Preparing for fall 2021 instruction
This page provides detailed information about campus plans and preparation for Fall Quarter 2021 instruction.
We acknowledge that there is a large amount of uncertainty as conditions change, and we offer the guidelines and definitions outlined below to enable you to prepare, while recognizing that plans may need to change due to variable public health regulations and campus conditions.
Our planning principles underscore flexibility, community well-being, COVID mitigation, and ensuring educational access as we learn to work together in a new environment.
The UC vaccination program has allowed us to plan for more in-person instruction in fall.
Classes with enrollments above 150 have been scheduled as remote or online instruction.
Remote enrollment opportunities have been made available, especially for first- and second-year students.
For Chairs and Provosts: What to do when one of your instructors tells you they tested positive for COVID-19 (a 9/22/21 communication from VPAA Lee)
Fall Instruction Q & A for faculty
The Fall Instruction Q and A for Faculty event was held on August 31, 2021. You can view a recording of the event below.
The following questions and answers are designed to help instructors and TAs prepare for Fall 2021 instruction. Many of the questions came to us directly from instructors.
For issues related to campus policy, including campus testing plans, information about what happens if you or a student in your class receives a positive COVID test, and information about where to obtain masks, please see this document from CPEVC Kletzer.
For more questions about classroom readiness, please consult the 9/10/2021 email from AVPTL Greene.
For questions about notification if your student is required to quarantine or self-isolate, refer to the 9/24/2021 communication from AVPTL Greene and EH&S and Risk Services Director Wisser.
Although subsequent developments in public health guidance may require us to make changes, these answers are intended to provide the best and most up-to-date basis for you to prepare to teach this Fall, whether you are teaching in-person, remotely, online, or in a hybrid format.
These FAQs will be supplemented and updated as needed on an ongoing basis. If you would like to propose an additional question, or if you have other additions or corrections, please email email@example.com.
INSTRUCTION, OFFICE HOURS, AND EXAMS
If students aren’t able to attend class in person, what options will they have to access class materials and meetings?
There are two primary ways for students who are sick or unable to attend class to engage with materials. The first option is for the instructor to use the new Lecture Capture system and record in-person class meetings. Lecture Capture is currently available in most general-assignment classrooms, and is scheduled to be in all GA classrooms by mid October. The second option is to teach temporarily in a Blended Synchronous format, which includes real-time engagement from both in-person and remote students. These class or section meetings are taught from UCSC classrooms with remote students who are sick or unable to attend class joining via Zoom. More information on what to do if your class needs to shift temporarily to Blended Synchronous is available, as is support (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other options, for instructors and TAs alike, may include giving students work that they can complete asynchronously, particularly in courses such as studio courses where remote attendance and recording the class may not make sense. Depending on the course, you may want to work directly with the student to allow them to propose ways they can keep up with the course material and show their learning. The Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Online Education (OE) are available to consult with any instructor who would like to discuss alternative ways to accommodate students who temporarily cannot attend an in-person class. We strongly encourage instructors to work closely with their TAs to make these decisions transparently and collaboratively.
Is using Lecture Capture to record my class an appropriate substitute for Blended Synchronous instruction?
The key is to consider your learning objectives for the class meeting and how students will accomplish them. If your objectives do not require significant student engagement, using Lecture Capture to record your class session can work well. If significant student engagement during the class meeting is necessary, consider using a Blended Synchronous format, which includes real-time engagement from both in-person and remote students. Support for Blended Synchronous instruction is available (email@example.com).
I don’t have time to come to you for support or look at an infographic. What are some of the basic steps I need to take if a student needs to attend an in-person class remotely?
Use a microphone and confirm that your remote students can hear you;
Should students who have tested positive and are self-isolating attend class virtually if their health permits? What are best practices for that kind of blended synchronous instruction?
Depending on what you want to accomplish in your class meetings, you may choose to use a Blended Synchronous format in addition to (or instead of) using the Lecture Capture system. Instructions for Blended Synchronous instruction are detailed here, and we encourage you to seek support (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I have a student who has asked to consistently attend my in-person class remotely this quarter (due to fears around COVID/commuting/housing issues, etc.). Do I have to allow this? What should I tell them?
If I have to transition my course to remote instruction due to being in quarantine, will there be support?
Absolutely. Rapidly transitioning an entire course to a remote format can be challenging and support is available. Here's a quick guide for your reference. Also, reach out to us at email@example.com to have one of us walk through your course with you to make sure all of the links and communications are in place.
How can I support my students who don’t have reliable internet or a functioning computer?
Graduate and undergraduate students who do not have a functioning laptop or are struggling with poor or no internet should email the Dean of Students office at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a program overview, visit Slug Support. Students who live on campus and do not have reliable internet access should email email@example.com or speak with someone in your College office.
If I teach an in-person class, what are my options for how I hold office hours?
Consult with your department or program chair to see if there are expectations for office hour formats. If you are a TA, consult with the instructor of record and other members of the teaching team. Many instructors and TAs alike have remarked on the benefits of holding virtual office hours to support student learning, and we expect that this practice will continue beyond the pandemic. Because some students will be continuing primarily in remote courses in Fall, offering at least some virtual office hours will provide them with more flexibility to attend office hours. Check out this page on Keep Teaching for more ideas on good practices for office hours/student hours.
Should instructors of fully in-person classes make any preparation to offer remote exams in the event of emergency conditions?
While health experts do not expect a return to fully remote instruction, all instructors and teaching teams should be prepared to transition to remote instruction—including final exams—in the event of major campus disruptions.
What do I do if students express discomfort with attending class in person?
Per campus guidance on instruction, instructors and TAs are asked to refer students to the appropriate campus resources depending on what you know about why they are not comfortable attending class. Below is a list of resources.
I am an instructor of a remote or online class and would like to offer an in-person exam. How should I proceed?
For Fall 2021, UCSC has a limit of 150 students per classroom. In-person exams may be scheduled for remote or online courses with the following two caveats:
Students who are enrolled in a remote or online class must be offered the option of a remote exam, and the option of an in-person exam can also be offered; in-person exams cannot be mandated for a remote class, they can only be an option.
For fall classes, UCSC is maintaining a 150-student limit per room, so if there are more than 150 students taking an in-person exam, they must be split among two (or three) rooms so that there are no more than 150 students per room during the exam.
Work with your department manager and the Office of the Registrar to request space. Because more than half of courses in Fall will be offered in person, space availability may be limited. If you have departmental space available, that is your first-best option. If you are able to secure departmental or General Assignment space and offer an in-person exam for your remote class, remember that you may need to continue to offer at least some students the option of a remote exam if, for instance, they are sick or unable to return to campus.
Final exam times are scheduled based on class start times; classes with a non-standard start time are assigned a “non-standard” exam time. Instructors with asynchronous online courses have the choice between two non-standard exam times and are encouraged to offer flexibility to students. More information about the final exam schedule may be viewed here.
What should I do if some of my students can’t take an exam in person?
Exams can be proctored remotely via Zoom or, if you believe you can find no feasible alternative, through ProctorU. If you choose to use Zoom, email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance. If you choose to use ProctorU, per requirement of the Academic Senate, use of ProctorU needs to be clearly stated in your syllabus. For questions or assistance with using ProctorU, contact email@example.com or submit an exam-scheduling request. For students’ questions and concerns, direct them to the ProctorU FAQ section on Keep Learning.
Teaching my course remotely worked out well for the students. If I prefer to teach online rather than in person, not just in Fall 2021 but in subsequent quarters, what do I need to submit to CCI and by when in order to get the course approved as an online course?
Start by consulting the Undergraduate & Graduate Online and Hybrid Courses Policy. For online courses, check your department or program’s policy on online courses and submit a course revision approval request or a new course approval request to the division before the deadline with the appropriate (asynchronous or synchronous) supplemental questions form. Hybrid courses follow a similar procedure and require a hybrid course checklist. You can access all forms from the CCI Course Policies page.
CLASSROOMS AND OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL SPACES
Will my general assignment classroom be equipped with the technology to allow students to also join remotely? (Blended Synchronous)
The Lecture Capture system installed in most general-assignment classrooms (and scheduled to be installed in all GA classrooms by mid October) can be used to record the audio and video of your lectures, but was not designed for use with a Blended Synchronous format.
How can I get the media cabinet code for my classroom?
If I am teaching a class that must be remote, can I have on-campus space in which to teach? I do not have my own office on campus and/or to be effective in teaching, I need access to facilities that can’t be duplicated in my home or campus space.
If you are an instructor teaching a class that must be remote and you do not have a suitable space from which to teach, first speak to your department chair or college Provost. TAs can first speak with the instructor of record of the course, who may then speak with the department chair or may refer a TA to do so directly. Departments may want to consider creative use of departmentally-controlled space to provide locations for instructors and TAs to use for recording remote lectures, conducting zoom classes, or engaging in virtual office hours.
Will I be able to visit my classroom before the start of instruction to familiarize myself with the technology and the COVID mitigations in place?
Will microphones be available to instructors to check out for the quarter?
At this time Learning Technologies has a limited number of microphones available for checkout that are designed to work with the amplification systems in large classrooms. If you would like one, use the ITS ticketing system and make your request via SlugHub (formerly ITRequest). Enter keyword "classrooms" and select General Assignment Classrooms.
ITS and the instructional continuity working group are in the process of securing more microphones both for vocal amplification and for improved functionality in blended synchronous. Check back in the coming days for information about microphones and where to find them.
May I teach my class in an outdoor space?
Yes, you may, but there extra considerations for teaching in an outdoor space:
Will students be able to work in small groups without masks if they are working outside?
Follow the official campus guidance for up-to-date COVID-19 requirements. Face coverings are not currently required in outdoor locations on the UCSC campus. However, if students will be very close together working on problems or talking, you may want to suggest that they remain masked. If you have students who will be attending class meetings remotely, consider analogous small group assignments that they can work on in breakout rooms.
Will surfaces in my classroom be cleaned?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is transmissible as an airborne virus. Following guidance from campus and county health officers, classroom surfaces will be cleaned with the same regularity that they were cleaned prior to the pandemic.
How will I know whether my classroom is properly ventilated?
Per the August 27 communication from EVC Kletzer, UCSC’s larger buildings have air handling units that bring in filtered air to the indoor spaces from outside and shunt indoor air back outdoors, while its smaller buildings often have windows that open. For buildings with operable windows, they can be left open, along with doors, for maximum air flow. Portable air purifiers may be requested to move and filter air for smaller classrooms without operable windows through the campus COVID supplies program. Requests should be submitted by Department or building managers, rather than by individual instructors.
How is ventilation being addressed in the rooms?
Will my classroom have additional air filtration?
What COVID supplies will be available in my classroom?
How do I request additional supplies for my classroom?
Will seats be removed or marked as unusable?
If you have additional questions about COVID health and safety preparations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND RELATED ISSUES
What is Lecture Capture?
Lecture Capture records in-person classroom sessions and makes them available for students to review asynchronously. It records the content shown on the projector(s) and the classroom audio, and can optionally include a camera directed at the front of the room. Recordings are stored in the YuJa media management system and are automatically published for your students to review. Lecture Capture is currently available in most general assignment classrooms, and is scheduled to be in all GA classrooms by mid October. Use of Lecture Capture is optional — recording of classes is scheduled only at the instructor’s request.
How do I request to turn on Lecture Capture for my class?
Beginning on September 15, requests for Lecture Capture can be made through this webpage. Importantly, courses are captured only with the permission of the course instructor, so you must specifically request Lecture Capture be scheduled for your class.
If I teach an in-person class, is recording the class using Lecture Capture recommended?
Yes, if you are teaching an in-person course, we recommend that you use the new Lecture Capture system. While watching a recorded lecture is not a substitute for attending a class meeting, having recordings of lectures available to students is known to support student learning, and if students are sick or unable to attend, the recordings are likely to help them keep up with course work. One of the things most frequently reported by students as an “upside” of pandemic era remote instruction was the availability of recordings of lectures.
Do I need to ask students for consent if I record a class session?
Here are some best practices for recording class sessions:
If you are using the Lecture Capture system with video turned on, the classroom camera is positioned to record only the instructor and whiteboard area in the front of the room. Incidental recording of other people will only occur if they move into or through that area. For this reason, if students ask questions you will likely want to repeat them so they show up on the recording.
In any case, make sure to notify students of the class being recorded, and offer them the option to ask questions after class or during office hours instead.
How do I take attendance if I have both in-person students and students in Zoom?
There’s more than one way to take attendance for both groups of students, and we encourage you to seek support if you have any questions (email@example.com). Here are a few options for attendance:
Assuming that throughout the quarter some students will be unable to attend my in-person course or section, does it make sense for me to schedule Zoom meetings for all of my course or section meetings at the outset of the quarter?
Maybe. There are two general approaches you can take if you have both in-person and remote students:
SYLLABUS LANGUAGE, FACE COVERINGS, BADGES, AND COVID TESTING
What should I say in my syllabus about COVID, masking, expectations, etc.?
For Fall 2021, consider adding the following statements to your syllabus. These statements may be modified as you see fit.
What we can expect from each other:
Each individual at UC Santa Cruz should act in the best interests of everyone else in our community. Please take care to comply with all university guidelines about masking in indoor settings, performing daily symptom and badge checks, testing as required by the campus vaccine policy, self-isolating in the event of exposure, and respecting others’ comfort with distancing. Please do not come to class if your badge is not green. If you forget your mask, you can ask me for one; there is a limited supply of disposable masks in each classroom. If you are ill or suspect you may have been exposed to someone who is ill, or if you have symptoms that are in any way similar to those of COVID-19, please err on the side of caution and stay home until you are well or have tested negative after an exposure. Let me know that you’re not feeling well and I’ll respond about how best you can keep learning.
What you can expect from me:
I have designed our course following campus guidance and with current public health guidelines in mind. However, these guidelines may change in accordance with shifting infection rates or the emergence of new variants. If updated public health recommendations and university requirements make our current course format unfeasible, or if I experience a need to self-isolate, I will alter the format. This may include moving in-person sessions onto Zoom, modifying course assignments to work in a remote format, and reconfiguring exams (if applicable). I will communicate clearly with you via email or Canvas announcement about any changes that occur. I will provide as much advance warning as possible and give you all the information you need to transition smoothly to the new format. If you have questions about the changes, please reach out to me so I can answer them.
What I expect from you:
If you experience an illness or exposure that requires you to miss class sessions or to attend remotely, please communicate with me as soon as possible and I will provide you with options to allow you to continue making progress in the class. [Alternatively, based on your own plans for instruction, you may want to add specificity to this section; for instance, that you will provide alternative assignments, links to recordings of class sessions, or Zoom links to allow students to participate in class from home.]
What can I do to encourage students to wear face coverings in class, if mandated by the campus?
So long as face coverings are required for in-door classes campus-wide, you may want to start your classes with a reminder about the latest guidance. This could be a verbal reminder or a note on the whiteboard or a slide at the beginning of your presentation. We also encourage you to include language in your syllabus addressing face-covering requirements.
What if a student isn’t wearing a face covering in a setting where face coverings are required by the campus?
UCSC’s on-campus students have for the past six quarters (including Summers) been wearing face coverings and have generally been compliant with campus requirements. In many cases, if a student isn’t wearing a face covering it will be because they simply forgot to put one on. For students who forget their face covering at home, you should look in your classroom media cabinet and nearby; plans have been made in general assignment classrooms to have small bags of extra surgical masks for student use. Instructors and TAs are welcome to request masks from their department or program manager, or from the office of Environmental Health and Safety, if they find they have a consistent need for extra masks in the classroom. However, since students will need to be masked in nearly all indoor settings, it is unlikely that large numbers of students will be appearing at your class maskless.
Do you have sample language for addressing students who are not wearing masks or for issues related to badges?
Yes, see the following:
Alternatively, if you have a remote option for students to participate in your course and a student’s badge is yellow because they are overdue for testing, you can say: “If you haven’t taken your test yet, please go home and attend by Zoom, but please get tested before our next class. If you fall behind in testing or the daily COVID symptom checklist, you may be contacted by Student Conduct.”
Students Who Do Not Comply
If you are checking badges, failure by a student to comply and present their badge may result in restrictions to access or limits on participation and may result in a referral to Student Conduct.
If the student is unwilling to comply with your request, you may end class early for the well-being of all. Please report incidents to the office of Student Conduct (firstname.lastname@example.org or via our online form) and provide the student's name, SID and other relevant information.
What if a student refuses to wear a face covering in a setting where face coverings are required by the campus?
Students are expected to adhere to any face covering requirements in effect in the same way that they are expected to conform to elements of the Student Code of Conduct or other campus policies.
If a student arrives to class, office hours or another setting where face coverings are required by the campus without a face covering, you can remind the student of the requirement and ask them to put on their face covering. If the student refuses to put one on, you may ask the student to leave, just as you would ask a student who is being disruptive to either cease their disruptive behavior or leave. If the student is unwilling to comply with your request, you may end class early for the well-being of all. Please report incidents to the office of Student Conduct and provide the student's name, SID and other relevant information.
You should not call UCPD to report failure to wear a face covering. UCPD is not charged with enforcement of face-covering requirements and failure to wear a face covering is not a police emergency.
Can an instructor or TA remove their mask in class, when lecturing or answering student questions?
How often will students in my courses be tested for COVID-19?
Will I be notified if one of my students tests positive for COVID-19?
Per the August 27 communication from EVC Kletzer, when a student or anyone else on the UCSC campus tests positive, the case investigation process begins. Anyone identified to be notified through this process will receive notice, including instructors of in-person classes, studios, and labs. Instructors should then notify the members of the teaching team, including TAs and any learning assistants who attend that class.
The 9/24 email by AVPTL Greene and Environmental Health & Safety and Risk Services Director Wisser includes detailed information about what you and your students can expect by way of notification.
How does the student badge system work?
For the most recent information on the student badge system (including an update about admitting students with yellow badges to class), see the September 2021 procedural guidance titled COVID-19 Compliance: Student Badge Protocol.
What if a student does not have a mobile phone to show the badge?
They can get the badge with any device with a web browser.
If they want, they can show it on their laptop or iPad or print a copy of it every day.
If they don't have a device with a web browser, they can request one: https://deanofstudents.ucsc.edu/slug-support/program/slug-tech-program.html.
How will my TAs and other course personnel such as Tutors and Learning Assistants know that a student has tested positive in an in-person course?
When you are notified that a student in the course has tested positive, you should forward the message to other members of the teaching team who regularly attend class in person. While students in the course will be notified as part of the same system that notifies you as the instructor, TAs and tutors will not be included in that messaging because that information is not part of AIS. The message you as the instructor receive will include the following standard guidance, or whatever the current guidance is as conditions change.
People who are ~not~ vaccinated and attended class with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days. Testing is recommended 3-5 days after exposure for those in a class where someone tests positive. Asymptomatic testing is available on campus. Symptomatic students should go to the Student Health Center to be tested. Symptomatic instructors/faculty should contact their health provider to find out where symptomatic testing is being offered.
Following CDC guidance, people who are fully vaccinated with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others for 10 days, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for COVID-19 if recommended.
What should I do if a student is coughing, sneezing, or looks ill?
At the start of the term in your syllabus language, and regularly throughout the term, remind students not to come to class if they are feeling unwell. Given the range of symptoms associated with COVID-19, any student with cold- or flu-like symptoms should be encouraged to stay home and to get tested at the Student Health Center. Students who feel well enough should be encouraged to attend class remotely if you are offering a remote option, or to review lecture or other class materials as they would have pre-pandemic in cases of student illness.
Online: A course offering format that is expressed in synchronous or asynchronous instruction (more on that below), without meetings in a physical space, and only includes courses that have been approved by the Academic Senate Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI).
Remote: Remote instruction, which emerged on a large scale in March 2020 as “emergency remote instruction,” refers to the type of instruction that is primarily being offered during the current pandemic and that is likely to be used during significant campus disruptions in the future. This includes courses that would normally be taught in person but are being offered remotely due to COVID-19. The majority of these courses have not gone through the Academic Senate’s formal process for course approval to be taught in an online format and are being taught in a remote format during the pandemic only. Courses being taught during this period of remote instruction are commonly synchronous (Zoom-based offerings) with set course meeting times, but these courses may also incorporate asynchronous materials such as pre-recorded lectures.
In Person: Courses in which lectures or seminars are offered in-person with a single modality of instruction by the primary instructor. For those lecture courses that have discussion sections/secondary labs, these may or may not be held in person pending the availability of classrooms. As in the past, instructors may elect to teach in a classroom with webcast functionality, and to make recordings of their lectures available to students.
Synchronous: Instruction that is characterized by its use of videoconferencing software to facilitate face-to-face, real-time interaction with students. Similar to courses taught in person, synchronous online courses are also characterized by their use of set meeting times that are advertised to students when they enroll.
Asynchronous: Instruction that is characterized by its reliance on lectures, engagement activities, assessments, or other course materials that are pre-recorded and carefully pre-planned for students who will have minimal (or no) face-to-face, real-time interactions. Unlike fully synchronous or in-person courses, asynchronous courses do not have set meeting times that are advertised to students when they enroll; instead, students typically access the materials at a time of their choosing within the timeframe specified by the instructor (e.g., all of week three materials might be available on the first day of week three). That said, all UCSC asynchronous courses give students at least some opportunities every week for synchronous engagement, i.e., real-time interaction with the instructional team and with other students in the class, including office hours or problem set working groups. Final exams in asynchronous courses require a fixed three-hour time block that will need to be offered during one of the “non-standard” times in the final exam schedule. Because students may have conflicts with exams in their other asynchronous classes, faculty teaching asynchronous courses should also offer alternate exam times.
Hybrid: A term used generally to describe models of teaching and learning that include multiple modalities in one course. These might be asynchronous and in-person, synchronous and in-person, asynchronous and synchronous, etc. Hybrid is a broad term and can quickly lead to confusion, hence it is advisable to use more specific terms to refer to modalities of instruction.
Flipped: Flipped classrooms involve a teaching technique that combines the strengths of asynchronous and synchronous formats with a synchronous in-person or remote (Zoom-based) element that is characterized by the use of active learning techniques that often prioritize student engagement through group work. Each student is expected to engage with both the in-person and the remote elements.
Blended Synchronous: Class meetings or entire courses that include real-time engagement from both in-person and remote students. These class meetings or courses are taught from classrooms on UCSC campuses with remote students joining via Zoom. All students, remote and in-person, are given opportunities to engage in real-time.
HyFlex: A course design model that can include student participation that is in-person, synchronous (Zoom-based), and asynchronous (recordings of synchronous class meetings). Students in this model are often given flexibility to choose their mode of attendance, which may differ from one class meeting to the next. This model suffers from providing modalities that can lead to inequities in student learning, and a variant on the HyFlex model that attempts to address these concerns is Blended Synchronous (defined above), which excludes an option for an asynchronous modality. This model requires substantial time, effort, attention, agility, and technical skill of instructors.
Sections: This term is used across campus, often to refer to two different things. For this reason, we recommend adding additional context where appropriate:
Offerings: In general, the term “section” can refer to each scheduled primary version of a course. For example, if the ANTH 3 lecture is scheduled to be offered twice in the quarter, to different sets of students, each of these class offerings might be referred to as a section. When referring to primary courses, using the words “offering” or “class” might reduce ambiguity.
Secondary Sections: the word “section” is also sometimes used to refer to the secondary components of a course: discussion sections and/or secondary labs. These are the smaller sections that are scheduled secondary to a primary course offering, generally taught by TAs. Student enrollment may be mandatory or optional, depending on the course. Using the words “secondary sections” or “discussion sections” where possible will reduce confusion.