Now that the University is closed, a number of students who relied on campus technologies for access to your class or content will need alternative solutions to help them complete the course.  This page will guide you through possible options available to support both of you, as you tackle the three most likely technical issues: access to a computer, access to wifi or internet, and access to specialized software.

You can also direct students to the USask Updates pages, which include a page specifically for students: Virtual/Remote Learning

Access to a computer

There are three main ways to address the problem of lack of computer access. The solutions are listed here from the best to worst options in terms of amount of effort for the professor and students. These options should be considered for specific students who have report there is no way to access a computer where they are living, not for all students in the class.

A student in need of a loaner computer may be able to borrow a USask computer.  Please contact IT Support Services to confirm names and NSIDs of students in need. IT Support can be emailed at itsupport@usask.ca. You may add a ticket https://itsupport.usask.ca/, or call 306-966-2222.

Our current version of Blackboard is not always mobile-friendly.  If a student is using solely a mobile phone, they may be able to read and complete work on their phones, or may need content and assessments emailed to them in document form. If they have access to a printer, they may be able to print the emailed assessments and complete them. 

If students are returning documents they have handwritten, please recommend they use a scanner app to scan documents they have completed by hand to email back to you. Phone-based scanners allow students to turn a handwritten document into a digital file in a PDF format. Students have access to a free PDF scanner built into the OneDrive app.  Please see this USask Knowledge Base article for faculty and students regarding scanning from a phone.  Students may already have other apps for scanning PDFs on their phones, and choose to use those instead.

Simply taking photos of work with the camera is not recommended, as the clarity of text is usually lower, the file formats may be difficult to open, and you would receive numerous image files if an assessment has more than one page.

USask’s Distance Education Unit (DEU) has a process for mailing content and assessments to students.

When using this option, students would mail completed assessments back to you via DEU (students do not use your personal mailing address), or scan the paper copy using a scanner app (see info in question above) to submit it back to you by email.

In the event that none of this is possible, a student may be given extensions to complete the coursework from the last 3 weeks of the class at a later date.  Please document the missing content and assessments specifically, so that the student can complete only the missing coursework. Incomplete grades should be recorded temporarily either per the Academic Courses Policy (8.4) or by an IP (In Progress) grade alternative.

Access to wifi

There are three main ways to address a lack of wifi in the place where a student is living. The solutions are listed here from the best to worst options in terms of amount of effort for the professor and students.

Remind students that if they have mobile data on their phone, they can tether to phone data through a personal hotspot which can allow them to use a mobile phone to provide data to a computer. Here are instructions how to create hotspots on Apple devices and Android devices.

Students should check with their carriers about their options.

Our current version of Blackboard is not always mobile-friendly.  If a student is using solely a mobile phone, they may be able to read and complete work on their phones, or may need content and assessments emailed to them in document form. If they have access to a printer, they may be able to print the emailed assessments and complete them. 

If students are returning documents they have handwritten, please recommend they use a scanner app to scan documents they have completed by hand to email back to you. Phone-based scanners allow students to turn a handwritten document into a digital file in a PDF format. Students have access to a free PDF scanner built into the OneDrive app.  Please see this USask Knowledge Base article for faculty and students regarding scanning from a phone.  Students may already have other apps for scanning PDFs on their phones, and choose to use those instead.

Simply taking photos of work with the camera is not recommended, as the clarity of text is usually lower, the file formats may be difficult to open, and you would receive numerous image files if an assessment has more than one page.

USask’s Distance Education Unit (DEU) has a process to facilitate mailing content and assessments to students

When using this option, students would then mail completed assessments back to you via DEU (students do not use your personal mailing address), or scan the paper copy using a scanner app (see info in question above) to submit it back to you by email.

In the event that none of this is possible, a student may be given extensions to complete the coursework from the last 3 weeks of the class at a later date.  Please document the missing content and assessments specifically, so that the student can complete only the missing coursework. Incomplete grades should be recorded temporarily either per the Academic Courses Policy (8.4) or by an IP (In Progress) grade alternative.

Access to software

There are three main ways to address the problem of specialized software that is typically accessed in campus computer labs or for substantial cost per licence. The solutions are listed here from the best to worst options in terms of amount of effort for the professor and students.
Virtual Computer Lab enables students and faculty to access applications from their personal laptop or computer from home. Please review the instructions and list of software available here. If the software your students need is available, instruct them to access it at https://vlab.usask.ca/Any files saved while using Virtual Computer Lab, will be stored on the student’s Cabinet, which can be accessed through PAWS under My Files.
Ask the student to check the list of available software that can be accessed off campus. Please contact IT Support Services to confirm what is available for your specific software  if it is not on the list. This may include a 30 day trial or a negotiated access for a longer term. IT Support can be emailed at itsupport@usask.ca.  You can also add a ticket at https://itsupport.usask.ca/  or call 306-966-2222.

A student in need of a loaner computer may be able to borrow a USask computer.  Please contact IT Support Services to confirm names and NSIDs of students in need. 

IT Support can be emailed at itsupport@usask.ca.  You can also add a ticket at https://itsupport.usask.ca/ or call 306-966-2222.

In the event that none of this is possible, a student may be given extensions to complete the coursework from the last 3 weeks of the class at a later date.  Please document the missing content and assessments specifically, so that the student can complete only the missing coursework. Incomplete grades should be recorded temporarily either per the Academic Courses Policy (8.4) or by an IP (In Progress) grade alternative.