Updates on COVID-19 and Institutional Preparedness
Dear Paier Community,
Since my message to you on Friday, I have received a lot of questions. Many regard how Paier College of Art will continue to proceed as an academic institution and an employer, yet others are looking for our opinion on COVID-19 and the local, state, and federal efforts. Today I will take time to address both topics and provide an update to last week’s timeline.
A question that several staff members and myself have gotten is whether we are scared. There is little doubt that this situation is unlike one we have faced before and I can admit that there have been times where the pang of fear has left me feeling underprepared. All that can be done to move forward is to recognize that fear, and focus on what we can control. For every worried thought that we have, there is a way to address it, and that is all we can hope to control. Focus on your preventive measures, educate yourself on the disease, and talk to others about your fears. Once they are out in the open, and you know what elements you can control, you will find much needed areas of refuge and moments of solace.
Educating yourself on the disease can present its challenges, as many articles, social media posts, and news stories seem to provide conflicting information. It is because of this that we have compiled a fact sheet with links to official sources, which is available at www.paier.edu/COVID-19 . We will continue to add to this as more studies provide insight into the situation, so check back often.
From an academic perspective we have begun to pursue the course of action that was outlined on Friday, March 13, 2020. Today we had our first faculty training on the Blackboard platform and look to be on target to begin resuming all courses on March 23rd. As we begin this transition we recognize that some students may lack the basic technology, a cell phone at minimum, to participate in class. I ask you to please reach out to the Dean (CDistiso@paier.edu ) immediately so that he can assist you in addressing this issue.
Staff on Campus
We are beginning to assess the possibility of select staff working remotely. Currently this is being addressed on a case-by-case basis, although Paier College of Art remains prepared to accelerate the transition for staff to work remotely should the Governor’s executive orders require it. In the meantime, our Provost and Dean will be asking for insight from each member of the staff regarding their preparedness to work remotely.
Visitors on Campus
Effective March 18, 2020, Paier College of Art will no longer be allowing prospective students on campus. Efforts to digitize the workflow in both financial aid and admissions are well underway and guidance will be provided directly by the Director of Enrollment and the Director of Financial Aid. This measure is being taken to continue to reduce face-to-face interactions on campus. It is also important to note that all staff and faculty pay checks and stubs will be mailed home each week rather than available for pick up on campus.
Vendors, students, and faculty are asked to call ahead prior to visiting the campus unless they have already been scheduled to be on campus.
I will continue to provide updates all week, so please continue to direct any questions to the Dean, as I will look to answer some of them in each communication.
Thank you all for your patience and continue to be safe.
Joseph M. Bierbaum
Questions About Blackboard
Paier College of Art has entered into a partnership with Goodwin University to use their learning management systems (LMS) for the sole purpose of avoiding academic disruptions that have arisen due to the spread and containment of COVID-19.
Goodwin University will provide Paier College of Art with the hosting of our coursework on Blackboard, assistance in transitioning existing coursework into the online modality, training of personnel and students, as well continuing support on the platform. We retain full academic oversight of the curriculum and faculty. This arrangement is intended to stay in place until the abatement of the current health crisis and the resumption of our regular academic activities.
- When am I able to access Blackboard?
We anticipate that you will commence online classes by March 25, 2020. To access the website, go to goodwin.blackboard.com
- How do I gain access to Blackboard?
Paier College of Art will send your username and password to your email address on file in Paier’s database. If your email or phone information has changed please email Yaina Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. If you have not received this information by 03/23/2020, please reach out to the Institution.
- How do I learn how to use Blackboard?
Once you gain access to Blackboard, a training video is available.
- What devices can I use to access Blackboard?
You can use any web-enabled device including smartphones, tablets and computers. The Blackboard app is located in both the Android and Apple stores. We have contingency plans in place for students who may not have access to web-enabled devices.
- What if I do not have internet at home?
You can access free internet from any of the following:
* Comcast: Go to https://www.internetessentials.com/The companies below are offering free Wi-Fi to students for 60 days beginning Monday, 03/16/2020
* Spectrum (Charter): Call 1-844-488-8395
* Altice USA: Call 1-866-200-9522
- Can I use a tablet to complete Blackboard?
Yes, you can use a tablet to engage in Blackboard. Should you have any difficulty, please reach out to your instructor or Dean.
- Everyone does not have computers or access to one. Also, I am not computer savvy and would hate to fail my class due to this mess. Will somebody train us?
Students will be offered a tutorial via Blackboard. In addition, students will be supported by their faculty member, Dean, and Provost. The learning experience for students will be engaging and will allow ample time for students to complete the required work.
- How will we get our assignments?
All assignments will be clearly posted on Blackboard. Students are encouraged to ask as many questions as needed. Modifications will be made accordingly as long as communication is maintained amongst student-teacher and teacher-student.