Project Team FAQs-Fall 2020

Frequently Asked Questions: Fall 2020

Last updated: August 4, 4:30pm EST

Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams

Administration and Scheduling

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Will project teams still exist in Fall 2020?

  • Cornell Engineering Student Project Teams will continue in modified modes in Fall 2020 to ensure the health and safety of students. The project teams are unique in engineering as student-directed activities that make extensive use of college provided spaces and resources.  They pose special opportunities and challenges in a physically distanced environment; however, it is likely that these activities can be managed with administrative oversight and reasonable controls in the hybrid model.

Will project teams be required to operate online only or will there by a hybrid option?

  • All activities that can be managed remotely should be handled remotely; this includes all-hands and sub-team meetings, design reviews, software and computer-based work. For activities that cannot be done remotely (building, manufacturing, fabrication) teams will work with the Project Team Director for approval (see additional information under “workspaces & safety”, below).

Will project teams be allowed to hold in-person meetings?

  • All meetings should be conducted virtually. Team leads should take access considerations into account. Teams should leverage campus technology and support and plan to record sessions via Zoom and save them to the team Canvas page.

  • Teams should also consider alternate timing (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated, some students may need to quarantine) when scheduling meetings.

Will project teams be allowed to host events during fall semester? 

  • During the fall semester, the university will be suspending events that involve outside guests. Project Teams should not host any large events or events that involve guests from outside the Cornell community.

Will project teams be allowed to host recruiter visits during fall semester? 

  • Recruiter visits will be virtual until travel and visitor restrictions have been lifted. Team leads should coordinate with the Engineering Career Center to ensure that recruiter events are advertised on Handshake and that all students have access to them.

Will current and new members who are off-campus (domestic or international) or in quarantine be able to participate in project teams remotely? 

  • Yes! Team leads planning activities should take access considerations into account to ensure that students who are off-campus (domestic or international) or in quarantine can participate remotely. Teams should leverage campus technology and support and plan to record sessions via Zoom and save them to the team Canvas page.iTeams should also consider alternate timing (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated, some students may need to quarantine) when scheduling meetings.

How will training and on-boarding sessions typically held in person be conducted?

  • All training and on-boarding will be conducted virtually via modules available on the team leads Canvas page.

How will safety training be conducted?

  • Safety training will be conducted virtually for team leads, students approved for on-campus project team work, and new members. The Project Team Director and College of Engineering Safety Officer are working together to develop training materials and topics. Additional details will be communicated via the team leads Canvas page.

Will safety leads be a point of contact for communicating guidelines/restrictions?

  • Each team’s safety lead and primary lead(s) will be required to participate in project team safety training at the beginning of the fall semester. This training will distill key safety considerations and review new procedures and policies for safe operation in the current environment in detail. The Project Team Director will work with safety leads to conduct additional training and communication, as needed, for team members. 

Can students participating in co-ops also participate in project teams?

  • Yes, students who are participating in co-ops may also participate in project team activities. Students should ensure that project team work does not interfere with their co-op work schedule.

Zoom sessions that are initiated within Canvas, and where recordings are made to the cloud, will be FERPA compliant.  The processed recordings are posted only to the Zoom cloud available through Canvas. Recording of Zoom sessions initiated through cornell.zoom.us are not FERPA compliant as the final recordings are not strictly restricted to the class (team) members.  However, if you record to your computer and upload only to your Canvas site, the process can be FERPA compliant.

Workspaces and Safety

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Will teams with hands-on work that cannot be done virtually be allowed to meet or work in person?

  • For activities that cannot be done remotely (building, manufacturing, fabrication) teams will work with the Project Team Director for approval.  The Experiential Learning Lab (ELL) in Upson Hall will be available for teams that typically work in that space. The Project Team Director is coordinating with College and Department leadership for teams that typically work in other labs across campus.

What rules will be in place for working in the ELL? How will the density of the ELL workspaces be decreased to conform with the health guidelines?  How will these measures be enforced?

  • Teams will be required to self-organize into relatively autonomous sub-teams (“pods”) based on the nature of the activities. Team leads will submit proposed pods, project and workflow plans, rosters, and other key details to the Project Team Director for approval before any in-person work will be allowed. 
  • Pods will involve between two to six students, based on guidance for specific work locations developed in conjunction with College of Engineering Facilities and Safety personnel. The Project Team Director will communicate details about workspaces directly to team leads and work with team leads to help define pods.
  • Lab access will be controlled and scheduled to limit the total density and to minimize interactions between pods from different teams. 
  • Workflows should be adapted so that students can maintain 6’ distancing and limit the amount of time that students are within 6’ of each other. 
  • All students working in the ELL, regardless of activity, will wear a face covering/mask. 
  • All students will complete brief check-in/check-out surveys and attendance will be tracked, via team Canvas pages, for every in-person work session. 
  • Clear expectations and escalating penalties (access loss) will be outlined.

