A Message to our UCLA Teaching Community

In the space of a few months, the world has undertaken a tremendous educational experiment in remote teaching amid a pandemic. In the United States, the difficulty of conducting that experiment has been exacerbated by brutality against Black people and protests against racial injustice. Here at UCLA, as at so many universities, we have taken on the challenge of teaching our students well during this time of pandemic and protests.

Spring quarter 2020 saw us struggling at times with technology, and at others with the enormity of the circumstances surrounding us – but, for the most part, finding creative solutions and persevering in our quest to serve our students equitably, to nourish their minds and enable them to continue their studies without interruption.

In a way, this accidental experiment focused our attention on identifying the most critical elements and goals of our courses and freed us to concentrate on what matters most. Out of necessity, we invented some successful practices that we may even take back to our in-person teaching.

And we prevailed. A survey of UCLA students at the end of spring quarter found that 90% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their instructor and their TA were responsive to student needs. [See STUDENT PERSPECTIVES tab for more information].

Many have gotten over the initial hurdle of transitioning to remote instruction, while some are still struggling and others have yet to try. Challenges certainly remain, especially with respect to equity for students with disparate circumstances. But now we can refine our methods, supported by UCLA resources and colleagues, becoming more comfortable with the new teaching modality, and innovating in ways small and large – because that’s what we do when confronted with a challenge.

This website provides advice and resources for teaching well under extraordinary circumstances. There is something here for everyone, no matter your level of familiarity and comfort with remote teaching.

Warm regards,

The CAT Team

REVISING YOUR COURSE FOR REMOTE TEACHING

A Beginner’s Guide to Remote Instruction (CCLE)
If you are teaching remotely for the first time, here is a step-by-step guide to get started with using Zoom and CCLE to communicate with and teach your students.

Steps for Shifting to Remote Teaching (CEILS)
You know the basics. You now want to make improvements but are not sure where to start. This grid developed by CEILS can help you think through what improvements you can make with different levels of support.

Designing for Remote Teaching and Learning (OTL) – an online course about remote instruction
If you have made some changes to accommodate remote teaching in the Spring, and would now like to do more, here are some resources that can help you, organized into three levels: Touch Up, Renovation, and Ground Up.

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR STUDENTS

The pandemic is creating an uncertain and stressful environment for everyone. It is helpful to communicate with students early and consistently. Be prepared for more questions than usual from students. This CCLE page compiles a range of options for how you can communicate assignments, updates, reminders, changes, words of encouragement, and other information to your students.

A PRE-QUARTER CHECKLIST FOR REMOTE TEACHING

1. Check the Schedule of Classes to see that your course is properly listed

There are four possible options for your course to be listed: Online, Online-Recorded, Online-Asynchronous, or in a physical location.

2. Check that your CCLE course website has been created

If you are not sure how to check, this page will help you walk through the steps.

3. Check your technology

You want to ensure smooth operation for all of the technology that will be needed for your remote class. Here are some things you should do before class starts: sign up for your UCLA Zoom account, check your internet connectivity, make sure that your computer’s camera and microphone are working properly.

4. Consider using the CEILS Remote Checklist

This documentation will walk you through major points of consideration when preparing for your course in a remote teaching environment.

INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY

Inclusive Strategies for Remote Teaching
The sudden transition to remote instruction at UCLA and other universities requires all of us to consider issues of access, equity, and inclusion in new ways. This short guide to Inclusive Strategies for Remote Teaching provides an overview of key considerations and provides links to resources that can help instructors design inclusive remote classes.

Inclusion, Equity, & Access while Teaching Remotely (Rice University)
This page by Rice University addresses the question “How can faculty and instructors ensure that all students have access to the materials they need to succeed in the course when the learning contexts are rapidly changing?”

Creating Accessible Instructional Material (DCP)
Ensure that you have provided academic accommodations for students with disabilities. The Disabilities & Computing Program (DCP) offers tutorials on how to create accessible course materials.

