Beginning in Spring, all classes will be offered remotely. This is an area in which instructors may previously have had limited experience; with this in mind, here are some resources and general guidance to help with the the transition to this very different medium of instruction. Faculty are encouraged to look after themselves and their health; UCI provides resources and information through its Wellness portal.
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: First, 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
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
- Remote Syllabus Template
- 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
UCI Teach Anywhere, courtesy of Division of Teaching Excellence & Innovation
DTEI Open Labs and Office Hours
The campus is also providing additional resources and office hours!
Virtual Open Labs with Instructional Designers and Director of Learning Experience Design and Online Education, Megan Linos
Learn how to utilize your Canvas course space and teach with tools such as Zoom, YuJa, Examity, and Respondus. The team can also provide consultation regarding teaching with accessibility, using copyrighted material remotely, set up remote exams, creating alternative assessments, etc.
- UCI COVID-19 Updates: UCI's dedicated COVID information hub
- UCI COVID Resources: UCI's COVID resource roundup
- UCI Canvas: UCI's online platform for all of its courses
- Zoom: Online conferencing app for teaching, meeting, and more; for a quick explainer, please see this tutorial, and see these extra tips for preventing Zoom-bombing
- Yuja: Video site where lectures can be recorded, uploaded, and viewed
- Critical Contacts: A quick list of contacts who might be able to answer your questions