FAQ: How Is Collarts Adapting To COVID-19?

Mar 18, 2020

With COVID-19 impacting society at large, there's a lot of uneasiness hanging in the air. That's why Collarts Dean Ben O'Hara and Professor Tim Moss (Associate Dean, eLearning & Innovation) jumped on our Facebook to answer questions about how Collarts is adapting to the situation as it evolves. Here are the questions you asked and we answered, as well as other Frequently Asked Questions you may have during this difficult time. 


Denfair Interior Design Pitches Laptop

When do you expect to be transitioning fully to online teaching?

We are reviewing the situation on an hourly basis and will let you know as soon as any decision is made. As Ben said in his last email to students, if any students already feel as though they have materials available online, and would feel more comfortable studying remotely, they do not need to attend classes, effective as of Monday 16 March. We won’t be marking attendance and no students will be penalised if they choose to study from home.

I’m personally in a position where I feel comfortable in maintaining my study online and don’t feel like I have to attend classes. However with that being said, will tutorials and lectures be recorded while campus is still open?

Firstly, it's great that you are feeling comfortable about maintaining your study from home - that's what we are hoping every student will feel as we work through this situation. If you're concerned about missing out on tutorial content, I'd suggest you contact your teacher directly - I'm sure they will be more than happy to fill you in on the tutorial material, and you can expect us to do more for students working remotely in the weeks ahead.

How will a shut down affect ensemble classes where we need to perform?

We're looking at a range of options, that will depend on the exact circumstance. If we can, we're planning to keep campuses open even if we move teaching online, which means we may schedule groups to rehearse while maintaining social distancing. If not, your teacher will be in touch with some info about what we're planning to do, which can include reviewing your past performances, and having catchup classes when we return to campus. We can also do some performance work online.

If we don’t feel comfortable leaving our own home, what will happen with class presentations and what can we do to still pass our subject?

Yes, you will be able to do presentations online and you won't be at all disadvantaged. We have a number of courses offered online already and they commonly do online student presentations.

With subjects where we have worked towards something (e.g an event) which has now been cancelled, can we be credited for the work we have done thus far?

We've talked a lot about this scenario. The answer is that we have a plan for every single unit already in place! We've made sure no students will be disadvantaged, and that you can complete the unit in the current trimester so that your progression isn't affected. For some units, this will mean your teacher can look at the work you've already completed and make a judgement against the learning outcomes. Others will have different solutions - your teacher will be in touch to let you know what we've worked out for your unit.

Will everything be on Zoom?

Spot on with Zoom - you'll find that we will give you a range of activities each week, including online lectures and interactive sessions, plus some other work depending on the unit. Your teacher will be in touch with you if we do move to online to take you through exactly what will be happening.

Zoom is a cloud based video conferencing system which allows you to digitally meet with others. It is compatible with Mac and PC computers as well as iPhone and Android devices. Please visit the Zoom Website for their instructions on how to use the system. You will login using your MyCollarts Gmail login. If you have any further questions please contact helpdesk@collarts.edu.au.

Will my course be the same length?

Courses are still expected to run to their planned duration. If there is any change to this students will be notified.

Should we be completing group work?

Collarts is recommending the use of online tools wherever it is possible.  Please contact your teaching staff if you feel you are unable to complete your work online.

What do I do if I cannot reach my teacher?

If you are unable to reach your teacher please contact support@collarts.edu.au with your concern and they will follow up the issue for you.

I deferred my enrolment to start in May, will I still be able to start studying or should I defer further until the 3rd trimester?

You don't need to defer to 3rd trimester. We will be running classes in Trimester 2 even if they need to be online for a period of time. We look forward to seeing you.



Will campuses get fully shut down too or will room bookings be available?

In terms of whether campuses will fully shut down, we need to act on advice from the government and health experts in making a call on that — if we can, we will definitely keep our facilities open for student use (including studios and computer labs), even if we do move all teaching online.

How will practical subjects, like RST where we require the facilities that are on campus for major assessments, be handled in the event of a total shutdown?

In regards to RST, you’ll have an email really soon from the program Head, which describes what our plans are. Our solution will be slightly different for every unit. We have a range of options that we’ll apply, depending on the length of time we need to deliver online, what access we can provide to campus, and so on. These will range from providing students with continued access to studios and labs (taking into account social distancing recommendations), through to adjusting the assessment requirements of your units to enable you to complete them off campus.

We are hoping to have a skeleton staff and studios open JUST for assignments to be recorded. Mixing can be done at home, i.e: RST1 will be manageable at home. If not, we can get you some recordings, and you mix them as well as describe more in “text” terms how you would have gone about this if you recorded it. We’d pose questions for you to answer to help with this, and many parts of the subject intentions will be met that way. There’s a great deal of variation with this depending on the subject you’re doing. If we can’t do the really practical bits right now, we’ll definitely run some intensives once we’re all back on campus so you can get the practical elements you need. You will not be disadvantaged. 

Will we be able to borrow microphones and other gear so we can record from home?

At the moment we say yes, you can continue to borrow gear as usual. We plan to keep that going as long as we can.