Remote Instruction Addendum to Accommodation Instructions for Faculty (CAE)
The UCLA Center for Accessible Education (CAE) is responsible for ensuring access and participation for all students with qualifying disabilities or medical conditions. This page specifically highlights changes and accommodation instructions for faculty teaching in a remote environment.

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

Fostering Student Engagement Remotely

This recorded CAT workshop offers hands-on exploration of strategies for using technology to foster active learning and student engagement in remote courses. Participants will learn how to maximize the use of Zoom breakout rooms and gain practical experience with online polling and a variety of digital collaboration tools. The workshop assists attendees in identifying concrete action steps for transitioning activities and assignments they typically use face-to-face for remote environments.

Access workshop materials here

Facilitated by:
Elizabeth Goodhue, Ph.D., Associate Director for Faculty Engagement at CAT
Caroline Kong, Instructional Designer and Technologist at CAT

Strategies for Large Remote Lecture Courses

Session Description
This panel discussion, moderated by the UCLA Center for the Advancement of Teaching, features faculty who taught large lecture courses remotely during Spring 2020. Learn about strategies for delivering and recording lectures, fostering student engagement, and assessing student learning in large courses–including very large classes of 300-400+ students.

PANELISTS:
Courtney Clark Psychology 10 and 120A
Bob Fink Musicology 8
Rana Khankan Life Science 7C
Alex Purves Classics 30

Access recordings and resources here

Active Learning Strategies for Remote Teaching

This guide helps instructors match active learning strategies you may be familiar with from face-to-face instruction with remote teaching strategies for enhancing student engagement. The guide includes strategies suitable for live interaction over Zoom and recorded lectures, as well as asynchronous activities students can complete independently.

A Short Guide to Active Learning Strategies for Remote Teaching

Tips for Engaging Online

Tips for Engaging Online (for instructors):
  • Send out a survey to gauge your students’ ability to join your remote session synchronously.
  • Communicate basic expectations.
  • Anything you request of your students should also apply to you as well (model good communication and etiquette).
  • Send out an agenda or a list of items that you plan on covering during your synchronous session.
  • After asking a question, let that 8 seconds of awkward silence pass (it takes a while for someone to think/type a response).
  • Create a Community Agreement. See the next section CREATING COMMUNITY for more details.
  • Set the tone to encourage students to disagree.
    • You can “assign” groups of students to disagree to a statement.
    • Model ways to disagree.
  • For long meetings, schedule in a break where everyone can turn off their cameras and step away for a few minutes (be sure to announce this in the agenda or at the start of your meeting).
Tips for Engaging Online (for students):
  • Be prepared to situate yourself to be able to participate and engage with the class.
  • Avoid multitasking and remove the temptation to multitask (place your phones face down, sit in a quiet room, only have the applications you need open).
  • Turn on your “professional persona” when engaging your instructor and classmates in the online sessions.
  • Be brave to disagree, but disagree respectfully.
  • Use “I” statements when replying to classmates (i.e. “I feel…”, “I wonder…”).

Adapted from Resources for Teaching Remotely: A Community Space

High-Impact and Student-Centered Learning

High-impact and student-centered pedagogies create educational environments that encourage students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning. A growing body of research demonstrates that participation in these learning practices increases rates of student engagement and improves course effectiveness and outcomes for all learners. Research also shows that such practices often improve retention, narrow achievement gaps for underrepresented minority students, and help create learning environments that are more inclusive and accessible to students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles.

High-Impact and Student-Centered Learning

CREATING COMMUNITY

Setting Community Agreements

Community or classroom agreements are an effective strategy for managing classroom behavior and group dynamics. This guide was developed in collaboration between Intergroup Dialogue and CAT.

