UCSB Keep Teaching

Teach and Learn from Anywhere!

Keep Teaching at UCSB

The UCSB KeepTeaching site is a central hub to support teaching and learning through disruptions to on-campus instruction. Instructors can draw on the teaching pedagogies and technologies that they learned during remote instruction to enhance teaching in any format: face-to-face, online, blended, flipped or hybrid.

The resources on this site are designed to support you; if you can’t find what you’re looking for, email us your question, post to the Keep Teaching Nectir channel, or schedule a teaching consultation. All official campus-level policies for instruction can be found on:

Winter 2022 Announcements

Chancellor Yang has announced that Winter quarter instruction will be remote from January 3-31, 2022. Instructional consultants from Instructional Development, GauchoSpace/LSIT, and CITRAL will be available during the break to address questions and provide support.

Instructional FAQs Winter 2022

How will you deliver course content?

When teaching remotely, you can deliver content asynchronously or synchronously or in a blend of the two formats.

What about sections?

Sections should be taught synchronously online at the scheduled time. Have your TAs include a separate Zoom link on GauchoSpace for their sections. TAs can make sections interactive to help students feel supported in a community of learners. Instructors and TAs may want to review the TA resources for resilient teaching

How will students know how to access the course?

How should I design my GauchoSpace site?

Multiple UCSB student surveys attest to the importance of a well-organized GauchoSpace site with a consistent weekly pattern, clear names/titles for materials, and instructions for assignments.

How can I use materials from previous courses?

If you are teaching a course that you previously offered remotely, you can import materials from the earlier version(s) of the course(s). Double-check that course links, dates, and instructions are updated after importing. Note: the campus is in the process of updating the GauchoCast video recording/storage service. Please wait to import GauchoCast videos until the week of December 27. Email help@id.ucsb.edu for additional questions.

How can I build class community in a temporarily remote course?

  • Be empathetic to students who might be in transition physically and mentally by incorporating some flexibility into your course policies, like attendance and due dates.
  • Create a video welcome message about the course and about yourself so students can see who you are and feel more connected to you.
  • Create clear paths for communication for the instructional team, instructors and students, and students to students. (e.g. Nectir chats and discussion forums)

The accordion below and the Build Community page have some more ideas for building and maintaining class community during times of transition.

Connect with Students in Asynchronous Ways

Communicate asynchronously with the whole class regularly
(e.g. weekly email via GauchoSpace announcements, weekly short video, chat room in Nectir)

Use a digital survey to ask students about their academic experiences, learning preferences, and professional goals.

  • Which classes have you taken (at any time) that might relate to this course?

  • How do you plan to study for this course outside of class hours? (revising notes, studying with peers, annotating readings, keeping up with homework, attending office hours, tutors at campus services like CLAS or the writing center)

  • Which of the class topics do you anticipate to be the most interesting for your personal or professional development? (list topics)

  • What else would you like to share that could help me support your learning in this course?

Reach out to students periodically about their progress and how to get more support if needed. 
(e.g. use light-touch feedback and GauchoSpace analytics to almost automate the process).

What to do during Synchronous Interactions

Structure your synchronous class for engagement

Begin class with welcoming music, saying hello to students, and an activity that solicits many students’ input, ideas, knowledge, and/or experiences. It could be an icebreaker or something that has to do with the content.

Leverage technologies like Zoom chat, reactions, and polls; iClicker questions; Google Docs and Google Slides Q&A.

Run topic-based office hours, but call them “workshop” or “review session” 
(e.g. assignment overview, homework problems, research question, writing workshop).

Use Zoom break out rooms for small group or paired activities that can help students work together on higher-level thinking skills, such as problem solving, analysis, synthesis, creation, planning, experimentation, debate, judgement, and argumentation. Consider putting the same students together in breakout rooms for every live class, so they build a peer group. Leverage technologies that provide you with a window into students’ thinking processes while they work together. (e.g. Google Docs).

Build Peer Connections

Introduce students to each other using icebreakers and low-risk questions during the minutes leading up class and/or as a way for students to start paired/group work.

  • Ideas for low-risk topics: Clubs to join, restaurants, shows, music, hikes, sport, places to go, favorite thing about being in college, best class, hobby, skill, job, hometown/country, vacation, etc.

Create frequent opportunities for peer conversations and collaborative work both in and out of synchronous meetings so students build relationships with each other. (e.g. break out rooms, discussion forums, peer review, Nectir chats, Flip Grid)

Encourage students to create study groups and do homework together. Use Nectir or a study-groups forum so students can talk to each other outside of class, or offer to announce a different student-created study or online chat group.


Accommodations to instructional practices may continue to be warranted for a variety of reasons, and we encourage instructors and TAs to design their courses to be resilient and responsive to current circumstances. Designing a resilient course will likely involve blending effective in-person, online, and asynchronous teaching strategies to create multiple ways for students to engage with the course material, each other and you.

1. Checklist to Prepare for Campus Disruptions

Prepare in advance, whether there is a short disruption to on-campus learning due to a power outage, poor air quality, etc., or a longer disruption like a public health emergency. Use this checklist to help ensure that your course is set up to support your students’ learning.

  • Sign up for the UCSB Alert system to receive messages with important updates.
  • Add a paragraph to your syllabus that tells students how they should expect to communicate with you, TAs, and other students about the course should there be a disruption.
  • Establish preferred ways to communicate with the members of your teaching team.
  • Create a GauchoSpace site for your class with all of the pertinent information that will allow students to navigate the course in the event of a shift between course formats (remote, in-person, hybrid).
  • Download, install, and sign into Zoom and Panopto on your home computer.
  • Create a permanent Zoom meeting link for your course, and post it on your GauchoSpace site (it can be hidden until needed and/or used for office hours).
  • Add the GauchoCast block to your GauchoSpace site to provide students access to recorded videos.
  • Use the KeepTeaching Tech Tutorials page to familiarize yourself with GauchoSpace, GauchoCast, Panopto, Zoom, and other technologies that can support flexible learning.
  • Familiarize yourself with your General Assignment classroom attributes and campus emergency procedures.
  • Identify an off-campus location to stream or record that has good internet and is free of visual and audio distractions.
2. Design for Access
  • Make sure students can find everything they need on your course GauchoSpace page (announcements, learning outcomes, assignment instructions, due dates, rubrics, Zoom links, etc.) - GauchoSpace help can assist you!
  • Record a screencast of your lecture and your voice using Panopto, available for free to all humans at UCSB and on all general assignment classroom computers.
  • Create (and communicate) a plan for letting students know how to access course materials and meetings remotely in case of campus emergencies.
  • Create a course roadmap and weekly pattern to show connections between activities, assessments and course goals. 
  • Use rubrics for grading complex assignments and share them with students from the outset.
  • Incorporate exit tickets or a mid-quarter survey to learn about what’s resonating with students and adjust your teaching accordingly.
3. Ensure Communication and Community

When you and/or TAs communicate with students...

...and build community among students. Consider some of the following:

4. Set TAs Up for Success

The more TAs are oriented to the objectives and technologies associated with your course, the more they can be effective liaisons between your ideas and students’ learning.

  • TAs need preparation for the technical aspects of teaching; in particular, they would like training before the start of the quarter on instructional technologies  (e.g. to grade papers electronically using GradeScope, to help with GauchoSpace, to track attendance, to run section or lab on Zoom).
  • Communicate frequently with TAs: make an agenda for your weekly meeting with TAs and invite them to add their topics, email the group to check in weekly.
  • Discourage your TAs from conducting “dual-mode instruction” with some students in-person and some online. This modality is very difficult, logistically, and can result in a worse experience for both in-person and online students. 
  • Think about how the TA role might shift in the event of a campus disruption, and how you can help them prepare for their (new) responsibilities.
5. Design for Learning

People learn; we can’t do the learning for them. For this reason, students appreciate opportunities to actively engage in learning.

6. Flexibility is Key
  • Design for flexible engagement: use asynchronous activities for students to interact with each other and the course material outside of the classroom.
  • Create policies for flexible deadlines (where possible) in anticipation that some students will have short and longer-term excused medical absences.
  • Create multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate and get feedback on their learning in class and in summative assessments (think: active learning and authentic, meaningful assessments).

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