Resources for parenting and teaching during COVID-19

Kim Fournier, Associate Director for UNM Center for Teaching Excellence, and Stephanie Spong, Senior Operations Manager for the UNM Center for Teaching and Learning, give tips and recommendations on how to best transition to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Updated September 30, 2020

We’ve been in a pandemic for six months, and it feels hard right now. Here are a few useful articles and small suggestions to get through this period of muddling through.


Meanwhile, information related to the pandemic is changing rapidly. We do our best to keep the most current information here. Whether you want to upgrade your on-line teaching skills, keep up with plans for the fall, or find a way to keep your kids entertained, we’ve got information!


We’re compiling non-teaching related faculty-relevant COVID-19 policies and processes here, and the UNM COVID-19 page is here. UNM’s Bringing Back the Pack page is here.


Remember that you can anonymously drop us a line if you have a question or want information on resources not included below.

Are we missing a resource you find helpful? Drop us a line at advance at unm dot edu.


Student Evaluations of Teaching for Fall 2020 

Provost Holloway recently  announced “Fall 2020 student evaluations of teaching will not be used for annual performance, mid-probationary, and tenure and promotion milestone reviews, and can be omitted from the associated reports and dossiers. Fall 2020 EvalKit course evaluations will be issued, but they will not be used as an evaluative tool by departments, colleges, or the provost. Instead, the course evaluations will be implemented for the purposes of a faculty member’s personal growth and development.”


You can choose to include the Fall 2020 student evaluations in reviews, but you are not required to do so. 


New Guidance for International Graduate Students

Guidance was released from the Department of Homeland Security clarifying enrollment requirements for international students for Fall 2020. 


Here is what you should know for international graduate students as far as immigration rules for enrollment:

  • Continuing Students – those who are continuing International students in the US must enroll full-time, but they can pursue entirely online classes.
  • Initial/New Students in the US – those who are entering the US for the first time on a student visa must also enroll full-time.  However, they need to have at least one course with a face-to-face component (Meeting type of either Face-to-face or face-to-face plus).  If courses are moved online after these students have entered the US to begin classes, they may continue to pursue their classes online.
  • Initial/New students outside of the US – those who are new students who have not been in the US, but will attend online from home can begin their programs entirely online at home and do NOT need to be full-time as far as immigration rules are concerned.


The immigration definition of full-time enrollment for GRADUATE international students is 9 credit hours if they do not have an assistantship and 6 credit hours if they have an assistantship. International students have already been informed of these requirements, but they may need your assistance adjusting their course schedule to ensure they meet the minimum requirements. Contact Linda Melville ( ) in the Global Education Office if you have questions.


Preparing for fall 2020 at UNM

The August 11 memo from the Provost to faculty on instructional issues is here, and the suggested syllabus language is here.


The most current updates are posted on the Bringing Back the Pack webpage, here.  You can now find out if any buildings are closed due to COVID-19 here. Information on what to do if a student tells you they have tested positive for COVID-19 has been updated.


The Provost has released a memo that provides extensive information on instruction, safety, and health guidelines for the fall semester. Please note that the memo includes syllabus language regarding wearing of masks and guidance for faculty if students challenge the mask requirement.


The Teaching Modalities available for Fall, and additional guidance on planning for the FAll are now available here. The Center for Teaching Excellence has additional information and registration for workshops on their Preparing for Fall 2020 website, here.


The current descriptions of fall course modes are:

    • 100% Face-to Face: All course components are delivered in person and on campus. Small classes or seminars, art classes, studio work, labs, internships, clinics, other skills-based needs.
    • Face-to-Face plus Remote Scheduled: Courses meet in person at a scheduled time and meet remotely at a scheduled time (instructors may organize successive in-person meetings with sub-groups of students). Classes or seminars, discussion-based, inquiry- or project- based classes, large classes for which scheduled class times can be used for active learning for smaller groups, other lab, studio, internship, or skills-based classes.
    • Face-to-Face plus Remote Arranged: Courses meet in person at a scheduled time and remote instruction is also offered. Classes or seminars, discussion-based, inquiry- or project- based classes, large classes for which scheduled class times can be used for active learning for smaller groups, other lab, studio, internship, or skills-based classes.
    • Remote Scheduled: All course components are delivered remotely and some or all regularly scheduled group meetings occur and occur remotely via Zoom, Teams, or other platform. Classes and seminars of any size, discussion-, inquiry-, project- based, Classes w/ multiple sections with flexibility.
    • Remote Arranged: A fully remote course in which all components are delivered remotely and there are no set times for face-to-face or remote meetings. Coursework will be done remotely and your coursework for a given day or week, such as viewing lectures and completing modules, can be completed online within deadlines set by the instructor. Classes or seminars of any size, discussion-based classes, Classes w/ multiple sections.
    • Hybrid is a specially developed remote scheduled course.
    • Online Max is a specially developed remote arranged course with a $100 course fee to offset development and review costs. This is for classes that have traditionally be taught online.