What sanitation processes will be implemented in the ELL workspaces?  Will basic sanitation supplies be supplied to clean workspaces before and after a work session?

  • An ELL cleaning protocol will be in developed. SARS-CoV-2 is a lipid enveloped virus and can be inactivated using many disinfectants from the list Products Registered in New York for Use Against COVID-19. Project team students will be responsible for cleaning at the beginning and at the end of each work shift. Work should conclude at least 30 minutes before the end of each scheduled shift to allow time for cleaning. Appropriate disinfectants, supplies, and a checklist/instructions will be provided and clearly labeled in each defined work area. 

When will students have access to the ELL? What will ELL operating hours look like for fall?

  • The goal in the ELL is to schedule three “shifts” per day (morning, afternoon, evening) as well as some weekend shifts. After-hours/off-hours access will not be allowed. There are three proposed “phases” to opening the ELL:
    • Sept. 2 – 20: The ELL will remain closed for the first (approx.) two weeks of fall semester to allow students to adjust to new behavior norms and expectations, and to monitor campus conditions. Team leads will submit required details for approval during this time and safety training for students approved to work on campus will be scheduled.  
    • Sept. 21 – Oct. 25: For the next five weeks one pod per team per shift per work area will be allowed. Compliance and impact of this model will be monitored. 

    • Oct. 26 – Nov. 24: In the second half of fall semester, additional shifts may be added, and/or additional pods may be approved per team, if this model is successful and contingent on the public health situation and evolving university rules and guidance.

Will project teams have access to the Emerson Machine Shop and Rapid Prototyping Lab?

  • Yes, the Emerson Machine Shop and Rapid Prototyping Lab will be available to project teams. The Project Team Director is working closely with MAE Administration to define the number of available slots and how scheduling will work for these facilities. Project team students will be asked to help provide schedule coordination and shift supervision (green or blue apron) for the machine shop.

Will project teams have access to the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio?

  • Yes, the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio will be available to provide support to project teams at a similar level as in previous terms. All requests for appointments or projects must be submitted via the website. Consultation meetings will be conducted virtually (typically via Zoom).

How can my team make the best use of limited time to work in person?

  • Project team leads should work with faculty advisors and members at large to reimagine goals and project plans for the fall semester and the 2020-2021 academic year given modified operations. Are there opportunities that this situation presents for additional outreach, alumni engagement, etc., that can be done in a virtual setting? How can you connect the few students working in person with the rest of the time? Consider connecting other students via Zoom during work sessions for observation and live Q&A, and/or recording work that you can share via the team Canvas page for instruction/training/demonstration purposes. The Project Team Director will share creative ideas from faculty, Active Learning Initiatives, and other instructional labs, and will facilitate sharing of ideas between teams during regular (virtual) team lead meetings.

How will campus workspaces be booked/reserved (especially to ensure equitable access)?

  • ELL: Each “bay” or defined workspace in the ELL will be restricted to use by one pod from one team at a time. The goal in the ELL is to allow three “shifts” per day (morning, afternoon, evening) as well as some weekend shifts. A calendar system will be used for scheduling and the Project Team Director will work with team leads to ensure equitable access based on team needs, considerations, and constraints. 

Other campus labs: The Project Team Director is coordinating with College and Department leadership for teams that typically work in other labs across campus. Additional guidance will be provided soon.

Will project teams be allowed to reserve on-campus space (classrooms, conference rooms, etc.)?

  • No, at this time students cannot book on-campus spaces such as classrooms, conference rooms, etc.

Will project team students have remote access to campus computer labs?

  • Yes, project teams will have remote access to most software via Apps on Demand. Students can self-enroll in the Canvas course "MAE Software Access". If students enrolled in this course in the spring they will have continued access, if not, they can self-enroll for fall. This course has an option called Apps on Demand which enables students to run CES, CAD software (Solidworks, Inventor, Fusion), ANSYS and MATLAB remotely in a web browser.  Clicking on the Apps on Demand option -- in the menu items on the left -- opens a browser tab with available software applications listed. Clicking on say, Solidworks, will open Solidworks, etc. Users need to save all data on their Google drive. A video demonstration of this process is available within the course.  Please direct any questions or concerns to Rajesh Bhaskaran (rb88).  

Will project team students have access to the Swanson computer lab?

  • Yes, project team students will have access to the Swanson computer lab for computationally intensive projects or specialized software. The tentative plan is that there will be one or two computers, depending on the reduced room capacity, available for on-site use primarily for graphics-intensive CAD-type work that would benefit from having two big monitors.  The rest of the computers will continue to be available for remote access. Please contact Rajesh Bhaskaran (rb88) with questions or to request access.

Will the CNC certification class be offered?

  • This decision will be made by MAE. The Project Team Director is working closely with MAE Administration to coordinate planning.

Will the project team van be available for use?

  • A decision about the availability of the project team van has not been made at this time. Additional guidance will be provided soon.

Will students have access to lab spaces after Thanksgiving/before spring term begins?

  • A decision about lab access between terms has not been made at this time. Additional guidance will be provided soon.

Will JanFab happen in 2021?

  • A decision about JanFab has not been made at this time. Additional guidance will be provided soon.

Recruitment

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Can teams recruit freshmen in the fall?

  • Freshmen will not be allowed to join project teams in Fall 2020. The Project Team Director will work with team leads to outline a recruiting cycle for freshmen that begins later in the fall semester, so that new freshmen team members can be selected in the fall and on-boarded at the beginning of spring semester. A virtual Project Team Fest will be organized for early- to mid-October; virtual ENGRG 1050 visits and info sessions can be scheduled throughout the fall.

Can teams recruit new members in the fall? 

  • Recruiting of upperclass students can continue on a rolling basis during fall semester, according to each team’s needs and schedules. All info sessions and outreach will be conducted virtually. The Project Team Director will work with team leads to identify creative solutions for showcasing team activities.

What will the project team recruitment calendar look like this fall?

  • Planning for a virtual Project Showcase is underway in conjunction with the Engineering Career Center and a team of student volunteers. This fest will be a virtual event to showcase project teams, student organizations, undergraduate researchers, and other project-based student work to employers, recruiters, alumni, and other friends of the College.
  • This event will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 8. 
  • The Career Fair is scheduled for September 9-10. 
  • A virtual Project Team Fest will be organized in early- to mid-October. 
  • Virtual ENGRG 1050 visits and info sessions can be scheduled throughout the fall.

How will information sessions work?

  • All info sessions and outreach will be conducted virtually. Teams may use Zoom or other platforms to host virtual information sessions and should plan to leverage campus technology and support. Teams should take access considerations into account (not all students will be in the same time zone, class schedules may be more complicated) when planning info sessions to ensure equity. 

What steps will be taken to ensure recruitment happens both in and out of CoE (e.g. business subteams)?

  • The Project Team Director will work with team leads to identify creative solutions for showcasing team activities. Info sessions will be “advertised” widely via listservs and campus administrators. Campus partners are available to help spread the word as needed.

Will ClubFest be held this fall?

  • The Student Union Board along with Welcome Weekend will be hosting a virtual ClubFest from September 12-13 and 19-20. Registration for ClubFest will be released in mid- to late-August. Each organization will set up a virtual booth within the virtual fair. This will include having a video, representatives present to answer live questions, and chat in real time. Campus Activities will share a step-by-step guide on how to do this.

Travel

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What are the guidelines for team travel in fall 2020? 

  • All Cornell-related travel by faculty, staff and students is restricted at this time. All undergraduate students are prohibited from traveling for Cornell-related research or scholarship until further notice. Project team travel is considered official Cornell-related travel and is prohibited for fall 2020. Students on the Ithaca campus are also asked to avoid all non-essential personal travel out of the region during the fall semester.

Will domestic travel be permitted during the academic year?

  • Project team travel is prohibited for fall 2020. Decisions regarding Cornell travel will be informed by the work of the university's reactivation planning committees and state and federal guidance. The Project Team Director will provide any updates about changes to travel guidance for project team activities as they become available. 

Will travel (domestic or international) be allowed during summer 2021? 

  • Project team travel is prohibited for fall 2020. Decisions regarding Cornell travel will be informed by the work of the university's reactivation planning committees and state and federal guidance. The Project Team Director will provide any updates about changes to travel guidance for project team activities as they become available.

Funding

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What changes can we expect from Cornell's contributions to our teams?

  • The Project Team Director is working closely with College Administration to determine budget impacts for the coming year. Additional guidance will be provided soon. 

Is there any anticipated shift in fundraising rules for teams during the pandemic?

  • Fundraising and stewardship will continue to be incredibly important to project teams! The Project Team Director is working closely with the College Alumni Affairs and Development team to support project team fundraising efforts. From past situations, such as the economic downturn in 2008-2009, we know that corporate giving may be decreased or eliminated in the coming year(s) – teams should be mindful that maintaining connections with corporate partners and sponsors is still important. Conversely, we often see that small, individual donations increase during times of economic disruption, as friends and alumni know that their contributions are more valuable than ever during these times.  

Will project teams be able to participate in Crowdfunding this fall?

  • Yes, AAD is currently seeking crowdfunding projects for a November crowdfunding burst. From November 1 – December 5, Cornell Crowdfunding will launch a series of projects simultaneously. Each project that launches during this time will benefit from extra visibility in Cornell alumni communication. Student project fundraising will look different this fall as common needs for funds such as travel, conferences, and competitions are transformed. Project teams should carefully consider their fundraising needs in this new environment and should particularly consider projects that include an engaged community (even a small one), volunteers willing to serve as project ambassadors and conduct peer-to-peer outreach, and a timely fundraising need. Project teams can learn more about the November crowdfunding burst by browsing resources in the Cornell Crowdfunding Toolkit. Project teams interested in being part of the November launch should complete the crowdfunding application before September 1.