Information for Current Students

Information for Current Students
Due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester is taught fully online. This page contains information intended to help our current students navigate and succeed in the online learning landscape.

Online Learning/Remote Access FAQ

UCONN RESOURCES: UConn has put together a source for students transitioning to online learning from home.  See the tips and advice here:  https://onlinestudent.uconn.edu/keeplearning/

Stamford students: please see the Stamford COVID-19 webpage for specifics on the Stamford campus (login with your NetID).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:


What UConn student services are still available to me virtually?
Many of UConn’s student services are still available to you in a virtual format.  See the list below of some of the popular services still being offered.  If you don’t see what you are looking for in this list, that doesn’t mean the service isn’t available. Please refer to the website of any desired service for more information.




  • The Dean of Students Office provides resources to students struggling with a variety of issues and seeks to be the “go to” spot for student assistance on campus. If you don’t know which office you need to contact, start here for help. 





I’m struggling to create an effective “work environment” at home, what should I do?   
UConn has put together a Transitioning to a Remote Online Learning Environment checklist as well as a list of links to helpful tools. This document has advice on creating an at-home work environment. 

I need some help with my time management strategies while learning from home. Any advice for me?

  1. Start your week by checking for announcements from your instructors. 
  2. Keep a calendar, organize your list of deliverables by week, and update accordingly.
  3. Build a schedule that works for you and your situation.
  4. Engage with instructors early when you run into issues or have questions.
  5. Establish a remote network with other students enrolled in your class. Use this network for additional support.

Will I still have personal interactions with my professors?
Faculty will continue to stay in contact with students remotely. Each faculty member will be reaching out to each of their respective classes with instructions for how to continue engaging with your class. And every faculty member is holding virtual office hours. Reach out to your professors if you have any specific needs or questions.

The syllabus for my class has, understandably, had modifications, and I’m worried I may miss something, what should I do?
This is a new and unexpected experience for everybody. DMD faculty are working hard to provide the best experience with online classes as we possibly can. Your education is still our top priority. If you have any questions or need any clarifications, reach out directly to the professor. They will do everything they can to help. Please reach out as soon as you have questions so that your professor can address any confusion. Do not wait until the end of the semester - when it is too late - to tell them about your concerns.

My home internet has intermittent connection issues, what should I do?
If you are having Internet or Wifi issues at home, try reaching out to your provider. Below is contact info for major local providers (also be on the lookout for extra services provided in response to COVID-19, also linked below for each ISP) In addition, many mobile phone carriers are expanding services for their customers. Please review the list at the bottom if that could help your connection:









If I’m still struggling with my ISP (Internet Service Provider), what about using my mobile phone connection? How are the Mobile Phone Carriers responding to Coronavirus?
Many mobile phone carriers are offering extra services to their customers to help during this time, see below for highlighted details and links to each company’s official response (as of 3/25, this is all subject to change).

  • AT&T - Waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. For full details see AT&T’s covid-19 response
    • The coronavirus pandemic is causing many hardships. If you find yourself in financial trouble and unable to pay your bill, we’re here to help you. Please contact us at 800-288-2020 for AT&T broadband, residential wireless or small business services and 611 from your AT&T device for wireless service.
 
 

  • Sprint - For full details see Sprint’s COVID-19 response
    • By March 18: Customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost. Will provide customers with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost.
    • Beginning March 18 - 26: Customers with mobile hotspot-capable handsets who don’t have mobile hotspot today will now get 20GB as well per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost.
 
  • Ting - Ting Mobile customers will notice no difference in the service they’ve come to expect, even as our offices sit almost empty. For full details see Ting’s COVID-19 response

  • T-Mobile - For full details see T-Mobile’s COVID-19 response.
    • As of March 13: ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers as of March 13, 2020 who have legacy plans without unlimited high-speed data will get unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). 
    • Starting March 20: providing T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers on smartphone plans with hotspot data an additional 20GB of smartphone mobile hotspot (10GB per bill cycle for the next 60 days) for each voice line. (T-Mobile Connect excluded).
    • Working with our Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB of data per month through May 13, 2020.
    • Increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month through May 13, 2020.


How do I access my remote meeting tools?
DMD faculty are using a variety of tools to host both synchronous classes and remote meetings. In addition, there are a few things that help make online class experience better: 

  1. Close unnecessary programs running on your computer that may be using system resources.
  2. Choose audio/voice only instead of video (which is more demanding).
  3.  Set the meeting time to quarter after the hour to avoid a “rush hour”
  4. Connect to your home router with an Ethernet cable instead of wifi, if possible
  5. Share discussion documents ahead of time via email 

Here is information on the primary tools DMD faculty and students are using:




Are there any Free Online Learning Services available?
We are trying to help compile a list of a variety of online services and resources that can help DMD students succeed in their projects. While we know that the one-on-one contact with your faculty experts is greatly missed some of these resources could help you.

