King's Principal's COVID-19 Update - ITS
September 15, 2020
A message from Dr. David Malloy, King's Principal:
Over the past several weeks, I have been discussing with you the many ways the King's community has stepped up to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to our campus. Thank you to all who have continued to deliver a high-quality King's experience, virtually and in some cases, in-person. We have successfully entered Phase C. I appreciate that it can be challenging, and in some cases disappointing, for many of you not to be able to fully enjoy our campus as you have in years past. I am asking for your patience and cooperation as we share the responsibility of safeguarding the health and safety of the community. It is tiring as we have been at this for six months now but I am asking you to please adhere to social distancing, wear a mask, stay home if you are sick and get tested if you have symptoms.
For more information on King's and COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 page. To create a safer and healthier King’s community, all of us must do our part and take precautionary measures. All members of the King's community are reminded to complete their daily self-screening before they come to campus.
Collaboration between departments has been key to delivering the King’s experience in a virtual format to new and continued members of our community, including students, their families, and supporters. Today, I would like to focus on the efforts of our Information Technology Services (ITS).
ITS utilized this collaboration between themselves, faculty, and other departments as, over the summer, we began to plan for a switch to a blended model of teaching, beginning with the fall semester. The ITS staff have been instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition.
To facilitate this change, ITS has been assisting our faculty by providing the Moving Online Project of weekly seminars, remote and blended learning session videos, resources for teaching remotely, and providing support to the King's faculty.
The assistance ITS provided goes beyond just the virtual classroom. They also supported the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 by installing touch screens in Enrolment Services, Student Financial Services, and other locations across campus, as well as hardware and technology support for webcams and other equipment for faculty to use during their virtual classes. (The touch screens are easier to clean between users than the keyboards they replace.) As well, 25 classrooms have been outfitted with new presentation computer systems, high quality microphones for the instructors, classroom audience microphones suspended from the ceiling along with professional SDI cameras also mounted on the ceiling. Small monitors have been installed on top of the console desks to provide the instructor with a visual of the camera image that is being broadcast from the room. With room capacities restricted this year, and only a limited number of students attending classes, these new installations will allow students viewing remotely to see the same presentation as those in the classroom.
There were a number of projects and integrations resulting from efforts to address COVID-19. During the initial months of lockdown, the myKing’s staff and student portals were updated on a regular basis with prominent messaging regarding building access protocols. Throughout this period, a special COVID-19 section of the King’s website has offered a comprehensive COVID-19 FAQ for staff and students alike, with contextual contributions from many departments at King’s. Centralized access to the COVID-19 self-screening tool has also been made available on the MyKing’s portal. To reduce in-person traffic to Central Services, ITS has created a Package Notification system that issues email messages to staff and students to inform them about their mail and parcel deliveries. While this solution streamlines communication, it is also expected to reduce foot traffic into the Central Services office. This is especially critical in observing social distancing standards.
ITS assisted over 300 staff and faculty with utilizing technologies to leverage working from home in an optimal fashion. To better support working from home, ITS is assisting Physical Plant with the implementation of a new phone system. The new phone system is software based and provides additional features and access from any location.
I would like to thank the members of the ITS department for all of their hard work and support in the transition of King's to a largely virtual campus and in the delivery of classes and other services for our fall semester.
We are better together, and I am immensely proud of how all of us have come together in this time for the betterment of our students and the entire King's community.
As we continue to move forward into the fall semester, I welcome your feedback and suggestions via email.
As always, take care of yourself, take care of each other by sharing the social responsibilities of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we will update you on how we are taking care of this place, physically and virtually.