It will walk you through the following topics:

  • What are classroom agreements? Why set them?
  • How to set classroom agreements in a variety of class sizes and contexts
  • How to use classroom agreements
  • Sample list of classroom agreements
  • Best practices and common pitfalls (Dos and Don’ts)

A Guide to Setting Community Agreements

Suggestions for Building Community Remotely

This checklist has some ideas and suggestions for ways to help you build community and stay in contact with your students. This list is by no means exhaustive nor all-encompassing. Remember: these are not rules or guidelines, just ideas!

If you have ideas for successful strategies that aren’t on this list, feel free to email Michelle Gaston at CAT or Katie Dixie at CEILS.

Suggestions for Creating Community Remotely (CAT & CEILS)

Online Etiqutte Guides

You may want to share general guidelines for interacting in a remote (Zoom) environment. This quick guide by CEILS and Etiquette Guide by OTL are two possible documents you could share with your students.

LEADING DISCUSSIONS

Five New Twists for Online Discussions

This article, Five New Twists for Online Discussions, by Laurie Berry and Kristin Kowal at the University of Wisconsin Extended Campus encourages instructors to try five “twists” on traditional discussions. Four of the five practices are asynchronous discussion techniques, while one (the “fishbowl”) is synchronous.

Discussion Boards: Valuable? Overused? Discuss.

This Inside Higher Ed article, Discussion Boards: Valuable? Overused? Discuss, by Mark Lieberman discusses how to make discussion boards more effective, as well as suggests new variations and innovations that will create more meaningful remote learning experiences.

GROUP WORK AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING

Designing for Effective Group Work (CEILS)

CEILS has put together strategies for designing effective group work, which includes common challenges and solutions, as well as identifying constructive and destructive group behaviors. This resource has relevance for all disciplines but is especially valuable for STEM fields.

How to Use Tech to Facilitate Small-group Work (HumTech)

This resource from HumTech describes six different technologies that can facilitate small group, asynchronous collaboration. Each tool supports core project management “best practices.”

MID-QUARTER FEEDBACK

Why and How to Gather Mid-quarter Feedback from Students

Mid-quarter feedback (also referred to as mid-term evaluation) is an informal way of checking in with your students and getting a pulse on your class. Getting feedback from your students mid-quarter helps you identify any areas where students may be struggling with material and may need extra instructional support, as well as providing students an opportunity to self-reflect on their own learning and study practices. They can be used to monitor student learning processes and progress, to determine perceived effectiveness of certain activities, or even to get a feel for the classroom climate for learning (do students feel welcome and able to learn in the environment you have created). The data collected can be used to help you make adjustments to your sections and/or the course as a whole.

Considerations and best practices

Questions to ask:

Keep your survey/feedback session short and focused on student learning. Yale University’s Poorvu Center recommends four basic questions as a starting point:

  • What is working well for you in this class? What are you struggling with?  
  • What is helping you learn? What is not working?  
  • What could the instructor change to improve your learning experience in this class?  
  • What could you do differently to improve your learning experience in this class? 
Timing:

Ask for feedback before the first major graded assignment to give students an opportunity to let you know where they might need extra preparation or support.

Method:

Choose a method for gathering feedback that is appropriate for the kind of information you are seeking:

  • Online surveys can be quick and provide students with anonymity, but may provide you less depth and quality of feedback.
  • Small-group or one-on-one discussions provide rich detail, but are time consuming and may leave students feeling like they can’t be 100% honest, especially if the instructor or TA is leading the group.
Reporting:
  • Share the results with your students.
  • Discuss possible responses or solutions with your students—make them a part of the process.
  • Using the data:
    • Keep doing the things that are working.
    • Make a concrete and specific action plan to address the concerns identified.

Templates for Mid-quarter Feedback

Template focused on remote instructional practices

This questionnaire, which is built into CCLE, can be used to gather feedback from students that is focused on remote instructional practices. It is to be used entirely at the discretion of each individual instructor. It can be adopted as is or tailored to a particular course. Once adopted, the questionnaire and student responses are available only to individual instructors to use as they see fit.

