Staff

3 April 2020

Effective 4.4.2020, campus food cafeterias will operate as follows:

Kuzey, Güney, Kandilli and Kilyos Campus cafeterias will serve lunch during weekdays as usual. Kuzey Campus cafeteria will continue serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weekdays and weekends whereas Kilyos and Kandilli Campus cafeterias will only serve lunch and dinner.

Kilyos and Kandilli Campus students and staff can pre-collect breakfast packages when they arrive for dinner service.

Güney Campus cafeteria will be closed during weekdays and continue lunch and dinner service during weekdays.

31 March 2020

Dear Students,

I am writing to inform you about the rigorous measures we are taking at Boğaziçi to deal with the COVID-19 threat and to brief you about the distance-education phase that will begin on 6 April. These measures were stepped up on 11 March, and we have been working ever harder since then. Our actions can be summarised under four main headings:

1.     Taking precautions to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and from reaching our university,

2.     Developing methods to enable students to continue with their studies and research, despite the challenges posed by the extraordinary circumstances facing us,

3.     Creating a safe environment in which the scientific research being undertaken at the university may continue,

4.     Enabling all university employees to take care of their own safety, thereby creating sustainable conditions in which the university can continue to operate.

Entrance to the Campuses and Use of University Buildings

Within the framework of these new measures, until further notice, entrance to the university has been halted for all students, alumni and retired personnel. Only the following will be allowed to enter the campus:  currently employed academic and administrative personnel, as well as students who are either staying in the university’s dormitories or engaged in laboratory work, provided that a faculty member or thesis supervisor has granted permission and accepts responsibility for the laboratory. In cases where someone urgently needs to enter the campus, permission must be obtained from the Rectorate. For the time being, visitors will not be allowed in to any of the University’s campuses.

Events of all kind on campus have been cancelled, and until further notice indoor sports facilities, swimming pools and social facilities will remain closed.

A small number of volunteers will be allowed to access the animal shelter at prearranged times.

Dormitories

Following the announcement of measures concerning COVID-19 and the beginning of the rescheduled Spring Break, between 11 March and today a large number of students who normally stay in the university’s dormitories decided to return home on a temporary basis. These students will not be required to pay for the period between their leaving the dormitory and returning to it. Students who have left their dormitory will not be allowed to re-enter it until further notice.

The small number of students who need to continue staying in a dormitory will be able to do so, provided that conditions do not force them to leave. We would like to advise these students not to leave their rooms unless it is essential. No-one will be allowed to enter the dormitories other than these students and the personnel on duty. Access to the dormitories by others will only be possible in emergencies, and special permission will need to be obtained from the Rectorate. Anyone requiring to enter a dormitory will also need to make an appointment with the official responsible for the respective dormitory and will only be allowed to enter the building accompanied by an on-duty employee.

For those students who are staying in a dormitory and for the academic and administrative personnel responsible for keeping the university running, three meals a day are being prepared and served in covered containers. We would like to remind people that, in the refectories, only one person should sit at a table. In fact, people may prefer not to eat in a refectory but on their own in a separate room.

Distance Education

In the current situation, the conditions surrounding teaching and learning may change at short notice, and sudden decisions may have to be made. All the same, the Senate, University Executive Board and Rectorate are doing everything within their power to ensure that, while necessary precautions are being taken to protect the health of students, academic and administrative personnel, our University continues to maintain its principal activities. This is why the Senate decided that for this semester only, teaching and learning activities would be carried out primarily using the methods of distance education, since it became clear that it would be impossible for universities to offer face-to-face education in the current Spring term of 2020. The Senate also ruled that, in view of the inevitable interruption caused by the COVID crisis, changes would have to be made to the schedule for the Spring and Fall semesters, as well as that of the Boğaziçi Summer School. In addition, modifications will need to be made to the schedule for graduate programs; our Institutes are working on proposals regarding this, which will be discussed and voted on soon at the relevant executive bodies at Boğaziçi, the decisions being announced thereafter. As for activities that cannot be carried out using distance education, such as laboratory sessions, applied classes and internships, these have been postponed until the summer, on the assumption that conditions will return to normal around the beginning of June. We will continue to evaluate the ever-changing situation, and should it be necessary to revise our strategy for the summer term, we will inform you about this in advance.

Starting from 13 March 2020, it was decided to make use of a number of educational tools that both faculty members and students would be able to become familiar with quickly and start using effectively.

