March 18, 2020
Dear University of Oregon faculty and instructors,
As you know, we are all continuously preparing our university for remote instruction for the start of spring term. Information Services (IS) and UO Online staff have been working diligently to equip us with the technology we need to connect with our students so they can continue with their educational experience at UO.
I’m pleased to announce a significant step forward for the university. As of today, the Zoom videoconferencing service is available to all UO faculty, instructors, and staff. This cloud-based service allows easy videoconferencing, online meetings, audio calls, and group messaging.
IS is providing the following guidance for the first week of UO’s Zoom service:
- For those of you without existing Zoom accounts, please feel free to visit uoregon.zoom.us now and sign in with your Duck ID and password.
- If you already have a Zoom account, whether through your UO department or a paid or free individual account, continue using that account for now through the URL you’re accustomed to using. You’ll be able to start using UO’s enterprise Zoom service next week, after IS integrates your account into the enterprise service (details to follow).
Getting Started with Zoom
- For hosting classes, we recommend installing the Zoom application on your personal computer. If your computer is managed by IT staff in your department, please contact them first.
- This getting started page will help you orient to the basic functions of Zoom.
- More how-to articles are available in the UO Service Portal, as well as from Zoom itself.
- To request help with Zoom, please contact your unit's IT staff or the Technology Service Desk, or visit the Zoom support page.
Choosing a Tool
As I wrote Monday in a message sent to faculty and instructors, for most lecture and conference-style courses simply shifting to the Zoom platform for content delivery will provide a fairly easy path to replicating the classroom experience. (For guidance about adapting your courses to this format, please see the Academic Continuity website.)
Zoom is well-suited to education in many ways:
- Easy to use.
- Complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
- Breakout room feature allows you to split a main meeting into sub-meetings for discussions, projects, or activities.
- All UO faculty and staff can host meetings with up to 300 participants.
- We have a small number of licenses for extremely large meetings (up to 1,000 participants) that will be assigned to our largest spring courses.
- You can invite anyone to participate, even if they don’t have a Zoom account.
Zoom isn’t intended to replace Canvas Conference, Panopto, or Microsoft Teams. It just adds a powerful new tool to your toolbox. If you feel more comfortable using tools other than Zoom, please do so. Panopto is the preferred choice for creating and delivering prerecorded content through Canvas. For administration and remote work, we recommend continuing to use Teams, as many UO faculty and staff are doing already. Further guidance about choosing the right app for you is coming soon.
In the coming days, look for more information on:
- Integration of Zoom into Canvas.
- Activation of basic Zoom licenses for students, which will allow them limited hosting capabilities. (There’s no limit to how students can participate in Zoom meetings that you invite them to.)
- Integration of existing individual and departmental Zoom accounts into UO’s enterprise Zoom service.
- Creation of a separate instance of Zoom for UO employees who handle data protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
- How to use Zoom. If you’d like to suggest a how-to page for the UO Service Portal, please submit it through the Zoom support page.
While this added technology helps us serve our students, I do want to issue a word of caution and ask for your patience as we move forward. In the face of this unprecedented situation, technology is being relied upon globally in order to support the continued delivery of education and remote operations of businesses in a way never before experienced. As major components of the workforce are placing a strain on our nation’s infrastructure, there are changing patterns of internet use around the world, resulting in traffic spikes of 40% or more.
Please keep in mind as we move forward through the next weeks and months together that we may experience a few glitches related to the unique strain placed on our infrastructure, as well as those of our vendors and the rest of the country. Your information technology staff at the university are here to help and support you through these challenges.
If you have technical questions, please request tech support as noted above. If you have other questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Jessie Minton, vice provost for information services and chief information officer, at cio@uoregon, or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am excited about the instructional possibilities offered by Zoom and I remain confident it will help us better serve our students during this extraordinary time.
Provost and Senior Vice President