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First Steps

Here are some best practices for moving your content online in case of campus closures or emergencies. See our list of strategies and tools for more information and links to resources. Remember, disruptions to your usual routine can help you encounter new tools and methods. Take this opportunity to think about how to engage your students beyond the classroom! 

Assess, then Plan

Take a breath and think about the materials you've already developed. You have an online platform, iLearn, that can facilitate the course during a campus closure. Before you start making plans, consider the following:

  • Your goals during the campus closure. What can you realistically accomplish during this closure? What, if any, learning activities can be rescheduled or modified?
  •  Class size and technology access. What tools are appropriate for your class size? What kind of technology access will your students have during the closure?
  • Your own experience with the technology. How will your knowledge, experience, and comfort level with certain technologies shape your continuity plan? What do you need to adjust, modify, or cut? 
  • Course content, grading structure, and policy. How will you deliver your content? What changes, if any, need to be made to your grading structure or policies? 

Delivering Lectures

You have created the content of your lecture already, so you don't necessarily need to create new media. You can choose to simply post your lecture notes and/or presentation slides. If you like, you can post an audio or video recording of your lecture.

For small classes, you can consider hosting a live class session with your students using Zoom (our video conferencing software). This is not required, but if you would like to interact with your students during the closure, live sessions are an option.

For large classes, live sessions are not recommended. Alternatively, you can use Zoom to record your lecture (either a narrated slide presentation or yourself speaking). 

All faculty, staff and students have a Basic account by default, and you can sign in to the UCR Zoom site with your regular login information. A free Basic account allows up to 300 participants and video conferences up to forty minutes (and one-on-one meetings with a Basic account do not have a time limit). A Pro account allows video conferences of up to 24 hours with up to 300 participants. You may request a Pro account by using the Information Technology Solutions (ITS) ServiceLink Software Request form.

Posting Required Materials

Good news! You may have already made your course content available on iLearn. Make sure your iLearn site is clear and organized and the required resources (i.e., PDFs, links to materials, etc.) are accessible.

Keep in mind that many students may only have access to the course site on their phone or tablet, so be sure you are using mobile-friendly formats, PDFs being the most common. Consider saving other files (for example, PowerPoint presentations) to PDF, which are easier to read on phones and tablets and keeps the file size small. See the Accommodations and Accessibility to more information, or contact the SDRC.

You can find a comprehensive list of publishers who have increased electronic access during the COVID-19 crisis that UCR faculty and students are eligible for at this library site. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Continuing Labs

Consider aspects of your lab that you could take online. Video demonstrations, simulation, analysis of raw data, other pre- or post-lab work could be done remotely. This is also a good time to start investigating online options like virtual labs, apps, or simulation software. Browse MERLOT Materials for support tools and resources.  Work with your department to propose specific solutions.

Providing Timely Feedback 

For the vast majority of assessments, iLearn tools can be used to assess student learning during a prolonged campus closure. Students can turn in essays, research papers, projects, and video presentations via "Assignments" in iLearn. You can control tests and quizzes by limiting the date/time in which they're available to students. You can place a time limit on the exam, randomize questions, and force completion if students navigate away from iLearn. See our Exams in iLearn guide, or join one of our Live Training sessions.

While remote proctoring is available for cases of high-stakes testing, take some time to reevaluate how you measure student learning. Does it truly align with your course goals? Does it allow students to apply what they've learned in an authentic way? Can you think of a more holistic approach? See the Special Guidance on Remote Proctoring.

Fostering Engagement

Take advantage of the asynchronous tools in iLearn to encourage student interaction with you and with each other. Discussion boards, forums, and social media are good ways to keep the conversation going outside class. Students can collaborate on assignments using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can also use Zoom for virtual office hours, student discussions, and breakout groups. 

NOTE: All students are encouraged to register their mobile phones on the campus emergency system for campus updates. To register, each student should should visit this service link.