One of these is the Moodle Learning Management System, which can be accessed either directly at https://moodle.boun.edu.tr/login/login.php or from within the BUIS platform at https://registration.boun.edu.tr/buis/Login.aspx.  As of the beginning of the Spring Term of 2020, teaching staff were already using Moodle for approximately 600 classes, and the total for the entire year is 1200.  Moodle has been enriched through the addition of software that can supplement the platform in various ways.  For the very first time, the University has purchased a license for the Zoom videoconferencing platform, which allows instructors to hold synchronous (live) classes and to share visuals (e.g. PowerPoint) with students. Secondly, we have renewed our license and increased our capacity with Panopto, a Moodle-integrated system that has been actively used by a number of instructors in previous years. Through Panopto, instructors can choose to share video recordings via Moodle with the students registered on their courses. Our choice to use Moodle as our Learning Management System was based not only on its features that enable the sharing of course materials, the initiation of forums and discussion groups and the setting of assignments and exams, but also the fact that it provides data security and encrypted usage, has an open source format, and offers a broad range of open-access educational materials. Although at the beginning of the distance-education phase we may experience technical problems because of the heavy use of the systems, our expert technical team is working night and day to forestall such problems.

Between 23 and 27 March 2020, faculty members with extensive experience of these systems gave training on them to faculty members and research assistants. This training consisted of courses on three levels (Moodle 101, Moodle 201 and Moodle 301), and a total of 2224 participants benefited from the 9 sessions on offer. Q&A sessions about the platform are also being held between 30 March and 3 April 2020

In addition, for any questions about Moodle, the team at the Computer Centre can be reached by email at moodle@boun.edu.tr. Furthermore, two research assistants from each academic unit have been assigned responsibility for answering questions about departmental courses that are being taught online.

The remainder of the semester, beginning on 6 April, is being arranged in such a way that the program for classes given through distance education should be no different from the existing weekly schedule. For technical reasons, it might become necessary to modify the schedule, but great care is being taken to ensure that this will not lead to conflicts between classes. The times allocated for ‘live’ sessions of classes will be announced in a weekly schedule.

During the forthcoming distance-education phase, to access the Moodle system you will need to use your Boğaziçi University e-mail address, i.e. the one ending “@boun.edu.tr”. In order to remind those students who have not used their BOUN address what this address is, BOUN addresses have been uploaded to the BUIS registration system as their second email address. If they feel it necessary, the 10,000 or so students in this situation will have the opportunity to update their passwords by following the instructions on BUIS. Once you acquire an account with Zoom (zoom.us) using your Boğaziçi e-mail address, you will be able to set up sessions (maximum 40 minutes in length) in which you and your friends can communicate through live audio and video with up to 300 people.

Work continues on a number of issues related to teaching and learning, and faculty members and students alike have been developing and discussing alternative ideas. These include the form that mid-term and final exams will take, the grading system to be implemented, and the rights that students will be granted with respect to taking leave for the semester and withdrawing from classes.

We are doing everything we can to develop appropriate responses to the situation in which we find ourselves. On the one hand, we want to give our students recognition for what they have already achieved in the Spring 2020 semester and for their academic efforts in the  coming weeks; on the other hand, we wish to minimise the negative impact and stress that current circumstances may impose on our students, not least because of the insecurity that these circumstances are likely to cause. Through identifying and applying appropriate models, we aim to continue providing our students the knowledge and skills they will need throughout their careers, to prevent our students from losing a semester, and to act fairly and transparently when it comes to assessing students’ performances. Our Senate and other executive authorities continue to work intensively, and any decisions they take will be announced without delay.

Dear Students,

The issue that is of greatest importance to us is your health, and this is why the decision was swiftly taken to bring forward and extend our Spring Break. As we wait for the day when we can be together once again, we will have to keep our distance from our beloved campus for a time, but that does not mean that we will be completely separated from each other. As always, Boğaziçi University will be the glue that binds our hearts and minds together, and once again you will have the chance to see the faces of your instructors and classmates, whether in classes or club activities.

Until that time comes, I would like to emphasise that staff at BÜREM and BÜSOD, as well as our resident psychiatrists, are making their own preparations so that, should you feel the need, you can have online consultations with them. We will inform you as soon as the preparations are complete.

Just as we value your health, we also recognise the importance of your academic and scientific development, not only for you as individuals but also for the country and for humanity as a whole. In a very short time —a few years at most— you will be leading researchers and scientists, with key roles in various organisations, in good times and bad, and you will be in a position to create solutions based on innovative and reasoned approaches. Our primary duty is to provide a safe, free and scientific environment which will help you to advance towards this stage. It is with this in mind that all of my colleagues at Boğaziçi University have, with the selfless support of our administrative staff, continued to work tirelessly, not just out of a sense of duty but also out of a belief in certain principles and ideals and a desire to fulfil academic objectives. Many colleagues have already contacted you through Moodle or other platforms; the others are all busy getting ready to see you again after 6 April!

Our alumni, who have always stood beside us in good times and bad, have once again shown their support in these difficult times. Under the leadership of BÜVAK, we have initiated an Internet Bursary for those students whose financial circumstances are likely to make it difficult for them to get Internet access. We are now in a position to be able to also provide internet support to students who are already in receipt of other bursaries. Students in this position can access the relevant application information by going to https://coronavirus.boun.edu.tr/tr/duyurular/internet-destek-bursu-hk. When we weigh up the current situation, the decision taken by the Boğaziçi University Senate and the academic calendar, it becomes clear that we will be continuing our courses via distance education for the next two months. We have begun the transfer of payments for the first month into the bank accounts of students deemed eligible to receive this support.

Dear Students,

In this global crisis, we are all affected to a greater or lesser extent by the virus. At the very least we all feel some level of concern about the threat posed by COVID-19. Although it will not be possible to go on as though nothing has happened, as long as we remain healthy and united, we will be able to struggle against all kinds of hardships, just as is the case with this virus. To win this struggle, we must not forget that we are all members of the Boğaziçi University community, and we must maintain our strong ties. Throughout the rest of this semester, the best way we can achieve success together is for you to remain dedicated to your classes, your classmates and friends, and to the academic and administrative staff of the university. We believe in you and trust in you.

I hope to hear that you are well and managing to succeed and look forward to seeing you again as soon as possible.

With my very best wishes,

Prof. Mehmed Özkan

Rector of Boğaziçi University

31 March 2020

A FIRST FROM BOĞAZİÇİ UNIVERSITY: THE INTERNET BURSARY FOR DISTANCE LEARNING

Boğaziçi University is now offering internet bursaries for students who require financial assistance during the phase of distance learning introduced in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Following the suspension of courses because of the Coronavirus pandemic, universities in Turkey have adopted the methods of distance and online education. To assist students with limited financial means, Boğaziçi University is supplementing its repertoire of student awards with the launch of an internet bursary.

The semester at Boğaziçi University will resume on April 6th, and preparations for the transition to online education are complete. In addition to strengthening its existing infrastructure, the University has also integrated new applications into its online learning platform. During the past week, faculty members, including the Rector and Vice Rectors, participated in ‘training the trainer’ sessions (taught remotely) and managed to finish the preparation of the classes they will be offering to their students.

Until today, the University has provided bursaries to help students cover the costs of accommodation, food and books and to award them for achievement. This new bursary will come to the assistance of those students who, because of the measures taken in view of Covid-19, have been compelled to continue their education remotely but who would find it difficult to meet the costs of the Internet coverage they require for their classes. The award is a monthly internet bursary worth 100 TL. Eligibility criteria have been established for this bursary, from which approximately 1300 students will be able to benefit for the next two months, that is, until the end of the semester. The Bursaries Office has already started accepting applications.

The Rector, Prof. Mehmed Özkan, said the following about this new type of bursary: ‘Because classes are not taking place on campus, many of our students are currently at home and will therefore be attending their courses from outside the university. There are very successful students at Boğaziçi who currently find themselves in places where the Internet infrastructure is such that they could participate in online classes. Their economic circumstances, though, mean that they would not be able to shoulder the additional financial burden. Our aim with this modest contribution is to prevent these young people from falling behind with their studies, young people who will no doubt achieve great things in tomorrow’s Turkey. While Boğaziçi University will be sharing its own resources, we would also like to invite friends of Boğaziçi and especially our alumni to support this campaign and donate to the Boğaziçi University Foundation’s bursary pool, making it a little bit easier for our students to get through these tough times.’

This is why the administration of the Boğaziçi University Foundation (BÜVAK) has established an Internet Bursary Fund. If you would like to contribute to this, please visit BÜVAK’s online donation page at http://www.buvak.org.tr/internet_bagis.php, select the option ‘Burs Havuzu Bağışı’ (Bursary Pool Donation), specify the amount you would like to donate and, in the space for explanations (Açıklama), write ‘internet bursu’ (Internet Bursary).

