The UC Merced Office of Information Technology and the Office of the Provost is introducing this Continuity & Community newsletter as the central campus vehicle f or communication around new and changing technology resources and services for faculty and staff.

Each week, we'll include information about new and changing services and platforms, tips for how to use existing services more effectively or efficiently, and feature resources that may be of value. We're also asking for your input! If you have a resource that has been particularly useful to you, please share it with us so that we can share it in a future digest.
Be sure to visit the OIT pages dedicated to Educational Continuity For Instruction , Continuity For Learning , and Continuity for Remote Work . These pages, along with a set of crowd-sourced, curated resources for faculty , students , and staff are being updated frequently with new information to aid your transition.
WEEK 1: April 1, 2020
  • Zoom Bombing
  • Remote Labs
  • Student Engagement
  • CETL Workshops
  • Instructional Video Content
  • SLACK in the Classroom
  • Curated Resources
  • Zoom Virtual Whiteboard
  • Box Drive
  • Move to UC Merced VPN
  • COVID-19 Security Concerns
  • Curated Resources
'Zoom Bombing' is a new form of trolling in which a participant uses Zoom’s built-in feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes. Click below to learn how to secure your settings and allow legitimate participants to share in your Zoom meetings.
OIT is pleased to announce the launch of the UC Merced Remote Lab service. Thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of our Academic & Emerging Technology staff, class software that was formerly only available in OIT instructional computer labs is now available remotely for access by instructors, TAs , and students.
As students move to the remote modality, it may seem difficult or impossible to understand their engagement with course materials. Kaltura and CatCourses offer analytics that instructors can track to monitor student use.
Kaltura allows you to track student engagement right from the CatCourses interface. See who is interacting with your media the most, identify key themes to review with all students, and more.
CatCourses New Analytics allows instructors to view course grades as an i nteractive graph  or data table , view average weekly online participation, and compare individual to average data for particular assignments or for the course as a whole.
CETL is offering a variety of 1-1 workshops on topics like designing group work for remote instruction, TA training for online discussion or office hours, Zoom for remote instruction, and more.
Finding quality instructional content and materials is a concern to faculty everywhere as the COVID-19 crisis emerges, particularly for faculty teaching laboratory, performance, or field courses. Check out the resources below so that you don't have to produce everything yourself.
The California Digital Library (CDL) has secured expanded access to the JoVE Video Journal for all UC faculty, instructors, students, researchers, clinicians and staff.  JoVE includes over 11,000 videos in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, physics and psychology, and JoVE videos can be viewed on their site or embedded into learning management systems. 
The UCOP Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) has created a repository for instructional video content via the Panopto platform. This repository is intended mainly for UC faculty teaching laboratory, performance, or field courses, but if you have created instructional video content that you feel may be of use to others, you can upload your content and grant access to your UC colleagues.
UC Merced Professor Russ McBride recommends SLACK as an alternative to Zoom and CatCourses for group discussion.
  1. How Faculty and Administrators Can Come Together During the Emergency (webinar, 3 April) | Panelists: Carolyn Dever, a professor of English at Dartmouth College, and former provost at the institution; George Justice, a professor of English at Arizona State University and the author of How to Be a Dean (Johns Hopkins University Press)
  2. The Despondent Pit of Techno-Despair | Digital Visual Facilitation - tools, tips, and tech for virtual work and remote collaboration
  3. Partners, ‘Vultures,’ and Other Dispatches From Higher Ed’s Grand Move Online | Goldie BlumenstykChronicle of Higher Education
Have a great resource that you'd like to share? Tell us about it!
One of the options Zoom offers in their Share Screen feature is the ability to share a virtual whiteboard that allows you and your meeting participants to type text, draw, and add stamps. The only thing missing is that dry-erase smell.
Box Drive is a key feature that many users may have overlooked until now. With Box Drive, you can access all your files without needing to take up much of your actual hard drive space. Work with your files as usual, and all changes automatically save back to Box. You can also mark content for offline use and have access to your files even when you're not connected to the internet!
Earlier this spring, OIT launched the new  UC Merced VPN  that provides users with a secure, encrypted connection back to the campus network from remote locations and replaces the Janus VPN.  Our campus's shift to remote instruction and campus operation due to COVID-19 has dramatically increased VPN utilization, so we encourage all VPN users to migrate from Janus as soon as possible.
UC Merced Information Security has noticed a large spike in phishing scams and spam emails using a subject line containing “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” as the lure to entice our campus community to click on links, download files, and open attachments. Many of these emails impersonate legitimate institutions and authorities. Stay informed and stay safe!
  1. Lunch and Learn: Virtual Dialogue Series | The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  2. Thoughtfulness in a Pandemic | Brad Judy, University of Colorado System
  3. Crash Course in Translating Your Process to a Virtual Setting | Digital Visual Facilitation - tools, tips, and tech for virtual work and remote collaboration
  4.  The Dos and Don’ts of Online Video Meetings | Brian X. Chen, New York Times 
Have a great resource that you'd like to share? Tell us about it!
Coming Next Week


A Note on Continuity & Community
Adopting new technology solutions at a time of such extreme stress is not ideal. We’ve staked our future on technologies and tools designed mostly to augment real life—not replace it. Being forced to rely so heavily on technology in an uncertain time may cause us to feel even more out of control than we do already.

 For this reason, I suggest that we approach the challenge of this particular period with a sense of play and curiosity. Try one new thing each week and then note how remarkable you are for doing even that much!
The truth is, n one of us planned to spend the rest of our semester in this way. But here we are, and now we must make the best of it. If we use technology to strengthen our human connection rather than to define it, we’ll succeed (and learn) together.
Ann Kovalchick
Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer