.Dear College of Science students,
I apologize for not always being clear if my messages apply only to remotely delivered Corvallis classes or to Ecampus classes, as well. The latter should operate as “normal,” whatever that may mean in our current situation. So if you are taking online courses through Ecampus, always double-check for its communications on those classes.
The drop deadline for courses has been extended for all students (Including Ecampus) through the end of the second week of spring term. The new deadline to drop a course and receive a full refund with no W on your transcript is Sunday, April 12. You may make those changes online using MyOSU. Vist here for more information about how S/U deadlines have changed.
I have received several questions from students about the security of Zoom. This is a widely discussed topic on the internet, and that might sound alarming. The big questions, however, relate to Zoom’s treatment of the data they collect for product improvement. In the past, they shared the data with Facebook, for example. Folks are upset because the default security settings for meetings lead to open meetings, where everybody can join once they guess the nine-digit access code. In addition, Zoom administrators can observe meetings without being seen. That is in general not a problem at universities.
What does that imply for you as a student? If you are an attendee at a meeting, not much – so long as the meeting is set up in a secure manner. That is why we are now requiring all classes to be authenticated attendees only. Nevertheless, use good internet hygiene and keep your anti-malware running. In general, using Zoom as a student has similar risks as using almost all other standard software products you have installed. Never click on links you do not recognize! Check the real URL by hovering over a link and check the bottom of your screen for that info. BTW, this message goes through a software package called Emma, which does redirect traffic through their site, so links look weird.
If you host a meeting, you are more susceptible to possible security flaws in the software. It is also your responsibility to use safe settings for the meetings you organize. More information about Zoom security can be found at OSU’s Zoom Security webpage, which is constantly being updated in order to present the latest information.
Note that when you try to join a class meeting and when you are not authenticated, you will be put in the waiting room. In there, you see a screen with a message telling you this. But at the bottom of that screen is another link that allows you to enter the classroom by using your OSU credentials. Please take that route, and do not sit and wait, to help the instructor!
Some students have issues with bandwidth. Even though Zoom uses just around 1-2 Mbps, in shared environments (like apartment buildings), that can lead to problems. Instructors in all your classes are asked to start with attendee video turned off, and I strongly encourage you to keep your video turned off unless required by the instructor for checking work. Even in that case, you might want to turn it on only when you are presenting. This is good inclusive behavior, allowing all students in the class to fully participate.
Keep distantly socializing.
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs