Find answers to frequently asked questions about remote learning.

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Course Resources and Concerns

Students who received accommodations from Student Disability Resources for the spring 2020 semester should continue to have access to their accommodations throughout remote delivery of courses. Select accommodations may no longer be necessary in the online environment; conversely, a student may recognize a new accommodation need given the temporary transition to online learning. If you have any questions about your accommodations, please contact Student Disability Resources at 814-863-1807.

Refer to the FAQ on this page and on the Penn State Coronavirus Information website. If you cannot find an answer to your question, complete our online form. You may also contact your adviser with questions.

Your assigned adviser is an excellent resource. They can help triage situations and connect you with appropriate resources.

If you have already tried to resolve the issue by communication with your instructor and are still experiencing problems, please contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course. You can also complete our Academic Concern form to get your issues addressed.

Contact your course instructor first. If you need further assistance, contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course.

All students are expected to behave respectfully in classes, no matter the format or delivery mode. Disruptions in a remote class will be handled in the same way as in a face-to-face class. Your instructor may speak to you about your behavior. If your behavior does not change, you may be asked to leave the class. If your behavior continues to be disruptive, a report may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct and an incident may be reported through the conduct process. Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment may not be permitted to return to class until University procedures have been completed.

Assignment deadlines will be communicated to you by your instructor. Your instructor will also communicate to you how group assignments will be handled or adjusted.

The Penn State Libraries is committed to supporting teaching, learning, and research during this time of remote and online instruction. Explore the Remote Resources for Penn State Library Users to see what is available to you.

Everyone’s lives have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is normal that you are experiencing stress, uncertainty, and disruption during this time. Penn State Health Promotion and Wellness has provided a variety of resources to give you positive coping strategies, including a guide to maintain your health and wellness (pdf) during COVID-19. It is also a good idea to stay connected with others, whether that’s with family and friends or through campus-related activities.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides resources including You@PSU, a wellness portal that provides personalized resources. CAPS also hosts virtual Life Hacks sessions twice daily for all Penn State students. These are free, drop-in gatherings focused on improving quality of life.

You are also encouraged to take advantage of Campus Recreation’s virtual fitness programs to promote your wellness. These include free internal virtual fitness classes as well as access to thousands of other live fitness experiences through the 2020 Recreation Movement program. By logging in with your PSU email, you can gain access to prerecorded and live fitness and wellness content from over 40 other universities around the country.

If you are finding it difficult to cope or are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to reach out to your campus resources:

  • University Park students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 814-863-0395 to make an appointment and speak with a clinician. CAPS is currently offering clinical consultations and short-term tele-mental health therapy.
  • Students at other Penn State campuses should contact their campus counseling staff.
  • Penn State World Campus students should contact their Mental Health Case Manager.

If you are experiencing high distress or are in crisis and are located in the United States, please call the Penn State Crisis Line at 1-877-229-6400 or call 911. You may also receive immediate support from the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘LIONS’ to 741741. Contact local emergency services if you are outside the United States.

If you are located in Pennsylvania, you can also access the COVID-19 Support & Referral Helpline.

You can find a wide range of accessibility resources offered by Accessibility and Usability at Penn State. All questions about the accessibility of materials and technology used in courses can be sent to accessibility@psu.edu.

First-year students should visit the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions site for responses to common questions.

Technology

Penn State students have access to a variety of software licenses and applications available at Penn State Software. Some software, such as Microsoft Office 365, is automatically available at no additional cost.

To obtain a license for the following applications, please visit the Software Request website:

  • Adobe CC
  • ArcGIS
  • LabView
  • MATLAB
  • Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Education
  • SPSS/AMOS

Web applications are also available via WebApps. The following applications have limited connections and are available by request only:

  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Visio

To request a connection for applications with limited connections or to see if your application can be added, submit a request to Device Management.

The Zoom at Penn State website offers students, faculty, and staff detailed information about Zoom, including training resources, frequently asked questions, and support.

Penn State IT has done a preliminary review of residence halls and classrooms and has determined that nearly every location has adequate wireless capacity for anticipated usage levels, including large increases in the use of Zoom. Any issues that have been identified, such as wireless in newly configured buildings, will be addressed over the summer.

Penn State computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

You may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs.

If you lack reliable broadband and have sufficient cell coverage in your area, you can use your phone as a hotspot. Penn State IT has provided instructions on how to set up hotspots on Samsung, Pixel, and iPhones.  

In order to use a personal hotspot on your device, you may also secure additional data from your wireless carrier. The following providers have information readily available on how to upgrade data: AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Find more providers and information on the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected page.  

If you do not have access to a computer and/or reliable broadband from your location and you have exhausted all other resources, please log in to the IT service portal and fill out the Penn State Mobile Technology Request Form to formalize your computer/access request. University IT is continually working on the availability and distribution of equipment  

Information about your request will be relayed via the phone number you provide in the request form. Once you receive your equipment, contact the IT Service Desk for 24/7 support. 

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