COVID-19: Faculty of Education Updates: Working Remotely

September 4, 2020 | 12:15 pm

Migration from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

On August 17, 2020, faculty and staff using Skype for Business will be able to upgrade to Microsoft (MS) Teams to leverage features such as instant messaging (chat), meetings (video conferencing), and asynchronous collaboration using Teams sites and channels.

As both Skype for Business and MS Teams are similar Microsoft products, the Instant Messaging and Meetings components can only exist in either Skype for Business or MS Teams. Over the next few months, all Skype for Business users will need to move to Teams. However, some may not quite be ready to make the move yet. If you are a Skype for Business user, you will have a choice to make:

  1. Keep using Skype for Business for Instant Messaging and Meetings for now and only use Microsoft Teams for Team Site Collaboration; or
  2. Move to Microsoft Teams for Instant Messaging, Meetings and Team Site Collaboration (Teams Only Mode)

Use this form to declare that you would like to transition to Teams Only mode and UBC IT will queue up your account for migration.

August 28, 2020 | 12:15 pm

Healthy Workplace Practices

Our thoughts on healthy practices often focus around eating well, sleeping well and so on. I also encourage us to think about our virtual workplace and whether we can develop some shared understandings of workplace health. The document, Healthy Workplace Practices, highlights some directions that we’ve been discussing within the Office of the Dean: making your calendar work for you, ensuring meetings are productive, and using Zoom judiciously. I encourage you to discuss the Healthy Workplace Practices document within your unit, and develop some practices that fit within your unit’s culture.

August 7, 2020 | 1:47 pm

Other Supports

I recognize that working remotely continues to be a challenge for many members of our Faculty community. The University is working to provide the services and supports that we all need. For example, there is a new service available to match faculty and staff needing in-home child care support with students in the Faculty of Education’s Early Childhood Education program. Visit for more information. I know I have mentioned this before, but I will once again remind you that UBC’s Human Resources website provides a comprehensive list of supports and tools for building and maintaining mental health. You may also be interested in the Faculty of Medicine’s MEDTalks webinar, The Nature of Mental Health During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, taking place on August 12th from 12:00 to 1:30 PDT. All are welcome to attend; registration is required.

If you are struggling to find the support you need, please reach out to my office for assistance.

July 10, 2020 | 1:02 pm

Resumption of on-campus work

As part of research resumption Phase 2, we are moving toward the resumption of limited, managed access to faculty offices for on-campus work for faculty members who wish to participate. The expectation is that interested faculty would be able to work in their offices one or two days per week. Participation would be completely voluntary; we continue to encourage faculty to work at home if they are able to do so productively. Those who choose to resume on-campus work will not be able to conduct face-to-face meetings, including graduate student supervision. This is simply an opportunity for interested faculty to write, prepare for teaching, or conduct other scholarly endeavours in their faculty offices.

In preparation for this shift, the Faculty is preparing an overarching Safety Plan, with individual units preparing intermediary plans that will dovetail with the main plan. There are many steps to be taken before on-campus work can resume fully, including final approval of our plan by the Office of the President. In conjunction with the Safety Plan approval, the buildings will need to be thoroughly cleaned and the water systems flushed. Finally, we will install appropriate safety signage, indicating occupancy limits, personal cleaning protocols, and directional flow indicators for hallways and stairwells. I will, of course, keep you informed as our plans progress.

Before anyone can return to on-campus work, they will be required to complete an online training course. The mandatory module, Preventing COVID-19 Infection in the Workplace training is accessible through the Workplace Learning (WPL) platform. To complete the training you must enroll in the course after logging in with your CWL.

As a point of clarification, we are not currently planning for staff to resume on-campus work. Many of our staff take public transit to work. Others are having difficulty accessing childcare. Many have taken home office equipment and are now productively working from home. We have no plan to disrupt this pattern of work, and are continuing to value the health and safety of our staff above all other considerations.

May 8, 2020 | 1:45 pm

Update from UBC Ergonomics, WHS Human Resources

Maintaining our physical and mental health are even more important during this period of working from home. Please note suggestions about how to fit physical activity into your day in this document.

