Student Guide to completing coursework from outside the US

If you need to complete F&M coursework remotely from another country, there are some important steps you should follow to make sure you can access class resources, stay in contact with faculty and staff at F&M, and turn in your assignments. 

It is your responsibility to remain in contact with your professors and ISS, and let us know if you are struggling to access or complete some portion of your work due to being outside the US. If you do not maintain regular, prompt communication with faculty and staff at F&M, you may not be able to receive accommodations for or assistance with academic challenges. 

Remote Technology: Stay in communication, access resources, get support

  1. Stay connected. In case you cannot access F&M email while you are away from campus, make sure you have an alternate email address on file with International Student Services (ISS).

Additional email tips to make your life easier:

  • Check your alternate email every day

  • Add your professors and ISS staff to your alternate email contact list

  • Contact your professors promptly if you have any difficulties, and respond to their emails. When you are away from campus it is essential that you stay in touch.

  • Set up your F&M email to forward to your alternate address while you are off-campus:

    • Open your F&M email and click the gear-shaped Settings icon on the top right:
    • Select the “Settings” menu option, then the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab
    • Find “Add a forwarding address” and enter your alternate email address
    • Click Next > Proceed > Ok
    • Check your alternate email for a verification message and click the link in that email
  1. Test your technology

  • Before you leave the US, make sure you can log in to Canvas, Inside F&M, Degreeworks, your email accounts, and any other applications for class from your computer, tablet, and smartphone. 

  • Check your ability to log in to these websites and programs when you get home, and contact ITS support as soon as possible for help if you have any issues connecting to class resources. 

  • Submit an ITS helpdesk ticket on this website: https://helpdesk.fandm.edu/ or email helpdesk@fandm.edu if you cannot log in to the F&M system. 

  1. Access resources. Many F&M websites, including Degreeworks and Canvas, should not require you to connect to the F&M wifi network to log in. However, if there are situations when you need to use the F&M network while you are not on campus - for example, class technological tools like WebWork - you can connect to F&M’s VPN.

If you need to connect to the F&M VPN, you will have to install DuoMobile on your smartphone and GlobalProtect on your computer. Detailed instructions for these services are available on the ITS “Working Remotely” website. 

https://sites.google.com/fandm.edu/its-tss/working-remotely

Complete the Semester and Earn your Credits: Planning Ahead

  1. Don’t leave your work for the last minute. If you have a technology problem before a deadline while you are outside the US, it will be much harder to solve in time. Plan to complete work with enough time to handle something going wrong. 

  2. Know your tools. Your professor may use Canvas Conferences, Google Meet, Zoom, or other programs to hold lectures, discussions, and labs. Get familiar with this technology by reading guides:

Read about Canvas Conferences on this guide:

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10701-canvas-student-guide-table-of-contents

Read about Google Meet on this guide:

https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9282720?hl=en

Read about Zoom on this guide:

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697-Getting-Started

  1. Prepare Before You Leave. If you have an upcoming research assignment, take a few hours to gather as many sources as you can while you are still at F&M, and make sure they are saved on your computer as PDFs. It is harder to conduct research from a different country, and you may not have the same level of access to information that you would have on campus. If you prepare now, it will be much easier to finish your final projects for the semester.

  2. Check in with your professor after online classes start. Your professor is currently working hard to adapt their classes for the online platform. It is very likely that the calendar and priorities for the rest of the semester will change along with the format. Be patient with your professor in the first weeks of online class while you get to know the technology and virtual setting. 

If you have any difficulties meeting the requirements and expectations of the class because of technology, being outside the US, or other issues, reach out to your professor and Dr. Mann. For example, if you are required to participate in class, but are not able to join a live meeting, talk with your professor about alternative means of contributing to class. Or, if it is hard to hear the audio in a recorded video, you can ask if captions or a transcript can be provided.

International student FAQs: Completing coursework online 

Are academic support services still available?

Yes. Dr. Mann is offering virtual ESOL Tutoring through the Writing Center, and virtual Academic Skills appointments over Google Meet or Zoom. Note: all appointments can discuss writing, research projects, difficulties with online coursework, or general academic concerns, depending on your need. They do not have to focus solely on grammar or language. 

To make an ESOL Tutoring appointment, go to WCOnline and select the “ESOL Tutoring” calendar. Follow the instructions on this page to make and join a virtual appointment. If you have any questions or trouble with technology, email nmann@fandm.edu.

Academic Skills appointments can be made on Dr. Mann’s Google Calendar or by emailing nmann@fandm.edu. When you schedule an appointment or email Dr. Mann, please include a note about whether you would prefer a Google Meet or a Zoom appointment. Dr. Mann will contact you with the link to your virtual meeting shortly before your scheduled appointment. 

Other academic support services available online:

More resources and information, including many resources on remote learning technology, can be found on the Keep Learning Canvas Course. All students have access to this course. You can find it in Canvas by clicking on the Help menu, or by going to this link

Do I have to use a VPN to complete my classes from abroad?

You are not required to use a VPN to complete your coursework. If you are not able to access all campus tools from your location, but also cannot connect to a VPN, you will still be able to complete your classes. I will work with you and your professor to make sure you have access to your coursework if you have trouble connecting to campus tools. 

Your professors know that not everyone may have access to Google and other websites for the rest of the semester. I, the library staff, instructional technologists, and ITS staff have been helping the faculty learn about tools that are accessible to everyone and ways to adapt their class for students who are in different countries. 

The only caveat about VPN requirements is that if you need to use WeBWork or r Studio for class, you do have to connect to the F&M network. If you are not on campus, you can connect to the F&M network through the F&M VPN. Instructions can be found through the Tech Resources page.

Do I have to use a VPN to access Canvas from outside the US if I can’t log in to Google?

No. There are two ways to log in to Canvas - one goes through Google, and one does not. If you cannot log in to Google, you can access Canvas through this link without a VPN:

You can also use the Canvas Inbox to send and receive messages to and from your instructors. If you are having trouble connecting to your email, try to contact your professor via Canvas. 

Do I have to use a VPN to access library resources if I can’t log in to Google?

No. The library ezproxy login connects to your F&M account through the Central Authentication Service, not through Google. Instructions:

  •  go to library.fandm.edu
  • choose a resource through a Discover search, from the A-Z databases list, or elsewhere

  • click on it and login when prompted with your current F&M Net ID

Since the library is physically closed, does that mean I can’t get any help from librarians? 

No. The College Library buildings are currently closed, but all e-content collections remain accessible and the F&M librarians are working on adding more. When available, these resources can be found on the A-Z List on our site, and when possible, through our Discover tool. Interlibrary loan services for digital materials also remain available. 

The librarians are available virtually for the rest of the semester, and are happy to help you get access to any resources you need. If you are having trouble accessing something you need for research, contact a librarian and ask for help. If you are not sure whether they can help you, you can contact Dr. Mann and discuss your questions. 

Will I be fined for any books I still have checked out?

All physical items students have out can also be kept for now, with due dates and fines on F&M items, EZBorrow and ILL books being waived. 

How can I get help from F&M Librarians?

If you have questions or the librarians can help with anything, please use the College Library's virtual Ask! services (chat, email, appointments) linked from library.fandm.edu. As of Monday, the library has expanded availability via chat to Monday-Friday, 10am-10pm, and Saturday-Sunday noon-8pm EST.

 

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