Please follow these written instructions on how to use the questionnaire. Or if you prefer video to written instructions, please view the video below (courtesy of CEILS). Note that the video is for a different questionnaire, but the process is the same. The questionnaire you should use as a template is “2020 Remote Instruction Mid-Quarter Evaluation,” not the one named in the video

If you need help with this questionnaire or how to tailor it to your course, please contact us using our intake form.

Additional Resources:

Webinar: Getting Mid-quarter Feedback on Your Teaching

In this recorded one-hour workshop, you will learn why you should ask your students for mid-quarter feedback, review some best practices for collecting information, and discuss what to do with feedback once you get it. You will leave the workshop with a toolkit for implementing mid-quarter feedback, including some templates for CCLE and Google Forms.

Facilitated by:
Michelle Gaston, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Initiatives and the TA Training Program Coordinator at CAT
Katie Dixie, Ph.D., Lecturer in Life Sciences Core and Program Representative at CEILS

LAB ACTIVITIES

Webinar: Delivering STEM Labs Remotely (CEILS)

Virtual or Remote Laboratory Considerations & Strategies

This document includes the following topics:

  1. Burning Questions
  2. Recommended Strategies for Delivering Remote Labs
  3. General Considerations in Creating an Inclusive Remote Lab Experience for your Students
  4. Link to CEILS’s Remote Teaching Resources for Labs

Resource List: Planning for Remote and Virtual Labs (CEILS)

A TA’S GUIDE TO TEACHING REMOTELY AT UCLA

REMOTE ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

There is a lot to consider when moving to remote assessments. Most of us need to transform assessments, adjust expectations, and/or consider many factors in administering exams.

The Remote Assessment Recommendation Checklist

  1. Outlines key recommendations from UCLA leadership bodies.
  2. Provides alternative assessments consistent with recommendations.
  3. If alternative assessments aren’t possible, this document provides best practices for remote testing.

This document was a collaboration of UCLA Online Teaching and Learning, the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences, HumTech, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and SEASNet.

PROTECTING ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Also visit the Dean of Students page on Academic Integrity for ideas on promoting academic integrity as well as what to do in the case of suspected dishonesty.

ASSESSMENT TOOLS

Please check out the tab USING DIGITAL TOOLS. We list key tools used at UCLA for assessment (Gradescope, Turnitin, and Respondus).

GENERAL TIPS ON TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Our approach to technology is to start with your goals for your class and then identify the technology that will support those goals. We have therefore organized this section based on potential goals, such as Facilitating Interaction, Ensuring Accessibility, etc. Within each of those sub-sections is information about tools that can enable those goals in a remote environment.

For technical information about digital tools (e.g., how to install and use tools such as Zoom, VPN, and Box), laptops and equipment loans, and campus policies regarding issues like software purchases, security, and privacy, please go to Keep Teaching: Technology Resources for Instructors. That site also has information on whom to go to for troubleshooting and 24/7 IT support.

For access to our campus learning management system and your course website, please visit ccle.ucla.edu.

LECTURING IN A REMOTE ENVIRONMENT

Live Zoom Sessions

To learn the basics of how to use Zoom to teach, see A Beginner’s Guide to Remote Instruction, Step 5: Explore how to deliver your lectures or office hours using Zoom.

The resource Designing for Remote Teaching and Learning by OTL provides insight on whether and how to best use Zoom for lecturing.

You can also request to film In-Classroom Synchronous Lecture Recordings. CAT offers a service to have your in-classroom lecture live-streamed through a Zoom session to remote students, at the regularly scheduled class time. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling. Capacity limits may apply.

Pre-Recorded Lectures

Record your own videos

  • See the detailed section in the CCLE resource Designing for Remote Teaching and Learning  by OTL for Tips for recording your own engaging lectures.
  • Video Production Consultation: CAT can provide advice to faculty about remote video production techniques, e.g. better lighting and sound. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling.

