Starting in spring quarter 2020, all UCI courses will be offered remotely. This will mean something different to each instructor and ultimately, the decision for how you deliver your course remotely is up to you. We offer here some general guidance and more specific resources, as well as support from dedicated faculty members, lecturers, and staff to assist you as we make this transition.
First: You don’t have to do everything all at once. Think about Week 1 and 2. You can have a slow ramp-up as the quarter begins and do not need to plan everything in advance. Your online course space can be an evolving thing. Look at your original syllabus and your overall course objectives, and start thinking about how you can at least get Weeks 1 and 2 up and online. This set of articles from the Chronicle of Higher Ed might help.
Second: Simplicity is key. This is not only challenging for instructors, but also for students. Don’t think you need to cram every nifty tool into your course. Start with the basics: readings, lectures, discussion forums, assignments.
Third: It’s OK to make mistakes. This humorous take on going remote might help you get into the right frame of mind.
Fourth: Students will appreciate your direct engagement with them. Overcommunicate. Email them before the quarter even begins, reassure them, give them a preview of the exciting material you’ll be teaching in the class. Use the Announcements feature in Canvas (which basically works just like an email to the whole class), drop into discussion forums and leave comments. Show them that you are there and that you care. This contributes to educational effectiveness far more than fancy course design, especially under the current circumstances.
Fifth: Create a rhythm and sense of order for students. Create a weekly road map that spells out for students what the week has in store: list assignments, due dates, topics, objectives. Make all assignments due on the same day and time (e.g., Sundays, 11:59 p.m.). Hold office hours via Zoom the same time every week. Make a “weekly overview” 10-minute lecture of “here’s what we covered last week and here’s where we’re going this week” and send it using Canvas Announcements at the same time/day each week. It can be informal: record it on your phone in a public place, or while walking around campus.
Sixth: Our friends in the Law School advise: “Schedule additional (virtual) office hours, including drop-in online time/chat rooms and scheduled appointments via Zoom. With remote teaching, we lose the opportunity for students to approach us before and after class, and we need to create other opportunities for students to access us and be available and responsive for students to feel supported. Recognize that this is a frightening time for many, and we play such an important role in our students’ lives by showing up for them and encouraging their success and development. Regarding the importance of community, virtual study group meetings, regular virtual office hours with faculty, discussion boards for questions and check-ins, video messages of support, etc., can all help our students feel connected.”
Seventh: As with the normal quarter, be mindful that our students are from diverse backgrounds and have different learning styles. Many are first-generation college students. The campus and school will be sharing accessibility options with them (low cost or free Internet, for example).
Zoom: Now, learn about Zoom. Zoom is a video teleconference service available to the entire UC Irvine community. Log in to get an account. You can use Zoom for office hours, meetings with students and TA, synchronous discussion sections or seminars as long as all of your students are in an accessible time zone. But you can also use Zoom to record lectures. Just create a “Meeting” with just yourself, and press record! Here is a presentation on how to use Zoom. Other resources below.
YuJa: Next, learn about YuJa. You can also record videos using YuJa. But think of YuJa as a place to store your video lectures, no matter how you made them. It provides a digital media library in which you can store everything online. Then, it makes it easy to link to videos via Canvas. You can upload videos created in Zoom to YuJa, too.
Canvas: Finally, learn about UCI Canvas - an online platform for UCI courses. Many of you already use Canvas. It’s your and your students one-stop shop for readings, lectures, discussions, assignments, exams, and grades.
TA Skills and Resources
This list is meant to help you as a TA discover skills you may not yet have acquired, and point you to the resources that will help you become proficient. This list is not ranked nor comprehensive. The nature of the class you are TA-ing for and the class design will ultimately govern the skills you’ll need.