Webinars and Podcasts

Various UBC units are offering webinars. Here are a few examples:

The COVID-19 crisis is reshaping politics, healthcare, our communities and society. One Hour @ UBC is a free online lecture series conceived especially for these unusual and turbulent times. Click here.

Healthy UBC offers webinars on maintaining wellbeing, staying active, supporting family, and more. Click here.

CBC Radio has a number of podcasts about this pandemic in relation to others in history. A few examples:

May 1, 2020 | 3:00 pm


Various UBC units are offering webinars. Here are a few examples:

April 24, 2020 | 4:30 pm

UBC Ceremonies has provided the following land acknowledgements that its working group has confirmed with colleagues in Musqueam and the Okanagan Nation, along with senior advisors on Indigenous Affairs, Sheryl Lightfoot and Ian Cull. They suggest including these acknowledgements in your virtual events where you would have otherwise included a land acknowledgement during an in-person event or gathering.

  • UBC Vancouver: “I would like to acknowledge that UBC’s Vancouver Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam people. I would also like to acknowledge that you are joining us today from many places, near and far, and acknowledge the traditional owners and caretakers of those lands.”
  • UBC Okanagan: “I would like to acknowledge that UBC Okanagan is situated in the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples. I would also like to acknowledge that you are joining us today from many places, near and far, and acknowledge the traditional owners and caretakers of those lands.”
  • Robson Square: “I would like to acknowledge that UBC Robson Square is situated on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. I would also like to acknowledge that you are joining us today from many places, near and far, and acknowledge the traditional owners and caretakers of those lands.

April 21, 2020 | 2:30 pm

Webinar: Family Matters: Effective Ways to Learn from Home

alumni UBC, in partnership with the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Arts, is offering a webinar to support families as they navigate the complexities of living, working, and learning at home. The webinar, which will be offered on Wednesday, April 22 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, features EDCP’s Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin among other panelists. Click here to learn more and to register.

April 17, 2020 | 3:15 pm

Computer/Device Security

A UBC Broadcast was issued this week to reinforce the need for increased cybersecurity controls on all servers and computers that are accessing, processing or storing Medium Risk, High Risk, or Very High-Risk information, as defined in Information Security Standard #01.

Please follow UBC guidelines to mitigate privacy and cybersecurity risks, with specific attention to:

  1. Use the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to remotely connect to the UBC network.
  2. Log out of VPN and your devices when not in use. Note: VPN should not be used when accessing video conferencing services.
  3. If possible, use UBC encrypted devices with appropriate security software and regular updates; if a personal device is used to access UBC systems and data, validate the security set up and controls with your IT department.

For more information, visit UBC Broadcast’s COVID–19 — Action required: New minimum cybersecurity controls for accessing UBC systems and information page.

April 15, 2020 | 5:00 pm

UBC Workplace Learning

UBC has just launched a new hub for workplace learning, with freely available learning resources for all UBC employees at all campuses.

Working from Home Ergonomics

Here are some pointers for setting up work from home in ways to support working efficiently, comfortably and safely:

April 3, 2020 | 5:22 pm

Changes to Zoom for Increased Security

UBC has recently completed a Privacy Impact Assessment in support of the approval of Zoom for Teaching & Learning and Administrative use. As you may have seen or heard, there are a number of articles relating to Zoom security and best practices. UBC Legal has confirmed the privacy and information security requirements for Zoom in their recently completed Privacy Impact Assessment. In response to concerns, Zoom has made some configuration changes, and UBC has also made changes to comply with the recommendations in the Zoom Privacy Impact Assessment. A summary of the changes are below…   read more

Changes to Zoom Default Settings:

  • Screen Share – By default, only the Host can share content. For details on how to approve others to share content, see UBC IT website’s Zoom webpage at
  • Chat Auto-Save – By default, chat auto save is now off
  • Guest Identification – All guests will show in the participants list with an orange background behind their names
  • Blur Snapshot – By default, the iOS task switcher is blurred when shared
  • Cloud Recording – Due to FIPPA regulations, Cloud Recording has been turned off without an option to be enabled. Local Recordings to a personal device (i.e. laptop) will still be available
  • Audio Notifications of a Locally Recorded Meeting – Participants connected to the computer audio or by telephone will hear a notification each time the recording is started, paused, resumed from being paused, or stopped
  • Phone Number Masking – Phone numbers of users will be masked in the participant list, for example: 888****666

These default settings are to provide better security. We encourage you not to change default settings unless absolutely necessary for your ability to run an effective video conference.

