easing into onlinising this week. A couple of things:


Our students—and indeed TAs too, you are also students!—may be leaving campus to go home and be with family. This can mean travel some distance away. Students could therefore be working in different time-zones. This means that our classes cannot realistically, and humanly-sustainably, take place in pure synchronicity (= at the scheduled time and only at that scheduled time). That could be the middle of the night for some people. Equally, we can’t run a class multiple times over, live, at potentially every hour around the clock. (Some places do, but these are specifically specialist online institutions, which we are not, with courses designed that way and different instructor workloads, schedules, and contracts.)

From yesterday’s email you’ll see how I’ve set up my FREN 102 this week, as chronologically flexible. I’ll be online at certain times, students can be too, but they can also discuss at other times, and I’ll respond to questions in online office hours.

An idea for next week, once people have settled into their new environments—whether that’s here or elsewhere—will be to ask students to place themselves in local online groups, at least in the same time-zone. (With mine, I’ll simply add that as a discussion topic, EN FRANÇAIS BIEN SÛR, end of the week.)


that is,

This is for YOUR section, to adapt the way that you teach—the tools that you use—and the way that YOUR students will be learning—their tools—to the practicalities of our lives. So, for example, that might mean doing everything over email, and using Word documents. That’s up to you, individually, to work out and decide with your students.

TAs for FREN 101+102: if you are already using Canvas and need help adapting your course site to your and your students’ needs, ask me or the team (we all have one another’s emails), or Bri (or others cc’ed here), or the Learning Technologies Hub, or email Arts ISIT. Be as specific as you can, and screenshots help.

TAs who aren’t: just make sure your students know what you’re all doing. If you’re moving from using Canvas to not, make sure to post an announcement there and edit the front page (home/syllabus) with a short message.


I’ll be emailing you—late afternoon—different versions of the test, depending on your set-up. For all sections, it will open on Friday (with exceptions noted as previously ex. J.C. 1x/wk evening class). You have the option, if you wish, of using Proctorio: we will probably be using this for the final exam (with a mock the week before, to test it out), with a lower-tech alternative for students who can’t do that (on a case by case basis: that’s on the “mental notes agenda” for next week).

I  will not be using Proctorio myself for this test for my own students.

UBC Proctorio information has been updated by our (fabulous ❤️) Learning Technology Hub colleagues today (as scheduled and promised; their scheduling is also why I hadn’t referred to it in weekend correspondence):

Please note if you plan to use it, you should first

  • check that all students have the means to use it
  • do a mock / trial version
  • prepare a back-up in case of technical difficulties

(We have at least one section that’s doing an experimental pilot trial: Joyce will be our resident expert and ready to share experience and tips with you, next week, once we’ve done our test: merci Joyce !)


I’ll be circulating the revised syllabus for 101+102 in two versions. Both will leave some areas alone (ex. how the class takes place online) and some areas as unknowns (ex. how the final exam will take place). I’ll send you:

  • PDF of the general version
  • .docx that you can adapt to your own section
Next after that:
  • please communicate the new syllabus to your students by FSC email (and Canvas Announcements if you’re using Canvas: so EITHER email OR email+announcement)
  • ask students, as ever, if they have questions and comments

I’ll also update the UBC Blogs site. TAs to whose Canvas sites I have access: I’ll add that PDF in the appropriate place. If you’re not using Canvas, I’ll not do that. If you would prefer to do this yourself, please let me know. Faculty: I will leave this up to you. (I will not be updating the Master Version canvas sites, I’m leaving them until the summer.)

Happy distanced St Patrick’s / Queen Maeve’s day!