FAQ for Addressing COVID Absences (Spring 2022)

View BU Medical Campus Guidance Here.

Charles River Campus Guidance: According to President Brown’s guidelines (January 5, 2022), BU will resume in-person teaching and learning when classes start on January 20 with adjustments available, whenever possible, for students, faculty, and staff who test positive or have temporary disruptions to their caregiving responsibilities. Between now and February 18, BU provides the following core guidelines to address COVID absences:

  • When possible, Faculty should make recorded lectures available to students who cannot attend class because they are in isolation.
  • Faculty who test positive for COVID but are well enough to teach are asked to contact their dean to inquire about moving class to remote learning via Zoom for the duration of their isolation period. 

For further elaboration, please refer to President Brown’s original email (January 5, 2022) or the BU Today article (January 6, 2022) “Taped Lectures, Workplace Flexibility Among Changes as BU Adjusts for Spring Classes”.

Please note: These recommendations do not include faculty providing hybrid/LfA-style instruction. These are guidelines for sharing recorded course content with students unable to attend lectures due to COVID isolation. 

Who should access this guide?

This FAQ is designed to give Charles River Campus faculty and staff all the information they need to respond to these new guidelines to address COVID absences, with links to further resources and tutorials. The core BU-supported technologies we recommend are: Echo360Zoom, and MyMedia (also referred to as Kaltura Capture).

How do I provide a recording of my class to students who have to miss lectures due to COVID isolation?

There are two recommended methods for recording in-person classes to assist students in isolation: Echo360 lecture capture and Zoom recordings. 

Echo360 can make asynchronous recordings of classes available to students after classes conclude and is processed via its automated features. Please note that Echo360 requires set up before class begins, so please read through this Echo360 for Instructors guide and use the contact us form to ask any questions about Echo360. Echo360 can be set up for the semester, any number of class periods, or a single class. Only certain classrooms have access to Echo360 for Presentation and Audio Capture. Please check to see if Presentation and Audio Capture are available in your classroom here or contact ithelp@bu.edu with specific questions. Echo360 can be integrated into Blackboard Learn so students can access the recordings as soon as they are finished processing.

Zoom, on the other hand, offers a little more flexibility in quickly responding to circumstances of individual classes. Instructors can use Zoom to offer a remote option for synchronous participation during in-person classes, to record in-person classes for asynchronous distribution, to host synchronous classes remotely (if isolated), or to record asynchronous lectures remotely. See below for more on sharing Zoom recordings with students. 

How can I record my lecture from home if I am sick?

Using a combination of Zoom to record locally and uploading the file to MyMedia is the preferred method for recording and distributing lectures to students remotely. We have prepared a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to effectively record and edit a video using Zoom and MyMedia here.

For long-term storage after the semester is over, it is better to record lectures locally, then upload to MyMedia, instead of recording to the cloud. As announced by IS&T on December 9, 2021, Zoom cloud recordings are only stored for 180 days before being automatically deleted. 

Do I have to do this synchronously or can it be asynchronous? Does it have to be a recording of the in-person class or can I record a separate video for absent students? 

As announced in BU Today on January 6, 2022, these Spring Semester adjustments are not the same as planning and executing a hybrid or LfA class. Faculty are urged to make class material available to isolated students, where possible, NOT with providing synchronous hybrid class experiences. 

If students are well enough, faculty may choose to connect students synchronously to class via Zoom; this is not expected or required and completely at the discretion of the faculty member. If not, faculty can record in-class lectures to distribute to isolated students asynchronously, record asynchronous videos outside of class for distribution to students, or meet with isolated students remotely to go over any missed course content due to COVID absences. 

Where do I save my recordings? How do I share recordings?

For long-term preservation of recordings, the best place to store them is using MyMedia. Videos in MyMedia can be shared via a link to students directly or posted directly to Blackboard using the MyMedia Blackboard integration. 

Instructors can also use Zoom cloud recording to quickly distribute recordings to students either via a direct link or using the Zoom Blackboard integration

Please note: Zoom cloud recordings are only stored for 180 days before being automatically deleted. If you want to preserve videos longer, you will need to download the file locally and upload it to MyMedia here

Echo360 recordings can be shared directly with individual students by logging in to your library at https://echo360.org. We can also help you connect your Echo360 library to your Blackboard site so the entire class can access the media. Please contact us for more information.

Is there technology equipment available if I need to borrow it to do recordings?

IS&T’s Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS) group has technology equipment available for faculty to borrow to do recordings. This equipment must be reserved by contacting LETS via email (classrooms@bu.edu) and can be picked up in the LETS office in CAS, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room B-05. Equipment may also be available from your local technology support team in your school or college. Equipment must be picked up and cannot be delivered or shipped. 

What technology is available in my assigned classroom(s)?

You can check to see what technologies are available in your specific classroom using the Find a Classroom search on the Classrooms website. Please note this page primarily lists technology in the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) scheduled classrooms. You can also contact IS&T’s Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS) group at classrooms@bu.edu via email or call (617) 353-3227 for additional details or assistance. 

Who do I call for support in the classroom? 

For questions or support for classroom technology in Office of the University Registrar (OUR) classrooms, please contact IS&T’s Learning & Event Technology Services via email (classrooms@bu.edu) or phone (617) 353-3227. For facilities-related emergencies in classrooms, please call (617) 353-2105 instead. For classrooms not owned by OUR, please contact the support team in the school or college who is responsible for that space.

Educational Technology will also be offering a series of drop-in sessions (at least through February 18) for any questions faculty may have about preparing or distributing course materials to students due to COVID absences. You find a list of all IS&T training, including these drop-in sessions, here. You can also find them on DL&I’s calendar. Feel free to contact AskEdTech@bu.edu with specific questions.  

What if I visit my classroom and find there is no installed lecture capture or Zoom recording technology available?

At least one type of this technology, if not both, is installed in all of the OUR classrooms. If you are in a non-OUR classroom without this technology, you may contact the local support team in the school or college who is responsible for that space. LETS has portable Zoom recording equipment available that can be borrowed and deployed by these local support groups for the semester and has notified all local support groups about this availability. If you are having trouble finding help or need assistance, you can contact LETS via email (classrooms@bu.edu) or phone (617) 353-3227. 

Can I meet with someone for training and/or assistance in my classroom before the start of classes?

Yes, Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS) will be offering expanded availability of Classroom Technology Open House dates on the Charles River Campus from 10am – 2pm on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, January 12th
  • Thursday, January 13th
  • Tuesday, January 18th
  • Wednesday, January 19th

Please contact IS&T’s Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS) staff via email (classrooms@bu.edu) or call 617-353-3227 to schedule an appointment during the open house hours or at a more convenient time for you. If your assigned classroom is unavailable, we will find a room with a comparable set of technology for the training. 

I am not available during the Classroom Technology Open House hours. Can I arrange for someone to meet with me in a classroom at another time?

Yes, please contact IS&T’s Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS) staff via email (classrooms@bu.edu) or call 617-353-3227 to schedule an appointment during the open house hours or at a more convenient time for you. If your assigned room is unavailable, we will find a room with a comparable set of technology for the training. 

View BU Medical Campus Guidance Here.