Prevent Zoom Bombing
You may have heard of a practice called Zoom bombing where unintended attendees disrupt scheduled Zoom meetings. To prevent Zoom bombings, please use the following best practices:

  • Avoid sharing meeting links on social media or public outlets
  • Avoid using Personal Meetings ID (PMI) to host public events – Your PMI is a persistent meeting room and people can pop in and out all the time
  • Manage Screen Sharing – To prevent random people from taking over sharing, restrict sharing to the host
  • Manage Participants
    • Lock the meeting – By locking the meeting after the meeting has started, no new participants can join.
    • Remove unwanted or disruptive participants
    • Disable video – Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video
    • Mute participants – Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other participants
    • Introduce a Waiting Room – The Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you?re ready for them.

For full details and best practices to ensure secure and effective video conference sessions, please visit the UBC IT website Zoom webpage at

If you have any questions about Zoom, please contact our Audio Visual Help Desk at or 604-822-7956.

Jennifer Burns
Associate Vice President Information Technology & CIO, UBC-Vancouver
(Forwarded by Dr. Natasha Boškić, ETS, UBC Faculty of Education)

April 2, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Secure Zoom Accounts

For UBC teaching, learning and meetings, Zoom accounts should have in their address. As such, they have extra security and are not limited to 40 minutes as is the case with free accounts. To set up a Zoom account, send a ticket to AV ( UBC has a strict process whereby all new account requests are reviewed to ensure they are only for UBC employees. Under that basis the directory produced inside Zoom is fully compliant with FIPPA.

For those of you who have already created accounts using your UBC email address, please send a ticket to AV ( and ask them to transfer your free zoom account to the UBC license. (This transfer will not work if you used a personal email address.)

Please note that UBC Audio Visual Services will provide support for meetings that are scheduled using Zoom or Skype for Business, helping with orientation, set-up and/or initial assistance with users. The request for support can be sent to with the details about the meeting: day, time and preferred tool. After receiving a request, AV will confirm their availability and discuss the details and specific requirements, if any. They will be in the virtual meeting room 10 minutes prior of the meeting start.

Some additional safeguards for using Zoom are described in this article:

As always, if you encounter any phishing attempts, please forward (with the email as an attachment to show all header information) to UBC IT Security.

Call Forwarding from UBC to Home or Cell Phone

To set up call forwarding from your UBC desk phone to your home or cell phone, submit an IT Ticket through Service Now. UBC IT will respond and confirm that an account has been setup for you at (which can only be accessed with a connection to the UBC network or via VPN) and provide you with a User ID and password, whereby you can turn on/off call forwarding.

Working from Home

Please refer to Working from Home: Temporary Set Up Guide by Abigail Overduin, Ergonomics Program Lead.

Faculty of Education Administrative Directory

The new Faculty of Education administrative directory (updated as of April 1st) is now available. Any corrections and updates for the next quarter should be sent to

April 1, 2020 | 4:41 pm

UBC Broadcast | Remote Work Arrangements and On-Campus Research Curtailment — Extended

As you know, on March 16, UBC embarked on a three-week pilot for Remote Work Arrangements for faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and student employees who are able to work remotely.

On March 19, the university also announced it was curtailing on-campus research activities at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan. This curtailment was initially in effect until April 15. To continue research activities on our campuses, researchers must receive an exemption to be classed as critical research or maintaining critical research resources.

The situation regarding COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has not yet eased, and is even more important now. In light of this, and continuing to follow guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, we will be extending the Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment until the end of April.

