FAQs

We've provided answers to frequently asked questions about academic continuity at NC State.

Q1: Do you have any equipment recommendations for Zoom?

A1: When meeting in Zoom, we recommend using a computer headset with a microphone for best audio quality. If you want to share video, you will also need a webcam (which might be built into your computer).

Q2: What if I don’t have the hardware I need to teach online?

A2: NC State is in the process of acquiring additional webcams, audio headsets, and a limited number of additional laptop computers for instructors’ use during this time. The NC State University Libraries will serve as a check out point for these items. Instructors can complete this form (go.ncsu.edu/laptoprequest) to be notified when equipment is ready to be checked out.

Q1: My biggest uncertainty is how to give my final exams if students cannot come to campus. Doesn’t SACS require that final exams are proctored?

A1: No. SACSCOC does not require a proctored exam. Faculty are encouraged to consider the range of possibilities for delivering and collecting exams and maintaining integrity. Take-home open book exams, secure online submissions, and many other options may be viable.

Want More Info? SACSCOC requires that an institution offering distance education courses or programs be able to demonstrate that the student who registers for the distance course / program is the same student who participates and receives credit; proctored exams are one way to do that. All SACSCOC policies on distance education will not automatically apply should faculty adjust courses during a coronavirus outbreak by incorporating online teaching methods and tools; that said, as a SACSCOC accredited institution, our expectation to operate with integrity in all matters does not change.

Q1: Does the Provost’s requirement to create a continuity plan apply both to on-campus classes and to DE classes that are already online?

A1: Yes, instructors teaching DE classes should also have a plan, although that plan may look markedly different than a plan for a traditional, on-campus course. For example, in a distance education course, most course activity is probably already happening online. Exceptions to that would be DE exams that are proctored by DELTA’s Testing Center and DE courses held in person at remote sites. Alternate plans should be made for in-person, proctored exams. Consider the range of possibilities for delivering and collecting exams and maintaining integrity. Take-home open book exams, secure online submissions, and many other options may be viable.

Q2: Should the continuity plan include what I will do if I am ill and unable to teach?

A2: Yes. Include a note that describes what you will do if you are ill and unable to teach. There are a lot of variables and possible solutions, so this is something you need to discuss at the department level. The needs and resources of your department will drive the decision-making process. Consider these questions:

  • Is there a TA, or another instructor, who could cover your course while you are out?
  • Could you create a self-directed learning plan to cover a short absence?
  • For a longer absence, is there another section of the course into which the students can be enrolled?
  • Is there a past DE (distance education) offering of the course with content your students could use while you’re out?
  • How will you communicate to your students that you are out and what they should do in the meantime?

Q1: Can I use Zoom for a dissertation defense? (And does it have whiteboard capability?)

    A1: The Graduate School will allow for remote defenses given the move to limit face-to-face meetings. This will still require submission of the remote defense form.

    Zoom has the audio/video capabilities that a committee would need to fully participate in a defense. Zoom allows you to annotate on a whiteboard, but also allows you to annotate any shared screen, such as slides, a document, a web page, etc.

    Sharing your screen (instructions and video) > Sharing your screen

  • At around 0:12 of the video above, you can see the screen where you would select “whiteboard.”
  • Full instructions are below the video, organized by operating system.
    Sharing a whiteboard (instructions by OS, no video) > Sharing a whiteboard

    IMPORTANT: Do a trial session first, mainly for these two reasons:

  • It is possible that you might have to grant your computer permission to screen share, in which case you would have to quit Zoom and restart it. Better to take care of this ahead of time.
  • Zoom settings for the host must be configured with screen sharing enabled. This setting is enabled by default in NC State’s Zoom, but it is possible for a user to go in and override the setting by turning it off.

Committee members should have the necessary equipment to successfully participate in a Zoom session); see equipment recommendations.

Q1: Does using Zoom have any impact on ownership of course materials I make and share?

A1: No. Zoom’s Terms of Service are clear that content creators, like NC State instructors, retain copyright in their materials. Zoom is licensed for broad use across campus and is not considered “exceptional use of university resources” under the NC State Copyright Regulation. If you have questions about copyright, reach out to the Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center.

Q1: Should recordings of class sessions be restricted somehow to adhere to FERPA requirements, since student participants may be identifiable in the recording? A link to a recording could easily be passed to someone not in the class. Is there an expectation that faculty will “lock down” recordings, and if so, what are the appropriate methods for securing the recordings?

A1: Portions of class recordings where it is possible to identify students – such as when they ask questions, make a presentation, or lead a discussion – are considered protected educational records subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Such educational records can only be used as permitted by FERPA or in a manner allowed by written consent from the student. Here are some options for creating FERPA-compliant recordings of your class.

  • Create recordings that only include you as the instructor. These are not subject to FERPA.
  • Plan your recordings so that students are not shown or referred to by name when asking questions. If you record in a DELTA classroom, inform students that they will be recorded. DELTA Operators can then direct students who want to remain off camera to appropriate seating options.
  • Establish the expectation that access to recordings is limited to the class. Communicate in your syllabus that students are prohibited from sharing or inviting non-student observations of class recordings.You may even ask them to acknowledge and agree to it, similar to an honor pledge. Only share your Zoom meeting URLs with students enrolled in your course. Restrict your Zoom meetings to authenticated NC State users only. Class recordings linked from Moodle provide an authentication point for students registered in your course.
  • Obtain consent from each student, either at the start of the course or as-needed throughout the course (e.g. for student presentations or video projects). Here’s one sample FERPA consent form that you could use.
  • To use recordings that contain student data in future semesters, edit the recordings to omit or de-identify students who have not consented to use their voice or image. This might include removing mention of names, blurring images, or altering voice recordings. Editing is a time-intensive option; the team at learntech@ncsu.edu can offer advice and, in limited cases, assistance.


Portions of the content on this website were adapted with permission from Indiana University.

Academic institutions are welcome to adapt material from this website for their own use. We ask that you include an attribution to both NC State University and Indiana University: “Portions of the content on this website were adapted from NC State University and Indiana University.” We also kindly ask that you send a link to any websites you create to faculty-development@ncsu.edu.