When you realize you have to switch to remote instruction quickly and teach from somewhere other than your UCSC classroom, consider the following right away.
Prepare in advance (if you can): Consider addressing emergencies and expectations up front in your syllabus, so students know what will happen if they can't attend class at the usual time (due to illness, time zone differences, or internet access problems). Prepare a plan for if class is canceled by you for reasons of illness or technical challenges, including procedures you will implement.
Get details about the closure or event: Stay up to date with information at the UCSC Newscenter so you know of any important updates to campus policy and any changes to how long you may need to teach your course remotely.
Come up with a plan for how you're going to approach redesigning your course: Start by thinking about where you want to get information, how you can best connect with others in your field, and gather key resources before you begin.
Check with your department: Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for classes. Administrators may want to have many of the department's classes handled in similar ways, so before doing too much planning, check with departmental leaders to get guidance. Check your email daily, even if you don't usually do so. Messages from your Dean or Chair will contain the most up to date information on academic program issues.
Consider inclusion, equity, and access for students: An added challenge (that is both technical and pedagogical) to switching to remote teaching that must be addressed is equitable access to the learning environment. See this page for useful tips for increasing equity and access and promoting an inclusive environment when teaching remotely.
Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't yet have a plan in place, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming. Let them know what your expectations are for checking email or Canvas (UCSC's learning management system(LMS)), so you can get them more details when available.
Consider realistic goals for teaching from anywhere: As you think about continuing instruction remotely, consider what you think you can realistically accomplish. Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? How will you keep them engaged with the course content? Will you be pre-recording lectures, lecturing from a slide deck, running your class in more of a seminar or tutorial style? If you have others in your teaching team such as Teaching Assistants, how will you be using them?
Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your priorities during the disruption — providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done remotely via digital tools? Give yourself flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than initially planned.
Review your syllabus for points that must change: Identify what must change in your syllabus, such as policies, due dates, or assignments, and communicate those changes to students. Ensure any change you make aligns with UCSC policies, although instructors have been informed that reasonable changes to your syllabus related to the move to remote teaching are expected and acceptable.
Familiarize yourself with the tools you will be using: We have tried to prepare relatively streamlined information to get you started teaching with Zoom and other digital tools. Remember that your students will also need to know how to use these tools, as well as the Canvas LMS if you will be using it.
Reset expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
Talk with your students early and often about their strategies for learning: More than ever in a remote environment, students will need to be intentional about their learning. Consider starting the term off with an exercise in which students clarify their goals for the quarter and make a plan to meet them. Virtual environments require much more forethought on the part of both instructors and students.
Create a detailed communications plan: Once you have details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with how and when they can contact you (email, virtual office hours, etc.). Anticipating students will have questions, let them know how and when they can expect to receive a reply from you. Decide whether email, Canvas, or some other messaging system is the most effective for you, and let students know how and when you are available to answer questions or hear concerns.
Check in regularly: You may want to take a few moments every week or so to check in with students about how the course is working for them. Use virtual exit tickets or message boards to invite students to engage with you about suggestions they may have for improving the course. While in ordinary circumstances we may not use our students as a resource for improving our teaching, we are entering uncharted territory taking a whole quarter into remote mode, and students can be invaluable partners in making this move a success.
Work with the library for access to textbooks and readings. The library supports remote learning. The first two tips for instructors on the affordable textbook guide are particularly important right now. Library Search provides access to a broad range of online resources including e-books, e-journals, streaming media, maps, and government documents. Students and faculty can access these e-resources remotely by authenticating with CruzID Gold. Ask a Librarian service provides two avenues for getting research help remotely, via email and via 24/7 chat.
Consider intellectual property and copyright guidelines for course materials: As you prepare to deliver more instruction remotely, using digital tools, this brief review of rules on copyright, both for protecting your own copyright, and respecting the rights of others is very helpful.
Use this great tool to get started: This worksheet from Plymouth State University will help you use the "rule of two" to simplify your planning and get started.
The 7 stages of converting your course to “remote modality” in the face of COVID19
by Ingrid M. Parker, Professor & Chair, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, UCSC
Shock & Denial. “I’ll just do something else until April 3, then everything will go back to normal.”
Pain & Guilt. “My course can’t possibly be taught online! The very idea is a travesty! I am ashamed to pawn this off on my undergrads as education.”
Anger & Bargaining. “You have to cancel my course.”
Depression & Loneliness. “I have to do this and I have no idea how.”
Adjustment. “Hey look, there are some tools and there are some people to help me.”
Reconstruction. “I’m starting to re-write my syllabus.”
Acceptance & Hope. “Actually, I think I’m going to learn some cool new stuff. Innovation is sort of fun!”