This will be reassessed at the end of April, based on information about COVID-19, and in conjunction with our government and health stakeholders.

As a reminder, a series of FAQs have been developed to support you during this time:

Once again, we would like to thank you for your commitment to the university. We understand that COVID-19 is impacting you in many ways, and we appreciate your ongoing flexibility as we continue to navigate this challenging situation.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation

March 30, 2020 | 4:15 pm

Team Communications while Working Remotely

Communication while working from home remains a critical part of how to work creatively and relationally. There are networking tools that you can access for free, that will allow you to connect your team/s digitally, in a way that is more efficient than email and that is less taxing than meetings. These tools are a good replacement for the f-t-f interactions we have with small clusters of colleagues on a regular basis that have disappeared with remote work.

Keeping Teams Connected

Zoom and Collaborate Ultra are great way to have video meetings. However, you can also set up small and large clusters of colleagues and have immediate communication with the whole office, teams and individuals by using other tools, that are less bandwidth demanding and faster than email. Read more here:

March 27, 2020 | 3:10 pm

Listserv Postings

Over the past several weeks, we have limited Faculty listserv postings to COVID-related information only. We are now moving into a somewhat more settled phase of our new working environment. Beginning Monday, March 30th, the listservs will once again convey regular Faculty business. Please continue to email posting requests directly to Katy Ellsworth.

March 24, 2020 | 4:00 pm

We are working hard to provide the most current information on a wide variety of areas and issues. Thanks to all who are managing questions, concerns and new demands in this dynamic situation. Please know that the University’s recently-established Emergency Operations Centre and Crisis Management Team are grappling with a daily onslaught of matters, so gaining answers about some topics is taking time.

IT Guide to Working Remotely

UBC IT has produced an IT Guide to Working Remotely with information on how to access UBC files and systems, which video conferencing tools to use, and more. Information will be continually updated on this page:

As has been mentioned in earlier posts, it is essential to remain vigilant when accessing UBC files and networks. The following cybersecurity precautions and tips from the Privacy Matters site, include these key points:

  • encrypt any non-UBC devices:
  • activate myVPN to keep online communications, downloads, uploads and other sensitive transactions and items secure – please turn off when working off-line to reduce the risk of overloading the system
  • ensure that you are using Enhanced CWL
  • ensure that all passwords are as strong as possible

For questions related to working remotely not addressed in these resources, please consult with your dept, unit or school administrative manager.

March 20, 2020 | 4:15 pm

Ongoing Work-at-home Pilot

Given the evolving situation with the global pandemic, it will likely become necessary to extend the current work-at-home pilot beyond early April. Please begin planning for this likelihood.

March 19, 2020 | 2:00 pm

Due to the temporary closures of UBC buildings, Campus Mail is offering on-site pick up from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm at their Vancouver location for mail and parcels that they can’t deliver.

To pick up your mail or parcel, please visit them at the University Community Services building at 2329 West Mall.

March 19, 2020 | 11:11 am

Sincere thanks to all of you for transitioning your work away from campus. As both the Scarfe Building and the Education-related areas of Ponderosa Oak and Cedar are now not in use, there is a needless load being placed on Building Operations and Campus Security. To support our colleagues in these units, I have asked them to lock both spaces and restrict card access for the time being. To clarify, your access card will not unlock the buildings or any of the interior spaces.

This decision will not only assist our colleagues in Building Operations and Campus Security, it will help safeguard equipment and confidential materials that are stored in Education spaces.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

March 19, 2020 | 7:27 am

UBC Libraries

The UBC Libraries remain digitally available, but physical operations at both campuses will cease at 5 p.m., Friday, March 20. From that time until 9 a.m., Monday, April 6, we will be working remotely.

Included in this message are details about where to go for information and resources, whom to contact and how to reach them. Librarians are available to support your teaching and research through a variety of methods including email, telephone and video consultations through Zoom and other tools. Please reach out to them as the need arises.