Request to pre-record in a studio or classroom

  • High Quality Video Production with Instant Turn Around: Faculty come to CAT’s large studio space in CHS, with properly formatted PowerPoints, give their lecture material to two camera angles in front of a green screen with proper lighting and sound equipment. They will have a fully edited piece of content to upload by the end of the filming session. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling. Capacity limits may apply.
  • In-Classroom Pre-Recordings of Lectures: We can offer video pre-recordings of fall lectures. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling. Capacity limits may apply.

ENSURING ACCESSIBILITY

Captioning and Transcripts of Your Zoom Lectures

If you record your lecture in zoom and post it into CCLE,  it will add captions and transcripts. Here is a how to guide to help you (Disabilities & Computing Program)

Making PDFs Accessible

A tutorial on how to make PDFs accessible in Adobe Acrobat

Documentation created by Disabilites & Computing Program on making PDFs accessible.

TOOLS FOR ASSESSMENT

Gradescope

Gradescope is a tool that allows instructors and TAs to score student’s uploaded assignments with open-response questions, including exams and homework problems. Gradescope’s rubric-based scoring system allows for consistent and fair grading and streamlines the grading process.

Gradescope at UCLA and Setting Up through CCLE

Introduction Webinar facilitated by Will Conley, Assistant Teaching Professor of Mathematics (LPSOE) and CEILS

Turnitin

Turnitin is a “plagiarism prevention system.” Turnitin works by checking an uploaded assignment against a large database of other published and written work. Once uploaded, faculty can view a Similarity Report for a detailed summary of possible plagiarized words or phrases; students can be allowed to see this as well.

Turnitin Assignments by HumTech

Respondus

Instructors at UCLA have access to the Respondus suite of tools. This includes the LockDown Browser that prevents students from searching the internet or using their computer in any way other than to take the exam. It also includes Respondus Monitor, which uses a student’s webcam to record and analyze their session. We strongly urge you to reach out to your local support unit and practice with your class before using Respondus for exams. Technical problems can occur that may impede students’ ability to take the exam.

Video on how to add Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor – Instructor Training for CCLE

Guide by Humtech on Using Respondus

Additional Guides and FAQs

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching stands firm in our commitment to supporting Black lives, both inside and outside of the classroom. The recent and continued horrific killings of Black people in America underscores our country’s long history of racism toward Black Americans and challenges us to bring about positive change. This communication focuses on what we can do right now to care for and support students in our classrooms.

Following and participating in troubling events can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our students and affect their ability to perform to their fullest academic potential. We urge instructors to be flexible and compassionate, and to consider when it is appropriate to reduce volume of work and stress for students, teaching assistants, and instructors. This can be done while maintaining high standards for depth of engagement and quality of work. Here are some issues to consider and resources to support your teaching.

To our Black Community: We see you, we hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.

Some Key Considerations

We will update this resource guide as additional guidance and resources becomes available. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the recommendations in UCLA’s Checklist for Remote Assessment Recommendations, and in the Resources for Teaching through Traumatic Times from CEILS. Additional resources from UCLA and from external sites can be found below.

We encourage you to email us at consult@teaching.ucla.edu to suggest updates and revisions to this guide, as well as additional resources to include on our page. Thank you for contributing to this important conversation.

Feedback about the Student Experience during Remote Learning

As a result of the spring 2020 transition to remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLA’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) and UCLA’s College Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) partnered to design and administer a questionnaire to obtain course-level feedback about the student experience during remote learning.

The primary goals of this effort were (1) to provide campus leadership and faculty with information about what students report is and is not working in the remote classroom, disaggregated by a variety of student-level and course-level variables, and (2) to generate reports with ideas to improve common remote teaching practices informed directly by student experiences that can be shared with instructors as they prepare for future iterations of remote instruction.

