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Remote Course Facilitators

Students on computers

Request an RCF - Fall 2021

To request an RCF for your course, faculty should review all of the information below and then complete the Qualtrics form linked below at least one week prior to the start of your fall term course and/or ASAP by Friday, September 24, 2021Requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests received beyond the deadline will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate College at graduatecollege@drexel.edu.

Unfortunately, we have very few RCFs still available for the fall term for in-person support. Please contact us directly for requests.

"On Call" RCFS - Fall 2021

In the case of unexpected need for short-term assistance, either in the classroom to support students needing to go remote for a period of time or to pivot to remote teaching, faculty should contact Instructional Media Services (IMS) and the IT Help Desk at consult@drexel.edu or call 215.895.2020. Please provide your contact information, including a phone number, the Course Registration Number (CRN), the room and location, and a general description and timeline of what is needed. Please allow 1-2 business days for a response.

The Graduate College will have a small group of RCFs available for "on call" support during the term and who will be trained and deployed by the Instructional Media Services (IMS) and Video Collaboration and Production (VCaP) teams, as appropriate, depending on the needs on the instructor. Again, please follow the instructions above to submit requests and allow 1-2 business days for a response.

Apply to Serve as an RCF - Fall 2021

To apply to serve as an RCF for the fall term, eligible graduate students should review all of the information below and then complete the Qualtrics form linked below by Friday, September 17, 2021Please be as detailed as possible on your application, including information about your availability, experience and skills, so that we can ensure a proper match. If this information changes, including your availability, please notify us ASAP at graduatecollege@drexel.edu.

Applications for the fall term have closed.

About the RCF Program

The Remote Course Facilitator (RCF) program was established by the Graduate College in spring 2020, with support from the Office of the Provost and Remote Teaching Task Force, to help support faculty and students with remote teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2021, Drexel announced that campus will fully reopen for Academic Year 2021-2022, and therefore, fall term courses will be taught in their traditional instructional modalityIt may be the case; however, that some courses will require remote engagement, either fully or partially, for University-approved accommodations.* In this case, an RCF can help support the remote learning environment in which active engagement is critical for a successful student experience, including in-classroom support with technology and class recordings.

 

*Please note that faculty will be notified by their college/school/department if they will have students who are approved to study remotely. Otherwise, all students are expected to participate in the course's designed instructional modality.


The RCF program offers graduate students an opportunity to engage with Drexel's greater academic community, network with faculty members and peers, obtain valuable skills and experience in remote teaching and learning tools and technologies, and to earn a monetary award for their service. It is also a great addition to a resume or CV!

RCFs also have the opportunity to engage in trainings and workshops hosted by the Graduate College with special guests, including instructional technology experts and campus partners. These sessions provide a space for RCFs to ask questions, share experiences, troubleshoot any issues, and learn more about remote teaching and learning technologies.

Check out this article published in DrexelNow in November 2020 about the RCF program!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible to serve as an RCF?
Graduate students who are in good academic standing and maintain registration in the semester or quarter of intended service are eligible to serve as RCFs. University employees enrolled in a graduate program and utilizing tuition remission benefits are not eligible. Students who are not registered or whose student status includes any of the following--inactive status, on a formal leave of absence, on academic probation, or who have been academically dismissed and reinstated in the term of intended service--are not eligible to serve as RCFs. Accelerated degree program students will only be considered if they are fully converted to graduate student status in the intended term of service. Undergraduate students, recent graduates/alumni and future graduate students are not eligible to serve as RCFs.

What can an RCF do? (And what can't they do?)

First, please note that RCFs are NOT Teaching Assistants (TAs). They do NOT "work" for their assigned faculty member or department. They are NOT hired University employees. RCFs are graduate students first and foremost. They are volunteers who are awarded for a service ‚Äčto the University.

With that in mind, RCFs are not be expected to have any prior knowledge of course content; nor should they participate in any teaching, facilitating, moderating, grading, or student assessment of any kind. This includes providing students any course-related or performance-based feedback, including discussion board posts and class participation or engagement level. They CAN help take attendance and provide the instructor with a report, but they CANNOT enter attendance into the Grade Center in Blackboard Learn. RCFs will not have access to the Grade Center.

Effective Fall 2021: RCFs can also assist with in-classroom technology, A/V, live synchronous broadcasting, and recording with support from Instructional Media Services (IMS) and Video Collaboration and Production (VCaP). RCFs will have direct contact with IT, IMS, and VCaP to help troubleshoot any issues during class.