  • Adobe
    Adobe has excellent tutorials, downloads, and videos that can help you learn particular techniques.

  • Affinity Designer
    Design software Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher are all being offered as a 90 day free trial, with the option to purchase full licenses at 50% off.

  • Red Giant
    Red Giant just made the Red Giant Complete package (all their plugins) free for students and teachers. You need to renew the license every 6 months.

  • Unity Learn
    Unity is offering 90 days of free Unity Learn Premium.  For the game developers among us, this is a great learning opportunity.

I need further technical support.  Who should I contact?
UConn’s UITS is available for support: https://onlinestudent.uconn.edu/technical-support-2/

3/30/20 Email to Students

An Update From the Department Head

Dear DMD students,

Congrats! We all made it through our first week of online classes. Our DMD faculty have been working together, sharing ideas, and doing everything that they can to ensure a positive experience for each and every one of you.

To help, we have compiled a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” for DMD students, which, along with weekly updates can be found here: http://dmd.uconn.edu/currentstudents. Please check the web page regularly for academic updates, resources, and virtual group meetings. 

PLEASE REVIEW these very important announcements:

  1. Technology / Learning Survey: Thanks to the 105 of you who have already filled it out, but if you haven’t yet, please complete this survey ASAP so that we can help to better understand what kind of variations in technology we are facing within each of our classes. We are reaching out to students individually to help to solve problems via this form. NOTE: YOU MUST BE LOGGED INTO YOUR UCONN EMAIL (GMAIL) IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE FORM.

  2. Choosing Pass/Fail Option for Courses: The Registrar has now posted the information on how to select a Pass/Fail option for Spring 2020 courses. Please review the SFA policy and the Registrar’s link to the request form. Effective for spring semester 2020 only, the usual limitations on students for electing to take courses on a Pass/Fail basis will be suspended. In an effort to simplify the burden on both students and faculty, all Digital Media & Design (DMD) courses and all General Education courses may be taken as Pass/Fail instead of a letter grade, and any passing grade will count for the major in the Plan of Study. Students have until May 1st to decide, however we encourage students to opt in well before then. Students should determine what is best in consultation with their advisor. As a reminder, please be aware that, regardless of an A-F or S/U system, If you fail a course, you will not be allowed to continue with the post-requisite course in the fall. For Freshmen, this means that you will have no DMD courses in the fall if you fail either 1002 or 1102 this semester.

  3. Stamford Students: Reminder that the Stamford Director has added a special Stamford COVID-19 update page with information specific to your campus. You must login with your Net ID. Please check that regularly.

  4. Summer Courses: Registration for Summer 2020 courses is open. Due to the circumstances, several courses are being converted to online. This is particularly useful for transfer students and those who want to get ahead in their DMD requirements. Learn about our summer 2020 DMD courses.

  5. #DMDAtHome: Our in-house marketing team, AgencyX, is putting on content on social media to help us stay connected, relieve stress, and attract the #DMDClassOf2024!. We’ve come up with a new series, #DMDAtHome, to help share the ways that DMD faculty and students are working - and playing - while sequestering away from campus. We’d love to get a great variety of people - faculty, students (undergrad/grad), different concentrations, from all different places (urban, rural, etc.) Please email the images and text to Isaiah: uconndigitalmedia@gmail.com
    A few ideas:
  • Take a photo of your workspace (might include a photo of your desk or you using equipment, etc.)
  • Also show how you play! Share a photo that shows how you unwind and deal with the stress of being physically isolated.
  • And write a few positive words for our students and faculty that can go along with it.
  • For those that want to do a short video clip, could be sure to say something like, “This is my DMD At Home…”



Guidance for Residential Students: Students who lived in Storrs and Stamford student housing before the university shifted operations due to the pandemic have been provided guidance on next steps, and a list of FAQs to help with specific questions. Students remaining on campus are also reminded not to congregate in groups in keeping with social distancing guidelines, and that for security reasons, students, staff and others should not prop doors open in the residence halls.

Communicating, Life, in General: A reminder to please keep in communication with your professors and each other. While we may be physically separated, there are plenty of digital tools to keep us connected via social media - use them! And know that the Digital Media & Design Department is here for you, please reach out if you need support. Your faculty care, and will even worry, if they don’t hear from you, so stay virtually connected!

We thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding as we all adapt to the online environment and the rapidly changing world around us. 

