The UCF campuses will be closed for certain scheduled events, such as holidays and Game Day, which occurs whenever UCF football is playing a home game at our campus stadium on a midweek day. On Game Days, the campus closes at 2:00pm, and any classes after that time (including online) are cancelled. The UCF campuses may also close for unexpected events, such as a hurricane. These closures may include days before and after the hurricane’s arrival. The university maintains a centralized page on hurricane-related closures, news, and policies.
No matter the cause, faculty are required to observe several practices during closures:
- Do not hold class, either in person or online.
- Do not require or expect students to perform homework, projects, or graded assignments during the closure time. This is true even if the closure lasts an extended period, such as after a hurricane. Inevitably, many of our students will lack electricity and some may even have a housing/food crisis.
- In the return-to-campus period after a hurricane, individual students may still require flexible due dates or assignment flexibility. In some cases, mental health issues created by unexpected closures may also call for flexibility.
- Weekends are not considered closure times, and assignments may be given (or be due) on normal weekends.
As a result of closure time, faculty may find the class is now “behind” the expected timeline of the semester and/or the material for the course. There are several pedagogical factors to consider here:
- If possible, it may be best to simply trim the material covered in the course. Faculty should re-examine the student learning outcomes (SLOs), as printed on the syllabus, and evaluate whether these SLOs can be achieved with less content. Or are there alternate assessments that could be deployed to measure those same SLOs?
- In the event content cannot be trimmed, such as in a course that is part of a sequence or when the discipline includes an accreditation exam, the suggested best practice is to shift as much content delivery as needed to an online venue. Allow students to access the material from reading or from third-party videos, rather than requiring them to hear it from you as a lecture. This approach has the added advantage of flexibility in scheduling–the students could do more of the catching up in the latter part of the semester. Do not simply “speed up” the lectures or the required homework/assignments–this will do more harm than good.
- It is important not to react to flexibility requests so far in one direction that the principles of learning are sacrificed. Cancelling all quizzes in the semester, for instance, or deciding partway through the term that attendance and/or homework will no longer count for points toward the final grade could very well result in students decelerating their efforts in the course to the point where they will not learn the material. Unexpected events may bring disruption, exhaustion, and even mental health issues, but the principles behind extrinsic motivation and incentives remain intact. Flexibility can be employed effectively in more targeted means, such as cancelling individual quiz or homework grades, or by simply allowing for late work.
- Whenever possible, faculty should actually PLAN for unexpected closures proactively when creating the semester schedule and assignments. This means being ready to shift content delivery online and adjust due dates, if needed.
Emergencies on campus are rare, but if one should arise during class, everyone needs to work together. You should be aware of your surroundings and familiar with some basic safety and security concepts.
- In case of an emergency, dial 911 for assistance.
- Every UCF classroom contains an emergency procedure guide posted on a wall near the door. You should make a note of the guide’s physical location and review the online version at https://centralflorida-prod.modolabs.net/student/safety/index.
- You should know the evacuation routes from each of their classrooms and have a plan for finding safety in case of an emergency.
- If there is a medical emergency during class, you may need to access a first-aid kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator). To learn where those are located, see https://ehs.ucf.edu/automated-external-defibrillator-aed-locations.
- To stay informed about emergency situations, you can sign up to receive UCF text alerts by going to my.ucf.edu and logging in. Click on “Student Self Service” (or Employee Self Service for faculty) located on the left side of the screen in the toolbar, scroll down to the blue “Personal Information” heading on the Student Center screen, click on “UCF Alert”, fill out the information, including e-mail address, cell phone number, and cell phone provider, click “Apply” to save the changes, and then click “OK.”
- Students with special needs related to emergency situations should speak with their instructors outside of class.
- To learn about how to manage an active-shooter situation on campus or elsewhere, view this video:
The Classroom Security Primer is an excellent resource that provides faculty with quick-reference safety guidelines.
Information technology policy is governed not only by the university itself, but also by state and federal laws. University faculty and staff are expected to adhere to information security guidelines regarding the handling and security of sensitive information. UCF IT offers a website on this information.
Protecting Restricted Information
Restricted information, as defined by university policy 4-008, includes, but is not limited to, social security numbers, credit card, debit card, ISO, and driver’s license numbers, biometric data, medical records (ePHI), computer accounts, access codes, passwords, grades, email addresses, photographs, and other information protected by law or regulation.
Email is not appropriate for sending restricted information, as most email providers do not provide encryption.
Additionally, as described in university policy 4-007, restricted information is not to be stored on mobile devices or on third-party internet cloud storage services. This restriction applies to Google Drive, personal OneDrive, CrashPlan, Dropbox, iCloud, Box, and other services where user information is stored in non-university-affiliated data centers.
Physically protect restricted information and computing resources by following these simple tips:
- Use password-protected screensavers
- Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder when you enter your password
- Lock your doors when you leave your office
- Properly dispose of (e.g., shred) all documents that contain restricted information when they are no longer needed
- Never leave restricted information (employee or student information) in plain view
- Store backup copies of important files in a safe location.
- If it’s a dictionary word, it’s a bad password: Don’t use it!
- Use a mnemonic, such as the first letter of a song verse or a phrase, while adding in numbers, symbols ($,%,*), and UPPER/lowercase letters
- Change your password often. UCF standard is 60 days
- Never write down a password and never share accounts
- Do not give your password to anyone, not even the Service Desk
- Never use your UCF NID password for non-UCF systems
- Avoid the “save my password/remember my password” option on websites.