Here are some examples of tasks that are appropriate for an RCF:

  • New for Fall 2021: Assist with in-classroom technology, A/V, live synchronous broadcasting, and recordings with support from Instructional Media Services (IMS) and Video Collaboration and Production (VCaP)RCFs will have direct contact with IT, IMS, and VCaP to help troubleshoot any issues during class.
  • Assist with all functional aspects of Zoom or other web-conferencing tools used for live synchronous course sessions (recording, assigning co-hosts, sharing screen, monitoring the chat, setting up and managing poll questions, assigning and monitoring breakout rooms) and troubleshoot any technical issues. (Please note that the RCF must have a proper role to manage some these settings.)
  • Assist the instructor during live synchronous course sessions by monitoring questions using the "hands up" or chat features in Zoom or other web-conferencing tools, bringing questions or concerns to the attention of the instructor either during or after course sessions, assigning or monitoring breakout rooms, etc.
  • Support the instructor with other remote teaching delivery resources such as Blackboard Ally (to ensure course and content accessibility), Blackboard Collaborate, Camtasia, Kaltura/Drexel Streams, Turnitin, VoiceThread, etc.
  • Monitor discussion boards or log-in and participation data in Blackboard Learn alerting the instructor to key or recurrent issues, questions or reach out to students experience any technical issues or other barriers to accessing course content.
  • Help upload course materials or multimedia files, such as class recordings, to Kaltura/Drexel Streams, Blackboard Learn, etc. (Please note that the RCF must have a proper role to record or access recordings and upload to Kaltura/Drexel Streams, Blackboard Learn, etc. Or, the instructor may need to transfer files to the RCF to upload.)
  • Provide after-class support by summarizing student questions and concerns and follow-up with students or instructor regarding any technical or administrative issues.
  • Direct students to and help them understand general course policies (such as those listed in the course syllabus), expectations and assignments in the remote learning environment (i.e. how to submit assignments, clarifying assignment format, access to materials, use of remote learning tools, etc.), and relaying any FAQs or concerns to the instructor.
  • Complete additional trainings or workshops within reason to assist the instructor with remote teaching and learning tools and technologies.

Here are examples of tasks that are NOT permitted for an RCF:

  • Teach/moderate course sessions or prepare course content or materials.
  • Answer content-related questions or provide after-class tutoring or academic support of any kind.
  • Grade any assessments or enter ANY grades, including attendance, in the Grade Center, or provide performance-based feedback of any kind.
  • Manage or respond to issues of academic integrity or other violations of course policies, including class disruption, behavioral concerns, etc.
  • Serve as a TA for your course (they are not TAs and should not be referred to, assigned or labeled as such).
  • Work significant hours outside of the live synchronous class time (or the equivalent amount of time for asynchronous engagement), unless otherwise arranged and agreed upon by all parties, including the Graduate College.

Please note that an RCF may not be the right solution for your needs. RCFs are not meant to develop course content, train faculty on remote teaching tools, or do any teachinggrading, or assessment of any kind. Rather, RCFs are meant to help support and engage students in the remote learning environment and troubleshoot some technical issues or address technological barriers.

For a list of remote teaching and learning resources, tools, trainings and IT support contact information for facultyscroll down to the bottom of this page.

How are RCFs compensated for their service?
The Office of the Provost provides a monetary award of
 $450 per RCF per full term of service for a single course. The award is posted to the student's Drexel account at the end of the term of service, unless otherwise noted. If the student has a balance in their account, the award will first go toward any outstanding balance. If not, the student will receive the award in the form of a refund. Students should work with the Graduate College as well as Drexel Central to determine the financial status of their account and if/how they will receive their award via ask.drexel.edu.

If an RCF is assigned to serve for a part of term course, the Graduate College will try to assign the RCF to two part-of-term courses so that they can serve the full term. If this is not possible, a pro-rated award amount may be established for a part-of-term course.

RCFs are assigned to one course per term. RCFs cannot support multiple courses in a single term, unless they are supporting two part-of-term courses.

The Graduate College will conduct periodic check-ins with both faculty and student RCFs to ensure the working relationship is going well. If there are any issues on the part of the faculty member or RCF, please contact the Graduate College at graduatecollege@drexel.edu or submit feedback here.

Please note that RCFs are provided an award for their service to the University. They are not hired through the Human Resources/EPAF process. They do not report hours or submit a timesheet. They are not University employees and do not "work" for the department, the Graduate College, IMS, VCaP, etc. They are graduate students first and foremost volunteering to provide a service to the University.

Additional Recommendations: In addition to the award, the Graduate College highly recommends that the faculty member working with an RCF(s) recognizes them for their work, such as by nominating them for University awards, writing a letters of support or recommendation for a future position, or providing language for their resume/CV based on their experience. Many of our RCFs are interested in teaching or educational technology and greatly benefit from this experience. The Graduate College also established an Outstanding Remote Course Facilitator Award in the spring of 2021. The call for nominations goes out once per year in the winter term.

Can international students serve as RCFs?
Serving as an RCF is not considered formal employment by the University as far as F-1 visa regulations are concerned so a Social Security Number (SSN) is not required to receive the award for completing service. Further, service as an RCF does not affect CPT or OPT. If you have any questions about your immigration status, please contact ISSS at isss@drexel.edu.