All my best,
Professor Heather Elliott-Famularo, DMD Department Head
Written on behalf of all of the DMD faculty

3/22/20 Email to Students

Email sent to DMD students on Sunday, March 22nd 

Dear DMD students,

I hope you are all settling back in at home and getting ready for distance learning to begin tomorrow. I want you all to know that your DMD faculty are committed to providing the best remote experience possible for our students. We held a faculty meeting just before spring break, and I was inspired by our professors’ empathy and genuine care for each of you as we adjust to these extraordinary circumstances. Know that we are all in this together. 

As this begins, please don’t expect perfection. We understand that internet connections won’t always work well and unexpected things will happen. It’s quite possible, for example, that a virtual meeting might be interrupted by a young child at home - on either end of the call! It’s okay. We get it. And we all need to do our best to be flexible, adapt, and make it work, which includes changing course expectations and assignments, if needed. Fortunately, your DMD faculty are technologically savvy, so I anticipate a positive transition. But still, I thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding as we all adapt to both teaching/learning online and the rapidly changing world around us. 

Regarding COVID-19, UConn is closely monitoring the situation and is following the State of Connecticut’s regulations, specifically Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Orders. Please stay updated on UConn’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here. Please check the webpage later this week for academic updates and resources. I will share weekly video updates as well.

PLEASE REVIEW these very important announcements:
  1. Technology / Learning Survey: Please complete this survey ASAP so that we can help to better understand what kind of variations in technology we are facing within each of our classes. NOTE: YOU MUST BE LOGGED INTO YOUR UCONN EMAIL (GMAIL) IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE FORM.

  2. Advising: Please be sure to reach out to your advisor and schedule your advising meeting to help select Fall 2020 classes if you haven’t done so already. Check out the descriptions for Fall 2020 Variable Topics courses. Most advisors are scheduling advising meetings via NEXUS. And be sure to use the appropriate form to request Permission Numbers for DMD courses for either STORRS or STAMFORD. Please try to complete your advising and complete the form THIS WEEK so that we can issue your permission numbers and students can begin registering.

  3. Pass/Fail (S/U) Courses: The University Senate has voted to amend the requirement for Pass/Fail for this semester and the Provost’s Office supports this change. Therefore, due to these extenuating circumstances, effective for spring semester 2020 only, the usual limitations on students for electing to take courses on a Pass/Fail basis will be suspended.  In an effort to simplify the burden on both students and faculty, all Digital Media & Design (DMD) courses may, therefore, be taken Pass/Fail instead of a letter grade, and any passing grade will count for the major in the DMD Plan of Study. The decision is up to each individual student. Other departments are making decisions about their own courses. The Registrar is currently working on a form that can be used to process these requests, which I will share when available. However, please be aware that, regardless of an A-F or S/U system, if you fail a course, you will not be allowed to continue with the post-requisite course in the fall. For Freshmen, this means that you will have no DMD courses in the fall if you fail either 1002 or 1102 this semester. Make sure you pass your classes!

  4. Headphones/Webcam: Please be sure to have a decent set of headphones that will work with your device (laptop, tablet, etc.) for synchronous classes and individual meetings. This is a necessity. A Webcam will also make your meetings better, or if you don’t have one, install the Cisco Webex Meetings mobile app onto your tablet or mobile device, found in the App Store and Google Play.

  5. Render Farm: The DMD Render Farm is available to render out your animations remotely. Please see the instructions on how to send your files here.

  6. Communicating Life, in General: Please keep in communication with your professors and each other. Do not “check out” completely. While we all must practice social distancing and, for those that have been exposed to COVID-19 even self-isolation, that does not mean that we should be alone. We can only support each other if we share with each other. There are plenty of digital tools to keep us connected via social media - use them! And know that the Digital Media & Design Department is here for you, please reach out if you need support. Your faculty care, and will even worry, if they don’t hear from you, so stay virtually connected!

Living right here, right now is stressful and overwhelming. This pandemic makes the world seem very small. And this period in your life will inevitably mark and change you, so this is the time to stay alert, observe, and be creative. You are the content creators, distributors, and analyzers of the future, and we see great promise in your ability to make a difference in the world! Use your digital skills for good. Research and analyze data. Document your experiences. Tell the stories that you feel compelled to tell and share them. Through the DMD tools you are learning, you have the power to make society better. And finally, be resilient! As digital artists and researchers, we constantly invent new systems, new methods, and make art to adapt, even in the hardest of times. Let your knowledge be a positive outlet for good in your life and in the lives of those around you!

Finally, know that I and the other DMD faculty are with you in heart and spirit. Be strong. Take seriously the CDC guidelines to protect yourself, your loved ones, and society in general. Stay connected via social media and stay positive. It’s not going to be easy, but together we can get through this pandemic. We are all part of the same DMD family.

All my best,
Professor Heather Elliott-Famularo, DMD Department Head
Written on behalf of all of the DMD faculty
heather@uconn.edu