Not sure where to start in designing your Canvas course? Check out the following templates for a great course shell:
- Canvas General Template 1, created by Janet DiVincenzo, UCI Instructional Designer
- Canvas General Template 2, created by the Division of Teaching, Excellence and Innovation
Additional Canvas tips, courtesy of the Division of Teaching, Excellence and Innovation:
- The Instructor’s Guide
- Exam options (Alternative assignments)
- Accessibility Cheat Sheet
- Netiquette for Remote Learning
- Third-party tool availability in China
- DYI lab video recording
And more tips on Canvas via YouTube
- Many YouTube videos cover various aspects of Canvas, Zoom, etc. An excellent tutorial (13 min) discusses the fundamentals of teaching with Canvas.
- Check out this playlist of six tutorials on Canvas.
- How to use Respondus LockDown Browser in Canvas
School Resources to Help
Internal UCI social sciences email log for faculty and staff
Requires your UCInetID and is open to faculty, graduate students and staff to keep abreast of all social sciences emails that have been sent following the COVID-19 shift to remote teaching, learning and working.
Teaching Technology Assistance
Social Sciences Computing Support will remain available for one-on-one remote assistance, please email email@example.com to make an appointment.
For those who prefer not to set up technology in their own homes, we are working on configuring a room where faculty are able record lectures or hold virtual meetings with Zoom. (Given the heightened level of restrictions our original “floating lecture hall” plan is not going to work the way we’d intended). The room will have a computer and A/V equipment all configured to make remote teaching as easy as possible, and someone from computing will still be there to help you remotely. Additional details will follow this week.
The following faculty members are serving as coaches to assist faculty and lecturers with remote instruction. Please email them directly to request assistance, and visit their resource page for helpful tools and tips.
Student Engagement Strategies: Ian Straughn, Anthropology (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Quizzes, Exams and Assessment Tips: Marek Kaminski, Political Science (email@example.com)
Lecture Strategy and Production: Kristin Turney, Sociology (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Adjusting Courses for Remote Success: Gustavo Oliveira, Global and International Studies (email@example.com)
Tips and Tricks from Social Sciences Faculty and Beyond
- Tips on Remote Instruction: Slide deck courtesy of Bill Branch, Economics
- Canvas Cheat Sheet: Quick steps on organizing your Canvas course, courtesy of Kassia Wosick, Sociology
- Online Course Checklist courtesy of Kassia Wosick, Sociology
- Video: What Makes a Good Teacher Great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo, shared by Jeanett Castellanos, Social Sciences
- 10 Tips for First Time Online Faculty - Medium, by Andrew Vanden Heuvel, 2010 Michigan Online Teacher of the Year
- Increasing Student Engagement in Online Courses, Journal of Educators Online, shared by Jeanett Castellanos
Assistance Locating Additional Content
Staff and workstudy assistants will be working to locate additional materials that you might consider using in your classes (Ted Talks, You Tube videos, etc.). Thank you Andrew Hallak and Luis Fonseca for helping out. Material will be posted on here. Department managers have already passed along the names of faculty/lecturers who may need this additional assistance, and will coordinate with Andrew and Luis to direct you to these additional sources of material for your courses.
Social Sciences DTEI Special Advisor
Janet DiVincenzo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Instructional Designer, Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, is being employed by Social Sciences during this transition period to assist those faculty and lecturers who need the most help in ramping up to remote instruction. She's available for one-on-one consultations, and for drop-in during her periodic Zoom office hours for social sciences.
Basic Canvas questions
In addition to the other resources here, Craig Stone (email@example.com) can provide individual Canvas consultations.
- UCI COVID-19 Updates: UCI’s one-stop shop for all information related to the campus COVID-19 response.
- UCI Canvas: The online platform for UCI courses.
- Zoom: The online conferencing app that will keep us all connected. Check out this quick tutorial on the interactive platform’s many uses.
- Yuja: An online video site where lectures can be uploaded and viewed.
- Critical Contacts: As we find our footing in our new remote teaching, learning and working environments,
questions and needs will arise. We’ve compiled a list of critical contacts for everything
we can think of that you might need; please give us a shout if anything’s been overlooked.