K-12 and the fall: What do we know?

The APS Coronavirus page is here, and their re-entry plan is here.  APS has announced that instruction will be remote through December.


Rio Rancho Public Schools are taking a slightly different approach, and that information is here. RRPS has not announced whether pre-K-5th grades will open in a hybrid model or remain remote.


The NM Public Education Department updated their Reentry Guidance on July 16th,  recommending a phased approach at the start of the school year. Recent public statements on the fall include (most recent stories listed first):


UNM online teaching resources

Online tools for supporting instruction from UNM IT Academic Technologies.

Starting from scratch with Learn

Getting started with Blackboard Learn

Recording videos with Kaltura, which is part of Learn.


Teaching and tech tools to know about

Techsmith, which makes several helpful online teaching tools like screencast recorders, is offering some of its software for free during the pandemic.

Zoom and Zoom Pro can help professors hold class meetings. It is free with a UNM net ID. You can share your screen with students.

This video, How to hold a class with Zoom, an iPad and a digital pencil by Michelle Pacansky-Brock @brocansky has helpful hints.

Google Hangouts allows groups to join a video conference. Allows screen sharing.

Blackboard Collaborate, which is built into Learn, allows group video chats and has a white board function that allows you to share Power Points, etc.

Skype is another free tool for delivering class lectures online. Here’s a video tutorial.


Other tips for managing online classes 

How to Make Your Online Pivot Less Brutal is a good place to start.

The Teaching Effectively in Times of Disruption guide by technology specialists at Stanford University is full of recommendations and resources.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has this guidebook for teaching online.

Inside Higher Ed has this piece where 17 instructors offer their peers advice on teaching online.

The EduBlogger has this extensive list of resources and other info for teaching online, written by Kathleen Morris (@kathleen_morris).

Building Rapport to Improve Retention in Online Classes, by Rebecca Glazier Offers tips on how to build rapport with students in online classes in order to increase student success. 

Inside Higher Ed also offers advice here: So you want to temporarily teach online.  


Tips for working at home with kids

Many faculty will be juggling child care duties as they try to teach online or prepare online class materials. The people at Buffer, a company that makes a social media scheduling tool, share these tips (and some cute kid pics.) 

The New York Times’ Smarter Living section also put together these tips.

You might also enjoy How to Prepare for Extended School Closings — and Not Lose Your Mind.

This list from CNN also has some fun ideas for the kiddos.

The magazine Parents put together this list of tips too, including the importance of having a daily schedule (for you and the kids!)


Fun and helpful resources and activities

The Department of Individual, Family and Community Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences has an initiative to promote Well-being at School and Home in New Mexico with a link to their newsletter on Home Summering here. The newsletter has a lot of links to a range of resources.


Summer Youth Programs and Resources in ABQ and NM are available via an alphabetical list here, located on the website.


APS@Home is collaborating with KNME to broadcast daily lessons for K-5 students starting June 15th. More information about this and other resources is available here


The CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall on COVID-19 is here

Albuquerque Murals Tour is an informative and beautiful tour of murals throughout Albuquerque.

Ask the Maxwell: The Maxwell has a range of resources online. One potentially fun opportunity is the “ask Maxwell Friday.” Encourage your kids to send questions!

Check out the creative activities for kids at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

You can engage with the Albuquerque Museum online.

There are interactive educational resources for parents and teachers on the ABQ Biopark Connect.

Try This at Home” includes local resources consolidated on this city website.

The Washington Post has updated its “Ultimate Parents’ Guide to Summer Activity Resources.


ICE announcement about international students: rule rescinded

On July 14, the Trump administration rescinded the new Visa Rule, referred to below. Read the announcement here.


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had said that international students who take only on-line courses in the fall must leave the country. Academic Affairs has responded quickly, with guidance for faculty and for students. Note that the student information has separate sections for graduate and undergraduate students.


You can sign an open letter from faculty across the United States  here and you can read about Harvard and MIT suing the federal government over this decision here.