If you’re an Associate Instructor (AI) in a course that is being moved online quickly because of a campus closure or emergency, you might be facing new challenges in your responsibilities. Below we describe some things to consider that you may encounter as an AI. If you want to learn more about a particular tool, find details on Knowledge Base and the Technology Tool Finder.
What are your responsibilities as an AI?
At this time of writing, AIs should continue to work remotely as best as they are able. If you have not already, communicate with the Instructor of Record about your access to internet, any change in time zones, and new plans for the course. Remember that this is novel for all of us, and it may take some time to figure out how best to proceed.
As Dean Wimbush shared in a March 13th email: “Graduate students with academic appointments or hourly positions, please be aware that no IU policy stipulates the termination of your position if you wish to return home at this time. As the COVID-19 outbreak—and our response to it—continues to unfold, additional guidance regarding work status will be made available. For the time being, graduate students with academic appointments or hourly positions should discuss work-status concerns with direct supervisors in their programs and schools.”
Holding office hours
We encourage you to use Zoom for your office hours, as it allows phone, video conference, and typed chat options. If students do not have access to a computer with good internet access, they may be able to call in with their phones. We recommend that you keep or set aside hours weekly, but plan to be flexible and allow meetings outside of those hours, so to accommodate students in other time zones.
You may choose to offer group office hours via Zoom. However, make sure you are compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); you must communicate grades and other sensitive information in private. You can also set up a Zoom meeting with a waiting room, allowing you to meet with students one-by-one. If there are multiple AIs, you can each go into a breakout room on Zoom, and the meeting host can place a single student in the breakout rooms with AIs, for individual appointments. If you’d like your students to sign up for an office hour time slot, Canvas has a scheduling option in the course calendar. You can specify timeslots and how many students can sign up per slot.
Many of you may be grading online for the first time. If your students are submitting work via Canvas, SpeedGrader allows for an easy and quick way to evaluate their work. There is also the possibility for hiding student names while grading, so that you can limit grading bias. SpeedGrader allows you to leave grades, comments, and rubric feedback. Rubrics are a great way to share assignment expectations with students and to speed up your grading. Check this CITL resource on how to create a rubric and this explanation for how to integrate rubrics into Canvas assignments.
Taking care of yourself
Remember that during these stressful times, the priority is to take care of yourselves. Rest, exercise, eat healthfully, and take time to socialize and have fun (within guidelines from the health care community). You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
You may be asked to do extra labor as we work to transition to teaching remotely, but remember, even as non-unionized graduate students, there are still limits on the time you are expected to work for your AI-ship. You have the right to advocate for yourself, especially if you are asked to do tasks that are beyond your responsibilities and compensation.