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Preparing to Teach Online GauchoSpace Site Available!

We have developed a new, comprehensive training site for instructors and TAs, called “Preparing to Teach Online,” available through GauchoSpace.The site has ideas, resources, links to UCSB-supported technologies, and opportunities to interact with each other and with us.   You also have a chance to experience the training as a game, where you will complete quests to earn a certificate of completion in Preparing to Teach Online.

This site (the Keep Teaching site) provides resources and guiding questions to transition into remote teaching. Start with the step-by-step priorities listed below. You can find additional information on remote lectures, assessment, and communicating with your students. Remember that we are here for you: you can contact us with questions you have. This website is evolving daily, so be sure to check back periodically to find new information and suggestions.

Preparing to Move Your Class to Remote Instruction

Outline your educational goals, related activities, content, and assessments for each week of your course

Keep things simple and focus on your top priorities. Accept that you and your students might not be able to cover everything you had planned previously. Covering content using remote instruction will take longer than it would in a live course.

  • Use a planning grid to prioritize and structure your goals.
    • Focus on 1-2 main learning goals or objectives per week. 
    • List the content (lectures, readings, etc.) related to these.
    • State 2-3 things students must know how to do to engage with material that you can assess. 
    • What should they take away that week?
Decide how much content can be asynchronous (not live) and put it online using GauchoSpace and GauchoCast

We recommend making as much content as possible asynchronous because either you, your students, or the campus might not have reliable high-speed internet at all times. In addition, with so many things in flux, attending lectures at a specific time without distractions might be more challenging for some of your students (or you!). You can record videos using GauchoCast. In addition to or instead of viewing lectures, you can have students complete readings and forum posts, listen to podcasts, write response papers - in other words, do all the things you probably already have them do!

To guide your planning, think about the following questions:

  • What can students learn and do on their own (readings, videos, etc.)? 
  • What part of your lessons are one-way delivery (explanations, stories, etc.)? 
  • What activities require interaction but not in real-time (low-stakes quizzes, writing assignments, etc.)?

Useful pointers on asynchronous content:

  • You can record and upload lectures using GauchoCast (complete self-guided tutorial - requires access to GauchoSpace; or watch video tutorials).
  • Keep videos short (5-15 minutes) and intersperse them with activities! If you need to cover a lot of ground, try to break it down into a series of short videos.
  • For a wealth of ideas on asynchronous activities, see this Online Teaching Infographic.
Translate your remaining synchronous (live) classroom activities for online delivery using Zoom

You have allotted days/times for your courses and sections. You can stick to these as time to cover any live interactions that the course requires. Think carefully about what types of interactions are most fruitful, and consider shortening your “live” sessions since you will be complementing it with asynchronous content. Use Zoom for live video.

Useful pointers on synchronous content:

  • To get started, complete the Zoom sections of our self-guided tour (requires access to GauchoSpace) or watch video tutorials on Zoom. You can also view this Zoom tutorial on youtube
  • To facilitate small-group student discussions, use Zoom’s Breakout Rooms to split the class into groups.
  • If you will be speaking to a larger group, mute all participant mics to eliminate background noise or distractions.
  • Have students use the “hand-raise” button or the chat to signal they have a question. If you have a TA, have them monitor for questions while you talk.
  • You can also use Zoom to hold office hours.
  • You can closed caption “in real-time” by using Google Slides.
  • You can record a Zoom session, but you need to notify your students beforehand and provide the option to not be recorded (by them muting their mic and turning off their video).
  • Do not share your Zoom session URLs in open forums - post them on GauchoSpace or via email instead. There have been reports of “trolls” showing up in Zoom sessions. See advice on securing Zoom meetings.
Set a clear weekly pattern for the course

To help you and your students navigate a new way of teaching and learning, decide on and stick to a weekly pattern: Should reading responses be posted by every Thursday? Will there be a quiz due each Wednesday?

Useful pointers on patterns:

  • You can duplicate weeks on GauchoSpace and then simply update the details.
  • Name things clearly and order them intuitively.
  • Make sure file names match the terms you use in your syllabus and elsewhere.
  • Provide video lengths and page counts so students can plan accordingly.
  • Provide summaries like “By Monday March 23rd, watch videos 1-5 and complete quizzes 1-3.” This way students can feel confident they haven’t missed a video or a quiz.
Build your online class community. Make it feel human and connected!

The biggest reason for student attrition in online courses is students not feeling a sense of belonging or social connection. You can change that! Create a community where students are talking to each other and see you as a human being.

Useful pointers on building community:

  • Use a Nectir chat room so students can ask each other questions, study together, etc. (Nectir User Guide.)
  • Add a “Questions about the class” Q2A forum on GauchoSpace where you can address students’ top questions.
  • Use conversational language (I, you, we) in your materials.
  • Post a bio with a friendly or goofy picture.
  • Use Zoom breakout rooms for small-group student discussions.
  • If you feel awkward talking at a monitor, record lectures with a friend or pet behind the camera.
Plan your assessments – big ones and little ones

Reach out to CITRAL and Instructional Development about options for running your course assessments online.

Useful pointers on assessments:

Equity and Access Considerations

As you design your remote course, use this Checklist for Remote Instruction to help you provide pedagogical and technological equity and access for your students. Technologies that require high bandwidth, especially those that are “high immediacy,” may be difficult for students to access. Technologies that require low bandwidth will be more accessible to a greater number of students.

Click Here for a high resolution version of the graphic below.

Matrix of Immediacy of interactions with bandwidth requirements for various parts of the UCSB educational technology ecosystem.

EVC’s Communications to Campus Regarding Academic Affairs (updated daily)

Chancellor’s Communications to Campus (updated daily)

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