Calling all Friends of Boğaziçi!

Distance learning is starting. To support our students who need help with getting Internet access…

100 TL will cover 1 bursary

Our aim: Over 2 months, bursaries for 1250 students, totalling 250, 000 TL

To contribute to our Bursary Pool.

19 March 2020

16 March 2020

1.     The chair of the commission will be Prof. Ali İzzet Tekcan.

2.     In consideration of possible developments regarding the pandemic, preparations for implementing distance education programs will begin.

3.     The academic and administrative staff are strongly encouraged not to participate any national meetings with high attendance.

4.     Following the Council of Higher Education decisions on 16.03.2020, the Boğaziçi University students who previously received approval to go to exchange programs will not be able to leave the country. The academic units will have to cancel the decisions taken for these students. Nevertheless, the students will be able to continue with the exchange programs provided that the host university is carrying out online education programs.

5.     The Preschool on our campus will be closed from 17.03.2020 through 06.04.2020.

6.     The academic and administrative staff will be able to use their annual leaves between 16.03.2020-06.04.2020. Those with no annual leave days left will be able to request “mazeret” (excuse) leave for which they should contact the head of their academic/administrative units.

7.     The Aptullah Kuran Library working hours between 16.03.2020-06.04.2020 will be 08:30-17:00. As of Saturday, March 21, 2020, the library will be closed on the weekends and on the weekdays, it will be open between 10:00 – 13:00 only for book check-outs and returns. The deadline for book renewals has been extended to 13.04.2020 till further notice, no late-fees will be charged.

8.     The study halls adjacent to the Aptullah Kuran Library will be open until 24:00 as of 17.03.2020.

9.     The Aptullah Kuran Library will be open only to Boğaziçi University students, faculty and staff between 17.03.2020 - 06.04.2020.

10.  Following the University Executive Board decision on 11.03. 2020 dormitory residents who will not be staying in the dormitories until 06.04.2020 will not be required to pay dormitory fees for the period of absence. Therefore, students who will leave the dormitories will have to inform the Dormitory Managers regarding this issue. Otherwise, the students will have to pay the regular dormitory fees.

11.  In the cafeterias, irrespective of the number of people present, all tables will be available for use to ensure and encourage ample distance between people.

12.  Shuttles running between the Etiler Gate – South Campus and the Hisar Campus – South Campus will not be in service between  17.03.2020 – 06.04.2020. The hourly shuttle for  individuals with disability will continue to run between the South Campus – North Kampus.

13.  Alumni access to all campuses has been restricted: they will not be allowed to campuses until 06.04.2020 unless there is an urgent need of an official documentation.

14.  Students will not be able bring guests to campuses until 06.04.2020.

15.  Individuals who are not Boğaziçi University faculty, staff, or students will not be able to enter campuses until 06.04.2020 – unless they are on official business or visiting a Boğaziçi member living in on-campus housing (lojmanlar).

Date: 16.03.2020

Issue: 2020/01

16 March 2020

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, pre-school education unit is closed between March 17 - April 6, 2020. Academic and administrative staff who has children utilizing the unit may request annual leave.

Regards,

Secretary General

14 March 2020

Due to emerging concerns related to the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we strongly discourage any personal domestic or international trips until a further notice. Nevertheless, if it is absolutely necessary to travel, you must register your travel by filling out this form and attach it below to the online EBYS leave application form.

Following the warnings issued by the Ministry of Health, faculty or staff returning from international travel are required to enter into quarantine for 14 days at their permanent home residence upon their return to Turkey.

13 March 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in addition to the practices announced earlier, the following ones will be implemented by our University on the basis of  the decisions taken by the Higher Education Council (YÖK) on 13 March 2020:

1. With the exception of the rector, vice-rectors, deans, and school directors, all academic and administrative personnel who are over the age of 60, have a disability, are pregnant or document their chronic illness will be considered on administrative leave. Other academic and administrative staff will be able to use annual leave upon request.

2. All international travel of academic and administrative personnel, including those previously planned, have been canceled until further notice.

3. Those who have to go abroad due to their particular conditions are required to obtain permission from the governorship along with the rectorate. Those who go abroad with this kind of authorization should make their permission plans considering an obligatory 14-day isolation period upon return.