Faculty: Planning for Remote Teaching and Learning with Zoom and Sakai - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Faculty: Planning for Remote Teaching and Learning with Zoom and Sakai

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Thursday, March 5, 2020


TO: HUC-JIR Faculty 
FROM: John Bruggeman, Chief Technology Officer
RE: Planning for Remote Teaching and Learning with Zoom and Sakai 

Date: March 5, 2020

In the event that it becomes impossible for faculty to teach and/or students to attend classes on-campus for some period of time this semester due to the coronavirus, faculty should be prepared to teach using our online learning tools, Zoom and Saka for teaching and learning at HUC-JIR.


At the College-Institute, we already rely heavily on Zoom, which is a videoconference and audioconference software that enables communication across virtually all mobile devices, desktop computers, and video-enabled classrooms.

In the event that we need to host classes on a given campus via Zoom, the IT department will create a Zoom room for each physical classroom. Class schedules will remain the same, with classes meeting at the same day and time, but they will meet remotely via Zoom, rather than in a physical classroom.


Many of you are already using Sakai, which is the College-Institute’s Learning Management System (LMS) and is hosted in the cloud. In the event that we are forced to teach some or all classes remotely, Sakai offers an efficient means to post and distribute course content, communicate with students via the announcements function, and collect and return assignments.

A Sakai course is automatically created for every course at HUC-JIR, but not all courses are published yet. If you have not published your course Sakai sites and made them available to students, we recommend that you to do so now. DEsupport can will help you do this.  You can sign into Sakai by clicking on this link or learn more at https://sakai.huc.edu.

Next Steps

If you are not yet comfortable using these online teaching and learning tools, please contact desupport@huc.edu and make sure you are prepared if the need for expanded remote teaching arises. We trust that the faculty will adapt quickly and with minimum impact to our students.

Current Zoom Protocol

For now, we will continue to follow our existing protocol for requesting a Zoom video call for class or administrative purposes:

1) As a general rule, Zoom calls should be requested at least 24 hours in advance. To request a zoom call, go here: http://huc.edu/video and fill out the form.

Why is 24 hours’ notice needed? If your class does not meet in a classroom with the proper video technology, the class will need to be relocated. In addition, we want to make sure we have the staff available to support the video call and ensure that the class runs smoothly.

2) If a faculty member needs to teach a class remotely for an extended period of time (more than one class session), please book the video call at least 1 week in advance in order to schedule the classroom resources and make sure staff are available.

Note: This applies to a situation in which a faculty member is away (out of town or unable to come to school), but the class is held on campus as usual. If both the instructor and the students are unable to come to a given campus, the IT department will provide a Zoom room for the class (see above).

3) Students requesting to Zoom into a class will need to contact the instructor first to request the approval to join the class remotely. The instructor then will need to fill out the video conference request form online found at http://huc.edu/video at least 24 hours before the class.

Note: If a student is unable to attend a class and there is not sufficient time to set up a Zoom call, students who have received the instructor’s permission can join the class by calling a classmate’s cell phone and using Facetime or a speaker phone. Cell phone technology also can be used to record a class for students who are ill and unable to join a class remotely.

If you have any questions about this protocol or how can you prepare to teach remotely if needed, please email desupport@huc.edu or reach out to your local IT staff:
John Bruggeman or Shane Sampson in Cincinnati
Larry Albin or Edgar Rivera in New York
Moses Ball in Los Angeles

Let me know if you have any questions.


John Bruggeman
Chief Technology Officer
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu