March 19, 2020
Update Message to Graduate Students

Dear Humanities Graduate Students,

We are sending along a message we sent out to faculty yesterday with updates on remote teaching to make sure that all of the graduate students teaching their own courses will have this same information. We realize that some of these points may not be relevant to your own situation, but it may be useful for you to have the same information that faculty have on the ever-changing situation we all face. Another message addressing the situation of the graduate students will reach you later today. 

Kathleen Canning and Jeff Kripal
Zoom / Canvas assistance:Rice is making on-site assistance available for graduate students who are teaching courses. The assist team will be available today (Thursday, March 19) from 1 pm - 5 pm in HRG 129 (the suite which houses the Center for Teaching Excellence). You can also get remote assistance here:

New information:

Having classes meet during regular times, but delivered remotely, is to protect student schedules so that they do not suddenly have conflicts of scheduling. In addition many classes require discussion and group in-class work and having everyone show up is important for course effectiveness. 

But all courses do not have to be entirely synchronous. It may be that a faculty wants to make as much content as possible available to students asynchronously ahead of time and then use class time in a blended way to discuss this material.

Rice currently has online courses and degree programs that are a blend of synchronous and asynchronous teaching, and this is certainly allowable. 


If you revise your syllabus to reflect changes in your course (grading, class participation, etc.), please be sure to distribute the latest version to all of your students and upload a copy into Esther.

Student Participation:

If your students are more than four time zones away, be creative in how you can include them in the course. Each student should be engaged. Here is a link to some tips and resources:

Anticipating the Near Future: 

All of the Deans are in close contact with the crisis management team. It is possible and indeed likely, that we will receive further instructions regarding the on-campus presence of faculty and staff as many major cities (and several universities) now go into near shutdown mode. We will keep you up to date, while trying not to bombard you with unnecessary messages. Please realize that we are all doing our best through this truly unprecedented situation and that we only expect you to do your best as well. If you are facing an obstacle with the delivery of your course content, please do write to Andrew Stefl and me: we are trying to trouble-shoot so that the central administration and IT do not have to answer as many individual queries. 

Cisco Anywhere VPN:

Using the VPN can be tricky if you don't use it often. When you need to connect to some Rice resources, you will need to activate the VPN. When you connect, the first security box asks for your NetID, then your NetID password, then input the current set of six characters generated by the Duo Mobile app on your cell phone. More information is available here: