You are here: American University Provost Communications January 12, 2021

American University Office of the Provost

MemorandumJanuary 12, 2021

To:
AU Community
From:
Peter Starr, Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence and Steve Munson, Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Subject:
Providing a Safe Environment for AU Classes During Heightened Security in Washington, DC

With the ongoing security concerns in Washington, DC following the January 6 events at the US Capitol and in preparation for any potential incidents in the lead-up to the January 20 presidential inauguration, all AU class meetings, including at the Washington College of Law, will be fully online through January 24. While most courses are already in a virtual format due to the pandemic, any previously scheduled in-person class meetings during the next two weeks will be rescheduled/moved online by the faculty.

There will be limited access to campus buildings until January 25 and you must use your AU ID (OneCard) to access any buildings or open facilities (including the Mary Graydon Center, the School of International Service Building, the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building, and The Market). However, community members are encouraged to refrain from coming to campus unless absolutely necessary, particularly if your commute involves public transportation. While most faculty and staff are working remotely, departments and managers are coordinating with team members that do have on-campus requirements to adjust their work arrangements as necessary.

To further the online security of our classes and meetings, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), in partnership with Academic Technologies, recommends that all virtual meetings that only include members of the AU community be limited to only participants logged in with AU credentials. This step will help to protect meetings that do not include external participants from “Zoom bombing.”

This setting can also be applied for recurring meetings and OIT has prepared a Knowledge Base article (“How do I schedule recurring meetings with only AU participants?) with detailed instructions. All faculty members are encouraged to set up recurring Zoom meetings for all scheduled classes at the start of the term and limited to only participants logged in with AU credentials. Establishing these meetings as recurring will provide upfront security and minimize further rescheduling steps in the future.

Faculty should remind students that with this setting in place, students will need to login with AU credentials for course-related online activities. If students encounter technology issues as a result of fully online learning, please contact the Technology Task Force at techtaskforce@american.edu for assistance.

OIT and Academic Technologies will be providing Zoom Office Hours on university business days from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. between Wednesday, January 13 and Friday, January 22 to provide support and guidance about securing Zoom meetings. Please consult the Learning Support Services portal for the detailed logistics.

OIT has prepared additional information and guidance to help you to conduct Zoom meetings securely. For meetings that include external participants, the following best practices to conduct Zoom meetings should be leveraged.

  • Assign Co-Hosts/Meeting Moderators: OIT strongly recommends that co-host(s) or “meeting moderator(s)” be assigned to monitor for potential malicious behavior and allow the host to lead the event and engage with participants. Moderators can focus on actions to manage participants, such as muting or admitting invitees.
  • Manage the Waiting Room: If a waiting room is being used, hosts, co-hosts or moderators need to be review who is joining the meeting and confirm that unfamiliar participants are appropriate attendees. If an unfamiliar participant joined your class or meeting in a face-to-face environment, you would verify they are in the right place. Management of the Zoom waiting room is a similar concept.
  • Require Registration: OIT also recommends setting up registration for any larger event. Registration will reduce exposure to your meeting as the link is only sent to registrants and provides a roster of expected attendees to assist in managing participant entry from the waiting room.
  • Limit Participant Actions During Meeting: When the meeting has started, the host can limit participant actions using the Security Icon and can turn off options such as screen sharing, chat, changing display names (renaming), and annotation.

Please contact the OIT Help Desk (helpdesk@american.edu) for any additional assistance to conduct or participate in Zoom meetings. WCL community members may also contact onlinesupport@wcl.american.edu for additional assistance or training.