Getting Started With Your Classes
Winter quarter starts January 11. As with fall quarter, all instruction will continue through remote teaching, with the exception of specific classes that are part of our health care programs and other related fields. View the ways classes for winter quarter are designated.
“Remote teaching” is what we’re calling classes that were originally scheduled as face-to-face, or in-person, classes. They often will have some scheduled, live lecture and discussion times (at the time the class would have been meeting face-to-face), most likely on Zoom. Zoom is an online program that provides group chat with video, with some extra features for teachers. Remote teaching is different from a true online class because an online class would not have the activities scheduled at a particular time.
Given uncertainty with regard to the longevity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time at which in-person classes could start is unknown. Making the decision to go to remote instruction now ensures we have the full span of the quarter for teaching and learning.
For many classes, your instructor will be posting content and activities on Canvas. If you haven’t used Canvas before, it’s a website for classes, quizzes, assignments and more. Instructors will also use a videoconferencing tool called Zoom, or a lecture recording tool called Panopto, for class lectures and discussions. Some classes will have homework packets.
Unless you have seen that your class has been canceled, or you have received a communication from an instructor or program/department representative about the class indicating that major changes are underway, you can assume that the substance of your class remains intact.
Faculty have been asked to be creative in this unprecedented time to try to preserve a productive classroom environment. Zoom is an online video communications tool that is being used by many faculty for this purpose, and is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. If you are concerned about others viewing your personal surroundings in the background during a session, you may consider using a blank wall as your background when using Zoom, or explore Zoom’s options for virtual backgrounds.
Technology Support and Resources
Zoom is like a group video chat, but with a few extra features for teaching classes. You’ll be able to see and hear your instructor, and all the other students in the class. In your classes, you’ll hear lectures and participate in small groups using Zoom. Zoom is available on Mac, PC, Chromebook, and Android and iOS phones and tablets.
There are a few options:
- Currently enrolled students may request a Chromebook from Highline Information Technology Services (while supplies are available).
- The Highline Bookstore has a limited number of computers available for rent for the quarter. See the information about the rental options.
- Student email, Canvas, Zoom, and Panopto can be used with smartphones like iPhones and Android phones. Download the apps in Resources for Remote Learning.
There are a few options:
- Student email, Canvas, Zoom, and Panopto can be used with smartphones like iPhones and Android phones. Download the apps in the Resources for Remote Learning.
- There are a number of free and low-cost internet options.
- Currently enrolled student may request a hotspot from Highline Information Technology Services (while supplies are available) if you are unable to acquire service from one of the offers above.
Highline has prepared some resources to help:
- BSTEC 99 is a free online course offered through Continuing Education that covers the basics of using Canvas and Zoom for classes. (It can also be taken as a 1-pre-college credit course for a fee.) It is taught in English, Spanish and Arabic. An online course to learn to work online seems odd, but the teachers in this class can help. Register here for this free course.
- Resources for Remote Learning has many helpful how-to guides and videos for using Canvas and Zoom. You can access these any time during the quarter.
- If you have a specific technical problem, contact the ITS Help Desk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Most current computers already have a microphone built in, and many also have webcams. Chomebooks checked out from Highline IT Services have a microphone and webcam. If you are unsure if your computer has them, you can download Zoom and install it, then use these instructions to test your video or test your audio. If you need to purchase either a webcam or a headset for your computer, you can use these searches to find currently available options for purchase online: webcams for Zoom and headsets for Zoom.
Preparing for Online Learning
Many of the preparations you make for face-to-face classes are the same:
- Make sure you have your textbooks and other materials before the first day.
- Read over the syllabus, and ask your instructor about things you aren’t sure about.
- Set aside time to study for each class.
Some additional preparations will help you succeed in this remote setting:
- Set up a distraction-free workspace and be prepared to engage in learning remotely during your regularly scheduled class times.
- Hang a sign on your computer or on the door to your work space saying you are in class.
- Update your Canvas notifications, so that you get up-to-date information about what’s happening in your classes.
- Download Zoom and try a practice Zoom before the class starts. Make sure your microphone and camera work properly.
- Log in to Canvas and check your Highline student email every day.
- Communicate regularly with your instructor. Visit their student hours (office hours) regularly and bring your questions.
- Set aside time to work on each class. There may not be as much scheduled in-class time, but expect that a 5-credit class will take about 15 hours per week of work.
- Check out the Resources for Remote Learning that Highline is developing to assist you as you transition into and through a quarter of remote learning.
This will certainly be a challenge, for instructors and students alike. Here are a few suggestions.
When you’re on live video lectures:
- Try and find a quiet place to participate.
- Zoom allows you to turn the camera on and off, and turn off the microphone when you’re not talking. Do that, so you don’t accidentally share too much!
- Use a pair of headphones or a headset to help block out noise.
- Hang a sign on your computer or the door to your work space saying you are in class.
- Find activities that can distract kids for an hour or so, and have a spare sitting next to you in case that doesn’t work.
When you’re doing quiet studying:
- Get up early, or stay up late, when no one else is awake (but make sure you get plenty of sleep!).
- Keep that sign around, and set it up where you are studying.
- Try and create a schedule for the day, and clearly communicate study times.
We can answer research questions: While the library is closed, we’ll still be available to answer questions online (through email and chat services).
We offer one-on-one assistance: Want to get more personalized expert help with a research assignment? We offer virtual student research consultations.
- Consultations are in-depth, one-on-one sessions with a librarian.
- Students can get help with: keyword searches, refining a research question, citation and documentation of sources, source assessment (determining reliability of sources), database use/selection, or searching Google.
- After our virtual research consultation, we can email you a signed copy of our consultation form to submit to your instructor(s) via Canvas.
What: Virtual Reference Services
When: Sunday 1pm – 9pm; Monday – Thursday 10am – 9pm; Friday 10am – 5pm
Who: Highline College Librarians
Where: Ask a Librarian – email and chat services. Chat is also available when the library is closed with a librarian from the 24/7 service.
Note: For questions about borrowing graphing calculators, renewing library materials, or having a print book from the library’s collection mailed to your home, contact the library’s circulation staff
Most student resources have transitioned from in-person to phone, email, Zoom or Canvas. See Virtual Support Services.
Students can create Zoom accounts too, although there are limits to the number of people and how long they can be. Other group platforms (WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Facetime, etc.) are also good options. You can even do group calling on many mobile phone plans, and have a phone study group.
Ask your instructor for help with finding people to study with. They can work with the whole class to arrange for you to meet other students to connect with. Look for folks with similar interests and similar schedules, so it’s easier to connect.
Highline has had two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The first case was an employee and the second was a student. We report cases of any employee, student, or visitor who has tested positive for COVID-19, has been physically on campus during the period of time they would be considered contagious, and has notified the appropriate college representatives.
Highline will follow advice and direction from Public Health – Seattle & King County, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Washington State Department of Health and other state officials.
According to the King County Department of Public Health, students and employees should remain home if they are ill with symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If a supervisor notices that a faculty or staff member is ill, the supervisor should put the employee in an unoccupied room, provide a face mask (if available), and call Human Resources at (206) 592-3812. Faculty and staff are encouraged to remind students to stay home if they are sick and to make accommodations for students who do need to remain home during illness.
Avoid close contact with people who you know are ill or who are coughing and/or sneezing. Remember that there are a variety of respiratory illnesses that may cause such symptoms; so don’t assume someone who is ill has the novel coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray and disinfecting wipes. Information Technology Services has created a handy guide for cleaning and disinfecting common computing, office and telephone equipment.
Highline’s Facilities department is cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces often, with special attention to door handles and keyboards. They also clean bathroom Dyson air dryers, which can harbor germs, several times a day. Employees can also request spray cleaner and disinfectant wipes to help keep learning spaces and offices clean.
In times of fear and uncertainty, there is often misinformation shared as a result of bias and, at times, discrimination or xenophobia. COVID-19 is a global concern that can make anyone sick, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Highline College is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all who study, work or visit.
If you experience or witness any bias or harassment, report it to Highline Public Safety at (206) 592-3218. You can also report the behavior to the Student Assessment and Information Team (SAIT). The goal of the SAIT is to take an informed, proactive and preventive approach to addressing potentially threatening behaviors.
Any Highline student in need of more personal support during this time is encouraged to contact the Highline Counseling Center at (206) 592-3353. King County Public Health has also created a site dedicated to anti-stigma resources.
The Washington State Department of Health has information in 11 languages.
If you are sick, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including caring for your health, contacting your healthcare provider and not attending class if there’s a chance you could be contagious. In the event you miss a necessary in-person class due to illness, contact your instructor to arrange a plan to make up coursework.
If you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider first. They will provide you with instructions for seeking care so that you do not expose others. There are many causes of fevers, coughs and other respiratory symptoms. Protect others and wear a mask. Wash your hands. Cover your cough or sneeze. If you are ill, stay home.
If you do not have a health care provider, use MultiCare’s free virtual care services. Use the promo code COVID19 and they will waive the regular $25 fee.
The Washington Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about how the virus is spread or what to do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, it’s understandable to feel stressed or anxious. Here are some resources:
- Contact the Highline Counseling Center at (206) 592-3353.
- Listen to the Coronavirus Anxiety podcast from the American Psychological Association (transcript is also available).
- Focus on what you can control, such as the things you can do to be prepared and protect yourself like practicing good hygiene.
All Highline College sports practices, games and events are postponed until further notice.
Many events, programs, and workshops have been converted to an online format and will be held through social media and video conferencing platforms. Please contact the department sponsoring the program for more information and visit the college events calendar for a current list of offerings.
Online tutoring sessions are 30 minutes long and students can schedule a maximum of two (2) appointments per day, per subject. To make the most of this time, students should come prepared with their questions and course materials ready to go.