There are already Mobile Kits that you can sign out and take home to do recordings. Check the Production Student information document (linked from the top of each MyCollarts page under Production Student Information) that details this. We'll most likely expand on this if we have to close the doors so there's more options for students to take home and record with.

If Collarts closes, AVID are supplying free temporary licenses (90 days) for any students enrolled at an Avid Learning Partner (Collarts is one). This will help anyone who doesn’t already have a PT license get their work done at home. If you already have a PT license, just use that. If you don’t have one, you will have to email Head of Audio Engineering Jason Torrens (JT) to sort this out (only if we close). These requests must be submitted directly to AVID. 

Also, McDSP are going to supply their entire bundle of plugins for students so you can get more work done at home. If you would like this, email Jason Torrens with your iLok username and email address I’ll add it to the list. If you don’t know how to get the iLok username and AVID account, JT will help you.

You already have access to LinkedIn Learning too, where there’s a lot of video content, and especially the Pro Tools 101 and 110 course videos made by the man who wrote the book! Again, email JT if you’re not sure on how to access this amazing resource. 

How does LIVE sound work if we need to close campus?

The big question, is how do you do a live mix when there’s no band and you can’t get to the desk? Well... Much of this skill is balancing levels, then sending fold-back to the appropriate person, and we’ve worked out how you can do this live mix online... yes, it’s possible (thank Audio Engineering Lecturer Steeve Body).

You will control a computer remotely, the audio will feed to your computer so you can hear and see the gig (pre-recorded) and mix it from there. Most likely done in Pro Tools, but really, its all about signal flow and balancing. Instead of a musician saying “more ME please”, you might receive a pop up asking for that, and you give the “virtual" guitarist more guitar.

For Live 1, you can practice mixing at home with the Pro Tools sessions provided from class and study the other materials online. For Live 2, you can make your offline Digico Sessions in the offline editor and submit online. The signal flow and PA patching exams can be done with documents and tests to show your understanding. For Live 3, we have a variety of ways for you to demonstrate you understand the X32 with offline software, and what side of stage monitors require. For Live 4, most of this is doing the Array Calc sessions on computers, so this will be easy. For Live 5, we’ll have written versions of the problem solving to work through, and you’ll submit the paper as done usually. For Live 6, emulation is the key and some other disciplines have great ideas on what to do here. We can also run events afterwards if necessary. There’s loads of options available for this.  



If we have applied to volunteer at partnered events like Groovin The Moo that have been cancelled, will our applications be valid till when the event runs again?

This will depend on the partnership/event. Some of our partnerships have been cancelled for 2020. Where a partnership or event is postponed and volunteer roles have been assigned, we will re-open applications, but will give preference to those students who have already been given positions. All our volunteer opportunities are open to both students and alumni.


What do I do if I am showing COVID19 symptoms?

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and/or a sore throat.  The Department of Health and Human Services has a dedicated phone line for people who think they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. They can be reached on 1800 675 398.

Nurse on Call is also a free telephone service that provides health advice with registered nurses. They can be reached on 1300 60 60 24.

I’m quite ill and can't get a Doctor's Certificate due to the strain on the health care system right now: do I need one for major assessments I've missed out on?

Sorry to hear that you are unwell. You should apply for an extension or special consideration via the normal channels. Given the current situation you won't need to provide a Dr. Cert.

Are staff also being allowed to work from home?

Yes, all staff have been given the opportunity to decide if they want to work from home or not.

We've heard a lot of statements about "in the future" or staff will "keep in touch"; when will there be confirmed answers as to what will be happening?

It's important to recognise that there's so much uncertainty around the whole situation and it's changing so quickly. There's a lot of potential there for confusion. Our approach is that we want to be really sure of the situation that we are operating in (e.g. can we keep campuses open? Can we have labs and studios open for bookings?), and then let students know what this means for them, and how we'll work together in each unit. We don't want to add to the confusion and uncertainty if we can help it. If you have specific questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to your teacher directly if you want to know what options they've considered.



How do I access counselling?

Our wellbeing team will be doing appointments via Zoom and phone during this period. Please contact support@collarts.edu.au to arrange online counselling sessions. There is a range of Health and Wellbeing resources on MyCollarts you may also find useful.

Please call the following if you would like counselling urgently:
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
Headspace - 1800 650 890
OCD & Anxiety Helpline - 1300 269 438

How do I access academic support?

You can arrange online Academic Support sessions with Elliott Folvig via evolvig@collarts.edu.au or support@collarts.edu.au. There is also a range of Academic Support resources that can be found on MyCollarts.

What do I do if I am having technical issues with Moodle, Canvas, Zoom, etc?

If you are having issues with any online platforms please contact helpdesk@collarts.edu.au.

Am I still entitled to Centrelink payments?

Centrelink payments won’t be affected by switching to online. However, we recommend you keep informed about your personal circumstances by checking Department of Social Services website or MyGov


Keep up with Collarts' updates on COVID-19 changes here.


Last updated Wednesday 18 March.

« How Sean Cousins Finds Human Truth In Filmmaking

» Five Ways To Stay Connected While Social Distancing