How much time should an RCF expect to serve?
It varies based on the needs of the instructor and assigned course. In general, RCFs should expect to serve approximately 3 hours per week for the equivalent of a one 3-credit course. RCFs cannot support more than one course per term of service, unless they are supporting two part-of-term courses. RCFs are expected to participate in all course meetings as scheduled for the duration of the term (either in person or remotely based on the assigned course instructional modality). RCFs should notify the Graduate College and assigned instructor of any potential conflicts before committing to serve or ASAP after committing. If RCFs or instructors have questions about these expectations, we encourage them to reach out to the Graduate College at graduatecollege@drexel.edu to open a dialogue. As long as the RCF and instructor are both in agreement about roles and expectations for the course and term of service, the Graduate College is supportive. The Graduate College will check in with both the instructor and RCF periodically throughout the term and help work through any questions or concerns that arise. If at any point, either party is not agreeable to the terms of the instructor-RCF match, they should notify the Graduate College ASAP.

How are RCFs matched with instructors?*
RCFs will be matched with instructors by the Graduate College based on their application for service, including eligibility, availability, listed experience and skills with specific remote teaching and learning tools and technologies, and willingness to learn and support faculty and students in the remote teaching and learning environment. We often attempt to match RCFs and instructors in the same college/school/department/program, if possible. Although, it important to note that prior knowledge of the academic area is NOT required or expected. The Graduate College may also consult with the Associate Dean(s) for Graduate Studies, designee(s), or graduate leadership within the college/school/department/program to assist with the matching process.

*A successful instructor/RCF relationship starts with a discussion about defining roles and expectations and continues with regular communication and check-ins throughout the term. The instructor is responsible for reaching out to the assigned RCF to begin this dialogue and to continue communications throughout the term. It is also recommended that the instructor identify a way to communicate with the RCF offline, such as by exchanging phone numbers or chat information in the case of last-minute changes or emergencies. The Graduate College will provide recommendations for how to establish the instructor/RCF relationship when a match is made via the matching agreement. If at any point the arrangement is not working out for either the instructor or the RCF, we encourage outreach to the Graduate College ASAP.

Can an instructor request a specific RCF?
Yes. If instructors have a preference for a specific graduate student RCF, such as if they have worked with that RCF in a prior term, they may indicate this in their request. Matching with a specific RCF is contingent upon that RCF's application, eligibility, availability, willingness to serve and listed skills and experience. Please note that all parties are responsible for following the guidelines established by the RCF program. RCFs can only support one course per term of service, unless they are assigned to two part-of-term courses. RCFs cannot be paid or given any special treatment, gifts, etc. by the instructor outside of the RCF program for their service as an RCF.

When does the RCF begin and end their service?
The Graduate College attempts to match RCFs with instructors in time for both parties to communicate and establish roles and expectations prior to start of the term, depending on when a request is received and the match is made. Instructors who submit their requests early can expect a response at least a week prior to the start of classes for the term. RCFs should begin their service on or after the first day of classes in the term of service and should conclude their service either prior to or on the last day of term examinations. RCFs should not be expected to serve a significant number of hours before or after the term of service, including meetings to establish the working relationship.

Can the RCF report to the classroom?
As of Fall 2021, yes, but only if remote engagement is required for students or faculty with University-approved accommodations. If the RCF is assigned to an in-person course and the faculty member would like the RCF to assist them in the physical classroom space, such as with the technology, A/V, broadcasting, recording, etc., the RCF can be expected to report to the classroom for each session for the duration of the term. Please remember that an RCF is NOT a professional staff member or paid employee. They are volunteering to assist you and connect you with the appropriate technical support on campus. Please also refer to this guide for RCF Participation in a HyFlex Course.

Can I request an RCF for an online course or for something else other than a course?
No. At this time, we are only assigning RCFs for courses which require remote engagement. We are not currently assigning RCFs to fully in-person courses which do not require remote engagement or to fully online courses supported by Drexel University Online. We do not assign RCFs for co-curricular programs or events which are not part of course curriculum or meet at an alternate day/time.

RCF Testimonials

“I really enjoyed working as a Remote Course Facilitator. My professor was very supportive and I feel very lucky to [have worked] with [them].”

“I learned a lot from the professor I worked with in terms of organizational skills.”

“This experience gave me the opportunity to enhance my technical skills, specifically related to Blackboard and Zoom.”

Instructor Testimonials

"Thanks to the support of my course facilitator, I am able to focus my energy on teaching. Since we first started collaborating in the Spring term, [my RCF] and I have become true partners. We are a dynamic duo! In my course reviews, many students mention how smooth the flow of the curriculum is thanks to [my RCF] and our partnership. The RCF program is an invaluable resource and has made the transition to remote teaching a positive experience."

“In my 3-hour graduate night class, we have at least one guest speaker every week who needs to be able to share their slides. We work on assignments in Zoom breakout rooms, and sometimes student need to be able to share their screens with the group. I am grateful for my RFC, because her presence allows me to focus on just teaching the class, and not having to worry about all the technological aspects of facilitating this course remotely.”

“[My RCF’s] help was very important. [They] managed the virtual classroom, helping students engage at all times, and by assigning faculty, TAs and students to breakout rooms.”

“[My RCFs’] help was absolutely invaluable. I truly felt that they ‘had my back’ and that I was free to do what I am charged to do – teach!”

“Frankly, I am surprised that more of my faculty colleagues do not take advantage of the resource.”

Additional Remote Teaching & Learning Resources

Download Remote/Hybrid Teaching & Learning Resources Guide [PDF]