Closed-ended survey questions

asked students to address the following topics:

  • perceived effectiveness of commonly used course activities
  • satisfaction of how learning was evaluated in relation to different types of assessments
  • attitudes towards Pass/No Pass grading
  • sense of connection to classmates
  • responsiveness of instructor/TAs

Open-ended survey questions

asked students to provide the following information:

  • positive aspects of each course
  • negative aspects of each course
  • constructive feedback for similar courses

The reports will focus on the topics addressed by the closed-ended questions and other major points of interest gleaned from the open-ended questions including student inequities, and will be posted on this website.

Reports

The quantitative results are also presented in a public dashboard that allows for the responses to be disaggregated by college division, course class level (i.e., undergraduate and graduate), course type, student enrollment count, and underrepresented minority (URM) status.

For questions or additional information about this project, please contact the research team at RemoteInstructionSurvey@teaching.ucla.edu.

WHERE TO GO FOR SUPPORT AND HELP

CAT’s Services for Remote Teaching

The following is a tentative list of services that will be provided by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) in order to assist faculty with preparing their remote or hybrid (remote/in-person) courses.

If demand exceeds supply we will need to prioritize based on campus or divisional/school priorities. To request these services, please fill out our intake form, select Teaching Remotely, and indicate in the comment box which service (or other assistance) you would like to request.

Pedagogy & Instructional Technology

  • Individual Consultations: We provide individual consultations about teaching and learning for full-and part-time faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Consultations can also include the use and implementation of tools from the CCLE learning ecosystem.
  • Departmental/Divisional Consultations and Workshops: We consult with departments and schools/divisions about how to best support the teaching goals of their faculty, and help plan and deliver pedagogical workshops for groups of instructors. Capacity limits may apply until the beginning of the fall quarter.
  • Remote Delivery of Established Programming: We will be offering remote versions of several of our signature programs over the summer, including: Summer Sessions Boot Camp (for TAs who will serve as lead instructors), the TAC Academy, New Faculty Teaching Engagement, and the TA Conference.
  • New Workshops & Tutorials: We are developing new live workshops and asynchronous tutorials related to areas of top concern for UCLA instructors, including creative approaches to remote assessment, support for remote writing pedagogy, and more.

Assessment

  • Survey Assistance: We can assist with survey design and administration, including mid-quarter student evaluations.
  • Assessment Consultation: We can provide general assessment consultation to understand the impact of remote teaching practices on the student experience and student learning.

Lecture Recording and Classroom Services

  • High Quality Video Production with Instant Turn Around: Faculty come to our large studio space in CHS, with properly formatted PowerPoints, and give their lecture material to two camera angles in front of a green screen with proper lighting and sound equipment. They will have a fully edited piece of content to upload by the end of the filming session. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling. Capacity limits may apply.
  • Video Production Consultation: Provide advice to faculty about remote video production techniques, e.g. better lighting and sound.
  • In-Classroom Pre-Recordings of Lectures: We can offer video pre-recordings of Fall lectures. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling. Capacity limits may apply.
  • In-Classroom Synchronous Lecture Recordings: We offer a service to have your in-classroom lecture live-streamed through a Zoom session to remote students, at the regularly scheduled class time. Please fill out our intake form for scheduling.
  • Archived Media: BruinCast can re-purpose past lecture recordings from its archives for use in the fall quarter, along with related technical services (e.g., re-editing or re-encoding) and publishing services (e.g., scheduling re-purposed media for publication at specific dates and times).

Technology-Specific Help

For UCLA campus-specific information about hardware and software for instructors visit  Keep Teaching: Technology Resources for Instructors.

Reach out to your IT Resources by School or Department.

For technical support help, call the IT Support Center at (310) 267-HELP (4357) (24 hours) or email help@it.ucla.edu.

Drop-in support via Zoom: A schedule of available drop-in hours hosted across campus via Zoom.