We will prioritize access to our online collections, search tools, the catalogue, research and information databases, and publisher resources. For access to print materials, your librarian will work with you to acquire an electronic version of what you are looking for. Through arrangements with other libraries, membership resources like the Internet Archive, and commercial vendors, we expect to be able to deliver most of your needs…   read more

Along with other libraries, including Harvard University Library, we will temporarily cease loaning physical books after Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m. The library community is currently assessing the safety of handling and loaning physical books, as bindings and paper can host viable Coronaviruses for days.

It is a serious measure for us to take the action of closing our physical facilities, but it is one we must take given the danger the pandemic represents. Libraries by definition do not lend themselves well to social distancing, however we try to make that work. The safety of our community, including our students, faculty, researchers, librarians, and library staff, is top of mind. Knowing that we are able to provide the robust library support that our active community requires is reassuring to us, as we hope it is to you.

In moving to close our physical spaces by the end of this week, we are trying to give people as much time as possible to prepare. Other libraries have had to close their spaces with little or no notice. UBC Library is one of the very last major research libraries in North America to move to completely remote services. Please visit for the latest updates about the library’s services.

Librarian Consultations
Contact our Subject librarians with expertise in specific areas for consultations. Once you identify a librarian, you can schedule an appointment with them via email.

Not sure which subject librarian to contact? Contact your branch by email and we’ll point you in the right direction:

Vancouver Campus
David Lam Library:
Biomedical Branch Library:
Education Library:
Koerner Library:
Law Library:
Music, Art and Architecture:
Rare Books and Special Collections:
Research Commons:
Woodward Library:

Okanagan Campus
Innovation Library:
Okanagan Campus Library:
Okanagan Special Collections:

Dr. Susan E Parker
University Librarian, UBC

Heather Berringer
Chief Librarian and Associate Provost, Learning Services, UBCO

March 18, 2020 | 8:18 am

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has by now declared a public health emergency related to COVID-19.

Members of the Faculty of Education COVID-19 Rapid Response Team are meeting frequently to consult on every aspect of these challenging times, including most recently, how to implement UBC’s Temporary Work from Home Arrangements. The safety of our faculty, students and staff and your families is our top priority.

Given the rapidly changing epidemiological climate and UBC’s Temporary Work from Home Arrangements (pilot to April 6th), and taking into consideration the recommendations of the Faculty Rapid Response team, I have decided we will implement full faculty and staff remote work immediately and without exceptions, as follows:

  • All Faculty of Education staff, from all professional unions and associations, will work remotely during the Pilot period of UBC’s Temporary Work from Home Arrangements.
  • If you have questions about fulfilling your typical duties while working remotely, please discuss with your manager immediately. Your manager may decide to temporarily change the duties or shift the priorities within your existing job classification based on the unit needs.
  • If you are concerned about the technology/equipment to support working from home, please also discuss with your manager who will work with the unit head to make alternate arrangements.

By working remotely, we will interrupt the chain of COVID-19 transmission, and hopefully make the virus’ impact more manageable for our health care system and as such, for society, with a particular focus on reducing the impact of the virus on those most vulnerable members of our society. Please do your part to help “flatten the curve.”

Managers who have questions regarding the implementation of this Remote Work pilot program may contact Anna Bin, Director of HR, for advice.

We are here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

March 15, 2020 | 5:34 pm

Temporary Work from Home Arrangements

This applies to all employees of the University, regardless of their membership in any union or association. We encourage all members in the Faculty of Education to discuss with their managers or research leads/principal investigators to determine if their positions are appropriate for remote work, to receive written approval to do so and to confirm a start date of the arrangement. Such approval is in the sole discretion of the applicable manager and it is provided on a case-by-case basis. In case a position is deemed not feasible for remote work, the employee will be expected to attend work as they normally do.

Guidelines on this “Temporary Work from Home Arrangements” pilot program can be found at:

This is a temporary pilot program for three weeks at this time. As the advice from the Provincial Health Officer and the BCCDC evolves, the University will continue to assess the efficacy of this program and determine whether it will be necessary to extend or modify it.

Managers who have questions regarding the implementation of this pilot program may contact Anna Bin, Director of HR, for advice.